The crisis engulfing Crimea is a grave one. Vladimir Putin's armies have cut the region off from the rest of the nation, and are insisting on an illegal referendum in order to give elusive legitimacy to a brazen act of aggression. Now is not the time for the West to take options off the table - even rather unpalatable ones.
With Russia integrated into the borderless world economy, all sides have a great deal to lose. Unless the West is willing to engage militarily, the only obvious way to get Putin's attention is by imposing real economic sanctions that have a real effect. However the New Russia cannot be isolated by sanctions without severely damaging Russia's trade partners and investors in the West.
There have been some heartfelt and heartwarming tributes to Tony Benn today from people across the political spectrum, but it is necessary to unpick some of the narrative that is woven into these tributes.
Martin Luther King left us in no doubt that "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." In such moments, throughout his long political career, history will record that Tony Benn stood with the people.
It is a testimony to Benn's mindset that he was befriended by those whose political beliefs were shivering polar opposites to his own. He will be missed by both sides of the House more than any other figure I can recall.
Tony Benn's speeches were often punctuated with the same quotes from the Bible to Chinese philosophers. He passionately opposed cynicism and urged people to engage in politics. He was a tremendous Parliamentarian throughout his fifty years as an MP yet his political authority was as great outside the House of Commons as in the chamber.
A few years ago, when I was compiling an anthology, modestly entitled Democracy (published by Mainstream and also available as an e-book, since you ask) I wanted to include something from Benn's battle to renounce his peerage. Ever generous, he gave me a copy of the speech he was not allowed to deliver, and which had never been published... This is what Tony Benn wanted to say.
There has been a lot of rhetoric by politicians and commentators claiming that what we are seeing today is Cold War behavior and a resurgence of Soviet Russia. Not only is this view wrong, it completely misunderstands Vladimir Putin's intentions. What we see Russia doing in Crimea today is not Cold War Russia, it is Imperial Russia.
Do you want my alternative take on the reaction to Bob Crow's death; David Cameron's visit to Israel and meeting with Tony Blair; and the explosive allegations against Ukip leader Nigel Farage? Here's the political week in 60 seconds.
In many societies women are considered as second class citizens and deprived of innumerable fundamental rights enjoyed by their male counterparts. Those who sincerely dislike this discrimination have espoused a struggle to obtain a parallel position which unfortunately, to date, confounds them to the more progressive states.
For many of us it has been dispiriting to read the reports and analysis, weighty and otherwise, let alone to have the meanderings of a 20-year-old receptionist making no claims to intellectual weight held as somehow totemic of education or, implicitly, women.
Looking beyond short-term political point scoring, could the current cost of living crisis be the symptom of something much wider?
Female pornstars can't win: they are labelled victims, and if they try to defend what they do for a living, this is taken as proof of just how 'oppressed' they are. According to SPC and Object, their voices are not worth hearing. This is why we are protesting outside the SPC conference from 3pm on Saturday 15 March.
Are you a Nationalist? I often ask myself the question, '"Am I a Nationalist?" Ah... nationalism. That seemingly pivotal word. I found it hard to use myself twenty years ago and often succumb to the fear of its worst interpretation. It's used and misused hugely but never more scathingly than when its held up as the nightmare we must all retreat from.
Has our generation lost the conviction too question what we stand for anymore ? Do we even believe in anything that has merit, and when I say merit, I mean a strong conviction, that robs us away from that awful saturated celebrity fat...
It was once said that Sir Thomas More's silence echoed across Europe. Ed Miliband's words on Europe, on the other hand, have fallen down into bottomless pit. He is advocating the worst of all worlds... In short, Ed Miliband is telling the British people that they are stuck with the EU as it is.