Six out of the world's ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, but their potential will not be realised without long-term improvements to education, health and the opportunity for women to give birth in environments free from violence. The further prize is increased productivity and economic growth.
At the moment, the need to stop the bloodshed is far greater than any desire for perfect multifaceted Muslim nations. But, if there is a hope of fixing Iraq's damaged democracy and creating an Iraq and a Syria where Kurds, Shia and Sunni Muslims can live in peace together, then the UK and the US need to learn its lessons and keep our distance.
The blaming of the number of foreign players for the decline of the England squad, like the blaming of immigrants for the decline of job opportunities or wages is a smokescreen, detracting from the real issue.
I'm tired of getting up in the morning and hearing of the latest Muslim plot to take over the school/the city/the world (delete as appropriate); tired of being told that praying five times a day at a mosque is extremist; tired of being treated like being a Muslim is like having some kind of disease (and if you go to Pizza Express you might catch it too, sorry about that). Having a long beard or wearing a niqab may well be religiously conservative but it is not extremist. And there is no evidence that religious conservatism within Islam leads to violence and extremism.
The TTIP could be a good deal. It has the potential for job creation, higher wages for workers and a better deal for consumers. Trade across the Atlantic between the US and the EU is a fact of life and the US is the UK's biggest export market. If people want to buy and sell across the water, we should make it convenient for them to do so. But here is the key - we should make an agreement that helps ordinary people, not big corporations and big business.
A couple of weeks ago, Frank Field MP wrote an open letter to David Miliband about taking a harder (might I say UKIP) line on immigration. I wasn't impressed and wrote a reply - and Mr.Field subsequently replied to me. Below is my response to him.
The Tory-led Government's complacency on crime is misplaced while crime is still too high and costs us all too much. By focusing on prevention we can cut the number of victims, cut crime, and cut the overall cost to the country as well.
The truth is that after two years of campaigning the SNP haven't managed to move the ball forward in any game changing way at all. Having failed to become the 'momentum campaign' the SNP went in search of elusive big moments. But to those who have been following events closely the SNP's campaign has been a series of false starts and stumbled half answers.
Having lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, it is unsurprising that Republicans are desperate to bask in a few rays from Reagan's reflected glory. In 2011, he ranked third in a poll of the most popular US president of the past 50 years behind Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton. But, as America marks the 10th anniversary of his death, just how comfortable would Reagan himself be in today's Republican party?
I'm not a particularly political person. I am not a Marxist, a Socialist, a Conservative, a Liberal...I find it all a bit bewildering to be honest. And I'm not alone. For though most people have a plethora of views about the huge problems facing the country at the moment...
My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, My government's legislative programme will make a valiant attempt to strengthen the economies of London and the South East in order to benefit the wealthiest in society. Despite the fact that debt will continue to increase and my Chancellor has borrowed more money than he forecast, my ministers will continue with the pretence that their long term economic plan may eventually reduce the deficit... My Government will also continue to cut taxes for the rich whilst failing to tackle the financial insecurity of low wages, the rise of part time, temporary work, unscrupulous employment practices and above all, zero-hours contract abuses.
On Tuesday morning, in a central London pub, Vince Cable and Nick Clegg got together to announce a new statutory regulatory code to manage the relationship between the large branded pub chains that own the majority of pubs in the UK (known as PubCos) and their licencees. This is yet another example of Labour setting the political agenda.
Let's start with one heretical thought: competition is disastrous in our education system and should be abandoned as a guiding principle. Instead what we need is cooperation - an informal co-operative of pupils, teachers, parents, communities working together to help achieve the best possible outcome for each pupil.
Dear Mr. Field, I read your letter in today's Observer with some dismay. If ever it was the time for the Labour Party to stand united, take on UKIP and reclaim its base, it is now.
If for nothing else, congratulations to Nigel Farage for ending the embarrassment of Britain returning a British National Party MEP to represent us in Brussels. The whispering campaign against Ukip in some sections of the media that they are jovial chaps on the surface but fascists underneath has always been a bit lazy...
In the aftermath of local and European elections, Labour party introspection began immediately: in particular, criticism of the party's direction, its attitude to UKIP in both sets of elections, the coherence of its message, its policies and their presentation, and, last and most, criticism of Ed Miliband...