Arts and Entertainment

The country was the breakaway Republic of Biafra, which seceded from Nigeria in 1967, in response to the continuing persecution of the Igbo people.

Paperback review: There Was a Country, By Chinua Achebe

The country was the breakaway Republic of Biafra, which seceded from Nigeria in 1967, in response to the continuing persecution of the Igbo people.

Margaret Thatcher's funeral was a political broadcast

We all deserve a dignified send-off. Instead, this occasion was hijacked and turned into a state-endorsed celebration of a legacy bitterly detested by millions

Flowers laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Belgravia

Editorial: Cameron gives the game away

The Prime Minister seems determined to repeat history as both farce and tragedy

History suggests Mark Carney's real test may come with a new government

At the start the new Governor will have Number 10 on side, writes Sean O’Grady

IoS paperback review: A Short History of England, By Simon Jenkins

A good old traditional kings-and-queens canter through English history, from the withdrawal of the Romans in 410, to the election of the coalition in 2010.

What Mrs Thatcher used to wear defined the flavour of the 1980s in ways that the youth cults never did

Jack Ashley: Deaf MP who campaigned tirelessly for the rights of disabled people

Few – very few – politicians achieve the status that Jack Ashley did. Ashley, who has died aged 89, became a beacon for the disabled, and both in the Commons and the Lords he was the most significant British politician of the last 40 years not to have held ministerial office.

Margaret Hodge,Labour MP, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee

Margaret Hodge: The granny with Sir Humphrey in her crosshairs

Former minister Margaret Hodge has finally found her vocation: making life a misery for civil servants who don't pull their weight. Oliver Wright meets Whitehall's nemesis

Sir Edward Heath and Lord James Callaghan to be given Westminster Abbey memorials

Westminster Abbey is to honour two former prime ministers from the 1970s with memorial stones.

Album: Tindersticks, The Something Rain (Lucky Dog)

Any fears that the ninth Tindersticks album would be as lazy as its title (as though they couldn't be bothered to think of a suitable adjective) are dispelled immediately by the stunning nine-minute opener "Chocolate", a spoken-word memoir about student bedsit life and falling in love.

Collin: TV producer and director of Bafta

Reginald Collin: TV producer and director of Bafta

Taking over as producer of one of television's most memorable spy dramas, Callan, presented Reginald Collin with an enviable dilemma. "Our problem is that this latest series has been fantastically successful," he told TV Times in 1969. "A year ago, we felt that this would be the last of it. Now we are not so sure."

Steve Richards: Referendums can be very dangerous if you don't know the result

In the UK, referendums are rarely held. Quite a few are offered at some distant point in the future, but governments only call them when they are confident they will win. This is what makes the drama over a referendum for Scottish independence so explosive. Referendums here are not about leaders discovering a sudden passion for direct forms of democracy. Usually they are about leaders seizing control of controversial policies.

Diary: Danny's £40bn IMF gift wouldn't cost a penny

Nothing brightens a gloomy Sabbath morn like Danny Alexander, and the Treasury's Chief Secretary was on cracking form when chatting with Superinjunction Marr's stand-in Jeremy Vine on BBC1. For all that, I was alarmed by Danny's thoughts on contributing up to £40bn to the IMF. What we credulous halfwits should know, explained Danny (I paraphrase a soupçon), is that this wouldn't mean actually handing over any cash.

A funny thing happened on my way to the dispatch box

Nick Clegg has been making free with his witticisms. He's not the first politician to fancy himself as a comedian, says Andy McSmith
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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

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
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
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital