The UK is the most centralised welfare state in the world. Almost everything is decided in Whitehall. But we continue to ignore this fact. If the Union does finally end then this may be because we have failed, for far too long, to challenge the centralisation and bureaucracy that sits at the heart of the UK's welfare state.
In truth I was grateful for all the things that eventually made Britain my home. But I was also angry. Angry for all the hoops I had to jump through to get the same rights as others who were born here, as if begging entry to some exclusive club I wasn't allowed to join even though it was located at my house.
The Dominican Republic's nationality rules are a tangle of check-boxes and criteria, but for one family the impact of new legislation could not be more stark. By a fluke of bureaucracy, two out of three children might be awarded citizenship and all its benefits, but the third could remain lost in the limbo of statelessness...
Last week I was invited to give evidence to the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) for its enquiry on citizens and public services. This is an important enquiry and has the opportunity to address some fundamental questions about the nature of our public services, and the Government's 'reform' and public expenditure programmes.
This great man knew that the freedom of every member of a society to participate fully in its governance was the absolute, the fundamental, the non-negotiable. This freedom transcends race, and it transcends political affiliation. I believe we must all claim his legacy as a matter of urgency, and do so actively and constructively, if we are not to sleepwalk into a new era of oppression.
On Wednesday, Unilever chose Universal Children's Day to launch the latest phase of their work to integrate the creation of a better world into their marketing. At a time when the world's politicians are winding up in Warsaw after another round of failing to do anything significant about climate change, it is wonderful to see one of our largest corporations taking unilateral action in such committed fashion.
I believe the answer is simple to identify, but deeply difficult to resolve. It lies in the fact that the dominant metaphor for the role of the individual in society today is that of the Consumer; and that while we talk to ourselves as Consumers, we simply will never solve climate change. Here are the four reasons why not.
Since the late 18th century, the prospect of full and equal citizenship has animated generations of feminists. Yet citizenship is a troubling proposition for feminism because whilst it promises inclusion it always also enacts exclusion. Citizenship simultaneously creates insiders and outsiders - citizens and aliens, as well as good citizens and bad citizens.
Today we live in an era of hyper-specialisation. We all drill deeper in our silos. How else can you keep up, let alone get ahead in our frenetic, rapidly changing, competitive world? Yet we seem to get stuck, as the same ideas and arguments get recycled, only faster than ever before (thank technology, social media and the blogosphere).