Human rights have become toxic in Britain. There is no genuine public debate over the issue - debates are supposed to be two sided, and progressive forces have not yet found a successful response to calls to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights... However, research on public attitudes suggests that this is a debate that pro-human rights forces could win.
The Lib Dems were given the opportunity to go some way to salvaging some political credibility this week by voting for a Labour motion against one of the most vile policies ever visited on the poor and economically disadvantaged in many a year. They chose not to and hopefully now political oblivion awaits.
Disgusting does not come close to describing the latest offering from Channel 5 - On Benefits And Proud - which aired for the first time this week. In the show various benefit claimants - code for the undeserving poor - are tracked down by deserving taxpayers with the object of illustrating how these benefit junkies are ripping us all of - 'us' being the smug, self satisfied majority for whom poverty is just another word in the dictionary.
What struck me about this exchange was the extent to which it revealed a widening disconnect between the haves and have nots, on the level of morals as well as income, exacerbated by the recession and the current government's policy of making the poor pay for an economic mess effectively created by the greed of the rich.
On average, two campaigns a week win on Change.org in the UK - most of them powered by incredible stories of how big, structural issues impact on peoples daily lives. What they have in common is that one person wanted to change something so much that they told their story and built a movement around it. In doing so they shifted how power works: from the top down to the bottom up and have often sparked a much wider debate on the bigger issue around their campaign.
The government is currently embarking on one of the largest change programme of the criminal justice system in recent history...The impact assessment of the Bill reveals that around 13,000 offenders will be recalled or committed to custody as a result of the proposals, giving a prison places increase of around 600 additional places per year.
One million children going without an adequate education would be unacceptable and a cause for considerable public anger to be directed towards the Government... But one million fathers are absent from the lives of their children. The presence and influence of a father is of far greater importance than a school teacher.
Consider this: a child is asked what she wants to be when she's older and she cannot answer. Not because she has a plethora of favoured options and can't make up her mind, but because she has no concept of what work is or that she can achieve something. These are our children growing up in homes without work, and neighbourhoods where the majority of households lack employment.
I am the first person to stand up and bang the drum for Newbury - we're a great market town with a great sense of community. We're above average in almost every respect - most notably in employment and affluence, yet still we seem to be letting our young people down by failing to provide them with the education they so badly deserve.