Thoughts & things I've written
Being gay in Britain has got easier over the last ten years, but when you still get shouted at in the street, or worse, it's hard to hear people say that coming out doesn't - or shouldn't - matter anymore. With World Mental Health Day and National Coming Out Day following each other, we are reminded there is still so much to do.
News headlines have again been dominated by another young Briton being killed fighting for ISIS in Syria. Yet, the Labour Party has been utterly silent on the challenges our country faces when it comes to terrorism. It's time for Labour to find a voice and lead on the very real challenge of security and radicalisation.
I joined the Labour Party because I believe in the power of progress and the fight for fairness and justice for all. But after nine years, I just can't in all consciousness be part of a party that now walks by on the other side. Labour has lost its way and when it comes down to it I'd rather be a movement of one than in a cult of hate.
The BBC, creaking under the weight of historic scandals and a changing political landscape, faces uncharted waters in the year ahead. To make itself relevant in the modern era, the Corporation requires a new trademark. Hosting Eurovision could fit the bill.
No matter who wins the Labour leadership, the party is likely to lose the next election. To start the long journey back to power, New Labour must be left behind - but consigning the party to five years of the far left risks alienating the public for good. People are kidding themselves if they think Jeremy Corbyn is the answer to what the country demands.
Eurovision's 60th anniversary show portrayed the contest as a Western affair full of glitz and glam. But it failed to account for the contribution of those countries across the continent - from the Balkans to the Baltics - who were responsible for one of the biggest shifts in the shows history. It wasn't just disappointing, but disrespectful.
It's the 2015 General Election and the parties have parked up their personality focused, divisional and anger-driven wagon right outside your front door. Conservative Cameron lines up against Red Ed - but Labour looks set to come up short. Across the pond there is a model for how to win emerging - but it looks too late for the British left.
Mitt Romney may have lost the last presidential election in the USA, but when politicians and politics across the globe continues to seem so far removed from people's everyday lives, don't rule out someone picking up a similar mantle and message in the future. The Governor's life experience lays out a model to go the whole way.
Britain's leading parties seem keener to blame voters, than look in the mirror as to where our politics is going wrong. Promising ever more easy answers, our current crop of politicians should move aside for a fresher, more optimistic, creative, honest and far more capable generation, before it's too late.
Bashar al-Assad remains in control of Syria three years into an uprising that should have seen the back of this viscous dictator. But the failure of the West has left over 200,000 dead and counting. There are no easy options, but sitting on the sidelines is twisted logic. Britain and the world must lead, or others will for us.
Having watched a speech by Ed Miliband this afternoon, all I can tell you is our politics is completely and utterly broke. Here was a middle-aged, straight, white, Oxford educated, millionaire man telling us how he, despite the odds, can be and should be elected Prime Minister. It was embarrassing, awkward and ludicrous.
Nigel Farage is not a solution to the problems Britain faces - he is the symptom. The total lack of ideas of how to deal with these challenges means his stock is growing - and now, it seems people want to find any excuse to say he didn't win. He did, and he will again, and it will be the country that will be the casualty of such complacency.
Let's be honest, Grindr gets a bad rep because it's for gay men. Similar apps, with just as much sex, aren't seen as 'seedy' because they're for straight people. Grindr and apps like it are not to blame for the downfall of modern society - and it's time we talked more openly about sex. It might seem awkward, but it doesn't have to be.
An ageing idea of education being pushed down from a city elite in Westminster is having disastrous results on the ground. In Norfolk there is now a crisis that is leaving young people, parents and carers with little hope that things can change for the better. We need a better vision for the future - one that understands rural issues and meets the needs of communities all across the country.
Finding out that your identity has been used to groom people is frightening and strange - but this has been the last four months of my life where someone stole my pictures and posed as me to try and talk with underage girls. Expecting the system to help, from Facebook to the police it's been nothing but a nightmare.
At Eurovision this year Austria will be represented by a drag act with a beard and my god are some people angry about it. With a big Bond style ballad in tow - regardless of what happens in Copenhagen, Conchita is a star. This is hands down one of the best things to come from Eurovision for years - and this entry is absolutely getting my twelve points.
Next year will be the 60th anniversary of Eurovision - but the BBC has lost its way. It's time for the UK to make its mind up and decide what it wants to be in the contest for. Eurovision is becoming a powerhouse for European music and Britain is being left behind.
When coming out is still so difficult we have to stop minimising it and pretending it doesn't matter. Until people finally feel empowered to come out about who they love then let's please remember what it means to be a community & let love win the day.
Philipp Lahm, no stranger to controversy, today said players should 'keep their lives off the pitch' - but the simple fact is that is a piss poor way to deal with homophobia in football. We have to get past the idea that in a football stadium full of typical blokes, that a typical bloke can't be gay. Lahm is wrong - and we need more than empty words.
At a defining moment, this generation will be defined and shaped by its idols and role models. But a story of do-it-yourself individualism is rewriting history and redefining success. To have any hope of building a more progressive future - we have to ask a generation to speak with authenticity and share the real story of their journey and luck.
We need to understand that the crisis in our media and society is part of an ever growing problem where we are too often powerless other than to complain. Preaching responsibility won't fix this - we need more power.
In Durban tomorrow the IOC will announce the host city of the 2018 Winter Games - Korea line up the favourites having been beaten by Putin's Russia four years ago, and Canada before that, but with Tokyo launching its own 2020 bid in the final stages of this race, many think it may not be third time lucky for PyeongChang.
Despite winning Eurovision in Düsseldorf, Azerbaijan can hardly claim to be up there amongst the contest greats. The oil-rich nation won because professional juries propelled Italy within touching distance of victory. The EBU now need to justify the jury.
Germany's victory in last years Eurovision should put to bed the idea that politics always wins. Current, modern and commercial, Lena has redefined the contest and shown that traditional Western nations can win - not just the Scandinavians. With some 40,000 people heading to Dusseldorf, expect one hell of a show.
The BBC cannot afford to win the Eurovision Song Contest in Germany - but we cannot go on much longer without a decent result. Send a respectable artist and risk success – send an unknown and risk another embarrassment. Don’t expect Gary Barlow – but don’t expect Wagner either. The BBC need to do something different in Dusseldorf.
Mike Stock - a world famous songwriter - is writing this year's Eurovision entry for the UK. It's awful. And to make matters worse he's decided to respond to criticism by saying "oh well.. it's only Eurovision". With a couple of months to go, and angering fans on the way, the BBC is turning Britain into a laughing stock on the way to last place.
The BBC gave up on the Paralympics in Vancouver because it lost the rights to the 2012 games to Channel 4. Paralympic athletes and the British people deserved better from its national broadcaster and the Corporation's cheap excuses just don't add up when Paralympic sport is growing all over the world.