Yesterday, I walked into the shopping centre of my local town, and I came across an artist at work. His poetry, written in chalk, spanned the pavement and I, like many others, paused to read. His work seemed to be aimed at generating thought and reflection, and if this was the case, it was certainly working.
I have been unemployed for the best part of the last three years. Despite a couple of creative successes it wasn't viable to lead an existence on the back of these, so I had to look for a real job. I did try to achieve this, but I wasn't getting any results so I was told that perhaps I wasn't trying hard enough.
Prior to becoming an MP, I ran a number of small businesses, and through that experience I know that staff perform best when you respect them and give them confidence and stability through clear working hours and responsibilities. We need to see a recovery built on creating more better-paid, high skilled jobs across Britain, not insecure employment...
The Liberal Democrats decided early on that the politically expedient thing to do was to take ownership of all the government's actions even when they ideologically disagreed with them. Voters may accept parties changing policies over time, but they will not forget the hypocritical positions taken by a party simply to look 'governmental'.
Britain is rightly proud of its track record of job creation, but a successful 21st Century economy requires more. Ahead of the 2015 Election, it is time for all parties to face up to the changing face of the labour market, and set out their commitments to building a more sustainable, productive and robust economy that offers opportunities for all workers, and cities, throughout the UK.