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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam