In 2013, the government deficit, according to the latest available Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, was £92.9billion, which was 5.8% of GDP. All our major political parties are fixated on getting this deficit down by cutting expenditure and raising taxes. But should they be quite so determined to do so? Is austerity really the best way to cut the deficit?
It was another Conservative prime minister, Harold Macmillian, who explained in just five short words how governments can crumble with such spectacular suddenness: Events, my dear boy, events.
"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it," so said Nye Bevan, who founded the National Health Service 66 years ago. Two years after the government launched the biggest attack on our health service in its history, we are seeing communities coming together in the fight of their lives to save our NHS. Now growing numbers of people are getting wise to this sinister trade deal which is threatening to make the Tory sell-off of the NHS irreversible.
Next Thursday, Scotland will vote on whether it wants to stay in the United Kingdom or leave and become separate from the rest of the UK. In the last few weeks, the polls have narrowed considerably with one YouGov poll on Sunday suggesting that - for the first time - the "Yes" campaign is in the lead by 1 point. What's clear is it is neck-and-neck.
Politicians must begin to move away from this mould and persuade us to get behind them as people. They need to put the passion and personality back into politics.
The 'Read On. Get On' campaign has an historic goal - to eliminate illiteracy. It may surprise some that in this country with its literary heritage, its leading universities, its Nobel laureates, its history and its world-class economy, that illiteracy should remain untamed and intractable. Yet one in five 11-year-olds are still leaving primary school struggling with the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.
"It was business wot won it!" That was David Cameron's message last night at the Business Leaders' Reception at Number 10, although they may not have been the exact words used by the Prime Minister. He did however make it clear that when he moved into Downing Street four years ago, the entire place, and I mean the country, not the residence, were in pretty bad shape. And there was no money to fix it.
The Liberal Democrats decided early on that the politically expedient thing to do was to take ownership of all the government's actions even when they ideologically disagreed with them. Voters may accept parties changing policies over time, but they will not forget the hypocritical positions taken by a party simply to look 'governmental'.
This was an all-too-rare case of Labour and the Liberal Democrats coming together to defeat the Conservatives... I think we may see more of these two parties working together before polling day in May next year.
Scotland will get what a majority of Scots choose. The vote itself is a proof that Scots hold popular sovereignty - and that the United Kingdom is a Union of consent. It may prove a nail-biter. But the most unpredictable factor is probably still less the outcome of the vote but just how close the margin of victory and defeat might be.
The United Kingdom now faces a crisis. It is a crisis that threatens to split Scotland from its closest neighbours as it turns inwards and isolates itself in a moment of long lasting anger. It also has the potential to trigger a constitutional crisis which would see about a re-compartmentalisation of powers not seen since before the Union was established...
Do you want my alternative, semi-serious take on our battle against Isis, David Cameron's birthday wish and Tony Blair's latest award? Here's the political week in 60 seconds.
Given the controversy roiling Hong Kong this week about the arrangements proposed for choosing the next Chief Executive of the territory, the news tha...
In the face of the UKIP threat, Tory modernisation needs to be deepened, not retrenched. Support for the environment and renewable energy is popular and good politics, as well as being in our national interest.
The prime minister may be taking to heart president Theodore Roosevelt's advice to conduct diplomacy by speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Unnoticed by either his own members of Parliament and let alone the media, is the fact that following the Juncker debacle, Britain has bagged three significant successes over the summer...
If Johnson does become a genuine leadership candidate, it'll cap quite a journey for the old Etonian. The buffoonery has toned down, but without morphing into the type of hackneyed politician that people despise.