You'd think a book would be the least dangerous thing you could send to your friend who's just begun their summer holiday. Nothing could be much safer, it might seem, than relaxing on a deckchair, in a peaceful garden or hotel poolside terrace, with a book and a cool drink. But this is Northern Ireland, and when we send parcels, we have to risk assess.
The removal of a truly dreadful secretary of state - who in the badger cull demonstrated his broader contempt or total failure to understand scientific evidence - is something to celebrate. The departure of education secretary Michael Gove is also cause for celebration. Again, his replacement is largely an unknown quality, her vote against gay marriage a cause for concern, but there's an opportunity here for the government to draw a line under a truly awful period for English schools.
Outlaw zero hours contracts and instead ensure that any individual entering a work contract is given a legal guarantee of the number of the minimum number of hours they should be required to work. It might increase the costs for corporations and may in the short term lead to a rise in unemployment, but if the economy is growing as fabulously as George Osborne announces, then the number of jobs should increase to combat this problem.
The Westminster circle of power seems to have awoken to the realisation that our NHS mental health services cannot go on without adequate funding. After all the talk from MPs on equality in funding between physical and mental health, there is still no visible action.
The current UK coalition government has worked remarkably well. Everyone I speak to who is not personally embedded in the political process seems to agree. Yet there are calls from parts of the grass roots of both governing parties to abandon the coalition. Why? And are they the right calls?
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.
What are the alternatives for dissatisfied Lib Lefties who want to express their politics through party membership? They could rejoin the ghost of the SDP, no really they still exist, or choose principled powerlessness again, and join the authoritarian Greens. Perhaps the hardest to stomach would be joining Labour.
At the end of the day one of the two main parties will form the next government, either with or without a third party. Each of them could do something now to enhance their chances, however it would seem as though it is Labour and the Liberal Democrats who have the most immediate need. The tragedy of their position is on 8 May 2015 they will be kicking themselves if they do nothing.
The election itself will inevitably focus on issues that matter most to voters - from jobs and housing to wages and welfare. But it is less well recognised that the election in 2015 will be determined primarily in our urban areas, and that the fortunes of each of the major political parties depend upon how they perform in, and help support, UK cities.
From 2016, all homes will be "Zero Carbon Homes." This policy is a golden opportunity: every new homeowner can enjoy the security of cheaper energy bills, a warmer, drier home and better health as a result. The human tragedy of climate change is brought centre stage, not dismissed.
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?
It's unacceptable that so many people with MS are not able to access the treatment, services and support they require as a result of where they live and I'd urge people to support the MS Society's Treat Me Right campaign.
On Tuesday morning, in a central London pub, Vince Cable and Nick Clegg got together to announce a new statutory regulatory code to manage the relationship between the large branded pub chains that own the majority of pubs in the UK (known as PubCos) and their licencees. This is yet another example of Labour setting the political agenda.
Voting UKIP and battening down the hatches isn't going to provide the social and economic security we all desire - that way only further mistrust and isolation lies. By voting Green we can restructure the economy and reframe our societal values. That's so much more than a protest vote.
Today the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, made a speech in support of foreign aid. He defended Government spending in this area and reaffirmed the ...
There are few people in the country who could have had a worse weekend than Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. The party was annihilated all across the UK, losing hundreds of its councillors and all but one of its MEPs...