If the EU is to be serious about its opposition to torture and the ill-treatment of human beings it must put its full might behind effective, comprehensive and adaptable controls on the instruments of torture. We believe that the legislation currently under debate in the Parliament can do this: we just need the political will to see it through.
As a UK service exporter, I feel somewhat aggrieved. Overlooked and invisible. Despite the strong and strengthening performance of service sector exports, we are often perceived as the poor relation to manufacturers. Indeed the government usually refers to the service sector as 'invisible exports', quite apt when considering where the focus of current investment is placed.
Our amendment to exclude public services from TTIP has been numbered 397; the Tories' is 406. Ahead of this seminal vote in the European Parliament, we need all the public support we can muster to ensure that 397 trumps 406. Only in this way can we guarantee that we are able to rescue our NHS from Tory privatisation, invest in its future and join up services from home to hospital for a service with the time to care.
We need an ambitious yet realistic agenda to end extreme poverty by 2030 as the UN has proposed, and it is my firm belief that increased cooperation between states on issues such as trade, human rights, security and climate change gives us the political clout in order to achieve this. It is only in this way we can ensure that the benefits of globalisation are felt all the way from the Peterlee to Patagonia.
The Chancellor is right to argue that debt will have to be reduced. There is no definitive answer to the question of the optimal level of debt, but debt in the UK has doubled since the onset of the financial crisis and, as a result, it would be harder to respond to a future severe downturn in economic activity through an easing of fiscal policy. Debt needs to be reduced to create room for it to be increased again if needed.
Despite the political rhetoric, if current economic policies continue broadly as they are, the UK economy does not have a bright future. In my view, and that of many others, our economy has at least five big problems. These major challenges will end the current upturn probably shortly after the 2015 general election, no matter who wins.
It is very widely believed that lowering the value of the pound must increase inflation. Monetarists have always claimed that any gains in competitiveness from a lower currency must be offset by rapid price increases. But what might seem obvious needs to be checked against the economic statistics - and they tell a very different story.
Why a food ban? Quite simply, it will hurt the EU nations, and far more severely than any sanction that has been imposed on Russia by the EU so far... little notice has been paid to Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower and current rector of Glasgow University, who has been granted a 3 year stay in Russia, and will not be extradited back to America.
We want to see the UK close its goods trade deficit from a worrying £9bn; we want to see British businesses shipping UK products all around the world, from Cambodia to Canada; and we want to see these exporting companies creating jobs and wealth. If we want to realise this ambition, we will need at least three, possibly five, extra runways over the next few decades.
The extent to which the UK and most of the rest of the Western world are currently mismanaging our economies clearly has a huge financial cost. In the longer term, however, the political cost will be even greater than the economic price - unless we see radical changes in policy. The failure of the West to deliver a reasonable economic performance - combined with the related problem of widespread inability to get difficult decisions taken - has led an increasingly large number of people across the world to consider whether more authoritarian of running modern diversified economies might work better than those based on liberal democracy.
Voters from the 28 member nations of the European Union delivered an election earthquake on May 25. Results show major gains in the European Parliament for anti-integration, Euroskeptic parties which span the ideological spectrum from the extreme-right National Front which won the ballot in France, to the far-left Syriza Party which came first in Greece.