Just five years ago we had a Strategic Defence and Security Review which proposed armed forces configured for an age of austerity when most of the threats we faced were, at the very least, containable. We were pulling out of an expensive war in Afghanistan... Just five years later we live in a very different world.
Diane Abbott's article on the Huffington Post is factually inaccurate and politically motivated. I understand that we are in a febrile stage of the political timetable and that a "Tory toff" is a tempting target in the simplistic world of sound bite politics. But the truth of the housing issue in Hackney that spurred her attack is very different from how she and others have portrayed it. For obvious reasons this situation has been personalised to me. It has been suggested that I have been personally going around "evicting" needy tenants from "social" housing in Hackney for my own gain. I haven't.
Ordinary London families are being treated like counters on a Monopoly board by multi-millionaires like Richard Benyon MP and his family company, for whom housing in London is merely a business opportunity. Labour knows that housing is also about stable families and communities and we will shape our policies accordingly.
I am the first person to stand up and bang the drum for Newbury - we're a great market town with a great sense of community. We're above average in almost every respect - most notably in employment and affluence, yet still we seem to be letting our young people down by failing to provide them with the education they so badly deserve.
I'm a big believer of it's not where you're from, it's what you do that matters. Richard Benyon is one of the richest landowners in Berkshire, the great, great, great grandson of a former Prime Minister Lord Salisbury and lives in a Tudor Mansion. He is firmly in the 1% and it doesn't bother me at all.