The election itself will inevitably focus on issues that matter most to voters - from jobs and housing to wages and welfare. But it is less well recognised that the election in 2015 will be determined primarily in our urban areas, and that the fortunes of each of the major political parties depend upon how they perform in, and help support, UK cities.
A good start for Labour would have been to expand the contributory principle, not further target it, whilst explicitly focusing on supporting young people, rather than restricting access to social security. If the causes of such deep, attitudinal change in the UK are indeed linked to the decline of the contributory principle and the changing views of young people, today's proposals by Labour could end up having the complete opposite effect.
It's great that some politicians have spoken out in an attempt to dispel some of the stigma around mental ill health, but it is deeply unethical to pretend to champion mental health care while simultaneously backing swingeing cuts to both the welfare safety blanket and NHS mental health services.
Maximum governance, minimum government. India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was forming a cabinet based on this principle. He would seek to shrink the "top layers of government". In doing so, he would prioritise the speed of government decision-making, which has slowed development over the past few years...
As the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, heads to Rome for a spot of lunch with Matteo Renzi on Wednesday, I've been sounding out Italian journalists, academics and apparatchiks about what we can expect from Italy's PM and David Cameron's supposed New Best Friend, as the Great EU Junckernaut rumbles ominously on...
Men are either sycophants or narcissists. A fortunate few can even be both, such as the frankly scary Dominic Cummings, a close ally of Education Secretary Michael Gove and a person who is unlikely to have ever uttered the words: 'Sorry, you're right.'
The other day the nation was treated to a terrifying spectacle: all three party leaders posing with a copy of The Sun newspaper. They stood, or in Ed's case sat, clutching it proudly while grinning inanely at the person brandishing the iPhone. If it hadn't been so sad it would have been laughable...
David Cameron not only misrepresents minority groups and the nature of the demands that they make, he is also skewing the whole debate on minority rights.
At the moment, the need to stop the bloodshed is far greater than any desire for perfect multifaceted Muslim nations. But, if there is a hope of fixing Iraq's damaged democracy and creating an Iraq and a Syria where Kurds, Shia and Sunni Muslims can live in peace together, then the UK and the US need to learn its lessons and keep our distance.
Taking a picture with that newspaper was one of two things: either an act of stupidity by a busy, badly-advised man who wasn't thinking straight, or, much more worryingly, a cynical act of hypocrisy, shamelessly courting voters, in contrast to his own previous pronouncements on the values of the group which runs this particular newspaper.
When the outlook is bleak, and has seemingly been ever thus, reacting positively is not a simple task. Faced with this in our personal lives, most of us seek personal and professional support. Rarely would we proceed headlong into the abyss manically cackling that, if we just stick to the plan, all will be well. Throw in a moment of existential reflection and this mix has all the ingredients for a tragic end...
Mr Cameron wants to show to his increasingly anti-European Conservative Party and to the Murdoch press as well as the other Europhobe media in London that he can be tough in Europe. Once again he wants to boast that a British prime minister can impose a veto against a candidate for the post of Commission president. London is back dictating to Europe what is permitted and what is forbidden.
Education secretary Michael Gove recently declared that all 20,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK, stating that this government 'will put the promotion of British values at the heart of what every school has to deliver for children'. But this raises several questions, most importantly: what actually are "British" values?
I'm tired of getting up in the morning and hearing of the latest Muslim plot to take over the school/the city/the world (delete as appropriate); tired of being told that praying five times a day at a mosque is extremist; tired of being treated like being a Muslim is like having some kind of disease (and if you go to Pizza Express you might catch it too, sorry about that). Having a long beard or wearing a niqab may well be religiously conservative but it is not extremist. And there is no evidence that religious conservatism within Islam leads to violence and extremism.
The tweet highlighting this real human suffering, which prompted Conor Burns MP to complain to the charity commission, was not part of an advertising campaign or series of billboard posters as has been reported in some quarters... As a resolutely non-partisan organisation, we emphatically reject the charge that it favoured one political party over another. Rather it relayed what we know about the factors behind people needing food aid.
You had better choose your boss carefully. Your reputation and your future job prospects are inextricably linked to that boss' integrity, quality and loyalty. In Cunningham's case, it is not yet clear whether she acted with her boss' consent or prior knowledge. More likely, Cunningham acted out of her own, misguided loyalty to her leader.