Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man.
For families across the UK who are income-poor, but more than that, whose lives are blighted by worklessness, educational failure, family breakdown, problem debt and poor health, as well as other problems, giving them an extra pound – say through increased benefits – will not address the reason they find themselves in difficulty in the first place.
A system that was originally designed to support the poorest in society is now trapping them in the very condition it was supposed to alleviate.
My personal view is always I’m in favour of anything that gives parliament a greater say. That’s after all what we were elected for.
When families are strong and stable, so are children – showing higher levels of wellbeing and more positive outcomes. But when things go wrong – either through family breakdown or a damaged parental relationship – the impact on a child’s later life can be devastating.
If Britain is to have a stable, affordable pension system, people need to work longer, but we will reward their hard work with a decent state pension that will enable them to enjoy quality of life in their retirement.
We have to challenge the whole idea that it’s acceptable for a society like Britain to have such a significant number of people who do not work one day of the week and don’t have any possibility of improving the quality of their lives.
If you look at the footballers, you look at our celebrity culture, we seem to be saying, ‘This is the way you want to be’. We seem to be a society that celebrates all the wrong people.
All I can say to the others is, ‘Look out, we’re on our way.
The public thinks that homelessness is about not having any accommodation to go to.
In many ways Scotland will benefit more than other parts of the UK when universal credit comes in. A larger percentage of people will see an increase in their income through moving into work or taking on more hours.
The future of Conservatism lies in our beliefs and values, not by throwing them away. We need to shed associations that bind us to past failures, but hold faith with those things that make us Conservatives.
Kids are meant to believe that their stepping stone to massive money is ‘The X Factor.’ Luck is great, but most of life is hard work. We do not celebrate people who have made success out of serious hard work.
The financial costs of family breakdown are incredibly high.
I hate this argument that says little Britain or something outside, or Britain is part of a wider Europe. We can both be within our trading relationships within Europe but we can also be a fantastic global trader.
What we want to do is reform the welfare system in the way that Tony Blair talked about 13 years ago but never achieved – a system that was created for the days after the Second World War. That prize is now I think achievable.
You cannot stop what the public want. The public want two strong women in the final round and then a woman prime minister and I’m absolutely with that.
Work is transformative. It gives you a greater chance of a greater income. You can affect your life while you’re of working age, so you have scope and opportunity. Pensioners do not.
Over the years the political establishment has frowned if a mainstream politician mentions marriage.
Gang members have invariably grown up in broken, chaotic homes, often experiencing domestic violence; they have truanted from school and many have been formally excluded; and they live in neighbourhoods where worklessness, addiction and crime are rife.
I went up to the top of the career ladder and I came down again, I am past all that.
After years of piecemeal reform the current welfare system is complex and unfair.
In Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool there are white gangs that share the same backgrounds – they come from broken homes, completely dysfunctional, mums for the most part unable to cope, the fathers of these kids completely not in the scene.
Even as our economy starts to pick up, and new jobs are created, there is a risk that young people in Britain won’t get the chances they deserve because businesses will continue to look elsewhere.
That thing, ‘You must stay together for the kids,’ is out of fashion but is right. It’s not arguing parents that children don’t like, it is having one parent.