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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Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...