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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.

Jerome Taylor: Religious freedom is not an absolute right

At the heart of this  legal and moral debate is the question of  competing rights

The shocking truth about Ukip? There's nothing remotely shocking about the overdue implosion of these frothing, neo-feudalist cowboys

A party that's always been a coalition of turbo-Thatcherite libertarians and swivel-eyed little Englanders is finally being exposed to public ridicule - and inevitably so

Another Ukip public figure leaves party amid same sex marriage row

Another Ukip public figure has been forced out of the party after expressing support for gay marriage, days after the party sacked their youth leader, who spoke out on the issue on national radio.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage

Exclusive: So much for the libertarians! How Ukip sacked me after I said I support equal marriage

The former leader of the youth wing of Nigel Farage's party has left his post after disagreeing with party policy. They say he's trouble. Here's his version of events

Nigel Farage

Ukip are by no means libertarian

"Right-wing" is the only appropriate description for Nigel Farage's party

Sex for tuition fees: Beware the student sponsors after a dirty bargain

Higher fees mean students have to go to extraordinary lengths to raise money. This will be a step too far for most, however

I used to be a libertarian. But then someone stole my gold clubs.

Wanting the state to intrude less in our personal lives is all well and good until a lack of CCTV cameras lets a man walk off with your prized belongings

Postcard from... San Francisco

“Excuse me, do you have a light?” To a European, such a question asked in crowded bar, does not compute.

How did an ethical issue become a political one?

There is no obvious reason why so many Conservative MPs should be committed to restricting access to abortion. But they are, and there have been numerous attempts by Tory backbenchers to weaken the 1967 Abortion Act. In recent years, Nadine Dorries and Ann Winterton have been the standard-bearers in a campaign which goes back to 1977, when William Benyon introduced a Bill that would have significantly undermined the 10-year-old Act.

Ann Romney meets the press on the campaign flight to Tampa: she also gave them biscuits

Ann Romney gets to work… with home-baked cookies

Republicans hope wife can 'humanise' their candidate as she reveals his softer side

Diary: Why are we drowning in rivers of praise for Powell?

There is a campaign under way to rescue the reputation of Enoch Powell, whose centenary it is today. In the Daily Mail, Powell's biographer, Simon Heffer, calls him "a man of conspicuous moral greatness". To Peter Oborne, in The Daily Telegraph, he was "a man of extraordinary integrity". The former MP Paul Goodman, on ConservativeHome, hails Powell, as "the finest political writer of my lifetime". Even Iain Duncan Smith joined in to praise him for battling against the UK's membership of the EU.

Mitt Romney's last rival's campaign is 'effectively over'

Ron Paul, Mitt Romney's only remaining rival for the Republican nomination in the US presidential race, said last night he would stop spending money on the 11 remaining primary elections, prompting speculation that his campaign is, effectively, over.

Rick Santorum wins crucial primaries in the deep south

Rick Santorum scored an upset double primary triumph in the deep south last night, guaranteeing that the Republican presidential race will drag on for weeks if not months yet. His victories in Alabama and Mississippi deliver a fresh jolt to the limping front runner Mitt Romney, and raise pressure on Newt Gingrich, his rival for the conservative vote, to drop out and thus set up a one-on-one Santorum-Romney battle for the Republican nomination to face president Obama in the autumn.

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Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map