The Week in Review

THE TREASURY, guardian of the nation's purse strings and scourge of overspending departments, was adamant. The minister in the spotlight had bought three bottles of wine and not champagne and cigarettes.

The Public Sector Borrowing Requirement may be about to soar to pounds 44bn and the pound have nose-dived ignominiously out of the exchange rate mechanism, but the Treasury was in control on this one. It produced Norman Lamont's till receipt for pounds 17.47.

For Mr Lamont, Chancellor of the Exchequer a few days must have seemed like an eternity. His misfortunes began the previous week when it was revealed that he had not paid his Access card bill and was over his credit limit. One of the Access receipts was from a Threshers off-licence and when a shop assistant claimed that the non-smoking Chancellor had bought champagne and cigarettes in a seedy area of London, press curiosity grew. No sooner had the controversy fizzled out with the publication in every national newspaper of Mr Lamont's receipt than the Chancellor was involved in another row.

It emerged that the Treasury had paid pounds 4,000 towards a pounds 23,000 legal bill he had incurred evicting a tenant from his private home.

The fact that the tenant was a lady 'sex therapist' who had already featured prominently in the press at the time of her removal only added to the story. Whitehall did what it always does at such tricky times and announced an inquiry.

Details of the council tax, a product of earlier Government disasters over the poll tax, were announced on Tuesday. Predictably, many people, particularly those in London and south-eastern England, were very angry about what they will pay.

The Government however is hoping that fewer people will be cross about the council tax than about the poll tax, despite cries about 'chaos and injustice' from the Labour Party. If the grumpiness level proves controllable, the new levy should survive.

Bank customers are certainly feeling extremely grumpy and on Wednesday Laurence Shurman, the Banking Ombudsman, reported a 60 per cent increase in complaints. Bank charges and interest were the chief causes of consumer rage.

The findings of the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles were also announced on Wednesday. After interviewing 18,000 people it came up with the unsurprising conclusion that those with more money and greater opportunities have more sexual partners. It also discovered that in every age group far more men than women claimed to have had more than 10 sexual partners. This is final proof that men are bigger liars when it comes to talking about sex.

Both the Sun and the Daily Mirror have decided that Christmas comes very early indeed.

Both published full lists of television programmes over the festive period and, no doubt by an extraordinary coincidence, both did so yesterday.

Sadly the IRA, its mentality growing ever more twisted with the passing years, has also decided that Christmas comes early.

After failing to set off a massive car bomb in London on Tuesday it exploded two devices in Manchester's main shopping area on Thursday, injuring 64 people.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

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
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
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