Leading Article: Degrees of earning

The news that the graduate premium – the extra amount that someone earns from studying for a degree – is holding up will give heart to those who think that students should pay for their higher education. One of the arguments that Tony Blair and others made for introducing tuition fees and later the top-up fee was that students benefit financially from having a degree-level qualification. Their argument was pooh-poohed by those who argued that this graduate premium was being eroded by the fact that so many people were now going into higher education.

Why a degree is still worth the loan

Study shows the student influx has not forced down the value of degrees

Nigsy? Trigger? N-word dilemma bounces on for Dam Busters II

Name of Wing Commander's dog is headache for remake's producers

The British Service Personnel who lost their lives in Iraq

A roll call of the 179 British personnel to have died on service during Operation Telic since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003

Investment Column: Ted Baker not tailored for punters in 2009

Melrose Resources; HR Owen

Page Turner: On the black, green, grey and purple hill

Every so often a book comes in that I simply have to pilfer. Such a one is Alastair Lee's Pendle (Frances Lincoln £14.99), a photographic essay on Lancashire's Uluru, Pendle Hill. You might think that no one but a homesick Lancastrian would be interested in such an obscure topic – and I admit that I grew up with a magnificent view of the hill through my bedroom window – but Lee's Cézanne-like obsession with capturing and recording a rocky feature in all lights, conditions and weathers, make his quest a fascinating one.

Back to the future for buoyant Leeds

Two former Leicester stalwarts are planning to ensure their new side make promotion stick for more than one season next time

The drive of our lives: 50 Years of Britain's motorways

They promised to speed us towards a modern age and rev up the post-war economy. So what happened? Fifty years after Britain's first motorways opened, Simon Usborne finds out how much we owe to our superhighways – and why the wheels had to come off

Album: Byard Lancaster, Funny Funky Rib Crib, (Kindred spirits)

R&B honking and Afrobeat rhythms meet spiritual Coltrane/ Sanders-style Seventies free jazz. Ex-Sun Ra saxophonist Lancaster swapped Philly for Paris in the Nixon era, where this shockingly contemporary-sounding album was recorded.

Home And Away: Jane assures me that table-manner dogmatism like mine is a dad thing

For my birthday last Saturday, Jane bought me A Butler's Guide to Table Manners, written by a fellow called Nicholas Clayton, a member of the Guild of Professional English Butlers. Her inscription was " ...because even an expert needs a handbook", the affectionate but slightly waspish joke being that I have always been something of a sergeant major where our children's table manners are concerned.

Urban gardener: Computer says 'grow'

We've got a stowaway in the garden. It came in a pot of Saruma henryi that Roy Lancaster gave me earlier this year after a visit to his garden. Squeezing up a couple of grass-like shoots and gladioli-like flowers just before we went on holiday, I wondered for a moment whether Roy had inadvertently given me something rare and precious. On sending a photo, he confirmed that the infiltrator was Gladiolus papilio, a variable species from the Transvaal. Despite competition from the saruma it still reached its mature height of one metre but will need planting out in open ground if it is to make a nice clump. The flowers (late summer to early autumn) are like small funnels with subtle shades of purple and yellow that marble to darker maroon, and gold on the lower petals giving the impression of a butterfly, hence the name. It needs cool, moist humus-rich soil in sun to thrive (it will colonise by underground runners) and a good mulch should see it safely through a UK winter.

Knead to know: A masterclass in the art of baking

Baking is a dying art. But making your own bread and cakes is sociable, satisfying – and surprisingly simple

Guy Adams: Music to the ears of local politicians

Regardless of the deepening recession, corporate America is working its socks off to get the nation's suddenly impoverished consumers to part with their hard-earned dollars.

Osbert Lancaster: The original style guru

Osbert Lancaster’s brilliant books and inspired cartoons educated the nation in architecture and design. Next month, his genius is being celebrated in a new exhibition at The Wallace Collection. Not before time, says Peter York

Gareth Malone: 'Music raises people up; they find the best of themselves by performing'

Arriving at Lancaster School in late April 2007, I met a frazzled-looking Helen Collins. As the head of music she was desperate to get the school singing but felt powerless against a tide of disinterest. So, she called me! It was a brave thing to do: asking for help and saying that you would benefit from professional advice takes confidence.

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