Arts and Entertainment

The Australian author of this lively collection of essays about language is an amiable guide to his subject. "Amiable" is, however, a stiff adjective to use when describing Julian Burnside, QC, who praises HW Fowler, author of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926), and Samuel Johnson for allowing their personalities to colour their writings about words. He mocks philologists for their dryness, dismisses "cherished superstitions" that remain popular with conservative querulists and describes an attempt to ban the use of "mate" from the Australian parliament in appropriately matey style.

Film: It should have been a contender

The Big Picture

Friday Book: A radical churchman with a relevant message

Radical Churchman Edward Lee Hicks and the New Liberalism by Graham Neville (Clarendon Press, Oxford, pounds 50)

Parliament: The Sketch - Widdecombe's blue touchpaper is lit, everyone stands back...

HOME OFFICE questions began with fireworks - not the metaphorical kind, since the session as a whole was something of a damp squib, but the real sort, which had led Bill O'Brien, Labour MP for Normanton, to ask an anxious question about firework-related incidents. "I'm not anti- firework ..." he began, a large part of his anxiety clearly directed at the danger of sounding like a puritanical killjoy.

Tuesday Book: Yes, but what are the Liberals for?

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism by Conrad Russell (Duckworth, pounds 12.95)

Right of Reply: James Ferman

The former director of the British Board of Film Classification replies to a recent article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown headlined `Sex, politics and censorship'

Republicans try to halt defection by Buchanan

THE REPUBLICAN leadership is to hold an urgent meeting with Pat Buchanan, one of the party's better-known presidential hopefuls, to try to convince him not to defect to the Reform Party.

Set less homework, schools are told

TOO MUCH homework and too little after-school fun are bad for children, headteachers said yesterday.

Liberal Democrats have a noble tradition, but it needs redefining

The party will be on a hiding to nothing if it seeks to occupy territory Labour abandoned a decade ago

MPs plot to oust Blair loyalist

CRITICISM OF Tony Blair's leadership of the Labour Party grew yesterday when rebel MPs drew up plans to oust the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Why must we hurt them?

A belief in equality does not give anyone the right to smash up their children's lives

Obituary: Jim Rose

JIM ROSE was a man of dazzling and diverse gifts - a member of the legendary Bletchley Park intelligence team in the Second World War, a journalist of distinction, creator single-handedly of an internationally influential institute dedicated to the development of freedom of the press, director and co-ordinator of a massive six-year survey of race relations in Britain, and joint founder of an institute to educate young people whom he nurtured to fulfil their promise.

Worrying about drugs while the house burns

The railway service between Swansea and Llanelli is not what it used to be. So just over two years ago, covering the general election for this paper, I found myself in a taxi travelling to the latter town, which is (or used to be) famous for tinplate and rugby. Beside the road was the blackened shell of a detached house which, in that part of the world, would be occupied by a headmaster or a bank manager.

Leading Article: Where to turn?

THE PARTY's still for turning. Peter Lilley's discovery last week that there are limits to what the free market can do - a discovery apparently endorsed by William Hague - has infuriated the heresy-hunters of the Tory right , but then the "Tory rebels", to use the media's flattering description of them, have been smashing the china ever since Margaret Thatcher was deposed in 1990. At the last election they proved the truth of H L Mencken's dictum that logic is the last refuge of the fool. Seeing that Blair was ahead in the polls, and noting that he had moved his party to the right, the rebels - the most powerful group in the party, with most of the press at their disposal - concluded that the only way to beat Labour was by moving to the right. QED. What they overlooked was that Labour had moved to the right from the left, and had thus moved to the centre, where the Volvo voters live; whereas any rightward move by the Tories could only take them further from the centre, and the voters, and closer to Bedlam. In the event, and against John Major's better judgment, they chose to move closer to Bedlam. The rest is history, or perhaps geography.

Letter: Voice of reason

THANK YOU so much for the ever-civilised, delightful Michael Bywater. I laughed like a drain at his column "Going, going, gone" (Review, 18 April), as he took our so-called "leaders" vigorously to task.

SNP is `hiding its separatist goal'

THE SCOTTISH National Party was yesterday accused of hiding its central aim of independence in an attempt to mislead voters in next month's elections to the Scottish Parliament.
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'