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Letters: Balmoral embarrassment

The Balmoral embarrassment highlights the sins of the mighty

Slump in housebuilding since start of year

Government plans for meeting the national housing shortage with the construction of 240,000 homes each year until 2016 were dealt another blow yesterday by figures showing a construction slump in the first three months of the year.

Leading article: The good, the bad and the gimmicky

The new proposals announced by the Prime Minister yesterday in the Government's draft Queen's Speech were the usual New Labour-style mix of the good, the bad and the gimmicky. One of the good ideas was reform of banking regulations. The run on Northern Rock last autumn demonstrated the pressing need for more solid guarantees of ordinary depositors' savings to mitigate outbreaks of panic in the retail banking sector.

Janet Street-Porter: We're ready to rise up against eco-towns

Without being cruel, it's a worry that the Housing minister, Caroline Flint – the woman put in charge of dumping 10 new eco-towns all over rural England – can't even sort out her notes for a Cabinet meeting so they aren't visible to the press.

The spectre of 'stagflation'

It was the curse of the 1970s – rampant inflation and stagnant economic growth. Now there are fears that Britain could once again be haunted by the spectre of 'stagflation'

Brown offers debt advice and affordable housing

The Prime Minister is planning to extend shared equity schemes to make home-owning more affordable for first-time buyers as part of a range of measures aimed at helping those hit by the credit crunch.

Construction slump wrecks plan to boost supply of new homes

The Government's plans to ease the UK's housing shortage by building some two million new homes by 2016 were close to collapse last night, as official figures revealed that private and public housing starts slumped in the first quarter of this year.

Terence Blacker: Weren't computers meant to liberate us?

Of the publication of silly surveys there is no end. To help us make sense of an increasingly frantic and fragmented world, publicity-minded academics and marketing experts eagerly supply a daily diet of research documents and studies, usually with some statistics to lend an air of fake seriousness to the whole thing. They rarely amount to anything more than one of those mildly interesting, well-I-never stories on a quiet news day.

Darling embarrassed as Northern Rock fails to pass on rate cut

Gordon Brown sought yesterday to convince voters he is not out of touch and that he understands their anxiety about the gathering economic gloom.

The Sketch: Gordon brings no respect to Parliament with gimmicks

At the end of the year's second term, let's consider whether Gordon Brown's promises to give greater respect, weight, significance to Parliament have delivered.

Plan to build 'green' homes on pristine downland rejected

A bid by a giant insurance company to build a controversial "ecotown" in unspoilt Hampshire countryside has failed.

Johann Hari: I like to be informed – but TV's not helping

It's easy to forget as we bullet down the information super-highway, but 67 per cent of British people still get "most" or "all" of their news from the old-fangled flashing box in the corner of the living room. (And kitchen, and bedroom, and kids' bedrooms, and... hey! Put down the remote and listen to me.) But something sad is happening on that box. Politics – the democratic debate that determines our fate – is slowly, steadily disappearing, or being rendered ever-more useless. Where the top-ranking politics shows used to be, there is now a message: We're sorry if your picture has been disrupted. Normal service will not resume, ever.

Editor-At-Large: Women are rarely welcome in the police chaps' club

Machismo is still the norm in the force, as Michael Todd's case shows. Even in trouble, he was still 'one of the boys'

Janet Street-Porter: But would you want to live in an eco-town?

Soon the majority of the world's population will be living in towns and cities rather than the countryside, according to a new United Nations report.

Britain's year zero: UK to leap from 'laggard to leader' on carbon dioxide emissions

All new buildings will have to be pollution free, according to a government target to be unveiled this week. As only a handful fit the bill today, there's a long way to go. Geoffrey Lean reports
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A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory