Talks resume this week between the fuel distributors and Unite the Union to avoid a petrol delivery strike. I bet Francis Maude can hardly suppress his anxiety as the prospect of a REAL strike actually gets closer.
Few events in the political calendar underline quite so graphically the power of the government and the impotence of the opposition as much as the Queen's speech. Backed by all the pomp and finery the British state can muster, the Gracious Address, to give it its proper title, affords the government the opportunity to draw a line under past difficulties, and turn a somewhat dry recitation of its legislative programme into a demonstration of its political priorities. The shadow cabinet should seize on this year's Queen's speech to provide its own 'shadow Queen's speech' as a way of demonstrating how Britain could be different under Labour.
I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened. But somewhere, somehow, though I can scarcely believe I am saying it, I've become a Royalist.
Diamond Jubilee? If you did not know, that is sixty years on the throne. Or, as she may see it, 60 years of hard work. By any definition, that is a long career. For the whole of this time, The Queen has lived by her mother's well-worn mantra: 'Never complain. Never explain.'
It is often said that whist people are studying at university they live in their own little 'uni-bubble', and in my opinion this is sort of true.
There will be differences of opinion and approaches in tackling this. But the constant demonisation of Muslims and their institutions by the media, and the lacklustre response by the Westminster political class to anti-Muslim intolerance, is not helpful.
The Church of England alone enjoys world-class privileges which are the very antithesis of inclusivity. Above all, it continues to enjoy representation in our legislature through its nomination of 26 bishops in the House of Lords. It is the only religious body in a western democracy to have such power. The bishops who sit in Parliament have real power, and exercise it.
If 10 O'Clock Live leads to Mitchell getting his own chat show it will have achieved something worthwhile. Until that happens, the powers-that-be have little to worry about if this represents the best satire we can produce.
As of today the UK is now over £1 trillion pounds in debt. Wahey right? Woo look at us finally hitting the big 18 zeros mark! Yeah take that America....
The young royals are a delight to behold - such good ambassadors for the United Kingdom with their gleaming white smiles, perfect posture, and impeccably tailored clothes. But, like a horror film in which the beguiling love interest strips off his mask to reveal an alien monster's face beneath, the young royal's beauty is apparently only skin deep, and more's the pity. It has come out, despite the Palace's "no comment", that William and Harry have been busy indulging in their usual sadistic pastime: killing animals for the sheer fun of it. We want more from the young royals than a photo opportunity. If they can't step up to become enlightened, respectful and compassionate role models, then they should simply step down.
So in comparison, maybe still acknowledging our Queen isn't all bad. I just don't think she needs a new yacht. Gove said the money wouldn't come from taxpayers but from corporations willing to invest, but hey, Mikey, here's an idea, why not get them to invest in things that benefit the country?
The whole nation has rallied around Michael Gove's heroic call to buy the Queen a big yacht for her birthday. It's the only sensible thing to do. While the vast majority of sane, normal people have applauded this fabulous and necessary idea, there have been some, union types mainly, who have pooh-poohed the idea.
Helping charities is obviously a good thing to do - people who do it deserve credit. People who volunteer their time to help others deserve more credit than people who get paid to do it. So which category does Kate Middleton fit into?
On Sunday, at 3pm, Queen Elizabeth II delivered her 60th Christmas Message. In this faddish age of rolling news and viral videos, the Queen's speech remains a changeless monument to a bygone era and this year's message was every bit as insipid, patronising and tedious as the previous 59.
In this past year my family and I have been inspired by the courage and hope we have seen in so many ways in Britain, in the Commonwealth and around the world.