It is that time of year again where every poppy pinned to a lapel is joined by a newspaper column, blog or tweet on why no one should be wearing a poppy. To wear or not to wear a poppy is a debate raging everywhere, and unfortunately this controversy is dominating the discourse on commemoration and precluding the wider national debate we should be having on the subject.
Every year in the UK 80,000 young people experience homelessness, a fact known to too few but one that should trouble all of us. Tonight members of the public in eight cities will make their feelings known by giving up their beds and spending a night on the street in the largest national Sleep Out of its kind.
Imagine if - on top of all that - your family is the major problem in your life: you are suffering abuse or neglect- you don't know who you can trust and there is no one to talk to. All your experience tells you that this is what the world is like and - for all you know - will always be like because there is no one to tell you otherwise.
So saying no to a drink for a month, when surrounded by shots, 21st birthday parties and bar crawls, has certainly proved a challenge. I wasn't exactly pacing the floors looking for a mini-bar a la Denzel Washington in Flight, but I did feel an apprehension that I hadn't before experienced when going out.
Homelessness services help more than 40,000 people each year to take steps towards leaving these problems behind, but budget cuts are putting the future of these projects in serious danger. Can we really afford to not help? We need to argue that an investment in helping someone who is homeless today to realise their potential tomorrow is one worth making...
If prostitution rates are to be brought down, and women made safer, the laws around prostitution must be changed. Even the "punters" themselves confessed during interviews for research conducted by Eaves that the most effective deterrents for them would be being added to the sex offender register, publicly identified, or time in prison.