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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape