When I arrived in the European Parliament, I fully expected that there would be stitch-ups, slanderous accusations, voters' wishes ignored by the establishment and backstabbing from the political groups. At the time of writing, I have officially been an MEP for just over 24 hours - what has shocked me is that I have witnessed all of these happen already.
Exactly why the middle bands of the class structure, which contains around half the population, contain less ethnic interaction is unclear. One explanation mooted by social theorists is that this group has less of an achieved status than the professional class, and therefore invests more strongly in its ethnic identity...
Foxes are cute, fox cubs particularly cute, it's understandable that they get a lot of attention and attract compassion. But that compassion should be encouraged for all of our natural world, and all of our human world. The potential is there in all of us, but at the moment our political rhetoric and policies are all discouraging, repressing that.
The BBC needs to be fully autonomous, with a truly independent management and executive team that is free from the temper tantrums of governmental talking heads.
For Europe's young people, who have often suffered worst from the crisis, many of them - notably in Spain and Italy - have supported left-wing or even far right political parties. Some of these far-right parties are promoting hate-speech, xenophobia, nationalist and Eurosceptic ideas.
UKIP and the Italian Five Star Movement have succeeded in forming a new Group in the European Parliament. All of these Groups must have a minimum of 7 countries represented and at least 25 MEPs...
I've made a film called Leave to Remain - an odd title that displays the absurdly English wordplay that describes the 'permission' that the home office grants asylum seekers to give them 'leave' to 'remain' in this country either definitely or indefinitely. It's a fitting title for the wilfully confusing system that determines worthiness for refugee status.
In all of this, it's interesting to note that MEPs actually have very little power. The European Parliament has repeatedly voted to end the travelling circus, which costs the taxpayer about 150 million euros per year and over 10,000 tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions.
There must be a good probability that Nigel Farage will see the sense in coming to some form of rapprochement with the Tories over tactics with regard to the constituencies in which UKIP may choose to field candidates. If the Tories do get re-elected, there is at least the prospect of a referendum and UKIP will indeed have achieved something-game theory would certainly suggest this as his best course of action.
Within the storm of normalised homophobia UKIP have created, it is easy to forget the thousands of young LGBT people who are yet to 'come out'. A sixteen year old Christian who is coming to terms with being gay is likely to be severely affected by the comments made by UKIP councillors, particularly when using the Bible as a platform for hate. This needs to change and it should not be used as a tool to endorsing a discriminatory political agenda.
A couple of weeks ago, Frank Field MP wrote an open letter to David Miliband about taking a harder (might I say UKIP) line on immigration. I wasn't impressed and wrote a reply - and Mr.Field subsequently replied to me. Below is my response to him.
A modern economy needs a constant flow of new labour -- both skilled and unskilled -- and immigration is the only way to get it. Germany, UK and America have built their economies on this and I met a lady from Silicone Valley, the centre of America's IT industry who said her industry's message to the US Government is simple: "give us more Indians."
The first time as tragedy, the second time as Farage It may be that we have seen the high point of UKIP already come and go, but somehow I doubt it. ...
What these Conservative alliances really show, then, is not the increasing likelihood of any UK parliamentary coalition with UKIP, but the unawareness - or even ignorance or apathy - of British voters towards European politics.
Tony Blair has now set out his stall on Europe. It attacks the big issues, but it may be that he comes with too much history, baggage as well as too many enemies for it to progress any further. Who else is there?
Britain is offering 1,000 troops and the tanks they can still start to NATO so they can put on a show in Poland that they think will put Vlad the Insaner back in his box...