Britain faces huge challenges to compete in a world being transformed by the pace of technological change and the rapid rise of emerging economies, which whilst intensifying competition are also creating huge new markets and new opportunities. The government is failing to meet these challenges and to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and ease the burden on households. After four years of Conservative-led government, wages after inflation are on average £1,600 a year lower than in 2010.
A "very kind, generous and public-spirited gesture". That's how George Osborne acknowledged one pensioner's decision to pay back their Winter Fuel Payment. The benefit, worth between £100 and £300, is paid to around 12 million pensioners each year to help them meet the cost of heating their homes over the winter months.
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.
Should Boris win a safe seat, should the Tories win the next election and should Boris be gifted a Cabinet position - the first is the least dangerous of these three assumptions - will Boris commit, even for reasons of his own, to his Cabinet chums and will they commit to him? Boris has work to do. His recent cajoling of Cameron to take a harder-line stance on future negotiations with the EU can legitimately be viewed as the voice of a critical friend. Cameron can take it. However, covert criticism of Osborne, one of the more obvious contenders to succeed Cameron, will endear him neither to the Chancellor nor to others in Cameron's circle of less secure consiglieri.
Hurrah: the British economy is now bigger than it was before the crisis! We're doing much better than our critics predicted and better even than our competitors. It's yet more proof that our austerity policies were right all along. Vote Conservative next year.
Friday's preliminary GDP estimate for the second quarter of 2014 shows an economy growing at 0.8% a quarter, and recovering it's pre-recession level of output. It would be wrong to take this as a sign of 'business-as-usual' however, when fundamental problems with the UK economy remain.
David Cameron, or rather whoever it is who Tweets for him (from an iPhone, interestingly), should have set aside 20 minutes after he finished firing out the infochunks™ and replied to some users. Retweeted some comments. That's where the real value of social media lies and he missed a big opportunity. The problem is widespread - a study into the types of tweets that MPs were writing found that only 28.7% were part of conversations - using the @ function. That is far too low. Social networks demand many-to-many-interaction. Social media is about talking and listening. It's about relationships.
In general, unionised workers are better off than non-unionised. Even in Britain, home to the toughest anti-union legislation in Western Europe, unions make a difference; strong unions make a bigger one.
Pensions are a major conversation point at the moment, since George Osborne announced dramatic changes in this year's budget. But what exactly is so different from what went before? And why all the fuss?
Do you want my alternative, semi-serious take on Ed Miliband's problems, including his 'dead hand', David Cameron's Not So Cool Britannia party and George Osborne's fear of arithmetic? Here's the political week in 60 seconds.
One of the Mansion House speeches from George Osborne and Mark Carney on Thursday was set to grab the headlines. George Osborne's speech about increased regulation of currency markets has been a long time coming, with plans to extend legislation over LIBOR fixings to cover other benchmarks...
David Cameron has got me singing an old TV theme tune all morning. It's from the wonderful Roy Castle's Record Breakers: 'If you wanna be the best, if you wanna beat the rest, dedication's what you need...'
With the publication of HM Treasury's paper 'Scotland Analysis: Fiscal policy and sustainability' the people of Scotland have a clearer insight into the personal costs of Scottish independence... But there can be little doubt that the figure of £1,400 for 20 years given in the Treasury paper greatly underestimates the costs that are facing the people of Scotland if they vote for independence.
Will these European election results give the prime minister nightmares? They should, given how he has has repeatedly tried - and failed - to tackle the Ukip menace. The truth is that a vote for Farage will indeed be a vote for Miliband - and against Cameron.
I love being a woman more than most things in the world. But like all great loves, I have a little gripe with mine. Mr Darcy was arrogant, Heathcliff was... difficult, Mr Rochester had the small matter of a psychotic wife, and my love? Well, womanhood bleeds.
A few years back, I was on tour in Germany. By sheer chance, someone I'd gone to college with was sitting in the audience in Munich. It was a big thrill to see so familiar a face so far from home and as it turned out, Colin had moved with his girlfriend to Dachau. This gave me the incentive I needed to do, something I'd been putting off: which was to visit a concentration camp.