David Cameron and George Osborne have presided over an unprecedented cost of living crisis. Yet listening to the Prime Minister on Wednesday you might be left with the impression that the economy has been fixed and that life is getting easier for most people. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
When the Home Secretary said "British values will prevail in the end" against extremism, if she's talking about freedom of speech, then she's certainly missed a trick. The fact that surfaces with the revelation of these measures under the banner of "British Values" is in reality a demonization of a single community - a community just like any other.
Working-age benefits will now be frozen for two years, a measure which follows an earlier 1% uprating cap from 2012. This is a way of cutting 'by stealth', i.e. letting inflation do the job that Osborne and his colleagues should be doing.
A cynical reading of the Chancellor' speech, therefore, would note that having announced that £25billion of spending cuts are needed, he only detailed where £3billion would be found. What about the other £22billion? It's a safe bet that we will not hear much about them before the general election.
f governments fail to act in closing tax avoidance schemes and loopholes, there is a strong possibility that future profits resulting from lower taxes will simply end up in the pockets of senior managers in a tax haven, far out of reach of the British government and certainly not going towards helping the 1 million people who now rely on emergency food hand-outs. It is time for Labour to Act.
Please join me in this call to ensure our leaders step up to the mark and fulfil their promise, it's time politicians keep their promise to 0.7% by enshrining it UK law - a moment that we can hopefully look back on someday and celebrate as a nation for years to come.
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.