Book Review: Live from Downing Street, By Nick Robinson

Robinson splits his book into a history of politics and the media, from the “graphic and brutal caricatures” that Walpole had to fear, to the 14-day rule during the Second World War, and a personal account of his own part in how the news comes to us, as a political editor with the BBC.

Andy McSmith's Diary: The disgraced peer and his negligible £3,000 a month

Last month I noted that Lord Hanningfield, the former Tory leader of Essex Council, has edged a step further towards being an active member of the House of Lords by tabling a written question, his first since he appeared in court charged with fiddling his expenses in February 2010. This follows the tentative first step he took last month, by saying something during a committee meeting. He still has not contributed anything to any debate in the main House of Lords chamber.

British Army soldiers in Basra, southern Iraq, 2004

Transatlantic exchanges that helped take the West to war

In Sir John Chilcot’s diplomatic shorthand, they are the “difficult documents”. For the rest of us – those looking to brand Tony Blair and George Bush as war criminals, or those who believe the pair saved Iraq from the excesses of Saddam and the world from a potential WMD catastrophe – they are the communications that will reveal how close Washington and Whitehall were in the run-up to the 2003 war.

To Daily Mail opponents, one response remains

Paul Dacre dismissed those who marched on the Daily Mail's offices as “just 110 people”  - yet I would argue this is a reasonably significant body of people

Enemies of the the Daily Mail discover new strength in numbers

In standing up for his father’s reputation, Ed Miliband has set a new tone in relations between public figures and the most aggressive elements of the press.

Tory Conference Diary: When Boris Johnson gets a standing ovation, it’s because the party faithful actually mean it

The measure of Boris Johnson’s popularity among the Tory faithful is not that he gets a standing ovation at the start and finish of every speech – they do that for George Osborne too, out of respect – it is the way they scream as they applaud. He is the only politician who makes Tory activists behave like pubescent girls at a rock concert.

Labour Party Conference Diary: Is the party really so strapped for cash it needs Philip Morris's tobacco cash?

The Labour Party’s finances are perennially in a bad way and are fated to get worse as Ed Miliband alters the rules for union affiliation. The latest set of accounts shows that in 2012, the party did at least manage to live within its means. Income exceeded expenditure by £2.8 million, but was with trade unions affiliating to the tune of almost £8 million. How much of that will still come in when the party is collecting directly from union members rather than through their subs, we have yet to find out. Also, the party has debts exceeding £13 million, mainly a hangover from the last general election, a figure almost equal to its entire assets.

Labour leader Ed Miliband; former minister Chris Mullin

Ed Miliband urged to bring back ‘grown-ups’ to Labour front bench

Move could help counter claims made by ministers that economic crisis was caused by previous Labour government

Andy McSmith's Diary: Low-paid Commons staff a redemptive cause for Jim Sheridan

The Labour MP Jim Sheridan made a monumental ass of himself over press regulation, when he suggested that Parliament amend the decision made in 1803 to allow journalists onto the premises, to exclude those he does not like. However, to give the man credit, he is battling valiantly on behalf of Parliament's low paid staff, who are having their working week lengthened and their overtime and anti social hours payments cut.

Rupert Murdoch is under increasing pressure from campaigners to drop the Page 3 feature,which started in 1970

Is Rupert Murdoch about to cover up his Page 3 girls for good?

News Corp chief admits criticism that  feature is ‘so last century’ may be right

Poll: what was your favourite Twitter spat of 2012?

As Twitter releases a tranche of data looking at the trends and top tweets of the year, we've got an alternative list. What was your favourite spat?

Waking up to the real differences between Britain and America

Their politics is grander than ours, but also far more prone to fantasy and extremism

The Coalition’s £235m wages are robbery down on the farm

Our diarist notes that the minimum wage is a recent innovation; notes the value of family connections ahead of award ceremonies; and offers a spinning corrective

An Kum-Ae has a nibble on the gold medal that she won on the Judo floor

London 2012: North Korea provide early shock of the Olympic Games with growing medal haul

Even the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un doesn’t need to propagandise this one.

The former PM is said to be eager to return to domestic politics

Demonstrators disrupt Blair's comeback plan

Former PM forced to cancel address to Labour activists in London

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor