With the departure of Burt, Hague and now Warsi, the FCO is left without any ministers who show any deep personal commitment to human rights... It would be unfair to prejudge Philip Hammond and Baroness Anelay, Sayeeda Warsi's replacement, this early on. Instead, one must simply appeal to them to prove the sceptics wrong.
The rise of Ukip, the vitriolic discussion over the relaxation of border controls relating to Romania and Bulgaria, the abolishment of the UKBA and now the problems at the Passport Office, show that immigration is, without doubt, an all-consuming issue for the public and one that is going to be at the front of voters' minds on and before 7 May 2015. However, the government, rather than shadow boxing with Ukip by continuing to make claims over a net migration figure they have no control over, should create a structure that ensures immigration is given its full attention. After all you can have as many silver bullet policies as you like, but without the gun to fire them you're never going to hit the target.
oris Johnson today setting out some of the changes he and his economic adviser Gerard Lyons think would be necessary to see Britain benefit from continued EU membership is a welcome step in the right direction. But for all his robustness and rabble-rousing rhetoric, there were more than a few moments where the Mayor fell down on detail.
One major objective of secularism is to balance everyone's religious rights and freedoms fairly. This naturally includes the rights and freedoms of the non-religious and those of minority religions. Yet Mr Pickles chooses to portray this as secularists trying to "impose" their "politically correct intolerance" on others.
What we need to do now is go further... to imagine, and then create, a world without war. With the hideous death-toll in Gaza, the chaos in Syria and Ukraine, the turmoil in Libya, that might seem a long way from the reality of 2014. But the important first step is to say "this is possible", and then to start to plan the actions needed to bring a peaceful world into being.
When I look back over David Cameron's political career, I will remember many things. The fact that he surrounded himself with millionaire Etonians while subjecting the most vulnerable in society to sharp cuts and while allowing global corporations and oligarchs to use Britain as a tax haven.
The conventional Westminster bubble accounts of Sayeeda Warsi quitting the government rely on unpleasant Tory spin questioning her motives. In fact there is a much richer Warsi story to be written about the multiple complexities of the British Muslim communities - the plural is important - which cannot be reduced to the horrors of the Gaza conflict.
This country needs a foreign policy, but increasingly it has two. One is NATO summits, and conference calls with the White House: a global player, but whose star is on the wane. The other is as a self-declared aid superpower. DFID appears as a new Colonial Office whose role is to manage relations with poor countries.
We want to see the UK close its goods trade deficit from a worrying £9bn; we want to see British businesses shipping UK products all around the world, from Cambodia to Canada; and we want to see these exporting companies creating jobs and wealth. If we want to realise this ambition, we will need at least three, possibly five, extra runways over the next few decades.
UK ministers always seem to preface what they say about the crisis in Gaza by acknowledging Israel's right to self defence against attack. I agree with them about that. Actually, the Palestinians have the right of self defence too. The point is that neither can credibly be invoked to justify the carnage that is unfolding.
The facts on the ground have not really changed from Boris' initial assessment of the pros and cons of membership last year. Maybe we are just one year closer to an election in which Boris needs to position himself as the tough-talking Eurosceptic reaching out for an uncompromising deal.
Tonight, as we remember the point 100 years ago when the British Empire formally entered the First World War, the lamps will go out once again. Across the country millions of people will turn off the lights in their homes, businesses and public buildings, taking a moment to reflect on the dire events that were unfolding a century ago.
The current nine female commissioners have called for 10 or more women in the new team, while Juncker himself called gender balance 'a political must'. With 37% women among its own ranks, the European Parliament will be in no mind for compromise.
Libya is now in flames. This might seem to be a rather hyperbolic note on which to begin, but it is true. The country is spiralling out of control, and the city of Benghazi, the former rebel capital in the 2011 revolution against the dictatorship of Colonel Gaddafi, has reportedly been captured by Islamist militants and declared an 'Islamic emirate'.
The Tory Lie Machine is desperate to distract attention from the fact that they've raised taxes 24 times, and that tax and benefit changes since 2010 will leave the average household £974 a year worse off by the time of the next election - while giving millionaires a tax cut. But when they choose to lie about Labour's plans, we're going to call them out on it.
MPs' offices and the Parliamentary estate are funded by public money. It is only right that their spending is properly scrutinised. It is vital however that this scrutiny is properly informed. The media have a duty to report MPs' and Parliamentary spending responsibility. MPs' and the Parliamentary estate have a duty of care to their employees.