The apparently simple job of replacing the Clerk of the Commons is rapidly descending into farce.

Remember the candidates aren’t a load of MPs with precisely no employment rights – no, the names in frames for the clerkship or any other permutation of jobs that emerges from the chaos are real people with ready access to employment tribunals and litigation specialists.

I fear the lawyers will be sharpening their pencils over this mess and I do so hope it does not end up costing the public purse.

The PM is right to insist that we should be reducing the cost of politics, not blundering into what appears to be a completely avoidable minefield.

When the dust has settled and we have a full appreciation of what has happened and the cost, MPs will be duty bound to ensure that if any of their number has erred he is properly and proportionately held accountable in the same way as would happen in any other large organisation.

I have been troubled by the handling of Ashya King’s parents.

It seems to me the nanny state kicked off far too soon and these poor people have been subjected to a most heavy-handed approach by authorities in the UK and Spain.

Meanwhile in Rotherham, state agencies have clearly serially failed people who have suffered from the most appalling abuse.

Why did the authorities choose to ignore the complaints of the victims?

Now, I’m a career-long public servant, but I’m worried about the power of the state which appears to have been misused in both of these examples.

At first glance, they have little in common, but look again. The remedy is a small state with big citizens, a vision that has long coloured my personal political philosophy.

UKIP boasts it’s been wining and dining Conservative MPs.

Well, I won’t be sharing a pint with Nigel.

If Mr Farage genuinely wants an in-out referendum, why is he working against one by competing for votes with the only party capable of delivering it?