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 saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss