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.

First Obama, now Cameron embraces 'nudge theory'

Andy McSmith reports on the doctrine sweeping Downing Street

Friedrich Hayek: Darling of the right is reborn in the USA

The uncompromising anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek has won a new following among Republicans. Stephen Foley reports

Retailers argue against rise or extension of VAT

Retailers urged the Government not to raise VAT or extend it to currently exempt items, such as food, in this month's emergency Budget.

Hodd, By Adam Thorpe

Ridley Scott might have reinvented Robin Hood for the 9/11 age, but in the revisionist hands of Adam Thorpe, "Robert Hodd" was little more than a common thief living by a weird set of home-brewed libertarian beliefs. It is Thorpe's somewhat complicated conceit that he has come across the early 20th-century translation of the memoirs of an elderly monk, who as a 14-year-old minstrel, was captured by Hodd and taken to live in the "thick wild forest".

Debategraph: Dissecting the Conservative - Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement

As part of The Independent’s visual mapping of the election and its aftermath, we have broken down the Conservative - Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement into an interactive visual graph, that lets you comment on and rate each of the proposals.

Letters: Forming a coalition government

A century-old plan for pact

Platini blames 'liberalism' for Portsmouth problems

Uefa president Michel Platini has criticised what he calls the "liberalism" in Premier League financial regulations which he claims led to Portsmouth going into administration.

Three's a crowd: How the unexpected rise of a third contender broke the cosy two-party system

History doesn't repeat itself, but as the old adage says, it does rhyme. The rhyming is now clamorous and incessant. If the Liberal Democrat surge that followed Nick Clegg's victory in the first televised leaders' debate continues, we shall be in spitting distance of a hung Parliament. Of course, it may not continue. The Clegg boom may peter out; residual "Labservative" tribal loyalties may reassert themselves. But when all the caveats have been entered, there is no doubt that the two old parties, the ugly sisters of British politics, have had the fright of their lives. For old SDP-ers like me, it has been a moment to relish.

Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, By Eric Kaufmann

This may come as a shock to secular sensibilities. Religious fundamentalism is set to bury the ghost of secularism. Secular liberalism is collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions and the fundamentalists are about to take over the world. This is, says Eric Kaufmann, who teaches politics at University of London, not necessarily a bad thing. It may make us more secure, more grounded in our identities and communities, and much happier.

Phillip Blond: You Ask The Questions

The Director of ResPublica and author of Red Tory, answers your questions, such as Are you just a Marxist in denial? And do you want to be an MP?

Book Of A Lifetime: The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters, By John Gross

It would be difficult to imagine the average book group sitting down to ponder The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters (1969) for it is about some highly obscure people. But while FJ Furnivall, Sir John Squire, Churton Collins and Christopher Cauldwell – to take a few of its more representative ornaments – may not be household names, it is a mark of John Gross's achievement that by the end of 300 or so scholarly pages you end up regarding them as figures of overwhelming interest, fit to justify possibly the most eye-catching of the sub-categories in Thomas Carlyle's On Heroes and Hero-Worship: "The hero as man of letters".

Charles Leadbeater: This is one utopian vision that need not be so far from reality

The Diggers of 1649 show us the way to tackle inequality
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A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory