The media just loves the immigration debate, and Nick Robinson's programme (The Truth about immigration) is proving the perfect hook. The programme includes our most recent British Social Attitudes, finding that over 3 in 4 of us (77%) want to see a reduction in immigration.
Why do foreigners come to the UK and want to work and settle down here? It is precisely because you are a great country. When prime minister David Cameron launched the "GREAT" campaign in 2012 he was right when he said, "There are so many great things about Britain and we want to send out the message loud and proud that this is a great place to do business, to invest, to study and to visit."
This country is now very close to settling a problem that has plagued it for generations. The problem was this: how to protect ordinary citizens from lying, bullying and unjustified intrusion carried out in the name of journalism, while at the same time ensuring that journalists were free to do the job they need to do to sustain our democracy. The solution is the Royal Charter on press self-regulation.
January 1st 2014 brought a couple of pivotal moments; the end of transitional movement controls for citizens of Bulgaria and Romania and the beginning in earnest of the government's deposit guarantee scheme. One has the potential to harm a country which, whether you believe it or not, seems to be on the brink of some kind of recovery. The other is immigration.
This year, it is my sincere hope that at least one politician makes the resolution to talk some truth and sense on immigration. Negative rhetoric can start as a cheap way of wooing a particular voter demographic or selling newspapers. Left unchecked it can permeate into the public conscious...
The prime minister will shortly begin the process of compiling his shopping list for EU reform. There is little doubt that EU migration will be at or near the top... It will take nerves of steel to walk the EU tightrope of asking concessions from the very countries whose citizens he wants to discourage from working in the UK.
Britain's National Health Service was built upon the firmly held conviction that good healthcare should be available to everyone in society - that it should be based on clinical need rather than one's ability to pay hefty sums of money upfront. Well, apparently that's no longer the case.
This is not the nicest of days, so in that context I thought I'd present a few random political thoughts! Very briefly, at Westminster it was one where the Conservative Party publically re-embraced Thatcherism, where One Nation Labour struggled to emerge further yet held on for life, and the United Kingdom Independence Party continued its long march to significance...
Yesterday, Abbas Khan's funeral was attended by thousands of Muslims, uniting as one to celebrate his life and in solidarity with the family. Gathering together in such a large number shows what a profound effect his death has had on the community...
I have this week written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, urging a new inquiry into the death of the scientist Alan Turing, who has been finally granted a royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for homosexual relations. Turing is generally believed to have been committed suicide following his conviction and chemical castration. However, the original inquest into his death was perfunctory and inadequate. A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death - including speculation that he was murdered by the security services.
As anyone who has seen Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol will know, the moral of the tale is that Ebenezer Scrooge is so besotted by wealth that he has, until visited by the 'ghosts' of Christmas, no sympathy for those unable to fend for themselves... Perhaps we should hope that something similar happens to Iain Duncan Smith
The one apparent bright spot, the fall in unemployment, came with more caveats than the average party election manifesto. More are working part-time only because they can't find full-time work while those earning less than premiership footballers have lost hundreds more pounds this year as wages still haven't kept pace with inflation.
Banning Christmas is a modern day myth perpetuated by those who have an axe to grind about 'Muslims' (it apparently 'offends' Muslims), have a similar axe to grind about our 'politically correct gone mad' culture (you know that 'political correctness' also doesn't exist, don't you?).
Time will tell if Cameron's tough talk will enable him to reach his personal goals both at home and abroad, though he is playing a dangerous game. At home, this episode might serve to radically shift the social thinking and ethos of British society vis-à-vis Europe, eventually leading to an EU exit which even most Tories still do not want.
I don't believe that if, in 2005, we had known the extent of migration from the previous Accession countries and the scale of the recession that would hit us, we would have agreed to the restrictions being lifted now... Even at this very late stage, I urge the government to keep the restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migration for a further five years - I can see no other solution.
A Tory MP has floated the idea of only paying child benefit for the first two children of any unemployed people. Those actually in work on less than £30,000 a year would only be given child tax credits, worth £2725, for the first two children they have according to this proposal.