Houses boarded up, a mixture of soggy bits of paper, puke and cigarette butts carpeting the streets, people in all kinds of bad states passed out in shop fronts if they were lucky... That's the sight I was met with when I arrived at the Notting Hill Carnival in the early afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday.
All too often election year politics ends up as a tit for tat race to polling day. Committing to a Treatment Tax may not attract many new voters but it would be right thing to do for the hundreds of thousands of people, and their families, cut adrift by the current failures.
In the first wave of 'problem families', 32% had a disability or long term illness and 82% had a problem related to education, while 15% had children with a problem of substance abuse. This suffering can not be combatted by slashing budgets, but investing time, care and resources into tackling the root causes of these problems, as well as their aftermath.
Is public hatred of pedophiles driving innocent, afflicted men away from the help they need? ... Our visceral public hatred of pedophiles could actually be making it harder for us to tackle the threat they pose to children.
Last week the House of Lords considered the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill as it makes its way through parliament. There are a number of controversial aspects of this Bill - mandatory prison sentences for knife crimes have caught the public's attention. Plans to change the rules on judicial review have got Peers, lawyers and children's charities very worried.
This week, the evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins tweeted this to nearly one million followers: "Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think." Before that, he had tweeted: "X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of X, go away and don't come back until you've learned how to think logically."Interesting for me, because - there's no subtle way to say this - I know exactly what it's like to be raped with knives involved.
I am particularly worried about the justice gap and the lack of action when it comes to violence against women. Not only have prosecutions and convictions fallen at a time when reported crimes are going up, there is a growing use of community resolutions which are just inappropriate for serious crimes. Much as the Home Office like to tell us this is OK, it isn't.
The Police Service of England and Wales is suffering the biggest cuts of any in Europe. Police Forces are being asked to do more with less. Almost 16,000 police officers have already gone and the police workforce will have reduced by 34,000 by the time of the General Election. With the thin blue line stretched ever thinner, the public is seeing ever fewer Bobbies on the beat.
There are very few crimes which provoke such powerful emotions as child sexual abuse. The predatory paedophiles who commit these vile and abhorrent offences destroy the lives of their vulnerable victims for their own depraved gratification. It is a stain on civilised society, and one this government is absolutely determined to remove.
If you don't know what you're doing, then tackling a litter-lout is a most depressing business. At the very least, you're going to be abused. You'll p...
Some might think this doesn't matter. Some may point out that thousands of pieces of law are made is this way every year. However, very few, if any, pieces of secondary legislation will have such far reaching consequences as the residence test for civil legal aid.
What should concern us all though, is a new class of injustice creeping into the system and one which not only can the Courts not deal with, but is one which is created by the Courts themselves. The problem is one of listing.
The way laptops have evolved into basically a mini-cinema is amazing. However, the difference is quite big. At the cinema you have that sick feeling in your stomach, where you've just sneaked some food in, or got in to an R-rated when you're three years too young. Whereas with a laptop, you're shamefully eating away at the snacks you found down the side of your bed, whilst needing the toilet. It maybe so close, but it's also so far.
This trial was the eye of a perfect storm in that was a very high-profile case and a much more far-reaching prosecution in terms of punishment and implication than we saw in 2006... Whether or not the law around phone hacking is changed or new offences created will probably depend on the public reaction to Coulson's sentence.
There are multiple imbalances of focus here. Funding of health versus enforcement. Policing individuals versus traffickers. The policy space taken up by cannabis versus important health harms associated with other substances.
As we move forward, we call for Police and Crime Commissioners and police forces across the country to place anti-Muslim hate at the heart of their hate crime strategies. No longer can tackling anti-Muslim hate be an appendage or an after-thought on hate crime strategies and it must be placed front and centre with other protected strands so that citizens of our country, who happen to be Muslim, can live their lives free from bigotry