Few events in the political calendar underline quite so graphically the power of the government and the impotence of the opposition as much as the Queen's speech. Backed by all the pomp and finery the British state can muster, the Gracious Address, to give it its proper title, affords the government the opportunity to draw a line under past difficulties, and turn a somewhat dry recitation of its legislative programme into a demonstration of its political priorities. The shadow cabinet should seize on this year's Queen's speech to provide its own 'shadow Queen's speech' as a way of demonstrating how Britain could be different under Labour.
So those of you who know and care, which excluding my mum is no telephone directory, will be aware that last week was to 'close' what Gillette are to shaving - a whisker away!
Education is not about learning by rote, or sitting in rows, but about interaction and generating excitement in young people.
Going back is always the most dangerous thing you can do because terrorists frequently plant secondary devices, and the crowd so often turn on any westerners who are there. Photojournalists always reside in this complex middle ground between respect and getting the story. Without them we would not know the truth of conflict, and yet there can be a prurient side to our endeavors - what to do, the world should see the truth. We weigh these things up, and make our decisions, and this time it was a mistake, it could have been a terminal one.
In Afghanistan you get power cuts every day, lots of them. There are times I admit that I do get a little frustrated with the internet going on the blink, particularly when you are in the middle of email sex with someone who is four time zones removed.
We are often told that we should learn from history, but this pedagogy usually deals in only the moral lessons associated with human and civic progress. However, much like an innocent child imitating his swearing older brother, I thought it would be much more fun to compile a short list of totally useless and inappropriate lessons from history that would undo all of our good work as a society. So, here for your ironic consumption are some terrible, horrible, idiotic ideas for improving our nation...
If the public knew how self-serving some elements of the NHS were they would have a great deal more sympathy for the government's efforts to reform the service.
Flooding is the biggest environmental threat facing the UK, according to Defra chief Scientist Sir Bob Watson. The risks of flooding are projected in increase significantly across the UK.
Violence against women is an iceberg under the surface of society. Every day millions around the world live in fear.
We have a window of opportunity to capitalise on India's achievement and make a real push to protect every child against polio. I want to know that, wherever I travel on this planet of ours, I will never again find a child whose life has been damaged forever by polio.
In Afghanistan, officially of course, you can't get pork, as officially you can't get a drink, *hiccup* but of course it is available. But here is the rub, you find yourself eating bacon that could have been stripped from a rat, a small, infected rabid rat at that. It bears no resemblance to any bacon I have ever eaten.
Today marks an historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in over 60 years. My government has taken bold action to make work pay, while protecting the vulnerable. Past governments have talked about reform, while watching the benefits bill sky rocket and generations languish on the dole and dependency. This government is delivering it. Our new law will mark the end of the culture that said a life on benefits was an acceptable alternative to work.
At a major event in London's Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on Saturday, attended by 1,000 Anglo-Iranians, senior British jurists and MPs and US military experts called on the United Nations to intervene immediately to save the lives of 3,400 Iranian dissidents at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq.
Next to my tent in Camp Bastion is the Vigil Ceremony Parade Ground, where those killed in action are remembered. Inscribed on the monument are the names of all the soldiers that have given their lives in Helmand. Carved into stone are these words: "When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today."
A letter signed by 110 cross-party MPs and Peers was on Thursday delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Lancaster House urging him to ensure United Nations protection for 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.
Why is the coalition government increasingly embracing the policy of the US Republicans of appropriating religion for political purposes? It's not even as though it works very well for the GOP. In fact, Rick Santorum's present display of religious zealotry must surely be ensuring another term for Obama.