Michael Gove, Education Secretary, is determined to raise academic standards and few would argue against that. However, schools are under pressure to become autonomous, to set their own curriculums and budgets and to move away from local authority control and there is an argument that this policy together with a greater focus on narrow performance measures and less money is undermining the arts in education.
The idea that a British Government Minister should think it necessary to make a speech about the importance of culture must astonish Germans. For them, culture is as natural as breathing. The British have also made an exceptional contribution to culture and continue to do so but our reputation for philistinism in high places continues.
Twenty seconds. That's all it takes to spin a digital roulette wheel. Twenty seconds and you're on the road to financial ruin, relationship breakdown and despair. These pernicious machines are destroying the lives of the poorest in society. Gamblers can bet £100 per stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) whereas fruit machines have a limit of only £2. When you're on the minimum wage, £100 is a lot to lose. These high stakes make FOBTs a major source of profit for the industry and it's why I want their use curbed. Many addiction charities and MPs agree... Imagine my disbelief then to discover the Government won't act.
In three years' time, the BBC Charter will be up for renewal. It is safe to say that this Charter renewal will be more significant than others for a number of reasons...
Keen followers of the cinema and film industry amongst you may know that the government is considering plans to change the way in which cinemas are licensed. While this might seem a trivial issue, anyone who cares about the cinema-going experience should take note.
Women have so many things exclusively for their own gender: Women's Hour, a Women's Book Prize; the Top 100 Business Women, the Top 100 Powerful Women, Business Woman of the Year, the list goes on and on. I think it is time for the pink corner to recognise part of being British is our ability to poke fun at ourselves. That our differences make us interesting.
It is an ugly spectacle: a Cabinet minister being pushed around in public by a powerful and unscrupulous vested interest. But that seems to be what is happening to Maria Miller, and she is not putting up much of a fight. This week she announced that she would give precedence to the wishes of PressBoF, an organisation of newspaper bosses roundly condemned in the Leveson Report, over the wishes of every single party in our elected Parliament, as expressed in a formal motion on 18 March.
If Maria Miller had her way, the only arts and culture we would ever experience would be the stuff that can establish upfront that it has solid economic foundations and will wash its own face - what a boring world that would be. Have we really got to the point in this country where we only care about things that create wealth?
I have been part of many debates on gender diversity in corporate boardrooms. Although there is a long road ahead, one small step in the right direction is that the issue is now more firmly fixed in the minds of shareholders, employers and employees. And I hope events like last week will be a catalyst for greater interest and awareness of our public boards and equal appointments to them. It's a promising start that number of women taking up public appointments is increasing across Whitehall.
There's not an obvious connection to be made between the death of one of the finest and most charismatic soul singers there ever was, Bobby Bland, and the imminent Cabinet reshuffle that David Cameron is rumoured to be planning. But a weekend conversation with a friend and ex-colleague has, this morning, proved an unlikely source of inspiration.
The Government is clearing an entire hour and a half to listen to representations from Google, Yahoo, MSN, domestic charities, childcare groups, various interested parties as well as Maria Miller, the culture secretary, and then it will make a decision. But a decision on what? Are we being conned here?
Women's minister Maria Miller is producing a guide for parents to bring up their daughters to be 'ambitious for themselves' and strive for a place in board rooms. But how hard should we be pushing girls to buy into the corporate dream?
The role of great British institutions is currently under the microscope following the Culture Secretary's promise recently to 'fight their corner' when it comes to public funding. Maria Miller issued a rallying call to the cultural sector, referencing the significant and profitable impact it has on the UK economy and the success it heralds abroad.
It is no secret that London is regarded by many people as "the world's divorce capital". That label does not necessarily refer to the number of separations handled by that city's courts or even for its making world record-breaking settlements. Rather, it could be argued that London has developed a unique appeal because of its being regarded as "wife-friendly" in terms of the way in which marital assets have been divided in recent years.
The fact is, as you know, tourists don't flock to this great country to watch the footie, or eat in the restaurants. They come to visit the stately homes, for example. How much are all the volunteers who work in these places worth? Culture, one industry that is actually growing , has always punched above its weight. It is one of the key factors in making the UK the Number One nation in the world for the arts.
It almost goes without saying that the arts have an intrinsic value - the 'arts for arts sake' argument has been made countlessly and convincingly. But, clearly we are living in tough times - and we therefore need to make sure that the incredible instrumental potential of culture is both appreciated and maximised.