Fairy tales, it is argued, all consist of a combination of just 31 sequential elements; between the 'once upon a time' and the 'happily ever after', nothing ever takes place when it shouldn't. In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, David Cameron gave the impression that he thinks life works in much the same way, telling under-25s to: "Go to school. Go to college. Do an apprenticeship. Get a job."
Yesterday's headlines, about removing benefits for those under 25, add to the mounting evidence that welfare will be on the front line of the 2015 election - a key issue for parties to show that Britain can do better than this, or that they're on the side of hard working people. Stepping back from the detail of this latest worrying announcement, we're left with a bigger question: why is welfare on a thirty year popularity losing streak? And what role have its supporters - myself included - played in it?
I am very happy to debate the choices we face in navigating a path toward a reliable, clean and affordable energy system, but when commentators resort to misinformation, scaremongering and rant in the place of reason and facts, then seeing the light that will help us all move forward is all the harder. We face big and difficult challenges.
It is the task of a bold and constructive German foreign policy to play a leading role in the EU and in that Zwischeneuropa, the "Europe in-between", from the Baltic to the Black Sea; but also to influence the peace efforts in what has become the "Wild East" - the Orient. Maybe it is going too far to speak of a German pacifistic Sleeping Beauty slumber.
Oil has always been central to the nationalist case for independence. It has been used by the SNP to make all sorts of expensive promises about what would happen after independence. The inconvenient truth which the SNP have always struggled to deal with is that all the revenues from the North Sea currently go towards spending on public services, pensions and benefits in Scotland.
In his speech to the Conservative party conference, David Cameron spoke for over 50 minutes but he said very little. No policies to deal with the huge cost of living crisis that has left people on average nearly £1,500 a year worse off since the General Election. For most people it must seem like Cameron is not so much trying to "finish the job", but finish them off.
After branding social media a "scourge" at the height of the Gezi Park protests in June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has had a change of heart. The ruling AKP government recently hired a 6,000-strong brigade of social media operatives to direct public opinion and win hearts and minds.
As the public wearily wonders when the conference season will end, one thing is already clear: we're in a bidding war in which the two largest parties have - rightly - identified that the public is fed up with the struggle to keep their heads above water... The parties' responses? Short-term give-aways, quick fixes.