On first impressions, Blaenau Ffestiniog looks like a typical Welsh town. The shadows of mountains can be seen in every direction and lakes are spread across the landscape. Square patches of grass and neat flower arrangements adorn the front gardens of grey houses. On the high street, local Welsh folk can be found standing outside pubs, smoking fags and, assumedly, talking about rugby.
Watching students and officers at unions around the UK become a living wage employer has inspired me, and the other officers at Sussex, to make this history. As a union we need to provide services, and don't make a profit. It's not as if labour is used to line the pockets of tax evading billionaires. But that's not the point.
So why do politicians appear to bottle the difficult decisions? The easy answer is that they do not want to take a chance with paying the electoral consequences of such decisions. The balance between 'winners' and 'losers' would be such that any government taking the action would be punished at the next election, it is said.
My religion teaches tolerance, charitable giving, enterprise, hard work. These are all part and parcel of the way I live my life, and percolate deep into my politics. That's why I became active in my local community - first as a local councillor, then later when I was privileged to becoming the MP for where I grew up.
Unless there is a shift in the way that the Labour Party is represented - buttressed by fair and earnest measures that once again seek to alleviate poverty, tackle inequality and support working people - I, for the first time in three generations of my paternal lineage, will stray from the party that has always meant so much to my family.
I believe that people like me have a duty to preserve the opportunities we had for future generations. So I'll be supporting the students' 19th November demonstration, and hope that people from our community come out to voice their desire for a fairer education and a better future.
Perhaps supporting international aid despite our problems at home says more about our values than anything else. I am proud British people chose to support international development in countries they may never have visited, for people they may have never met. I believe access to social justice should be determined not by nationality, but by need.
Howlers are not just mistakes but deliberate omissions. The book is a jolly read and the voice of Boris is on every page submerging the words of Churchill. For Boris fans it is a must-read. But next time, might he employ a research assistant to check facts and ask why the great author why key events are left out?
Files discovered recently by campaigners, and brought to my attention, reveal that, in 1967, a Paediatrician at Queen Mary's Hospital in London, Dr. Isabel Gal, found a link between Hormone Pregnancy Tests such as Primodos, and spinal congenital malformation in newborn babies.
If we are going to go ahead with spending tens of billions on High Speed Two then at the very least we need to be sure that we are getting the best value for money and ensuring that the maximum benefit is felt, both for the economy and for the people in cities such as Stoke-on-Trent. The proposals as they stand fail to meet any of these criteria and this should be to the utter shame of all those involved.
Labour would be best rethinking this potential pledge before it is announced. A cut in tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 will not help Labour successfully captured the student vote. It will instead send a message to students that they agree with the tuition fees policy implemented by the coalition.
For many it never really went away but the political agenda is currently being dominated by the issues, politicians and parties of the right.
Today Labour will take another step towards establishing ourselves as the party of small business with a move to support businesses who play by the rules and pay their bills on time.
The elephant in the room is that none of the funding pledges are nearly enough to meet current demand, and the NHS is heading for a financial crisis and soon. On this the politicians were silent, as well as on how the productivity of NHS staff could be increased to offset budget shortfalls...
As for Freud, at best, carelessness, and a poor understanding of his department and the people that it serves may prove less a slip and more a great fall; Labour are set to table a Commons motion of no confidence in him to be voted on later this month.
Bring on the debates. Nigel Farage should be in two or three debates, not one - and if that happens, why shouldn't the Greens have a go at one debate? If they have the support to justify it, then however bizarre their beliefs democracy dictates that they should be given the opportunity.