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.
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Tuesday 15 January 2013
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
Tuesday 15 January 2013
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
Saturday 12 January 2013
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.
Wednesday 09 January 2013
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
Tuesday 18 December 2012
"Right-wing" is the only appropriate description for Nigel Farage's party
Wednesday 28 November 2012
Higher fees mean students have to go to extraordinary lengths to raise money. This will be a step too far for most, however
Londonistan, By Melanie Phillips
The Noughties, By Ben Masters
The Man Who Forgot His Wife, By John O'Farrell
Tea at the Midland, By David Constantine
Will We Ever Speak Dolphin, Ed by Mick O'Hare
Sunday 04 November 2012
Paperback reviews of the week
Friday 12 October 2012
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
Wednesday 10 October 2012
“Excuse me, do you have a light?” To a European, such a question asked in crowded bar, does not compute.
Thursday 04 October 2012
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.
Wednesday 29 August 2012
Republicans hope wife can 'humanise' their candidate as she reveals his softer side
Saturday 16 June 2012
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.
Tuesday 15 May 2012
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.
Wednesday 14 March 2012
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.
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
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- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes