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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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...