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.

Can Osborne make the move from No 11 to No 10?

As if he were not under enough pressure already, George Osborne is now being widely tipped in Tory circles as the next party leader, with William Hague effectively out of the running and no other obvious contenders in sight. Making the step up from Chancellor to Prime Minister is not easy – if the economy is in good shape, there is probably no reason for the PM to leave office and, if it is in a mess, the Chancellor must share the blame. But some have made the transition. There have also been some notable failures.

Steve Richards: It's a poor choice, but I'm voting Yes to voting reform

The Alternative Vote is silly. No wonder no one is a great enthusiast including those leading the campaign

Spider, By Katarzyna and Sergiusz Michalski

In phobia terms, Reaktion's terrific animal series has reached the king of beasts. Arachnophobia, the Miss Muffet syndrome, is "now counted among the most interesting human neuroses".

Adrian Hamilton: People vote for competence not policy

In a peculiarly British way, the result usually reflects the consensus in the country

Sir Trevor Lloyd-Hughes: Harold Wilson's press secretary who believed passionately in the impartiality of the job

Trevor Lloyd-Hughes was the Prime Minister's influential press secretary from 1964 to 1969. He once recounted to me how he got the job, and the circumstances speak volumes. He had been the lobby correspondent of the Liverpool Daily Post for 14 years, and had written political columns for the Sunday Express anonymously, and had also, under his own name, established himself as a writer on wines – he was later to become a driving force in the Circle of Wine Writers.

Album: Tindersticks, Falling Down a Mountain (4AD)

Stuart A Staples is a man whose distinctive nasal Nottingham mumble merges with that of Harold Wilson with every new Tindersticks record. Falling Down a Mountain, remains on familiar Nashville-on-Trent ground.

MI5 kept secret file on Harold Wilson

The Security Service MI5 kept a secret file on Harold Wilson throughout his years as an MP and prime minister, it was disclosed today.

John Rentoul: The Maid and the Man Who Wouldn't Leave His Desk

Sue Cameron in The Financial Times today identifies the excellent Dennis Kavanagh as the uncoverer of one of the best stories about Marcia Williams, now Lady Falkender, who was Harold Wilson's closest adviser.

Adrian Hamilton: The lessons of past economic downturns

It is a sobering thought that nearly two-thirds (62 per cent to be precise) of the members of Parliament only entered the House of Commons in 1997 or after. In other words, not only have they known no other life than under a Labour government but they have known only the good times in the economy. Indeed it is only a small minority of MPs who can probably remember any of the recessions that Maggie, Major and Harold Wilson all had to endure.

Steve Richards: Advice is useless – Brown is condemned to swerve and scheme like Harold Wilson

The PM should be under no illusion about the degree of hostility he has provoked on his own side

Paperback: White Heat, by Dominic Sandbrook

Abacus £12.99

Moira Redmond

Actress with a gift for high comedy

Bruce Anderson: A much better man than his sour and ungracious reputation might suggest

'Within months of losing office, he had become the incredible sulk, his political vocation for the rest of his life'
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Independent Travel
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
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas