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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
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Can scientists save our sea life?

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Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice