Steve Richards

Established as one of the most influential political commentators in the country, Steve Richards became The Independent’s chief political commentator in 2000 having been political editor of the New Statesman. He presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

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Obama and Cameron’s response to the nightmare of Iraq is an incoherent mess

But after all the mistakes of 2003, are our Western leaders right to be so hesitant?

Is Ed Miliband a natural born leader? Or could he become one?

Here are the qualities you need to be a top political leader

You must have a background in epic Westminster battles, and a nose for PR

Tony and Cherie Blair on the day he was elected

That parts of the Labour Party still love Blair so much ought to worry the ‘new’ leadership

They cheer for Blair because he is not Miliband, who they fear will lose in 2015

After the reshuffle, the Tory front bench is about to become more feminine

But it will take more than symbolism to win next election

I recall the rumours of child abuse in Westminster in the 1980s. They weren’t taken very seriously

Was there a paedophile ring at Westminster? Was there a cover-up? The terms “cover-up and “Westminster paedophile ring” are volcanic. Put them together and there is bound to be an almighty eruption, and a further terrible breakdown in trust between voters and those who were or are public figures.

The Houses of Parliament

Rumours of sexual misconduct can no longer be brushed beneath the carpet

As more light is shed on our recent past a common theme emerges

When he finally stood down in Luxembourg last year, he had spent 18 years in power, making him one of the longest-serving democratically elected leaders in the world

Nothing Cameron could have done would have changed outcome in Europe

And a referendum won’t make the issue go away

Dolly Parton has confirmed she will play Glastonbury 2014

David Blunkett and Ed Miliband could learn a lot from Dolly Parton

In politics the inexperienced rise to the top, and it shows

Tony Blair meeting troops in the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq in May, 2003

Of course Blair won’t say Iraq was a mistake

In following Bush he was only continuing the same strategy that got him elected

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Trojan Horse squabble masks a major flaw in Tory policy – how can we shrink the state and maintain standards?

If Gove seeks uniform standards he needs to establish a structure that provides them

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Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment