Why did the Jeremy Paxman and Russell Brand Newsnight interview go viral last week? Whichever side you take, it is unarguable that Brand struck a chord regarding the public mistrust of Parliament and apathy about politics in general. Can the UK's political class turn this around?
Russell Brand for PM some shout and if he's ever to seize the keys to Number 10, here are three ideas I think could help him solve some of his major grievances with the world today.
Beguiling, attractive slogans, with their wonderful certainty that there are simple answers to complex questions. What Brand says is not only daft but dangerous. It's dangerous because he is a clever man with influence, and when he says: "Apathy is a rational reaction to a system that no longer represents, hears or addresses the vast majority of people", there is a real risk that some people - especially young people - will take him seriously. The core of his message is: "I will never vote and I don't think you should, either." He presents it as a message of hope, when in fact it is precisely the opposite. It is a message of despair.
It has been said that the British political system is bankrupt. One scandal after another has seen people lose faith in Britain's institutions and in the political process as a whole. A new paradigm way of thinking is needed. Is this mere unhelpful rhetoric, or genuinely the deal?
This week there will be two debates in the House of Commons on an issue that the Government has been doing its best to bury - Air Passenger Duty (APD). It's often cited that the UK has the world's highest air passenger tax anywhere in the world, and over the next few days MPs will, once again, be debating just how much of an impact it is having on the economy and on ordinary people's ability to travel.
There are plenty of MPs who will be glad to see the back of this week. For many, Sunday and Monday nights were spent sleepless, waiting by the phone for that call from Number 10 rewarding them for their obedience to the whips and flattering questions during PMQs, only to discover that they are still backbenchers, without so much as a PPS role...
A third world war - nuclear or conventional - is a good bet and not far off and, other than to make another cup of tea, nothing can be done to stop the next global convulsion...
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.
What many do not realize is the European Parliament has an impact on almost every aspect of life in the UK, whether it is trying to cut the costs of a mobile phone call while you're on holiday to protecting your employment rights when you're at work or trying to ensure the very air you breathe is clean.
This week saw a steady stream of Labour MPs use Treasury Questions in the Commons to challenge George Osborne and his all-male junior Ministers on the impact of their policies on family incomes and child poverty.
Barack Obama's meteoric ascent to US President started on October 2, 2002, when he addressed an anti-Iraq War rally in Chicago, repeating several times the mantra that he did not oppose all wars, just dumb wars.
Public service broadcasting in the UK is the result of some 90 years of deliberate and carefully considered policy. In the Communications Act, Parliament for the first time incorporated that policy comprehensively in legislation and set up the review and reporting process to support it.
You can be sure that most of my colleagues in the European Parliament do not embrace the concept of the free market. Day after day, I hear them speaking up for state intervention or attempting to regulate away risk. However, there is one area where there is a genuine coalition of interests and that is the need for banking reform.
I am increasingly confronted with the notion that the outside world just isn't the concern of the United Kingdom, and this represents a great isolationism, which I believe to be irreconcilable to a generally internationalist - and truly libertarian - foreign policy.
On Thursday, 29 August, we chose to abandon the Syrian people in their hour of need. I am wracked with guilt and feel ashamed. Yes, democracy had its day and yes, perhaps Parliament is all the stronger for asserting the will of the people. Nevertheless, I still believe it was the wrong decision.
Last Thursday, the House of Commons defeated the government motion to use force '"if necessary" by 285 votes to 272 in light of the government's belief that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against its own people. From across the political spectrum, yesterday was heralded as a wonderful day for parliament.