AS one of the few political pundits who predicted the results of not just the Scottish referendum but also the last General Election, I find it astonishing how much credence is still given to the blizzard of referendum polls.
The best thing for the country, in the aftermath of the referendum result, would be for the Tories to unite and show some true leadership-with someone who has proved he can lead at the helm. If a certain group of Conservatives choose to discount this in favour of pushing forward their own little agenda, then it is they, and not David Cameron, who will have proved themselves untrustworthy in this referendum.
George Osborne and Michael Gove have shown that they are not averse to adopting Labour's policies where it suits their image as one nation conservatives. We are more than prepared to work cross-party to achieve change, if that is their genuine intent. But as is too often true with this Government, this seems another case of rhetoric not being reflected in reality.
Has there ever been a Cabinet minister more inept than Chris Grayling, the leader of the House of Commons? He is a man who can be utterly relied upon to get things wrong, a man whose lack of judgement and staggering incompetence defy belief.
It's understandable that Yvette Cooper is trying to get some headlines as her leadership rivals surge ahead in the polls. It's just ironic that she's chosen to do so by accusing the Conservatives of misleading people - when the truth is we're delivering more jobs, a stronger economy and a brighter future for our nation. It's just the same old Labour - they've no plan for the future, whoever ends up leading the party.
My dad is in maximum-security prison after an unreliable career in armed robbery. He already served ten-years and was finally promoted to an open prison - you know the ones - the kind we reserve for our white-collar criminals like celebrity politicians Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken. Annoyingly my dad didn't write a best seller in the last few months of his stretch...
The recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, and the London and Madrid bombings ten years ago, were an attack on our core values: respect for life, freedom and tolerance. We must stand up to protect these fundamental principles and values.
Earlier this year the Government unveiled plans for one of the most ill-thought through policies of this Parliament. It's called the Secure College - a new Titan prison for young offenders. It sounds good in theory. It's supposed to be a new institution that will 'transform youth custody' by prioritising learning. In reality it's a flawed, expensive and potentially dangerous idea.
We all took the view that public sympathy is with the women who are in effect sentenced to the equivalent of a death penalty whilst their children suffer the consequences. When they ask me - where were you Mummy when all these women were dying in prison, I will be proud to say I was at the HLE Debate and we didn't just talk about change we made it happen.
It should be a source of pride, not rage, that we, as a nation, hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to respecting the inherent value of the human. The idea of human rights embodies the principal that people are more important than ideologies. If he hopes history to remember him with any fondness, David Cameron would do well to remember that maxim.
As the former attorney general, Dominic Grieve, has said, this would be an utterly puerile way for the United Kingdom to conduct itself on the international stage... David Cameron and his fellow Tories often like to pay homage to Winston Churchill and the war-time generation, yet in their deeds they seem determined to take an axe to the treaties, the courts and institutions that were their legacy. Any party that believes that trading in not just our fundamental rights but our place in the post-1945 international order just to hoover up a few votes off Ukip in the Clacton by-election is not fit for office.
At a fundamental level, human rights are an assertion of protection from the government and a claim for the protection of the government. Power has the potential for good and ill, which is why power must be regulated and laden with responsibility.
Rocketing prison numbers, a shocking surge in assaults and deaths by suicide in custody, fewer staff, less constructive activity and unacceptably high reconviction rates are the flashing warning lights that Ministers must heed.
There's always so much focus on how much prisons cost the tax payer, whether inmates should have access to TV and reading material and prison rehabilitation programs.
Chris Grayling doesn't know what's going on. Some might argue that this is true generally, but I'm talking about the "book ban". He didn't mean for it to happen, he didn't intend to deprive prisoners, and he doesn't have a good answer to the criticism that's being levelled at him. And the fuss is part of a wider and even more concerning issue.
The Howard League have been very active, not least through the #booksforprisoners twitter activity, which is being built on this week by English Pen, who are asking for people to tweet 'the book you would send to a prisoner, and why'.