Billy Bragg

Diary: Paul Hewson for PM

While Blair was long convinced that Brown would be a poor prime minister, he seems to have no such compunction about recommending Bono for a similar role. The U2 frontman, Blair writes (on page 555), "could have been a president or prime minister standing on his head. He had an absolutely natural gift for politicking, was great with people, very smart and an inspirational speaker... motivated by an abundant desire to keep on improving, never really content or relaxed. I knew he would work with George [W Bush] well, and with none of the prissy disdain of most of his ilk". Bono's nationality (not to say his tax arrangements) would preclude him from leading a British political party. One assumes he would also have to revert to his real name, Paul Hewson, to be taken seriously in high office. But familiarity with the world of finance would surely qualify him for leadership in Ireland: his investment fund, Elevation Partners, has been described as "arguably the worst run institutional fund of any size in the United States".

Free radical: Why it’s showtime for Billy Bragg

Has Billy Bragg mellowed since the miners' strike and Red Wedge? Not likely. And now he is taking on his most important challenge: making his stage debut to battle the BNP for the hearts and minds of Barking

Unforgiven? The rehabilitation of Mrs T

This week’s dramatisation of the fall of Margaret Thatcher shows her as a more human figure than often supposed. As the Iron Lady is re-evaluated on TV, we asked some of those who were prominent in the 1980s how they regard her now

Julian Cope: 'It's time for war'

He believes democracy is overrated and doesn't think much of Barack Obama. On the eve of his new album, Julian Cope preaches insurrection to Eddi Fiegel

Pandora: Fern's new stay-slim shocker

The row over Fern Britton's dramatic weight loss just keeps on rumbling. Yesterday the This Morning presenter was accused of deliberately misleading the public when a Sunday newspaper revealed that, despite repeated denials, she had undergone gastric banding back in 2006.

Meet the folkers

Chris T-T and Frank Turner combine punk attitudes with the essence of folk