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
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Independent Travel
Burgundy
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Lake Garda
Lake Como
Bruges
Paris
Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game