Last week, I completed six years as a trustee and board member of navca - the National Association for Voluntary Community
The history of nepotism probably began fifteen seconds after the first man gained a position of power. It's a deeply uncomfortable word, personifying both the best and worst of humanity. It captures a deep seated desire to improve the lot of those we hold dearest, which manifests itself in taking advantage of position, power and privilege.
Localism, devolution and decentralisation are currently key buzz words right across Whitehall and town halls throughout the country. Now whilst it is very important that these words evolve into effective policy (and do so for places beyond the major cities and city regions), it is, in my view, equally important that the move upwards to local government does not stop at the town or county hall but extends even further, up to communities and neighbourhoods.
So far during this election campaign, debates on issues like the economy, the NHS or immigration have been impossible to avoid. In contrast, practically everyone has ignored a pledge buried back on the 64th page of the Labour Party's manifesto, given little more than a paragraph, which could have major implications for the future of democracy in Britain.
In return for so little power we elect a small group of people who often have no expertise in government to run a country. In no other field of endeavour would we allow someone with no experience to take control of something so important.
I think being a locally focused MP is almost like cabinet career suicide. Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone in the cabinet now or in the shadow cabinet whom are there purely to represent their local constituents.
If voters in Scotland choose independence, we will collectively face unprecedented constitutional upheaval. But even if Scots decide to stay in the Union, things cannot simply return to the status quo ante.
2013 was the year Pope Benedict XVI took the unusual decision of resigning from his post, much to the surprise of those who had followed his works across the world. This year, our own defender of the faith is also resigning - to an extent...
A jolt of energy needs to be administered to our comatose national politics, faltering on life support. Let's demand better involvement and better politicians. It's time to create a better politics.
David Cameron has been accused of mounting a "shabby" partisan attack on the Labour Party in the wake of the recent lobbying