In the Liberal Democrats, it's not the leader who sets policy, it's the membership. But I reckon it's not unreasonable for leadership candidates to set out their own views, and to call for a rethink where they believe the party's got it wrong on any particular policy. And I think we have got it wrong on fracking.
The Lib Dems seem quite a tough lot. While it is impossible to ignore the gravity of the electoral crisis which has clobbered the party at all levels since Nick Clegg led it into coalition with the Tories in 2010, Britain without a Liberal party would be an alien place... So what is going on: and will it make any difference who wins?
There can be no other area of public policy, with the exception of the related issue of drugs reform, where establishment politicians so readily bang the drum for the exact opposite of any evidence-based solution. Our prisons clearly fail to rehabilitate: half of those released reoffend within a year, including six in ten of those on sentences of less than twelve months. Liberal Democrats must lead the call for drastic and urgent action to reduce crime, protect victims more effectively, help criminals turn their lives around and protect taxpayers money: we must push for a Ministry of Justice target to halve the prison population by 2025.
Norman Lamb is the future. Do not be deceived by his age, or his general weary look that can be found on any remaining member of the Liberal Democrat party, Norman Lamb is a true social visionary. With the departure of Nick Clegg, another bastion of social reform, the top spot in the Lib Dem camp is now vacant.
This has probably been the first ever election where mental health has started to be recognised as the crucial issue it is for millions of people across the country. It has been fantastic to see the focus here on the Huffington Post on mental health. But we have to make sure that this apparent consensus leads to action.
With mental illness costing our economy over £100 billion pounds a year and millions of lives put on hold because there isn't the right support, we desperately need to accelerate the pace of change. That's why mental health must become a key issue in this election campaign, and I'm proud to be able to say that the Lib Dems have thrown down the gauntlet. To keep on delivering a stronger economy and a fairer society, mental health has to take centre stage.
There is a welcome change happening in the way we talk about mental health and the amount we are talking about it. The stigma of mental health problems is still stubbornly there but I see so many reasons to be positive because things are changing. Yes, we need to go faster and decades of not understanding enough about mental health has meant too many people haven't been helped. But we are getting there, changing attitudes and revolutionising a system set up solely for physical health.
Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are scrabbling over the title as the most trusted party on the NHS, and for good reason. Polling has shown that the NHS, always high on the list of issues most important to the electorate, is likely to be priority number one come election day. Don't expect the noise around the NHS to abate anytime soon...
Today I am issuing a challenge. I want all FTSE 100 companies to sign up to Time to Change. The tens of millions of people who support them to be in that elite club work in incredibly demanding circumstances. Not only is it right their employees get the support and advice they need about their mental health, but the employers will set a shining example for the whole business sector to follow.
Today, Norman Lamb MP announced the creation of a taskforce to improve children and young people's mental health services. Amongst other things, it will consider how we can make it easier for young people to get information and support without the fear of stigma which is all too often a barrier to people seeking the care they need.
The Care Bill aims to put carers on an equal legal footing to those they care for. This is great news for carers. Now that the stages in Parliament are all but over, we start to look at what this all means in practice. Developing the right regulations is a complex job but vital if we want the new law to mean real change for carers.