Newly released papers reveal a startling lack of unity in Government circles over how to respond to the 1982 Argentine invasion

Birthday party row hits Hong Kong chief

Plans to honour a senior political adviser in the former British colony have upset taxpayers, reports Stephen Vines

Arts: Shopping refugee creeps back to a warm welcome

Cheltenham Literary Festival sponsored by The Independent

The Tories: MPs get the blame for May election defeat

The Conservative rank-and-file savaged their MPs yesterday, blaming them for the May defeat. Anthony Bevins, Political Editor, says that the Blackpool debate considerably strengthens the hand of William Hague.

Cheltenham `97: Nostalgia is all the Raj

This year's festival looks back on Britain's imperial retreat from the colonies, which began over 50 years ago and heralded great changes for our national identity.

Major plans an emotional curtain-call

John Major will go to the Tories' Blackpool conference to back the new leader. Will that be useful? Yes, says Colin Brown: Mr Hague needs all the help he can get.

Eyes right for the best show of the party season

Poor Paddy. By rights, all eyes (forgive the seasonal exaggeration) should be turning to his conference sessions by the sea. It is hard, however, to escape the sense that the Liberal Democrats in Eastbourne just aren't where the action is. In spite of their electoral success in May, the Lib Dems lack bite. Tony Blair's assault on the centre has stolen many of their clothes, try though Mr Ashdown does on the page opposite to conceal the theft. Besides, if it is political fun we are after, our attention is drawn rightwards, Spainwards, SmithSquarewards. This week, whatever happens at the seaside, the main political chatter will be about the Tory party leadership.

Ballot fiasco could leave Hague floundering

William Hague's "back me or sack me" ballot on his leadership of the Tory Party is heading for a shambles, with an even less convincing endorsement than the devolution referendum in Wales.

Mandelson launches fresh attack on BBC

Labour's chief spin doctor Peter Mandelson has launched a fresh attack on BBC journalists in the wake of on-air clashes between him and broadcasters over claims that he had manipulated the media, writes Donald Mcintyre.

Whatever happened to... Radical magazines

War of Words

Ashdown enters fray over HK plot claims

Paddy Ashdown last night demanded an inquiry by a Commons select committee into allegations that Britain colluded with China in the hand-over of Hong Kong.

A final snipe at the last Governor goes wide of the mark

What has infuriated the FO mandarins is the light Dimbleby's book about Patten sheds on the secret negotiations in the 1980s

Letter: View of China

It is time for journalists to consider the US relationship with China in the late 1940s when the media and politicians were as one in proclaiming the Nationalists as the only viable government for China. The dissenting voices then, as now, were the sinologists in the State Department. Unfortunately their analysis that the Nationalists were corrupt went against the prevailing mood, their warnings were ignored and most saw their careers destroyed during the McCarthy era after being condemned as communist sympathisers.

Colonial echoes as Tung shuts out the people

Can it really be just a month since the installation of the new order in Hong Kong? The question arises because in this very short space of time a sea change has swept through the former colony's civil service which was forced kicking and screaming into a more open existence under the former Governor Chris Patten.


Chris Patten was Hong Kong's greatest Governor as well as its last one. Raymond Whitaker welcomes Jonathan Dimbleby's study of a decent, clever man

Envoys accused of HK betrayal

Pressure is growing for a parliamentary inquiry into charges that senior politicians and diplomats colluded with Peking to prevent the development of democratic government in Hong Kong. In the former colony, supporters of the new government are rubbing their hands with glee over the row in London.
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own