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...
Voting UKIP and battening down the hatches isn't going to provide the social and economic security we all desire - that way only further mistrust and isolation lies. By voting Green we can restructure the economy and reframe our societal values. That's so much more than a protest vote.
Tory backbenchers have been calling for an early election after a rather (expected) disastrous performance by their coalition partners in the European elections. They have got to be barking mad if they think the Lib Dems will agree to it.
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.