This government is presiding over the unravelling of the fabric of nature. On our small part of the planet our approach to pollinators is a local example of what is a growing, global 'biodiversity crisis'. Sir David Attenborough has talked about this crisis leading not only to great physical impoverishment but to great spiritual impoverishment as well. It is hard to imagine a world without bees. It would be even harder to live in it.
We hear a lot about the perceived negatives of immigration, which it turns out can be pretty much anything if you hate facts and can be inventive enough with your arguments; but we never hear about the absolute, basic, inarguable economic fact that immigration is essential to our wellbeing as a nation.
One of my earliest memories is as a 5 year old singing 'Hark the Harold Angels sing' during Christmas 1964. I sang 'Harold' partly because I'd never heard of a herald, but also because I thought it referred to Harold Wilson. With dad being a local councillor, and mum also politically active, names of political figures were regularly mentioned at home. ..
I do not believe that we are seeing the 'End of Politics'. I do, however, believe that we have reached the culmination of a steady, 40-year shift away from class-based voting. The two will feel, to many, like they are very much the same thing. Indeed, if the main parties do not face up to the change that has taken place, they could become so.
We are witnessing a crisis of wellbeing at work. Official statistics paint a picture of a nation that is stressed, anxious, overworked and insecure. UK employees work some of the longest hours in Europe, and over half of them are worried about losing their jobs. Far from being the price we pay for a competitive economy, this is economically disastrous: sickness absence alone costs the economy an estimated £100billion a year, and longer hours are associated with worse productivity. Our relentless search for growth is not only destroying the quality of our lives: it's failing even on its own terms.
Somewhere in the world, at this very moment, someone is being forced into a marriage, someone is being subjected to FGM, someone is being raped and abused, someone is being trafficked, someone is being denied an education, or the freedom to do and say what they want. That someone is likely to be a girl, and it is happening because she is a girl... Gender inequalities in terms of power are deeply entrenched and it will take sustained effort to shift public attitudes.
It is significant that the Labour leadership backs the motion in Parliament on Monday. Hopefully many Conservative politicians will join them so that the motion is passed with the handsome majority that such a mild measure requires. If the British Parliament votes in favour it would be highly important symbolically, a strong expression of Parliamentary support for recognition...
After the Clacton and Heywood and Middleton by-elections, Labour has to find ways of reaching out to and reconnecting with the so-called 'left behind' Ukip voters - but without throwing migrants or minorities under the bus.
A UKIP win in Clacton may shake up the British political scene, but it will improve nothing for unemployed people.
With seven months until the general election, the issue of cycling seems to be one of the most obvious 'off the peg' crowd pleasers, as well an astute spend of finite finances
The 1980s was a watershed decade. From the perspective of human rights, it was the decade when the United Kingdom (UK) began the process towards the successful shift from a system of government premised principally on civil liberties to one that recognised that the human rights of all within the jurisdiction also needed to be promoted and protected.
As the former attorney general, Dominic Grieve, has said, this would be an utterly puerile way for the United Kingdom to conduct itself on the international stage... David Cameron and his fellow Tories often like to pay homage to Winston Churchill and the war-time generation, yet in their deeds they seem determined to take an axe to the treaties, the courts and institutions that were their legacy. Any party that believes that trading in not just our fundamental rights but our place in the post-1945 international order just to hoover up a few votes off Ukip in the Clacton by-election is not fit for office.
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.
Conference season comes hard on the breathtakingly long holiday that our diligent representatives enjoy in the summer. It is so long, it straddles both Spring and Autumn and would probably subsume Winter, if they did not also get a stonking great break over Christmas.
I think being a locally focused MP is almost like cabinet career suicide. Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone in the cabinet now or in the shadow cabinet whom are there purely to represent their local constituents.
Ed Miliband's policy is ill-conceived, based on the widely held assumption that employers recruit migrants rather than invest in their UK born workers. As with much recent immigration policy, it is based on opinion rather than evidence. More importantly, it fails to recognise a real issue in the under-utilisation of migrants' skills.