On 8 March the Chancellor must show that he understands both the immediate care crisis and the need for a radical and sustainable long term solution. Older and disabled people and their families and carers have been waiting too long for the answer. Let's hope that their expectations aren't dashed yet again.
The Care Quality Commission or CQC has probably one of the most important jobs in the country: to make sure that people who need care are safe from abuse. Unfortunately the evidence is that they are failing in this task and they are bound to fail because of how they are organised and how they think.
An extraordinary second Monday in December may have heralded long-awaited government action to tackle the care crisis. With more than a million older people not getting the help they need and cash-strapped local authorities squeezing fees to fragile care businesses, the care system seems close to collapse. Now all eyes are on the government's funding settlement for councils later this week. Will it simply allow councils to raise council tax to fund care or will it offer something more fundamental?
In answer to the question, no women do not better parents than men. There are, of course, bad dads in the world and there are also bad mothers. I just don't think society gives men the opportunities to prove what great parents they can be. This is simply because the overwhelming responsibility for raising children almost always falls on women and this starts at birth.
Ultimately who can unite both the Tory party and Britain? It's a huge challenge, but now the men are out of it, the games can stop and the serious players can show that they really care - about ordinary families, their struggles with caring responsibilities and giving everyone, whatever their age, the best care and support.
Men care, and cherish and nurture, just as women do. This is what Heather Whitten's photo of her husband shows; a man caring for an ill small child. The fact that his child was unwell does not make this exceptional; caring happens in big and small ways each and every day, because loving others means wanting and doing the best for them.
The mother in western culture in the twenty-first century faces a huge number of obstacles before her in her attempts to frame her life with 'autonomy' and 'self-determination': or, simply put, the right to live and control one's own life. Mothers feel immense social and economic pressure to 'get a job', or feel the strain of 'doing it all' when they do.