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.

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Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
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Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
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Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
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Curtain calls: Madani Younis
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?