Voices

Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

Beauty for the beasts

Cows and horses once shared a rare Devon longhouse with their owners. Now it's strictly for two-legged animals, says Penny Jackson

The Kirov Ballet, The Lowry, Salford *****

One more feather in the Kirov's cap

New house? Answers on a postcard please

Diana and Michael Howlett knew they wanted to build a timber house on their West Sussex plot. But they had to go a bit further afield for the design inspiration. Gwenda Brophy investigates

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

A Huckleberry Finn for the Eminem generation

Cash gift for cyber cards

CYBERCARD, the internet printer of bespoke greeting cards, has received a Christmas present in the form of pounds 300,000 in cash and services to accelerate its business, writes Melanie Bien. Business angels Jonathan Armour and Eric Jones predict that their management buy-in will propel Cybercard's turnover to pounds 60m and its profits to pounds 10m within five years.

Letter: Bah! Humbug!

Sir: It is the same every Christmas. When we send our greeting cards by airmail, the Post Office never has stamps of the appropriate value. This year, we had to pay 48p for Europe. We were given one 44p and one 4p stamp. The Far East cost pounds 1.06, for which we were given one pounds 1, one 4p and one 2p stamp. The USA cost 99p, made up by one 64p, one 31p and one 4p stamp (we ended up with rather more, because the counter ran out of 4p stamps and on some letters we had to use two 2p instead). The Post Office knows what denominations are going to be required. Why does it not print stamps accordingly?

Sketchbook: Postcards from the edge

Donald McGill's postcards defined saucy British seaside humour - but they often fell foul of the censors. Now a typescript has come to light that offers, in his own words, McGill's justifications for his art of laughter. By John Windsor

Arts: The secret is in the cards

Buy a postcard-sized work of art at a new show at the Royal College of Art and, who knows, you could be owner of a miniature masterpiece. By Kate Mikhail

Red Cross fury over no-smoking underpants

THE RED CROSS is diverting its attention from disaster relief to more intimate concerns: the use of its logo on a pair of Y-fronts.
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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

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A writer spends a night on the streets

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Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
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This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
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In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

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Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

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Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice