Harriet Harman

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Best state schools add £77,000 to the value of nearby homes

A top-performing state school can add up to £77,000 to the value of a house within its catchment area, according to new research, with the cost of properties near the 50 best-performing state schools 35 per cent higher than in the rest of the UK.

Diary: Undress for electoral success

One naturally imagines that the Scandinavians are a civilised bunch, and that Denmark's population would not be prone to prurience. Yet, according to the FT, it has been obliquely suggested by a number of Danish newspapers that the front-runner in the country's forthcoming elections would have an even better chance of becoming Prime Minister if she took her clothes off. Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 44, is best known in the UK as Neil Kinnock's daughter-in-law (she's married to his son, Stephen). A Danish news agency has now produced a widely reported study claiming that the word most Googled next to Ms Thorning-Schmidt's name is "naked" – which means, presumably, that many Danish web users are keen to see her in her birthday suit. This column has conducted its own thoroughly unscientific survey to discover the terms Googled alongside our own leading women politicians, and I'm happy to report no such unseemliness. "Theresa May" yields nothing dirtier than "shoes"; "Baroness Warsi" the more abstract "egged"; and Labour deputy leader "Harriet Harman" is sought alongside the stiflingly dull "surgery" (presumably as in "constituency", not "cosmetic").

Diary: Groupies scent their man as Assange sweats it out

According to former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, Julian Assange always used to smell like "he hadn't bathed for days". But even the ripe scent of week-old sweat won't deter the ladies. Assange has been living under "mansion arrest" at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk for some eight months now, and the enigmatic Australian has attracted not only journalists, says his host, Vaughan Smith, but groupies, too. "We definitely had a problem with groupies," Smith tells The Times. "They rented a house in the village, a groupie commune, mostly Germans or Austrians, who just felt they could turn up at this house and Julian would take them in. Julian is hunted by a certain type of woman... who can be quite pushy. They are mainly from Eastern Europe. It's extraordinary." That it is.