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.

Lib Dems must be assertive, says Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg began the task of creating distance between his Liberal Democrats and their Conservative coalition partners today by declaring that the current Government is a "coalition of necessity, not of conviction".

Republican drops out of US presidential race

The Republican Governor of Mississippi has unexpectedly bowed out of presidential contention just as the 2012 campaign was beginning.

Tom Sutcliffe: Tolerance doesn't mean removing the intolerable

Social Studies: The best defence against the offensive and wrong-headed may be restrained indifference

Ron Paul tops presidential poll

The libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul won a presidential straw poll of conservatives at the weekend in a result that showed Republicans still a have long way to go to pick a challenger to President Barack Obama in 2012.

Tom Sutcliffe: Secularism is the word Cameron is looking for

Social Studies: The only practical way to make the system fair is to make it equally unfair to all

Leading article: Cameron's confusion over identity

The Prime Minister delivered an important speech in Munich yesterday. He was careful to distinguish between Islamist extremism and Islam. He was of course right to do so. He said that the Government had been too passive about extremists recruiting in publicly funded institutions such as universities and prisons. He was right. He said that public money should not be available to organisations that "seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community" if they are opposed to democracy and universal human rights – including for women – or if they encourage separatism. He was right again.

Cameron: My war on multiculturalism

No funding for Muslim groups that fail to back women's rights

'Bullying' Labour accused over spin doctor plea

Labour was accused of "bullying" journalists today after the party's new chief spin doctor appealed to broadcasters to change the way they describe the Government.

Leading article: Liberalism still has a place in penal policy

There are clearly deficiencies in the management of Ford prison in west Sussex. We must wait on the results of the official investigation into the events of recent days to get a clear picture, but early reports suggest that prisoners had been drinking on New Year's Eve and went on the rampage after staff attempted to breathalyse them. The damage has been considerable. Rioters burned down six accommodation blocks, a gym, a mail room and a snooker room. Around 160 prisoners will now have to be transferred to other jails.

Labour fightback has started, Ed Miliband claims

Labour leader Ed Miliband said today the party's fightback to power had begun.

Cultural Life: Alan McGee, Creation Records founder

Music: I don't really like music any more. I bought The Coral; the single's brilliant but the album's OK. I bought David Rawlings because he's Gillian Welch's guitarist – I heard one of the songs called "Method Acting" and it's a cover of a Conor Oberst song. But the album's not very good. The one record I liked this year – and I'm shocked to say it as I managed them for years – is Carl Barat's album – it's a complete departure. It's like Scott Walker and Kevin Rowland –it's the best record Carl's ever made.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: The forces of hate are still with us

The powerful appear now to be entirely focused on the white working and workless classes. As if there is room for only one injustice in the collective conscience

Amol Rajan: Liberalism deserves its real name

Renaming the party would reunite it with a grand tradition, and address its chief quandary at present, which is indistinguishability

Doug Stanhope, Leicester Square Theatre, London

Dressed casually in jeans, Doug Stanhope looks less uncompromising US stand-up and more potter about to start work on some clay. Meanwhile, the trademark alcoholic haze that steadily creeps up on Stanhope (his poison for this performance is a double cocktail of beer and Jagerbombs) makes for the usual mix of the unfocused and the inspired.

Australian Labor Party edges closer to victory

Prime Minister Julia Gillard edged closer to retaining power in Australia yesterday when an independent lawmaker said he would support her centre-left Labor Party to form Australia's first minority government in almost seven decades.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

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

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all