Despite my passion for the EU, I have a confession. Not only have I never really been a fan of the European Parliament, but I get a bit embarrassed when the EP tries to hype up the European Elections. It's like they're watching all the hoopla of the US elections and shouting "But look at us! 500 million people! We matter too!"
Among the vaguely left wing political classes, there seems to be plenty, or at least, vocal, support for votes for 16-year-olds. It's just a pity that among the age group affected, demand for change doesn't go beyond that tiny unrepresentative minority of teenagers who are already politically engaged. So let's review the case for the change - a case already supported by none other than Ed Miliband, who told Labour conference this week that any government led by him would lower the voting age to 16.
If any further evidence was needed of how far Labour leader Ed Milliband is from living in the real world, then the opening of his party's conference drove it home. Going for the headline grabbing policies that you'd expect from an opposition leader, Ed put his hand into the bag full of issues concerning the electorate and pulled out 'foreign workers' and 'apprenticeships.'
I remember the first time my mum called me a slut. Being the kind, peace-loving individual she is, I was a tad taken aback by such an accusation. Following on from the discussion, I suggested that to avoid confusion in future, she might want to avoid using the word... So when Godfrey Bloom experienced catastrophic system failure at the UKIP conference last week, I have to say I felt a bit sorry for him.
Countries' economies are driven by an obsession, continuous growth in the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The absurdity of this becomes clear with a little bit of thought. Never-ending growth that relies on extracting resources from a finite planet is, of course, a mathematical impossibility, but well before we reach that point, this obsession will render our planet uninhabitable.
India now sits on the brink of a currency crisis. In a rupee avalanche of Himalayan proportions, India's currency has depreciated 14% since the beginning of the year, hitting an all-time low in August of 68 to the dollar. Despite the rejuvenatory efforts of India's new "rockstar" central banker Raghuram Rajan, the rupee's value remains below 60 to the dollar...
Rejected and ridiculed by the rest of us, conspiracy theorists tend to hide away on internet chat forums where they blather on about the collapse of 7 World Trade Center, the rise of the Illuminati or the omnipresence of Mossad. Not the climate-change deniers. Unlike Israel's intelligence agency, they really do seem to be omnipresent these days.
There's something different about Ed Miliband when he steps onto the stage at Labour party conferences. He is, in many ways, an awkward media performer, often garbled, often repetitive, often unclear. Yet, as he showed in Manchester last year and in Brighton on Tuesday, he is capable of pulling a good performance out of the bag.
Ed Miliband's promises at the Labour Party Conference will give hope to the millions worrying about how they will heat their home this winter. Consistently, we find that rising energy prices is one of the top worries for hard-pressed consumers with some people even having to dip in to their savings to cover ever spiralling household bills.
On 23 September, the UK Government announced its contribution to the Global Fund and we got a step closer to the day when no child dies from Aids, TB or malaria. The UK has pledged £1billion over the next three years - providing the overall target of $15billion is met from other governments and donors.