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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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US comedian Bill Mahr
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Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
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Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
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Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
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Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
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The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
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Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
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Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us