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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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
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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
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Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all