Today, on Nigerian Children's Day, the girls will still be held in captivity - and their horror continues unabated. We still do not know whether they are being trafficked into slavery or have been abused as has happened to past hostages. And while the Nigerian government has sent more troops to Borno state to back up the 15,000 already on the search, and as satellite and aircraft surveillance has been stepped up, it will take a delicate operation to secure every child's safe homecoming. As we prepare to celebrate Children's Day in Nigeria, America and in many countries around the world, our thoughts are firmly focused on practical measures that can ensure the safe release of the girls and the end of the nightmare for their families.
The Lib Dems continue to tank, Labour are not making the gains they need, and the Conservatives have failed to come first or second in a national election for the first time since the party was founded in 1834. Yet there is only one story that is making the headlines in the aftermath of the 2014 local and European elections...
The BBC asked me this morning if the arrival of Ukip (and even darker parties such as the Front Nationale) in Brussels would be disruptive. I agreed that it will be. But disruption, creative chaos, real change, is just what our stale, failed political system needs, just as the angry voters, lashing out or expressing frustration by either voting Ukip or staying at home (as 63% did), need to be offered hope. Our political future doesn't look like the past. Happily.
I'm totally gutted by Ukip's success. No matter about all the other disagreements that Labour, Tory, SNP and Lib Dems have, this is a warning to us all... In an election with often contradictory outcomes one thing is now depressingly clear. The rise of Ukip is now also a Scottish phenomena.
If Ed doesn't get himself some new Public Relations drones, it might be one of the few options open to him come the next election. I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that's something that no-one wants to see.
We can all have a bad day at the office, but when the Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, had a really bad day in the TV and radio studios by not knowing much about food shopping bills or anything at all about the Labour Party Leader in Swindon - he didn't just sound unconvincing - he broke a number of important rules of politics and of media interviews.
At first glance, from the local election results already out, both Labour and the Conservatives will be mildly - but not unduly - pleased. It looks like Labour are going to make some solid council gains (Merton, Hammersmith and Fulham), as well as end up safely as the party with the largest share of the vote. Not spectacular, but a plausible base-camp from which to attack next year's General Election.
It's only an opinion poll, a lot's going to depend on the results in individual regions, it's still all to play for - all of those old electoral sayings hold true, but nonetheless Green Party workers are going into the final sprint of the European election campaign with a spring in their step, following a YouGov poll for the Sunthat put our vote on 12%, enough to win six MEP seats in England, plus one in Scotland.
I believe that London is the best city in the world, and I want it to maintain that position. But to achieve that, what London and Londoners need and deserve is radical thinking, effective politics and a Mayor who is dedicated to this city, rather than to his or her political career.
The three largest parties haven't taken on Ukip, but all too often pandered to it, seeking to pull back Ukip voters by outdoing it in rhetoric and policy. This is not only morally wrong, but politically stupid. By pandering to Ukip's stance on immigration and Europe, the three largest parties have helped to make its claims that immigration has "caused" low wages, has "caused" housing shortages, has "caused" crowded hospitals and schools seem plausible... It's not surprising that Ukip's nasty, simplistic recipe of 'blame the foreigner' has got traction.
Two things really matter now. Restoring the nation's largest co-operative to health, securing the jobs of thousands of employees; and seizing the opportunity that comes from an increased public profile to make the case for co-operative forms of business and service delivery, which have never been more needed.
If there is one thing worse than Euroscepticism or Europhilia it is Euroignorance. Pretending the European Parliament doesn't matter is a foolish and very British error.
The first issue with chasing after the Lib Dem vote is that it's probably largely futile at this point. The vast majority of 2010 Lib Dem voters who aren't going to be voting for them in 2015 will have made their minds up on what they're going to do next time by now. That's because they decamped from the party, en masse...
Recently, the Government unveiled plans to shave a further £220million off criminal legal aid, generating considerable opposition from across the profession and in charities and campaign groups. Ministers have fought a clever guerrilla campaign. They've salami sliced bit by bit to mitigate the short-term impact of their plans. They successfully divided and ruled the legal profession. They've smeared legal aid lawyers as fat cats and made out legal aid is only used by unworthy criminals. Needless to say, the truth is rather different.
To enable us to compete in the world and to get back to full employment, we need an exchange rate which is about one third lower than it is now. A more competitive pound would bring back more, better quality jobs to the UK, contributing to a thriving economy.
Because social housing - having been handed to unaccountable private landlords - is in such short supply, it is now available only to those in the most dire, desperate need. Every other tenant is in the hands of unregulated rental agents who are seemingly infinitely creative in their ability to dream up new charges.