With just months to go before the general election, all mainstream parties need to understand that having policy is only the first step on the path to victory. It then falls into the hands of party spinners to decide how policy is communicated, articulated and portrayed through the party ranks and into the media that will determine how the public perceives it.
In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck supports collective ownership: 'If this tractor were ours it would be good - not mine, but ours. If our tractor turned the long furrows of our land, it would be good. Not my land, but ours.'
Over the last decade or two, it has been interestingly the fashion for many charities to consider themselves political 'think tanks' who believe they have the ability and indeed the responsibility to lobby governments on behalf of the people they claim to represent, particularly in the field of disability.
Given his undoubted charisma and his way with words, he has the potential to be a big vote winner for the Tories. But, and it is in important but, voters who regard humour and a cavalier style as an asset in a city mayor with few real powers might seek different qualities in a national leader. Last week, in an interview with the Sunday Times, he talked about how his six years as mayor had given him the administrative experience that would stand him in good stead in national politics. He has a point. But if he is to be a real vote-winner for his party on the national stage, he needs more. He needs to get serious.
This conflict is so difficult for older people. I am trying to keep daily contact with all the older people we have been working with... Older people have lived through so much in Gaza and we want to do whatever we can to support them and to improve their lives.
Parliament's Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, which I chair, has been doing just that by working over the past five years on a project with King's College London to develop several visions of what a democratic settlement for the United Kingdom could look like.
The argument for Scottish independence is one of heart over head. Study the detail, and you quickly realise that independence would involve a great unravelling of shared and highly integrated institutions, regulators and business relationships, which currently serve Scotland well.
Nick Clegg's personal poll ratings are dire officially the worst since polling began, and worse even than Michael Foot, Iain Duncan Smith or Gordon Brown.
In the UK we have real difficulty in facing up to having, arguably, the most overvalued currency in the world. We need to get our exchange rate down or we'll never secure sustainable long-term growth. But how does a government make this happen?
Apparently we are presented with two monochromatic sides of this argument, Team Israel vs. Team Gaza, and failure to select one on the basis of who is or is not a terrorist means that your opinion is unlikely to rear its humdrum head in mainstream news or grant you a few thousand followers on Twitter.
The inconvenient truth is that the collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza is a collective endeavour in its own right - led by Israel, enforced by Egypt, endorsed by Saudi Arabia. Pity the poor Palestinians. Their territories are occupied by the Jewish state; their cause is abandoned by the Arab world.
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Burma tomorrow. Just days before his visit, more than 100 security forces came to an internally displaced...
A few days have now passed since Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling faced each other to debate one of the biggest issues facing the future of the United Kingdom - Scottish independence. Over these few days I have been thinking over the rhetorical styles that both have used to make their arguments.
In Iraq, right now, an ancient culture is being exterminated, wiped from the face of human history. The Yazidi minority had, until recently, found relative safe haven in Kurdish-controlled areas... However, recent reversals have forced both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to withdraw their forces from the region, as ISIS continued its murderous advance across the north and west of the country.
With the departure of Burt, Hague and now Warsi, the FCO is left without any ministers who show any deep personal commitment to human rights... It would be unfair to prejudge Philip Hammond and Baroness Anelay, Sayeeda Warsi's replacement, this early on. Instead, one must simply appeal to them to prove the sceptics wrong.
The rise of Ukip, the vitriolic discussion over the relaxation of border controls relating to Romania and Bulgaria, the abolishment of the UKBA and now the problems at the Passport Office, show that immigration is, without doubt, an all-consuming issue for the public and one that is going to be at the front of voters' minds on and before 7 May 2015. However, the government, rather than shadow boxing with Ukip by continuing to make claims over a net migration figure they have no control over, should create a structure that ensures immigration is given its full attention. After all you can have as many silver bullet policies as you like, but without the gun to fire them you're never going to hit the target.