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.

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.

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.

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.

Words: archer, n.

A CURIOUSLY underplayed aspect of Jeffrey Archer's libel case is that he did not settle matters for once and all by volunteering to remove his shirt and display his back - spotty or otherwise - to the public gaze. It has certainly not been photographed since.

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'
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss