As a business leader I have been convinced for many years that the most important strategic priority for the nation is the education of its young people. I passionately believe that business has a duty, a responsibility and a great opportunity to support our schools and to help more young people to succeed.
Am I saying that the wealthy residents of the Thames Valley are deserving of the devastation that floods bring? Of course not. They are enduring a harrowing ordeal, and are firmly in my thoughts. Am I saying that the poor in those areas are more deserving of flood relief? Not at all.
Amid the boilerplate Tory bluster about militant trade unionists holding the public to ransom with unreasonable demands and threats to withdraw their labour comes a new and sinister campaign, led by the mayor himself, demanding the government legislate for a 50% turnout threshold for industrial action ballots... The most dangerous consequence of any new law on ballot thresholds would be for democracy itself.
The true economic impact of such strikes is hard to calculate accurately, but that doesn't stop lobby groups from throwing big numbers around... Once such a number is picked up in the popular press, it is widely quoted without examination, as the press coverage of the recent strike reveals.
Last I checked, the best and most successful strikes in history have been those that have caused disruption. RMT will not have voted to strike, with the aim of making commuters' lives more convenient. Explicitly, the strike has done exactly what it set out to do.
If the calculations show that a job is obsolete, let's do something about it. Yes we need jobs. We need people doing work that is relevant, useful and advantageous to the economy. But not just any jobs, not jobs for the sake of having jobs, or because Bob Crow, with his ideological blinkers and fat pay check says so. We need real jobs, not artificial ones.
One may disagree with the tube strike, but that isn't an argument against Unions. But banning strikes or condemning strikers is suppressing legitimate democratic expression. And that's much worse than making the train late.
My union has campaigned relentlessly for investment in London Underground, to upgrade and expand services, to replace the archaic fleet and infrastructure with the best available and to tackle backlogs of maintenance and renewals. Londoners deserve that. What we will not accept is a scandalous attempt to dress up savage, austerity-led cuts under the cloak of "modernisation". There is nothing modern about reducing the tube to a hollowed-out shell where a skeleton staff is stretched to breaking point.
In business, it is essential to be fast on your feet, identifying new opportunities and reacting to threats as quickly as possible. In public life, decisions are taken far more slowly, if at all, and, often, for all the wrong reasons...
Time was in Primary School, students' pictures of February would be represented by snowdrops and whatnot. But that's unlikely to happen nowadays, as 1) Michael Gove would replace art with testing the shit out of everything if he had half a chance and 2) early Spring vistas more closely resembles a busy Saturday car park in Atlantis.
The type of politics that has been practised over the last four years is that of the smoke-and-mirrors variety; divert the public's attention to one over-inflated issue/persona while deflecting from what the core truth of the matter actually is...
Far from being the man-in-waiting, I was beginning to feel more like the lady-in-waiting, running around behind Harriet cajoling people to partake. How could I showcase my political gravitas if we couldn't get past disparate and prolonged episodes of 'guess the face'? Somebody needed to hear the soliloquies I'd been rehearsing for a week.
Alex's attack on "Shoreditchification" goes beyond the shores of Brick Lane, Hackney Road, Shoreditch High Street, Kingsland Road and surrounding areas. It's a real dig at what Londoners are all about. Get over it Alex, go and mingle with your gentrified buddies and chill out.
Despite the opposition of 94% of Londoners who took part in a public consultation process, as well as that of the London Assembly and the London fire authority, Boris Johnson forced his cuts through. Blood will be on his hands when - because it will be when and not if - someone dies because a fire engine did not arrive in time.
2013 is now done with, like so many turkey carcasses, Roses tins and Christmas specials (unless they're on Dave, of course). So while the R&D department at Mattel feel the pressure of having only one more year before everyone wants a hoverboard, the rest of us have to contend with the kind of weather that have made these isles look like a Kevin Costner movie set...
Working closely with Vodafone and the Mayor of London, the ambition for London's 2013 New Year's Eve celebrations was our biggest challenge to date: for the greatest number of people in human history to have a simultaneous multi-sensory experience. As a world first, it was a project far bigger in scale than anything we've ever attempted before...