At first glance, from the local election results already out, both Labour and the Conservatives will be mildly - but not unduly - pleased. It looks like Labour are going to make some solid council gains (Merton, Hammersmith and Fulham), as well as end up safely as the party with the largest share of the vote. Not spectacular, but a plausible base-camp from which to attack next year's General Election.
This Government believes that if you're open about problems as they arise and you tell people when things go wrong, then they will be more inclined to believe you when things are working and you want to talk about your achievements. Over time, being open builds trust.
I can't help but think that local councils are missing a trick here. In our technology-driven world where we manage much of our lives online, from personal finances to doing our shopping, surely it would make sense to introduce the option of being able to vote online?
The success of Ukip is a direct and inescapable consequence of the abject failure of the mainstream parties to connect with deeply disillusioned voters. It doesn't need Dave and Ed to light up a fag and be photographed from now on only with a pint of beer in their hands - perish the thought - it just needs them to start talking a language that vaguely resembles the language the rest of us speak. They've got just under 12 months to get it right. Meanwhile, the rest of us will start taking a closer look at some of Mr Farage's unpleasant new bed-fellows in the European parliament.
For all its merits, the true potential of British renewables seems to be thwarted at every turn by outdated policy and reactionary politics. If we're not careful, a perfect storm of populist, anti-green initiatives may run the risk of transforming one of the country's biggest up-and-coming sectors into a permanent PR sham.
It's only an opinion poll, a lot's going to depend on the results in individual regions, it's still all to play for - all of those old electoral sayings hold true, but nonetheless Green Party workers are going into the final sprint of the European election campaign with a spring in their step, following a YouGov poll for the Sunthat put our vote on 12%, enough to win six MEP seats in England, plus one in Scotland.
Dear Syed, This is an open letter to seek answers the British people are entitled to know before voting on Thursday...
The three largest parties haven't taken on Ukip, but all too often pandered to it, seeking to pull back Ukip voters by outdoing it in rhetoric and policy. This is not only morally wrong, but politically stupid. By pandering to Ukip's stance on immigration and Europe, the three largest parties have helped to make its claims that immigration has "caused" low wages, has "caused" housing shortages, has "caused" crowded hospitals and schools seem plausible... It's not surprising that Ukip's nasty, simplistic recipe of 'blame the foreigner' has got traction.
It seems now that not a day goes by without another UKIP candidate getting on his or her hind legs and announcing how they really don't want to embarrass their glorious leader with their patently unhinged views on life, shortly before they do just that...
If there is one thing worse than Euroscepticism or Europhilia it is Euroignorance. Pretending the European Parliament doesn't matter is a foolish and very British error.
Britain now has one of the most attractive tax systems in the world with Corporation Tax falling to 20% next year. This is great because business people and investors are vital to the future of the UK economy. We should never be embarrassed about wanting to attract people who can come here to create jobs.
Recently, the Government unveiled plans to shave a further £220million off criminal legal aid, generating considerable opposition from across the profession and in charities and campaign groups. Ministers have fought a clever guerrilla campaign. They've salami sliced bit by bit to mitigate the short-term impact of their plans. They successfully divided and ruled the legal profession. They've smeared legal aid lawyers as fat cats and made out legal aid is only used by unworthy criminals. Needless to say, the truth is rather different.
As a Brit, I am proud that our government is spending 0.7% of our GDP on international development; but I am concerned that we have failed to understand the pervasive inequality facing people with learning disabilities. We must commit to correcting this failure and bringing about the more just world that the architects of the MDGs had in mind... but how?
Because social housing - having been handed to unaccountable private landlords - is in such short supply, it is now available only to those in the most dire, desperate need. Every other tenant is in the hands of unregulated rental agents who are seemingly infinitely creative in their ability to dream up new charges.
A few years back, I was on tour in Germany. By sheer chance, someone I'd gone to college with was sitting in the audience in Munich. It was a big thrill to see so familiar a face so far from home and as it turned out, Colin had moved with his girlfriend to Dachau. This gave me the incentive I needed to do, something I'd been putting off: which was to visit a concentration camp.
With the large increases in employment seen over the last couple of years now starting to create shortages of workers in some areas, there has also been an increase in the growth rate of average earnings in recent months. The result is that earnings in real terms - that is after adjusting for inflation - are no longer falling.