Simon Carr

The Independent's parliamentary sketch writer and columnist since 2000, Simon Carr was described by Tony Blair as "the most vicious sketch writer working in Britain today". "Poison," said Charles Clarke. In the 1980s he helped launch The Independent, and was a speech writer for the prime minister of New Zealand from 1992 to 1994. His working principle is "Indignation keeps us young."

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The Sketch: Ed's role needs a rewrite – and recasting

A wild, warrior cry came out of the back of the chamber from the visitors' bench. Was it Meryl Streep researching her next political role? She's got Fiona Mactaggart off to a T. Looks, manner, voice like a screeching brake. "THAT'S NOT AN ANSWER!" she unleashed herself at Cameron from 50 feet, halfway through PMQs.

Sir Richard Branson gives evidence to the select committee

The Sketch: The war on drugs? There's no fight Branson can't win

He knows better than anyone the way to crush enterprise is to have them register for VAT

Simon Carr: It's transparent – the pay divide will not be bridged

Sketch: And what of Vince's plan to rein in executive pay? Transparency, exhortation and workers on the remuneration committees

He says: 'Yes, I am in a hurry. Whether it is too much, we will see.'

Michael Gove: Minister on a mission

From Bibles in schools to a new royal yacht, hardly a day seems to go by without the Education Secretary popping up with a new big idea. So what kind of a Conservative is he really?

The Sketch: An ambitious effort, but Tory leader could do with a kitten

If the main shareholder can't make a kitten out of a fatcat, how will the little-interested ones?

The Sketch: By jingo, 2012 is the year of true-blue bulldog spirit!

It's quite a Tory year coming up – what with the Queen's Jubilee, Boris's victory in the mayoral elections, Lord Coe's Olympics, the anniversary of the Falklands. Cameron seems to have lifted himself up an energy level to meet it. He's fizzing. He sometimes goes off in the wrong direction but his blast-area has doubled in size since the Opposition collapse.

The Sketch: Britain has a new supercop. Now all he needs is his mission

In a snapshot of modern policing, the new DG of the NCA (which replaces the SOCA and the NPIA) was in front of the HASC describing how the SRC would operate with the PP to interact with the PCCs.

The Sketch: Wily Salmond just loves to pick a good fight

Scots' separateness is obvious. Scottish MPs sit in a purpose-built building at blonde pine deskettes. They call each other by their first names. They clap to show approval. Horrible but it's the logical end of modernisation. Odd for a country which thrills to the memory of Bannockburn 700 years ago (the last time they won at home to the hated English).

The Sketch: Weary Miliband shows us all why nobody is taking him seriously

Everyone says it is too difficult to unseat a Labour leader. A stalking horse would be a start
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee