George Osborne's speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester dealt with themes we have come to expect from him: an emphasis on fiscal discipline and assurances that he is on the side of aspirational, "hard-working" people the length of the country. There were, however, also features we haven't heard before...
Countries' economies are driven by an obsession, continuous growth in the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The absurdity of this becomes clear with a little bit of thought. Never-ending growth that relies on extracting resources from a finite planet is, of course, a mathematical impossibility, but well before we reach that point, this obsession will render our planet uninhabitable.
The eyes of the world are focused on the UN in New York this week in an amazing turnabout in international politics. We could have been in the midst of a Middle East war with the US and France having attacked Syria, triggering resumed fighting across the border of southern Lebanon and Israel. Instead, the UN is back on centre stage, the Security Council is functioning again, and its five permanent powers are in a constructive dialogue over chemical weapons in Syria for the first time in two and a half years.
I believe we have reached a watershed moment on disability - one which we cannot afford to get wrong. Development progress is only as good as the weakest member and progress made across the world is diluted if the most vulnerable are left behind. If developing countries are to move forward into prosperity and greater self-reliance, they must take everyone on the journey.
The Labour leader must make the running and create the sense that his party stands ready to deliver big changes. That's why his decision to roll out lots of policy this week is so important. He needs a substantial list of promises that will excite his party foot-soldiers and reconnect with people looking to give Labour a chance.
The scale of the energy problem is such that it becomes irrelevant whether wind turbines are ugly, or even whether fossil fuels really are causing irrevocable damage to the environment; if we carry on as we are we'll burn out in decades.
Is it inconceivable that we could see either David Cameron or Ed Miliband forced to form a government with his arch rival in two years' time? As political earthquakes go, this would certainly dwarf the result of May 2010.
Nick Clegg's speech to the Liberal Democrats at their party conference in Glasgow was focused, very definitively, on the centre. The Lib Dems, he said, are 'in the centre of Government and the centre of British politics, standing up for the millions of people in the middle.' He spoke of the centre seven times...
After a summer consisting of writing large tracts of my upcoming book, wearing a Del Monte man hat and harpoon fishing with Jeremy Paxman and his awesome beard, I've now returned to my usual beat. And just in time, because I wouldn't miss the Liberal Democrat Party Conference for the world.
The importance of living standards as an issue in the independence referendum was underlined this week by a poll for the Scotsman. While we shouldn't draw too much from one survey, nearly half of respondents said they would vote for independence if it would make them £500 better off.
Nick Clegg's not a terrible person. Even though his people made personalised anonymous briefings against me, and though he broke a commitment he made at the time of his leadership election, I forgive him. What's harder to forgive is his bloody-minded determination to stay in charge even though just about every performance indicator available shows that under his leadership the party has gone backwards. Remember when he said his goal was to double the number of Lib Dem MPs? I do. Instead, he's already presided over the second biggest numerical decline in Lib Dem MPs since 1945.
On Tuesday, the Liberal Democrat Conference will debate and vote on the future of Britain's nuclear weapons system. Putting this controversial issue out for open debate is much to the party's credit and its record on challenging the status quo on Trident is streets ahead of the two main Westminster parties, which remain mired in Cold war thinking.
From this week onwards, a weird annual British tradition begins which involves the UK political establishment dragging itself to grey conference buildings across the country to face near-empty halls, drab bed and breakfasts and wall-to-wall gatherings of party activists - it's a politician's worst nightmare and it all takes place under the glare of the public eye with lobby correspondents hiding in every corner.
While the leader will almost certainly survive into the next parliament it seems likely that his party will suffer significant losses unless the conference in Glasgow can begin develop a distinctive and consistent platform of policies on which to fight the next election.
This morning a huge number of Liberal Democrats called for the Government to implement existing Party housing policy. At the behest of the party leadership, this existing policy was voted down. Not only does this cause the Liberal Democrats a short-term policy difficulty in working out what its housing policy is - a pity as it was a good one - but it hands our political opponents a completely unnecessary political vacuum where Liberals are and the only British party representing Liberals should be.
The Liberal Democrats will do a lot of talking at their conference in Glasgow this week, so it's worth remembering the single most important truth about them: Nick Clegg has repeatedly said one thing and then done another.