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Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

Anthony Hilton: Pompous and smug, Davos has lost the plot

My Week We can expect the papers next week to be filled with musings from Davos, where the business and political elite are about to have their annual shindig in the Alps, so it was particularly satisfying on Thursday to record a piece for National Public Radio in the United States on why the whole gathering had long since lost the plot.

Ed Miliband says he can save the middle class

Ed Miliband says a Labour government would champion the 'anxious middle classes'

Party strategists know they cannot rely on the 'cost of living crisis' to carry them to victory in next year's general election

A small triumph for democracy

Defence procurement has been one of the biggest machines for wasting money

MP John Hemming has been suspended from Mumsnet after he posted a transcript of Italian court proceedings which identified some of the protagonists in the case

MP John Hemming suspended from Mumsnet after flouting anonymity guidelines

It might be regarded as a happy hunting ground for the crucial female votes of Middle England but Mumsnet has again proved it can be a jungle for politicians hoping to reach out beyond the confines of Westminster.

Ed Miliband has been warned the party cannot expect to win on the basis that cuts will continue to make the Coalition unpopular

Blair ally Patrick Diamond tells Ed Miliband: cost of living will not win Labour the 2015 election

There is a common belief Labour can somehow coast to victory

Informa returns to the UK after fleeing from Gordon Brown

Informa has announced plans to move its tax domicile back to Britain after five years in Switzerland — news that will help Chancellor George Osborne’s efforts to make the UK more tax-friendly.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Nadine Dorries reveals humiliation pays, but not as much as we thought it did

More than a year after Nadine Dorries appeared on the reality show I’m a Celebrity… she has finally done what MPs are required to do, and filled in the appropriate part of the Register of Members’ Interests. Thus we learn that being humiliated in the jungle is less lucrative than we thought. According to the Register, she was paid £6,960 while she was on the show, plus £13,268 two months later for associated interviews and photo shoots, making £20,228 in all – half what the pundits guessed she had received.

The Confessions of Gordon Brown is at the White Bear Theatre

Cadres of expert advisers are about to be introduced to Whitehall: It's about time

To the public this is no more than an SW1 issue, to the Whitehall mandarins it represents an earthquake

Andy McSmith's Diary: Defenders of the vulnerable - salute the Commons’ dullest committee

In an obscure corner of the parliamentary process sits a committee called the Statutory Instruments Joint Committee.

Hamish McRae: We created a climate where the poor just got poorer – ain't that a shame?

Ecnomic View: Those in power etween 2000 and 2008 should see what their policies did to living standards

Lord O'Donnell: I warned Gordon Brown not to take Damian McBride to Downing Street from the Treasury

Former Cabinet Secretary says McBride had 'gone off the territory' even as a civil servant

Rogue male: Damian McBride was ‘a law unto himself’ according to Ed Balls

'Ed Miliband copied into smears emails...': Damian McBride's memoirs suggest Labour leader could be 'embarrassed' by Derek Draper correspondence

Ed Miliband may have been copied in to damaging emails that were at the centre of a 2009 smear campaign orchestrated by leading Labour officials, according to senior party sources.

David Cameron is increasingly making use of brief, filmed statements that avoid questions, which are masterminded by Craig Oliver, pictured

Downing Street hogs the remote control: The PM's use of tame media is annoying the big guns at Sky, ITN and the BBC

Britain's senior political television journalists are at war with Downing Street over what they see as attempts by David Cameron to bypass them and use less critical media outlets to broadcast policies to the public.

Labour leader Ed Miliband after he was pelted with eggs during a campaign visit in East Street market

Paper talk: How can Miliband turn things around?

Ed must be swivel-eyed this morning, such is the volume of advice he's been handed by the press. Most of it starts by noting the Conservatives are on an upswing, and Labour's message hasn't quite got through to voters. So what might the party leader do to turn things round? (Besides getting that egg out of his hair).

As Brown's adviser, he was associated with the so-called 'forces of hell'
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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

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Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
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