Arts and Entertainment It began here: Oliver Stone's series gives an account of US foreign policy since 1945

Unsure of global politics since the war? Don't worry, Oliver Stone has it all sewn up

Video: Neil: 'Murdoch negotiates like an Italian'

Broadcaster Andrew Neil on Jeremy Hunt's decision to allow Rupert Murdoch to buy BSkyB.

Shapcott's Costa prize is a surprise victory for poetry

The candid and dark poetry of Jo Shapcott, which draws on the poet's recent battle with cancer, has walked away as the surprise winner of this year's Costa Book of the Year.

Birmingham Diary: 'Transparent' Tories silent over falling membership

"We're bringing transparency to government," David Cameron said yesterday. Maybe. But the Conservatives are certainly not being transparent about the health of their own party. There has been no confirmation or denial of the interesting claim by the editor of the ConservativeHome website, Tim Montgomerie, that party membership has declined by 80,000 under David Cameron's leadership.

Shappi Khorsandi, Greenwich Comedy Festival, London

"The great thing about playing this festival is that there's music to fill any awkward silences," says Shappi Khorsandi of the jazz pleasantly leaking from an adjacent tented venue. Khorsandi, however, is not one for leaving silences; she's ever effervescent and with all the more reason to be these days, thanks to a growing audience, in part swelled by TV appearances that range from Friday Night with Jonathan Ross to Question Time.

If the cap fits, wear it. But not if your name is William Hague

The Foreign Secretary has never got over his fashion faux pas as Tory leader. So why repeat the crime?

Matthew Norman's Diary: 'Blinky' Balls does the business on Cable

Anyone with a heart during Thursday's Question Time on BBC1 will have found themselves toying with the remote, pondering whether the act of watching constituted an intrusion into private grief. The post-Budget agony manifested by Vince Cable was better suited to a renaissance painting of Christ on the cross than a chat with David Dimbleby.

Matthew Norman: Liz Jones, poster girl for Big Society

In the most startling reinvention this industry has known in decades, the Daily Mail shrugs off its reactionary stereotype to host an intriguingly hybrid social experiment. The pit canary here is the magnificently prolific Liz Jones, who single-handedly spearheads two major breakthroughs – the first recorded case of Mr Cameron's Big Society in action, and the inaugural deployment of a newspaper column as care in the community. As many of you will know, Liz likes to keep the readership minutely informed of life, latterly dwelling on the £150,000 debt she says has depressed her even more than her rejection by the Somerset neighbours who took mystifying umbrage at being depicted as toothless imbeciles. "Being in debt," wrote Liz, "is worse than anything I have experienced." Given what Liz has experienced – and short of alien abduction, bless her, what has she not? – that's going some. "When you have no money people assume it's because you are lazy or profligate." The rank injustice. The very idea that a woman who spent £26,000 on a bat sanctuary, and lavishes more than £1,000 a year on mineral water, tends towards the wasteful!

Matthew Freud takes over literary agency

The name of Peters Fraser & Dunlop, one of Britain's oldest literary agencies, is set to disappear after the company was taken over by the public relations executive Matthew Freud and agent Michael Foster.

Matthew Norman: The Adam and Alastair show

Media Diary

Joan Smith: In the studio, in the House... where are all the women?

Was it a virus? Something weirdly gender-specific that incapacitated women for the duration of the election campaign? Day after day I turned on the television to find men interviewing men, men arguing with men, and men sitting on panels with men.

The Sketch: He's the Eurocrat son of a banker, so how can he play the outsider?

Yesterday, at The Tories' morning press conference... there wasn't a Tory press conference yesterday. This is so clever they'll be talking about it in a decade. What were the Conservatives doing, withdrawing from the campaign at a moment of existential threat? "Ah," a wise strategist will say (probably Oliver Letwin, on the brink of retirement), "It's too early to tell."

'Spectator' editor vows not to soil his hands with politics

In his first interview, Fraser Nelson tells Matthew Bell his Tory weekly is also a journal of arts and manners

Deborah Ross: 'The big news from the catwalks is that sometimes bags are large and sometimes they are not so large'

If you ask me, now that the London, Milan, Paris and New York fashion shows are over, you need someone to distil all the latest trends for you and, although I didn't initially think I was the right person for that, I took myself aside and told myself not to be so silly. It's a good job I was around, actually, as no one else would have taken the time and trouble.

Piers smooths the way for 'gauche' Gordon

Piers Morgan's Life Stories, ITV1
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The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower