David Cameron said when he came to power he wanted to improve people's happiness - that government policy was to be more focused on those things that make life worthwhile. To this end, the Cabinet Office has recently revealed which jobs in the UK give us the most satisfaction. Top of the list, of 274 job titles, is vicar; bottom of the list, is pub landlord. It is perhaps a surprise that these two jobs should be at opposite ends of the table given that they share many similarities: they both have dwindling regulars, both dish out wine and nibbles and if you spend a long time in either's establishment, you can think imaginary people are talking to you.
What's driving these changes is the Conservative's social philosophy infused with ideals of individual responsibility and ending the 'evils of dependency'. It's social malevolence, not economic pragmatism. The same can be said of the environment. Environmental campaigners are calling for government action but taking action is anathema to Conservative ideology.
Annuity. It's one of those dull financial terms designed to confuse and frighten people into giving their money to bankers to make the scariness go away. However, with George Osborne's budget speech focusing on reforming the pension system, annuities have been driven to the forefront of the news agenda and could alter the way we view finances leading up to retirement...
The fact that the most ambitious welfare reforms since 1945 are struggling to achieve their policy objectives should concern anyone who cares about building a better society. We need a more nuanced and supportive approach to reforming welfare - one which takes into account the variety of individuals circumstances and capabilities
Soft power can influence others to want the same things as the UK "by building positive international relationships and coalitions which defend our interests and security, uphold our national reputation and promote our trade and prosperity." The report also says it should be carefully combined with hard power, essentially military force, to form "smart power."
This devotion to support for the rich rather than the poor, and the decision to prioritise their interests at the expense of those lower down, is unlikely to bring the jobs he desires the in-work prosperity so needed by the majority.
For me this budget got it wrong on the start up front by ignoring the value start-ups bring to our economy and doing nothing for them. We may not realise the impact of this up to the election, which is perhaps what the chancellor is counting on, but it's clearly not in our country's long term interest. A budget for 'doers'? I don't think so!
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.
An exciting story, and a poignant one in equal measure: a clear blue day, a reliable Boeing 777, and an experienced crew. Then, nothing. You've thought about the paradoxical nature of the story for weeks...
George Osborne's Budget announcement last week - a Budget for the 'Makers, Savers and Doers' of Britain - has sparked positive reactions across British industry, gaining admiration even from the sceptics.
I realised, looking at those appalling bingo balls, that this was a budget solely designed for the people who still populate Tory membership associations, manning their fundraising tombolas and passing around the tea and biscuits at meetings...
We pride ourselves on being WELL in touch with the hard-working common man and the kind of things they like. That's what our Beer'N'Bingo bullsh**, er, I mean bonus, was all about. But wait - that was a proper BIG-HITTER of an idea, a 'Gove' as we call them...so we've come up with some MORE 'triffic' proposals that hard-working, tax-paying poor-people are going to LOVE!!
The headlines following this week's Budget understandably focused on pensions and savings, with significant proposals announced that will fundamentally change the way people save in the UK. It was hailed by many as the biggest pensions shake-up for a generation, and so it is not surprising that this was the focus of debate in the immediate aftermath.
When David Cameron rose to power in 2010, he vowed to pilot the UK's "greenest government ever"... At least that was the dream. But fast forward to 2014, and what little environmental progress our government has made is being systematically disavowed in favour of industrial expansion.
George Osborne spoke for 55 minutes on Wednesday afternoon but, amid the bluster and the boasts, failed to mention the cost of living crisis even once. Instead, this out-of-touch Chancellor used the Budget to claim that everything is going smoothly, when we all know he has missed his targets on growth, living standards and on balancing the books by 2015.
The chancellor said income inequality is falling.. and, astonishingly, he's right. But he can't take credit for it - oh, and it's about to start rising again. So why did Ed Miliband let him get away with it?