With just months to go before the general election, all mainstream parties need to understand that having policy is only the first step on the path to victory. It then falls into the hands of party spinners to decide how policy is communicated, articulated and portrayed through the party ranks and into the media that will determine how the public perceives it.
Given his undoubted charisma and his way with words, he has the potential to be a big vote winner for the Tories. But, and it is in important but, voters who regard humour and a cavalier style as an asset in a city mayor with few real powers might seek different qualities in a national leader. Last week, in an interview with the Sunday Times, he talked about how his six years as mayor had given him the administrative experience that would stand him in good stead in national politics. He has a point. But if he is to be a real vote-winner for his party on the national stage, he needs more. He needs to get serious.
Should Boris win a safe seat, should the Tories win the next election and should Boris be gifted a Cabinet position - the first is the least dangerous of these three assumptions - will Boris commit, even for reasons of his own, to his Cabinet chums and will they commit to him? Boris has work to do. His recent cajoling of Cameron to take a harder-line stance on future negotiations with the EU can legitimately be viewed as the voice of a critical friend. Cameron can take it. However, covert criticism of Osborne, one of the more obvious contenders to succeed Cameron, will endear him neither to the Chancellor nor to others in Cameron's circle of less secure consiglieri.
The inconvenient truth is that the collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza is a collective endeavour in its own right - led by Israel, enforced by Egypt, endorsed by Saudi Arabia. Pity the poor Palestinians. Their territories are occupied by the Jewish state; their cause is abandoned by the Arab world.
The "balance fallacy" in the commemorations of the First World War means we forget the real reason millions died. "There are two sides to every stor...
How like Boris to use a much-trailed speech on Europe as a sort of summer panto, a bit of harmless fun, the brass band preceding his big announcement about his own ambitions here in the UK.
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.