News Unspoken: Netmums’ Siobhan Freegard says child mental health is a taboo subject

Parents are often wide of the mark when it comes to their youngsters’ fears

Sean O'Grady: The banks are in the right

Maybe, just maybe, we have now reached the natural limits of the crass, facile consumerism that kicked off the 1970s with Esther Rantzen, heaven help us, as its vicar on Earth. We have, sadly, reached a point where a rigid dogma dominates the public's economic thinking – that big companies are always wrong, profits are always excessive, banks always greedy, and bosses always fat cats.

Matthew Norman: Online can be a bamboozling term

Reflecting on a week of unrelenting excitement even by his standards, an indelicate question poses itself about Rupert Murdoch. Is the old boy finally losing it?

Sharp rise reported in child abuse by women

The number of children reporting sexual abuse by women to ChildLine has more than doubled over the past five years, it was revealed today.

Action on Britain's epidemic of pill addiction

Peer to use House of Lords speech to reveal relative's addiction to prescription drug

Steve Richards: A fine example of how not to govern

The spat between Balls and Sheerman shows the danger of these half-hearted reforms

Survivors gather to pay tribute to 'British Schindler'

Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from the Nazis. Yesterday 22 of them returned to Prague to thank him

Terence Blacker: Politics has no place for these celebrities

The much-publicised campaign which encouraged members of the public to photograph MPs enjoying their holidays in some unexplained sleazy way has not been going terribly well. The campaign group behind MP Holiday Watch must have hoped that it would produce something at least faintly embarrassing – Eric Pickles in speedos perhaps, or Hazel Blears windsurfing – but so far there have been slim pickings: a couple of shots of Peter Mandelson in shorts, a rather desperate report that Alan Duncan was staying at a "luxury hotel" in Bali, and that's about it.

Esther Rantzen: You Ask The Questions

Esther Rantzen answers your questions, including: Why do you want to be an MP? And be honest: have you ever had plastic surgery?

Rantzen will stand as MP for Luton South

Broadcaster Esther Rantzen made a surprise visit to Luton yesterday to officially announce her decision to stand as an MP.

Rantzen bids to become MP

Esther Rantzen will bid to become MP for Luton South at the next General Election, she announced today.

Alan Watkins: This is a farce, but the timing is dire

If Labour is incapable of organising a reshuffle in a brewery, how is it ever to get rid of Gordon Brown?

Philip Hensher: English should not just be a subject for girls

I have often sat at the front of an undergraduate class in English literature and observed that the class is mainly, and sometimes overwhelmingly, female. Nobody apart from me ever seems to think this is at all odd. English literature as a subject, rather than a thing, has for years, and perhaps since its academic founding, been regarded as a female subject. And yet English literature as a thing, rather than a subject, is overwhelmingly written by men, and before the 19th century almost exclusively so.

Pandora: Esther wins her most important endorsement

Esther Rantzen may have the unyielding support of the 24-hour news brigade, but not everyone has been quite so easy to win over in her bid to stand as an independent MP.

Dry rot MP says: 'I did no wrong'

Margaret Moran, the Labour MP berated for her expenses claims, accused critics of hounding her out of her job after announcing she would stand down at the next election.

Leading article: Crimes, punishment and responding to public anger

The response to the MPs' expenses scandal has been perilously uneven
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'