I understand the need for diplomatic niceties to be observed. That's why when a royal head of state dies, I'm perfectly happy for one of our royals to attend the funeral. But why on earth do we have to send the prime minister as well? ... Wouldn't it be nice if, like Germany, we could halt our arms sales to what is undoubtedly one of the nastiest regimes on the planet. And when the new king dies - he's already 79 - perhaps we could send Prince Charles on his own. I'm sure he'd manage just fine.
Greece has elected Europe's first far-left government of modern times. Spain looks set to put in power a party which didn't exist five years ago. Labour is about to be wiped out in Scotland, the place of its birth. The Tories are terrified that Ukip will do the same to them in their own heartland. Are these all just local disturbances, or different symptoms of the same crisis?
I don't smoke marijuana, however I completely support the case for legalisation. An increasing amount of people are turning to the drug to help with ongoing medical issues such as cancer and arthritis. Marijuana has been proven to help relieve pain and improve quality of life over more conventional legal drugs such as Morphine.
There is no uniform rule, not all Northern cities perform badly, not all big cities necessarily have more jobs; all I know is that if we are going to fix this economic mess we are in, we are going to have to grow out of focussing on the North/South divide.
A lesson we might learn from Greece is for the need to challenge the centre and to be bold. There is an alternative and it is up to those of us on the peripheries of our states and unions to stand up for our interests.
It's time to realize that our best hope of getting devolution and the powers we need to make things better is to stop asking for more money and more land, and simply make a case for better control over what we have. London is a Powerhouse with even more potential to maximise.
It was a battle hard fought but hunting wild animals with dogs for sport was eventually banned in England and Wales in 2004. This is a fantastic achievement. However, what a lot of people perhaps don't realise is that despite this ban, hunting continues more than ever before. We may have won the battle, but the war is far from over.
Today in Addis Ababa, the African Union (AU) meets for its annual summit which this year will focus on women's empowerment and developing Agenda 2063, their 50 year development plan. This long term approach aims for inclusive growth and sustainable development and a shift away from aid-dependency.
Paying for healthcare is something I'd had no experience of until my recent trip to South Africa. I became unwell and needed to see a doctor, and whilst as a tourist I had travel insurance, the process meant that I still came face-to-face with the reality of paying for healthcare.
What is "extreme" about providing free electricity and food stamps to 300,000 Greek families now living below the poverty line, as Syriza has pledged to do? Syriza's programme of debt relief, fiscal stimulus and financial support for the poorest, rather than the richest, is mainstream macroeconomics. The party is merely planning to do what the textbooks suggest.
With fixed Parliaments, we now all know that there are less than 100 days to go. Whilst it might make for easier planning, the downside for voters is the reality of three months being bombarded with the pre-campaign, launches of this and that, and then a really intense April with wall-to-wall coverage.
Like 30 million other Brits, the PAYE system automatically takes a certain chunk from my salary each month. However, for some, it's a different story. Tax avoidance has become global issue splashed across every national newspaper.
The oil is almost gone and the same will be true of gas sooner rather than later. Then what? Tar Sands or deep water drilling? This is simply ducking the hard questions and leaving it to future generations to deal with.
With attention focused on the very beginning of fundamental rights protection as well as the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals, 2015 is an opportunity to refocus and reinvigorate our efforts towards achieving equality of rights for all.
At the moment the UK is just not competitive. The hard fact of the matter is that we have been trying for far too long to sell our output, especially of manufactured goods, at far too high prices on world markets and we have priced ourselves out of the market.
I want us to develop greener and cost-effective energy, but the targets designed to achieve that perversely have the opposite effect. If we weren't mismanaging energy so badly, perhaps we could find means that don't cost the earth - in more ways than one.