This is not a party political issue. I'm not saying that we shouldn't sort out those deep structural issues holding us all back. In my view, this is absolutely not a substitute for Government aid and I am incredibly proud that the Lib Dems are making it law for Government to invest 0.7% of GDP in overseas Aid. But 21st Century philanthropy is no longer for the astronomically rich.
Being a Christian doesn't dictate my political position in the way that you might stereotypically think. I don't believe in a theocracy! I am a liberal in my politics so naturally I'll vote differently from my colleagues in other parties. But it does shape what I get passionate about - housing for those in need, compassion and dignity for those claiming asylum, tackling poverty. What is more, realising that you are part of a religious (and political!) minority tends to heighten my liberal instincts to protect freedom of speech and association, and to defend those on the margins whose worth is undermined, ignored or misunderstood in a rush to appeal to the majority.
Unlike Ed Miliband, I won't sit around deriding improved employment figures. There are problems we must fix instead of running negative campaigns - for instance, ONS estimates suggest that the average (median) income of the self-employed has fallen by around 22% since 2008, at least in part because many of the self-employed are working fewer hours than they would like. As the economy improves in the years ahead, some may prefer to move back for the security of full-time employment - if so, they will take with them valuable experience of huge benefit to the organisations they join.
As a northerner I believe we are Better Together. I am bound to say that I suppose, but I really do believe the UK is better together. I think that the bonds and shared history that hold us together rises above the endless facts and figures, many of which are directly contradicted by the other side, we hear being bandied about in the debate. I guess the ferocity of the debate shows one thing, that this vote matters. I think Alex Salmond for his many, many talents, has failed to articulate a coherent case for why Scotland should be independent.
One of the things I am most proud of our party for in government, is the emphasis we are putting on mental health. I want to pay tribute to Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb for their work on this and I also want to thank Lib Dem party members like Lee Dargue who have put in hours and hours, campaigning on this issue. Mental health services are absolutely vital but tragically find themselves swept under the carpet all too often. This silence must end. It costs lives, divides our society and harms our young people. We must have the courage to open our eyes to the truth about mental health and act.
There is a very real risk that policymakers ignore the tech sector because they don't understand it or because they are scared of not looking like an expert. I think this blind spot is also linked to overly managerial politic: politics that responds more to polls than to fresh opportunities, that listens to focus groups in order to invent new ways of saying the same thing, rather than engaging dynamically with the new innovations emerging.
The Tories' failure to defend Britain's EU membership is of a different nature altogether. They seem to have gone quiet in order to hide what we already know - most Conservatives want to leave the EU. They simply don't care that it supports British jobs, helps fight climate change and makes our streets safer. They aren't interested in the huge benefits the EU gives consumers through cheaper shopping bills, travel and mobile phone roaming, and they are certainly not interested in projecting British influence and values around the world through the EU amplifier.
Doctors regularly get accused of treating their patients like children by not revealing all the facts, but it's nothing compared to how drugs companies can treat doctors. Astonishingly drugs companies are often under no legal burden to make their research public, despite millions of people depending on the drugs they develop for treatment.
We must harness the EU to create jobs and attract investment into the UK and to streamline regulations for our smallest companies... But this doesn't interest Tory rebels precisely because they don't want reform to work. They want to pretend that the EU is un-reformable because their true agenda is to leave the EU.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), surely, is one area where it is clear that politicians at whatever level must send out a strong message that this appalling practise cannot continue. So I was understandably outraged to learn that in a vote before Christmas, four Conservatives MEPs - Marta Andreasen, Nirj Deva, Sajjad Karim and Timothy Kirkhope - voted against a European Parliament resolution condemning FGM. Several Conservative and UKIP MEPs also failed to back the resolution by abstaining. This, in my view, shows politics at its worst, letting political point-scoring on the EU ruin a chance to be a strong voice for vulnerable girls fearing barbaric mutilation.
What do attempted London bomber Hussain Osman, child abductor Jeremy Forrest and drug-smuggling gangster Mark Lilley all have in common? Well, aside from having been some of Britain's most-wanted criminals, they were all captured and brought back to face justice in the UK thanks to the European Arrest Warrant, which saw its tenth anniversary earlier this month.... All across the country, the European Arrest Warrant has been used to track down criminals and obtain justice for victims of crime and their relatives.