There have been few electoral bright spots for the centre-left internationally since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Social democratic parties in Britain, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Portugal have all gone down to defeat...
The appointment of the Children's Minister as the government lead for child sexual exploitation gives greater prominence to the issue, highlighting it as a national responsibility in England.
What's driving these changes is the Conservative's social philosophy infused with ideals of individual responsibility and ending the 'evils of dependency'. It's social malevolence, not economic pragmatism. The same can be said of the environment. Environmental campaigners are calling for government action but taking action is anathema to Conservative ideology.
The Tories' and Lib Dems' hands off approach means the civil service looks like the last closed shop, based on an institutional elitism which excludes many exceptional individuals with ordinary backgrounds. For those who already feel that the levers of power are distant and remote from their lives the civil service is a closed circle - out of reach and out of touch.
We believe that things have got to change if we are to restore the public's faith. And that's why Ed Miliband and I have set up the Victims' Taskforce with the precise remit to come forward with a Victims' Law and other recommendations of what needs to change in our justice system. And the Taskforce is already hard at work.
The British press seem to have agreed that Ed Milband hasn't been doing very well lately. His budget response was rather badly received. His extension of the energy freeze to small business was barely reported...
Time after time, the once and never "Red Ed" goes out of his way to prove just how right-wing he is. He's signed up to Conservative spending plans, he's backed the welfare cap, he's supported workfare and he's backed the mantra of austerity. It's little wonder the unions are getting anxious about Labour's rightward drift.
I switched on the radio on last Wednesday evening to hear men shouting over the top of each other. A new "Mens' Hour"? A replay of Tuesday's football? No, it was the monotone sound of our supposed democracy in action...
Thanks to Labour peers, one good thing to come out of the Health and Social Care Act was the commitment to parity of esteem between physical and mental health. Despite paying lip-service to the idea, ministers have done nothing to make it a reality. One year on from the reorganisation we are further away from parity than before.
Ed Miliband is right, "Britain can do better than this". Britain can do better than political populism and price fixing which should have been left in the 1970s.
The reforms France needs however are massive and require a revolutionary casting aside of vested interests and old thinking, Valls does not lack ambition but whether he will have the support in French parliament and in the Socialist Party remains the big unanswered question. If he doesn't, c'est la fin.
Last weekend, the Labour Party gathered in the seaside resort of Llandudno for our annual Welsh conference. It is something of a cliché to describe the most recent such gathering as the most important in recent memory - but this conference really did matter.
What I think is new now is a broader recognition that it's a question of UK competitiveness - excluding half our population from the technical skills pool and limiting our innovation to the imaginations of one narrow demographic. As well as being overwhelmingly male STEM professionals are much more likely to be white and middle class than the population as a whole.
Charging people £10 a month would breach the fundamental principle of equity on which the NHS is based. £10 per month may not be much for some people but it is a lot for people on low incomes, on top of all the other rising living charges they face.
It's time to turn Wordsworth on his head - in 2014 Britain it is not "very heaven" to be young; rather, it is the precise opposite. If you were careless enough to have been born in the 80s, 90s or 00s, well, tough. The likelihood is that you're going to end up worse off than your parents.
Do you want my alternative, semi-serious take on the Nick vs Nigel clash over Europe, Ed Miliband's 'weirdness' and Kermit the Frog's opposition to Scottish independence? Here's the political week in 60 seconds.