If we are to grow and prosper as a country - we must invest in our youth. With university graduates racking up an average of more than £30,000 worth of debt, apprenticeships provide a great alternative of structured and hands on learning, not to mention that the financial incentive that students can earn whilst they learn.
If we are going to go ahead with spending tens of billions on High Speed Two then at the very least we need to be sure that we are getting the best value for money and ensuring that the maximum benefit is felt, both for the economy and for the people in cities such as Stoke-on-Trent. The proposals as they stand fail to meet any of these criteria and this should be to the utter shame of all those involved.
It's a well known fact we live in a 24/7 consumer culture. The rise of technology means that almost every aspect of our life has an expectation of immediacy, from our 24 hour news culture, to shops extending their opening hours, to smart phones giving us access to a wealth of information anywhere, at any time.
I hear the term "modal shift" - referring to the move of passengers from cars to public transport -- a lot, and a lot of discussion of how to achieve that. But I've now seen the answer - copy the Swiss in practically everything. And an excellent place to start would be bringing the railways back into public hands.