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.
Over the last twelve months, short-sighted plans like the government's coveted Help to Buy scheme have caused excessive price inflation - and if the Chancellor doesn't do something to restrain demand, that bubble is soon going to blow up in his face.
These two technologies are quietly changing lives and providing incredible innovations that have affected everyone who has ever searched the web, bought something from an online store, or been tempted to click on a website offering something that 'other readers/buyers also enjoyed'...
Dear voters, you are right. We have failed you. Your elected representatives have failed to protect you and your families from a catastrophic financial and economic melt-down... and we have failed to demonstrate the sort of moral probity that you are entitled to expect when you entrust us with your vote.
A Mori poll published in April asked 985 self-employed people whether or not they would rather be an employee. A majority of 79% responded that they would rather be self-employed, with only 16% preferring the employee option. The survey also found that the longer workers had been self-employed, the less likely they were to desire a different employment status.
I realise that that seems like an especially surprising statement given that the deficit has come down by a third, our balance of trade is improving, there are more people in work than ever before, unemployment and youth unemployment is coming down, and growth rates have surpassed expectations and are predicted - by the IMF amongst others - to continue to do so.
Thus far the 'No' campaign has been rather more Jeremy Kyle than Made in Chelsea. It has been so shamelessly threatening that at times I have wondered if it is part of a covert plot to drive Scotland away. As we have got closer to the September vote, the arguments against independence have got more desperate and apocalyptic.
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...