The three largest parties haven't taken on Ukip, but all too often pandered to it, seeking to pull back Ukip voters by outdoing it in rhetoric and policy. This is not only morally wrong, but politically stupid. By pandering to Ukip's stance on immigration and Europe, the three largest parties have helped to make its claims that immigration has "caused" low wages, has "caused" housing shortages, has "caused" crowded hospitals and schools seem plausible... It's not surprising that Ukip's nasty, simplistic recipe of 'blame the foreigner' has got traction.
Because social housing - having been handed to unaccountable private landlords - is in such short supply, it is now available only to those in the most dire, desperate need. Every other tenant is in the hands of unregulated rental agents who are seemingly infinitely creative in their ability to dream up new charges.
Not only should we question what the Conservative vision of a hard-working society looks like in reality, we should also remember who is evangelising it and why. When it comes to work and family backgrounds the Coalition cabinet could not be more unrepresentative of the run-of-the-mill British family.
When religious leaders across the spectrum line up to say your policies have created a "national crisis" of hunger and poverty, when your government is forced to push out a long-delayed report that comprehensively debunks your already obviously weak explanation for the explosive growth of food banks, it really isn't a great idea to claim that your policies were driven by a "moral mission".
I hear the term "modal shift" - referring to the move of passengers from cars to public transport -- a lot, and a lot of discussion of how to achieve that. But I've now seen the answer - copy the Swiss in practically everything. And an excellent place to start would be bringing the railways back into public hands.
With the start of the university year and the surging presence of Young Green groups up and down the country, and speaking at events for the Youth Parliament and Woodcraft Folk, I've been spending a lot of time with young people. And an impressive lot they are - engaged, committed, determined. But what I've been hearing from them is how tough every aspect of life is for them and their peers, how institutions and services meant to be equipping them for life aren't delivering, and how economic pressures bear down on them from every angle.