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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.”

Simon Carr: Two slick operators, and no hint of wrongdoing

Sketch: Brown told us how he had set about cleaning up the moral squalor he'd inherited

Leveson to train his sights on the big guns of British politics

Martin Hickman anticipates next week's key questions

Paul Krugman

Interview with economist Paul Krugman: 'Greece will leave eurozone within 12 months'

At last year’s Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York a superhero made his debut. He was a bearded figure called “Krug man”, who set about vanquishing the minions of the evil financial services empire with his fearsome “macro mallet”. The unlikely cartoon champion was based on Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist.

Alistair Darling says that Tony Blair could join the No to Independence campaign to defend the Union

Blair’s back for Scots campaign, says Darling

Tony Blair is preparing to re-enter the British political fray by joining "a call to arms" to fight Scottish independence, the former Chancellor, Alistair Darling, suggested yesterday.

Cameron to view revived Severn barrage plan

The Prime Minister is to be briefed on plans for a £30bn, 10-mile tidal barrage from Somerset to South Wales which could provide 5 per cent of Britain's total electricity. David Cameron signalled his backing, telling MPs: "A huge amount of renewable energy could be delivered through a barrage of this kind."

David Cameron did not want Leveson Inquiry, says Alastair Campbell

The former Number 10 communications director Alastair Campbell said today that David Cameron did not want to set up the Leveson Inquiry.

John Rentoul: Osborne is not Brown, but the faultline is showing

The Chancellor is the pole around which disaffection organises itself

Government accused of squandering £250m in carrier U-turn

The Government was accused of incompetently squandering £250 million today as it announced a major U-turn in the fighter jets for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.

GORDON BROWN: In 2000 a contractor checked the then-Chancellor’s records illicitly

Detectives ran criminal record checks on Labour politicians

Covert checks by private detectives on the background of Labour politicians are expected to take centre stage at the Leveson Inquiry tomorrow.

Leading article: Few signs of contrition from Sir Mervyn King

Despite everything, the Bank of England now has vastly expanded powers

David Blanchflower: The facts aren't going the Coalition's way, so it has resorted to spin

Economic Outlook: Misleadingly, Danny Alexander suggests the government has created 634,000 jobs

Hamish McRae: Behind the implausible ONS figures we still have problems

Economic Life: Given the shower of doom being dumped on the public, things have held up well

The Labour leader goes into the mid-term elections facing bitter divisions within his party

Miliband fears he has more to lose in elections than just council seats

Meltdown in mid-term voting on 3 May would seal the fate of Labour's under-pressure leader

Letters: drinking

Attitudes to alcohol must change
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?