Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely is visiting professor in Public Ethics at the University of Chester and a senior research fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. He writes on ethical, political and cultural issues. He has a fortnightly column in the Independent on Sunday and also writes for the New York Times and the Church Times. His latest book is Pope Francis – Untying the Knots. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.

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Lost Boy Racer, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, review: An affectionate piece of mildly surreal distinctively Northern comedy

An uneven show but strong performances from all four principals in this celebration of cycling

Billy Liar, Royal Exchange, Manchester, theatre review: Yates gives tragicomedy classic revamp for Noughties generation

Pitch-perfect acting and comic timing from play that leans heavily on Northern stereotypes

History in the making: An unprecedented visit to Ise Jingu, Japan’s holiest shrine, to see it rebuilt under the beliefs of the Shinto religion

Japan’s holiest shrine is demolished and rebuilt every two decades in accordance with Shinto notions of death and renewal. In 2,000 years, no foreigner has witnessed the sacred ceremonies involved. Until now. The new openness is down to a remarkable resurgence in the ancient religion – and could benefit the whole world, Paul Vallely finds

Poor white school pupils consistently under perform

If something is wrong, do you dare say so?

My car stopped in traffic the other day by a bus stop at which a young mum sat, earphones in, checking her messages. Her toddler sat in a buggy, unable to see his mother, staring blankly at the road. On the car radio, some expert was talking about how many children were arriving at school with language difficulties because their parents no longer chat to them. Electronic gadgets, the radio voice intoned, may be to blame for a 70 per cent jump in speech problems in six years.

The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, seen at the Vatican this week, have much in common and are clearly not content to ‘agree to disagree’

Could the Archbishop and the Pope really reunify the Church?

In the week that Francis called for ‘full unity’, Paul Vallely asks whether he’s got a prayer

Returning hero: Former Royal Marine Joseph Kellsey, 91, in France on Friday

Looking for my Dad on the D-Day beaches

Would we rise to the challenge, as the Second World War's generation did? We'd struggle to identify a worthy cause
Salvador Dali

We need real sleep, not the laptop kind

Our age-old slumber patterns play a complex role in the body's productivity, and no drugs or machines can fill the gap
Lily Cole stars in The Last Days of Troy
The RSPCA, citing a 2012 Food Standards Agency report, estimates that 97 per cent of cattle, 96 per cent of poultry and 90 per cent of sheep slaughtered under halal procedures in British abattoirs are stunned before being killed

The halal hysteria is all about money, not morality

The hysteria over halal chicken has nothing to do with animal welfare. It's phoney outrage that tastes of Islamophobia

How to build a saint: Pope Francis is elevating two recent predecessors today - so what does it take to be canonised?

A life of virtue helps. And a miracle or two. Finally, though, the Vatican might be swayed by low politics. Paul Vallely explores the unheavenly business of sainthood
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003