Life and Style Bercow's reliably indiscreet daily missives are notably absent from cyberspace

The costly libel judgment against the Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow has been widely seen as a timely warning for other would-be controversialists on social media.

Conference Diary: The day when even Nick Clegg was outshone

There has not been a surfeit of excitement at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton this week but there was a brief moment yesterday when to have been in the wrong place would have been to risk being trampled by excited photographers. It was when Nick Clegg descended the main staircase on his way to deliver his final speech.

Terence Blacker: Fifty years after the satire boom, the country needs it more than ever

The Way We Live: Britain today is just as socially stratified and morally bogus as it was in 1962

Matthew Norman: Could hosepipe bans rip the Union asunder?

The last time Britain suffered a really gruesome drought, as a myriad of "the hazy summer of '76?" articles may soon remind us, the singles chart was headed by The Wurzels. Lest the subtle, subliminal messaging in their novelty hit tempt any farmers in the rainless South, East, South-east and parts of the Midlands to race to the agricultural-hardware showroom, I offer this warning. There is minimal point in buying a brand new combine harvester, in purest farming terms at least, in the present climatic conditions.

Matthew Norman: Could hosepipe bans rip the Union asunder?

Alex Salmond would seek to inveigle a chunk of sub-Saharan England to join a Greater Caledonia

Diary: A Star turn from Sally

Just on the off chance that some of you might have missed it, newly crowned national treasure Sally Bercow made her much-anticipated debut as a columnist for the Daily Star Sunday yesterday.

Welsh tell MP to lighten up over race 'slur'

Referring a writer to the police for attacking the language is over the top, they say

Website's Kate Moss quote slammed

A website which stocked a range of children's shirts emblazoned with a controversial quote from Kate Moss has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Diary: Photogenic MP short of issues

One post-Murdochalyptic beneficiary will be the comely Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood, whose accomplished performance on the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday had many an irregular BBC Parliament viewer hurrying to Google her name. Obligingly, Ms Blackwood's personal website yields an array of images – and she is indeed a photogenic gal, as you can see. Unfortunately, her political passions remain something of a mystery. "Nicola is currently updating the information on the local and national issues which matter most to her constituency," is the solitary message on the 'Issues' page of her site. "Watch this space." Nicola, I surely will.

Robin Scott-Elliot: Cruel drama of England hanging on like 11 Rebekah Brooks

View From The Sofa: Women's World Cup, BBC & Eurosport

Diary: Sky's the limit for Oliver

Alleged hip-hop fan and Downing Street spin chief Craig Oliver doubtless enjoyed a few fist bumps with colleagues yesterday, following the televisual feast that was the No 10 barbecue. Oliver – a former BBC employee – is renowned primarily as a "pictures man", and a shirt-sleeved Dave and Barry serving burgers to servicemen was perhaps the most striking image he has generated since joining the PM's staff (or at least since his first day, when he graced the press corps with this classic, right). Yet the course of media handling never did run smooth and Oliver made at least one influential hack unhappy yesterday. Sky News political correspondent Glen Oglaza was giddy with excitement after being assigned the opening question of the post-BBQ press conference, only to have it snatched from him cruelly at the last moment by Oliver's shiny-domed BBC chum Nick Robinson.

Diary: January's cold shoulder

Last week, this column was illustrated exclusively by middle-aged men, so I'm jolly grateful to Zach Galifianakis, star of The Hangover and its forthcoming sequel, for saying something mildly interesting about an attractive young lady. January Jones, best known as Mad Men's Betty Draper, recently claimed that Galifianakis (whose name I remain unable to spell without cutting and pasting it from the internet) was the most naturally funny man she'd ever met.

Diary: Donald tries to come up trumps playing race card

With Newt Gingrich now officially in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the eccentrically-coiffed front-runner of sorts, Donald Trump, is surely smart to be scotching unfavourable rumours about his own candidacy. Accused by critics of "race-baiting" over his pursuit of President Barack Obama's birth certificate, Mr Trump assured Fox News yesterday that some of his best apprentices were black. "When it comes to racism and racists," the famously wealthy businessman revealed, "I am the least racist person there is. And I think most people that know me would tell you that ... In fact, [black person] Randal Pinkett won on The Apprentice a little while ago... and Randal has been outstanding in every way." Satisfied, haters?

Diary: Carol can't forgive or forget

As my lecherous uncle once drunkenly slurred: "That Carol Vorderman's a very clever woman" – so I'm concerned to see the old girl is still getting herself all hot and bothered about that irksome peacock Piers Morgan. Middle England's favourite number cruncher was yesterday busy spreading the word across Twitter that the ratings for Morgan's CNN show are rubbish. The bad blood goes back several years – the former Daily Mirror editor once charmingly suggested that Carol "lost her Countdown gig to a foxy maths genius Essex girl half her age and twice as good-looking". Carol, if only for me and my increasingly confused alcoholic of an uncle – let it go!

So, what now for the Cleggmeister?

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From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

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Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

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