house of lord
The National Health Service, so valued by the people of Britain, is being brought to its knees by the present government. It is only kept going by the skill, dedication and exceptionally hard work of its staff at every level.
At 8.30am on Saturday morning, most normal people are having a lie in, at work or busy with weekend chores. Not so the Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock, who his weekend took the opportunity to sneak out an announcement - with no consultation or prior warning - that in future, any charity in receipt of public money must not use it to influence government or Parliament.
Both Houses of Parliament exist to serve the people of the UK, yet it fell to the unelected peers, rather than the MPs who are directly accountable to their constituents, to stand up for people whose work helps the entire country to operate and succeed.
Earlier this week, in response to a question in the Lords from my colleague Larry Whitty, Lord Lawson urged the government to rethink the UK's approach to climate change, and to back away from what he called "unilateral masochism". It is wrong to assume that our approach to tackling climate change is any kind of masochism, let alone unilateral.
The reality is that the government have put their fingers in their ears, refused to listen to the clamour from across civil society and are ploughing on regardless. Their gag is a deliberate and cynical attempt to insulate their record and policies from legitimate, democratic criticism in the run up to an election.
The House of Lords debated the government bill on gay marriage and came out with an overwhelming majority. Brilliant. Well done men in robes and we all go home? Not quite. As I listened to Lord Dear spew out his old-fashioned views on what marriage is. I thought to myself... why is this person having any say on and a potential threat to legislation? My annoyance with Lord Dear's statements is that they represent an archaic notion of the sanctity of marriage that is delusional at best and at worst misleading and fuel for the fire of homophobic rhetoric.