Politicians who want to protect and support that which is best about our country need to help people reconnect with our sense of fairness and our desire to live in a decent community that welcomes all human beings, in all their diversity.
If it is "cost" that truly concerns us, why do we focus so much attention on "benefit fraud" or even welfare, which relatively have an invisible economic impact? Is our concern genuine, or is it more an issue of bitterness?
There is little doubt, as has been made abundantly clear by the head of MI5 Andrew Parker, that the UK will suffer terrorist attacks in the future. The major difference however is that unlike France, terrorists in the UK will be faced by a largely unarmed police force which, in many parts of the country, could pose serious problems.
The political elite might be able to ignore or shut down a few exasperated councillors. But they could not ignore a surge of localism and defiance from councils up and down the country who have had enough of watching this government place us and our residents in straitjackets.
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.
Make no mistake, I am all for ensuring the police service isn't top heavy and is more able to respond to the ever changing needs of those it serves, but I would plead with the next Government to think hard about what policing means to the British public and encourage them to move quickly away from thinking about policing purely in the terms of numbers and figures.
Cutbacks are having a detrimental effect on people's recovery or adjusting to living with mental health conditions, why are they making it even harder to get to facilities and get the help?
Time after time, the once and never "Red Ed" goes out of his way to prove just how right-wing he is. He's signed up to Conservative spending plans, he's backed the welfare cap, he's supported workfare and he's backed the mantra of austerity. It's little wonder the unions are getting anxious about Labour's rightward drift.
The real betrayal of Britain's poorest and most vulnerable people was Labour's support for this toxic policy. With 13 honourable exceptions who all deserve praise for actually doing what they were elected to do, Labour MPs acquiescently lined up behind the welfare cap. If an antelope feeds its calf to a lion, that's pretty shocking.
Perhaps there is a clue about attitudes to domestic violence and the killing of women in the recent Paddy Power advert offering money back on all bets if Oscar Pistorius - the South African athlete - walks free from court. There is no doubt that Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, to death - the trial is about his motive for doing it.
Britain prides itself on its sense of justice, on fair play and sticking up for the underdog. So what's gone wrong? Increasingly, as we look around, we find we're living on Inequality Street. Take, for example, the 2010 austerity programme. In theory the cuts didn't have to target the poorest, but in reality they have. This week The Centre for Welfare Reform published a new report, Counting the Cuts, which measures, not just how large the cuts have been, but also how fair they are, and who is being targeted. The results are shocking.
These storms and their aftermath could and should be a catalyst for a major change in government's plans for revenue and capital expenditure. There is an urgent need for investment in repair and restoration work as well as longer-term flood and coastal protection infrastructure. Inevitably, this requires government-led revenue expenditure and capital investment.
Never has George Osborne's hypocritical catch-line "we are all in this together" sounded more hollow than with the news that 10% of the poorest areas, including my own borough of Hackney, have been hit by cuts that average over 25% of their local authority budget. Meanwhile some of the wealthiest areas have not just avoided the cuts, but have seen their grants rise under this government.
If you are already poor, like for example Liverpool with the highest deprivation score in the country, you will face the highest cuts. Hart District Council in Hampshire has the lowest deprivation score - and the lowest cuts. Let's be clear, I am not talking about a small marginal difference. Liverpool will face cuts of 27.1% in this year alone - Hart only 1.5%.
You might not have heard of 'kettle boxes' before. They sound innocuous enough; maybe, with the right kind of marketing, even a bit fashionable. Whole meals you can prepare with nothing more than a handy electric kettle. This is Britain today. Staff at the Trussell Trust, which coordinates a network of food banks, have come up with the idea of kettle boxes and cold boxes because they're seeing people who cannot afford to heat their food, or simply don't have what's required to do so. Morecambe Bay food bank is giving out a couple of each of these every week to its clients.
Not only does Benefits Street propagate the myth of the work-shy, morally reprehensible benefits scrounger, it also neglects the majority of benefits claimants. Contrary to popular belief, most are not on unemployment benefits. In fact, the largest part of the welfare bill is spent on state pensions, with disability benefits and family benefits also coming in costing substantially more than unemployment.