The past week or so in Copeland has seen a Labour campaign that has made me angry and sad in equal measure. To see a mainstream political party - a party I respected - run a campaign quoting from unnamed midwifes saying 'mothers will die, babies will die, babies will be brain damaged' is simply disgusting.
Those of us in the Labour party who have been staunchly sceptical of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership from the beginning often stand accused of not taking him or his supporters seriously enough. At Progress, we are keen to rectify this perception, and apply rigorous intellectual scrutiny to the Corbyn project.
When a musician like Madonna jokes about blowing up the White House, it only serves to crowd out the real and substantive criticisms of Trump. When he steps out of line, Trump needs to be challenged with facts and reason, not incoherent wailing or malicious threats. In an age where politicians must be incredibly careful about what they say and how they say it, famous celebrities should take similar care when they preach to us on political issues of which they might only have a limited understanding.
Labour could lose both by-elections this week. Such an event would send political shockwaves throughout the country with new questions raised about Mr Corbyn's leadership and his lack of political direction or ideological coherence. But it would also generate questions about the future of Labour England.
Sometimes I think that, as individuals and as a species, it is not until we are pushed to the brink, that we find the strength to evolve beyond our limited viewpoints and ego. The alternative is almost too unbearable to contemplate - the potential annihilation of human civilization and the destruction of life on an unprecedented scale.
MEP Geert Wilders is the Dutch politician who believes he can become the next Prime minister of the Netherlands in just a month's time, thanks to his anti-Islam/anti-migrants' stance and thanks to both Brexit and Donald Trump's win in the United States. What would his win mean for Britain's Brexit and for the EU?
Lebanon is a paradox! Earlier this month, I spent a week in Beirut re-acquainting myself with the local colours, tastes and cultures of this vibrantly eclectic city! And by tastes and colours I do not merely mean the souks, foods and galleries, or for that matter its politics and religions. I also mean the opinions of ordinary people.
In the past, authoritarian regimes and unscrupulous governments have gone to great lengths to engineer actual events in order to justify their subsequent actions in the eyes of their people. But today, in the world of alternative facts and fake news, where the media is portrayed as the enemy of the People, fictional atrocities can be created at will - and the faithful will believe that they really happened.
What is new is that the adoption of ideological rather than biological justifications of national belonging blurs the boundaries between what is 'far' and what is mainstream. In utilising this rhetoric, these parties are increasingly able to permeate the mainstream ground and drive party competition. And this is precisely what makes them more dangerous. The 'new' nationalism is no longer simply the privilege of the far right.
We really are in a 'through the looking glass' phase of national and international politics with a dangerous growth of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' dogma. Self styled moderates behaving like the right. Vexed liberals coming over all authoritarian. Reactionary western nationalists having a love-in with long time foe Russia.
It's no surprise to you or to me that the NHS is at breaking point, right now. Only last month, 43 acute hospital trusts across the UK could not cope with the demand for urgent care and were forced to divert patients to alternative emergency departments. Critical operations such as hip replacements have been canceled because of a shortage of beds and staff.
17 years ago, I was warmly invited to build my life here. I was told it was my home from home. I was told I could settle down, marry a Brit and make my life here. Yet today I am told I'm a foreigner and should go back where I come from.
It becomes clearer with each Tweet, Executive Order and press conference that the United States is in the throes of a chaotic attempted counter-revolution led - at least in name - by the President.
The future remains uncertain and the higher education sector has many challenges to face in 2017and beyond. There may be some consequential market adjustment that would have regional impact both economically and politically. However, universities will continue to tackle these head on and no doubt discover new opportunities.
What we find in the shrinking odds on Trump's impeachment is not necessarily a signal that his stint in the White House is nearly over, nor that his own luck has run dry. The numbers will shrink in step with the direction in which the bets are made...
Last year's Northern Ireland Assembly election saw some fascinating developments. From a 50% increase in women's representation, to the growth of cross-community parties and some surprise upsets, it was testament to an evolving democracy, under a voting system that allows voters' diverse views to be represented.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has given four separate justifications for abandoning the Dubs amendment. The reasons given are not justification for Great Britain closing the door on the most vulnerable of refugees.
Break down the result of the referendum and you will see that the growing division in England and Wales is not between North and South - or even left and right - but between towns and cities. We are increasingly a country made up of two groups of people whose shared experiences, political priorities and outlook, on the surface, are united on the surface by very little at all.