Mark Oaten

When Neville Thurlbeck turned up on my doorstep to shatter my world, I would never have imagined that ten years later I would agree to review his book Tabloid Secrets. But time moves on and I was fascinated to get an insight into what makes a tabloid tick.
The people who hacked my phone and appeared outside my house a cold January morning over eight years ago, bringing my career and life as I knew it to a end, are now all in jail. And with the latest phone hacking scandal, I should feel the wheel has turned; perhaps a sense of revenge or justice.
Clearly something that's high on everyone's agenda especially ours is the subject of animal welfare. We are working tirelessly to ensure the highest possible standards. It's easy to pull out isolated examples to condemn the whole industry in one fell swoop but this overly-simplifies the debate.
When President Clinton's advisor James Carville famously summed the presidential election up as "It's the economy, stupid," he spoke for generations of politicians who have known that elections are won and lost on the basis of voters' pockets and purses. As the long run up starts to the next UK election, that phrase has never held more significance.
From this week onwards, a weird annual British tradition begins which involves the UK political establishment dragging itself to grey conference buildings across the country to face near-empty halls, drab bed and breakfasts and wall-to-wall gatherings of party activists - it's a politician's worst nightmare and it all takes place under the glare of the public eye with lobby correspondents hiding in every corner.
Brussels is as I write, still more tourist than Eurocrat as the political institutions take their summer break though they will be back to work imminently. Reflecting on where we were eighteen months ago, I believe the Commission and Institutes have a great deal to be proud about.
Empathy is an absolutely crucial part of the political picture. Take the Coalition's spending cuts. It's easy to see a policy in terms of numbers and strategies. It isn't until you seem the damage they have wrought up close that the human element begins to loom into focus.
A few years ago former Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman and one-time party leadership contender Mark Oaten, then a rising political star, was mired in a sex scandal. I hope Mr Oaten will forgive me retelling his story here, after all it no doubt remains a source of regret and he has admirably moved on with his life and career