Vince Cable has detailed what the government wants to do with our Royal Mail. For him in an ideal world the public will line up in droves to buy a few shares in the business they already own. In the real world that will not happen. Instead, major financial institutions such as pension funds will be encouraged to buy chunks of the business. The government estimates that the 60% of Royal Mail that they want to sell will be worth around £2.5billion. It's no small amount and of course those who speculate with large sums of cash will want to be assured that their investment will grow at a satisfactory rate.
It sounds strange to most people, but there are people out there who are seriously into their politics. I count myself as one of them. I cannot fail to be intrigued by the gladiatorial battles of the British political system. From the latest parliamentary skirmishes over the dispatch box to the clashes in the committee rooms over the fine points of legislation, I am hooked.
According to the BBC's programme information: "Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford want to discover how much benefit is enough to live on and if work is worth it." The experiment promises to bring both groups together an effort to 'learn' their stories. Except, there's one huge problem with this premise - it presupposes the idea that anyone unfortunate enough to be unemployed pays no taxes.
George Osborne may be right to boast that opposition to what he's doing is "crumbling", after Ed Balls agreed to work within the coalition's spending limits. The Chancellor would enjoy further clout after the IMF and OECD rallied behind his deficit reduction plan. But such groups have tended to be rather fickle in their support for the Chancellor. Osborne should beware relying on fairweather friends as justification for his economic agenda, as they can easily turn against him.
I was warned that I would get grumpy, but I hope that did not happen. I did get the sensation of being light headed - I almost felt drunk - in the mid-afternoon. For half an hour, I found concentration more difficult. But overall I did not feel hungry until about eight-thirty in the evening. Shaker Aamer told me the second day would be one of the hardest - that after day four things would get easier. We'll see...
Imagine the public uproar if you accepted a 10% increase a few weeks after a lot of you of you hear-heared in a 1% cap on public sector pay rises. Well fear not, public servants of Britain. I have come up with an innovative solution which will not only rescue you from this awkward quandary, it'll guarantee you re-election and it's essentially altruistic...
While 68,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses here every year, HIV/AIDS no longer needs to be a death sentence. I am in Malawi to see how the Department for International Development's support is making an impact on the ground and reviewing how British development aid can be made even more effective.
The NHS is not broken or clapped out, but nor am I naïve enough to think that it is it perfect everywhere. The real challenge is to drive excellence through the NHS, and that's what Government frankly should be seeking to achieve. Where local NHS services are substandard or failing, that is a betrayal of all the NHS stands for and I know this from my own local experience.
The whole point about the principle of universal human rights is that they apply to everyone - even to people that many of us find objectionable, such as the alleged terrorist orchestrator Abu Qatada... I oppose what Abu Qatada stands for and no doubt he does not share my values. However, even people I oppose have human rights. Our distaste for particular individuals should never be the basis or motive for changes in the law - least of all changes that diminish our hard-won collective liberties.
The current welfare system holds people back from getting into work and too often traps them on benefits. That has to change. That's why we are bringing in this fundamental reform. It's not just the maddening complexity of the current system - the uncertainties around whether it pays to work under the current rules have made stepping off benefits and into employment all too hard for many people.
This week Transparency International published research detailing public perceptions of corruption in the UK and the results are shocking. Sixty-seven per cent of people believe political parties are affected by corruption, 69% think the media has a corruption problem and 5% have themselves paid a bribe. For anyone interested in combating corruption the report cannot be ignored.