The Office for National Statistics reckons that the UK economy shrank by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2012. This is a preliminary estimate that is subject to revision, but if it is right, it suggests the economy has contracted by 0.3 per cent over the last two years since the Coalition came to power.
The Mau Mau, it must be said, were vile. After swearing to magical oaths, they butchered children, they tortured, mutilated and murdered - mostly Africans - who would not join their movement. The Kenyan government now calls them heroes, and has a national day in October to honour them, which is a despicable re-writing of history. But the British response to the uprising was also brutal, driven by the atavistic fears of the settlers in the so-called White Highlands, commonly regarded as the most snobbish and racist in the Empire.
This Government has been relatively vocal about the role of charities because of their importance to David Cameron's Big Society project. The Giving White Paper and the changes introduced in the Budget this year were welcome steps forward but more could and should be done to make giving easier and more appealing. CAF believe that that the levels are so low that ministers need to kick start a new drive on giving by pledging to donate a percentage of their income to charitable causes.
David Cameron is a lucky man. Just when things seemed to be getting messy in Libya, when the word 'stalemate' was being heard more and more often and when there was seemingly a collective slumping of the international shoulders and an acceptance that we were in it for the long run, the rebels toppled Gaddafi. With Gaddafi gone, Cameron may think he can breath a sigh of relief. Whilst he can certainly be pleased with the fact an undeniably evil dictator is gone, there are a whole host of problems - at home and abroad - that now need to be addressed.
The new National Planning Policy Framework is a big chance to make Britain better for future generations as well as our own. That is what sustainability is all about. We are determined that the beguiling convenience of the present must not overshadow the needs of the new generation and those that will follow them. There is no reason why growth should mean ugliness. It can - and should - improve our physical environment. Anyone who thinks otherwise should take a tour around our great cities, towns and villages and consider the diminished place that Britain would be if our forebears had been adamant in their opposition to new development.
Recent polling from YouGov@Cambridge on attitudes to the state, tax and spending, conducted as part of a large-scale survey of UK voters in May 2011, throws up some challenges for both the political left and right. But it also highlights the value of scratching beneath the surface of conventional survey questions on these issues. For better or worse, political arguments about the state, tax and spending will dominate this Parliament. Survey questions such as these can help us look beneath standard polling on the subject to try and understand better this complex and fascinating terrain of public opinion.