Hypocrisy, cant and the morass of public morals

`According to Norris, only abandoned women motivated by personal revenge are bothered about marital infidelity'

A cracking yarn, soon to be a dreary film

YESTERDAY I brought you some of the best bargain Christmas books around, the sort of books that you can safely give to other people in the knowledge that nobody will read them. Today I bring you another selection of this season's hottest offerings.

Rugby Union: Desperation may force Bristol to blood Best

BACK IN the bad old days when men were men and referees felt short- changed if there was not a decent punch-up, there was no such thing as an injury crisis before a Bristol-Gloucester derby; generations of West Country hard men - Memorial Grounders like Mike Fry and John Doubleday, Kingsholmers like Digger Morris and Phil Blakeway - would not go within 20 miles of a physio's couch, for fear of being ruled out of the big occasion. Times have changed, though. Bristol are struggling so badly for personnel that they are considering throwing Lee Best, a 21-year-old wing who has yet to sign for the club, in at the proverbial deep end on Saturday afternoon.

Comment: She's addicted to sleaze

Mary Archer has not merely put up with a horrible husband; she has actually profited from his behaviour

COMMENT: QUOTES

I don't think I've ever been in a relationship with a man in which he hasn't raised his fists to me.

The Weasel: Dinosaurs, fossilised fruit and... Red Ken

Which of London's would-be mayors was sequestered with a small army of lawyers this week? Red Ken, of course. Last Wednesday night, the great man addressed the annual dinner of the Insolvency Lawyers' Association, which was held amid the zoomorphic splendours of the Natural History Museum. When the offer of a ticket came my way, I snapped it up like billy-o. The 450-strong throng was composed of lawyers, the lawyers who employ them and one hack. The penance of wearing black tie was a small price to pay for the possibility of gaining an exclusive interview with the man of the moment.

Monitor: Don't be vague on ethics, Mr Hague - Crisis In The Conservative Party

British comment on the latest crisis in the Tory Party following revelations concerning the party's Treasurer Michael Ashcroft and Jeffrey Archer

The 12th commandment: never read a book penned by Jeffrey Archer

A conundrum to trouble the conscience of an angel: do the usual rules governing fair play - not kicking a man when he's down, etc - have any application in morality when that man is Jeffrey Archer? Quick answer: no. Not only is it proper to kick him when he's down, it also behoves us to go through his pockets.

Letter: Millennium music

Sir: With the Lord's Prayer set to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne", other combinations come to mind: the 23rd Psalm to the tune of "Waltzing Matilda", for example. Could not The Independent sponsor such a millennium song competition, the first prize being dinner at an exclusive London restaurant with Jeffrey Archer?

All I want is a dustbin to call my own

`I had to pick my way through Puy lentils and woodcock carcasses to reach my doorstep'

Letter: MPs' secret voting

Sir: The letter from David S Gold (23 November) of the Conservative London Policy Unit (urging "anyone thinking of putting themselves forward" - for the position of Mayor of London - "to consider carefully whether they can meet the high standards we expect from Conservative candidates") really does take the biscuit.

Why sexual passion is failing us between the covers

`Passion requires time, energy and, perhaps, a secluded life in a Yorkshire parsonage'

Conservatives In Crisis: `Daily Star' sets 5pm deadline for repayment of pounds 3m

LORD ARCHER must repay the pounds 3m in damages, costs and interest he earned from his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star by 5pm tomorrow, or face legal action, the newspaper said yesterday.

Conservatives In Crisis: Charities deny receiving large libel windfalls

LORD ARCHER'S magnanimous claim that he intended to donate his entire pounds 500,000 libel winnings in 1987 to charity came under intense scrutiny yesterday.

My friend Jeffrey Archer, a victim of Tory snobbery

`Even as so many line up to take a kick at him, the Tories I most respect are not among them'
News
US comedian Bill Mahr
people
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
The artist Grayson Perry in an example of his trademark headgear
people
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us