Whenever I see Ed Miliband trying to pretend he's a human, I'm always reminded of a particular scene in Mark Tavener's criminally underrated sitcom Absolute Power in which the oily sultan of spin Charles Prentiss (not so much played by as written for Stephen Fry) is sizing up dowdy Tory shadow minister Joanne Standing (basically a pilot version of The Thick of It's Nicola Murray).
A year later and the black flags of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS), currently fluttering across lands from from northern Syria to the Iraqi province of Diyala north-east of Baghdad, have once again pushed the noxious issue of intervention to the forefront of the US foreign policy debate - a discourse that is further dividing an already fractured Republican Party, with the question of action versus non-action likely to run all the way to the 2016 election.
The Assisted Dying Bill is long overdue because we can't keep forcing people to die in pain and misery against their will, or pressuring the terminally ill into committing gruesome acts of suicide as a last resort. We must realise that the right to life includes the right for individuals to make an informed decision to die in the way that they perceive to be the most dignified.
Today's official unemployment figures show a familiar pattern to those who watch them regularly.
It is entirely true that many would have welcomed a big political figure such as William Hague to lead for Britain in Brussels but the Prime Minister decided on a different approach - one with an outstanding precedent. Lord Hill may be unknown but so was Lord Cockfield, possibly one of the most effective British Commissioners.
The removal of a truly dreadful secretary of state - who in the badger cull demonstrated his broader contempt or total failure to understand scientific evidence - is something to celebrate. The departure of education secretary Michael Gove is also cause for celebration. Again, his replacement is largely an unknown quality, her vote against gay marriage a cause for concern, but there's an opportunity here for the government to draw a line under a truly awful period for English schools.
"Investing so much time in the rich who are coming to the end of their time, instead of investing time in us who have lives to live and haven't yet reached our primes... How can we grow in a world where the dads don't help and the government don't love us?"
The skeletons in my closet have been going through a bit of a reshuffle too. It's all the rage. With cries of rage and anguish from those who think that teachers do nothing anyway, schools have reached the summer break and there's time for clearing out the closets and tidying the loft.
So long, Owen Paterson: we won't miss you. You were truly the worst environment secretary for decades. With that act to follow, Ms Truss might be tempted to relax; hardly much to live up to. That would be a mistake. There's already a lot in her in-tray and a lot of mess to clean up from her predecessor...
Hated work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith survived the Tory night of the long knives to keep his cabinet job. But in a move which is more about presentation than policy, employment minister and Smith deputy Esther McVey will also attend cabinet meetings.
David Cameron yesterday had the enviable task of culling ministers, apparently to make way for fresh faces. Right-wing media predictably concentrated on the outrage of loyal long-standing Tories being driven out, rather than examining the toxicity that drove Cameron to take dramatic action at this stage of a parliament.
Despite the existence of other international crises, the civil war in Syria and its effects remain. Three years on from the beginning of protests against the dictatorial rule of President Assad, the original struggle for greater rights in a tyrannical state has morphed into an armed revolution.
As Israeli military operations reignited in Gaza on July 8, the familiar indignant echo of "something must be done" rang out around the liberal and non-interventionist quarters of the Western world in a show of solidarity with the trampled Palestinian people that, while admirable, all too often fails to delineate exactly to whom the appeals for reason should be addressed.
In general, unionised workers are better off than non-unionised. Even in Britain, home to the toughest anti-union legislation in Western Europe, unions make a difference; strong unions make a bigger one.
How will we attract more people into teaching, when they will be treated so poorly and fragrantly ignored by their Secretary of State? How can we expect a good education for future children when teachers are so overworked and underpaid? ... We should be supporting them in their struggle for fairer treatment and a better education system for all.
American cyclist Tejay van Garderen branded the craze 'a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity' ... in this technologically driven age, each spectator wants to prove they were part of the action and hence the selfie found a new arena... it undoubtedly gravitates towards narcissism. 'Look at how much fun I'm having, I want you to envy me'.