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'
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone