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Aidan Burley, the Tory MP who bought a Nazi uniform for a friend to wear at a stag party, is presumably relieved by the conclusions of a report by Lord Gold, a Tory peer who was asked by the party to look into the affair. He concluded Mr Burley “is not a bad man, still less a racist or an anti-Semite” but he is stupid.

Budget `97: Who is the man in the iron mask?

Dour child of the manse, Casanova, party in-fighter ... John Rentoul searches for the real Gordon Brown

Election '97: Why the politicians worry about 'Today'

Nine minutes past eight yesterday morning and in the Today programme studio Gordon Brown is worried. And he's not even there.

Election '97: Kings of spin fight for total control

At 8.17am yesterday, the Treasury minister Michael Jack was tackling tough questions on Radio Four's Today programme over his party's tax plans.

City jitters over Labour tax plans

The City fears that Labour may be forced to raise company taxes in a move that could leave businesses and pension funds around pounds 12bn a year worse off and prompt a stock market sell-off.

Knives out for Brown's chief spin doctor

The knives were out for Gordon Brown's chief spin doctor last night after a series of negative briefings against other members of the Shadow Cabinet.

Labour bashes `bloated' Beeb

The BBC and Tony Blair's office were embroiled in an argument yesterday over Labour claims that the corporation was a bloated, overstaffed "Auntie's army".

Bitter lessons ... advantage Cliff ... I buy a guardian

Bonjour! Wilkommen! It has been brought to the Captain's attention that, according to a survey conducted by that estimable body, The Brewers' and Licensed Retailers' Association, many foreign visitors have trouble with the "subtle social rules" that govern correct behaviour in our pubs. This is an area where, happily, I have considerable expertise. Just follow the Captain's instructions and you cannot go wrong. 1) Getting served. This is not a formality. It is a fierce contest with the other customers. Remember, too, that bar staff are trained not to catch your eye, so waving money or smiling is absolutely no use. Subtlety is required. My opening gambit, developed over many years, has yet to fail me: "What ho, Landlord! A pint of cooking for me, please, and whatever you and your charming daughter are having! What? She's your wife? I don't believe it!" 2) Conversation. The saloon is not the salon. Never look at the other person. Stare into your drink or at the middle distance. If addressed, you need only two responses: a) "You're not wrong there" b) "Myself, I blame the Government". As a general rule, you should avoid initiating conversation, but if you must, I have always found this a safe and suitable opener: "Warm enough for you?" 3) Miscellaneous tips: be very wary of men in cravats, men with road maps sticking out of their pockets, women sitting with their legs crossed on bar stools with drinks with cherries in, and pickled eggs.

Will the screeching doctors win with spin?

Paul Routledge lays bare the dark arts of political news manipulation

Motor Racing: Slim pickings in truck paradise: Rob Steen reports from Brands Hatch on the British Truck Grand Prix qualifiers

JUDGING by the plethora of stetsons and CB radio types milling around, you half expected to bump into Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette at Brands Hatch yesterday. Officially, the reason for the gathering was the qualifying rounds for the British Truck Grand Prix. The atmosphere, though, was more redolent of a Country 'n' Western festival, Americana incarnate. A gleaming red Peterbilt truck - complete with obligatory Dixie flag - was the main focus of attention on the concourse. The Grand Marshall, moreover, was none other than that C W McCall of Coronation Street, John St Ryan, aka Bet Gilroy's boyfriend Charlie Whelan. It seemed only right and proper that one of the races should have been won by a chap named Slim.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee