The two men couldn't have been more different. One was born in a magnificent palace, the other in a humble farmhouse. One had been in politics for 40 years, the other was a relative newcomer. One was lauded as his country's greatest Prime Minister. The other was derided as an accidental President...
As it happens, I'm not one of those who believe that Blair is evil incarnate. I met him on only a handful of occasions during his time as prime minister, and I was always left with the impression of a man possessed of almost messianic certainty that he was put on earth to make it a better place and rid it of bad people. I do believe that he made an appalling error of judgement in backing President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. It was an error that involved the UK in one of the biggest foreign policy blunders of recent times...
I say ending violence against women and girls requires all of us - men and boys, women and girls, governments, communities and activists. I genuinely believe that we have a common goal. And I genuinely believe that we can work together in a way that does not reassert male power over women, that keeps women and girls at the centre, and focuses on transforming gender inequality rather than just adding men and boys.
In a little more than one month negotiations to finalise the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for eradicating poverty will begin. For this to be a meaningful process, the goals have to be credible and to focus on those priorities which can make a difference to the lives of those who reside in poor countries around the world.
Sexual violence is a specifically reprehensible form of violence, and includes rape and any other attack of a sexual nature perpetuated against both males and females. Its repercussions can be iniquitous, and may include acute and physical repercussions for survivors and witnesses. Human trafficking can also lead to sexual violence, and I will be discussing the issue of 'modern slavery' in this article. I will also highlight the brutal effects of sexual violence in conflict.
Now is not a time for excuses, now is a time for action. The very fact we are in the midst of a crisis on this scale is proof that the international community has not yet done enough. This epidemic can, and must, be overcome. But the question now is how many more will have to die before it is, how many of those tragic deaths could have been avoided.
By affirming without ambiguity that both Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights to statehood, international recognition of the State of Palestine can help break this impasse. That is why another amendment tabled by Jack Straw and other senior MPs makes clear that by voting for recognition today MPs will contribute to securing a negotiated two state solution.
Although she is absolutely right, not all countries measure gender equality on a pay scale. In many communities in India, for example, a housewife is seen as being of equal value to a breadwinner, or priceless. And for any feminist approach to work effectively in the country, it needs to recognise the distinct values upheld by such cultures.
The inside of the UN Climate Summit in New York last week was a strange place. I arrived expecting to spend the day hearing sombre heads of state outline what their nations would be doing to tackle climate change. I didn't expect to end the day watching a performance by British pop hit, circa 2005, Natasha Bedingfield.