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.

David Cameron: Conservatism is about seeking the common ground

From a speech given at the Centre for Policy Studies in London, by the Conservative MP

Staying Afloat: `The movie turns out to be an all-singin', all- dancin' celebration of sexism and racism'

WE ARE wedged, Simpsons-style, on the sofa, for the inaugural run of our new DVD player. The replacement of our knackered video with this shiny new piece of kit is welcomed by the children as a hopeful sign that we, as a household, are entering the age of new technology ("I expect we'll be getting a PlayStation soon," says Con, encouragingly.)

There really isn't any harm in causing offence - just ask Mel Brooks

You cannot be a champion of free speech when you like what's being spoken and a gagger of it when you don't

Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Crosby, Stills & Nash, Fleet Pavilion, Boston, USA

Rolling back the years

Carmen, Coliseum, London

Letter: Ladies at the Garrick

Sir: Mo Mowlam's defiant publicity stunt of eating at the Garrick Club in order to give comfort to its proprietors will not only have offended women ("New Labour ladies lunch at a bastion of male chauvinism", 17 December). Many men are equally repelled by such survivals of Old Misogyny. Of course there is a libertarian issue here - the dismal old buffers must be allowed to pursue their fetishes in private - but there is no need for the rest of us, male or female, to feel compelled to endorse it. Will the next "New Labour" visit be to a whites-only drinking club?

Venezuela votes on president's reforms

HUGO CHAVEZ, the Venezuelan President, triumphed at the polls and secured his position for up to 12 more years when the nation approved his new constitution, with 71.2 per cent voting in favour of his reforms.

More liberal with promises than in policy

Like writers, governments tend to be remembered for few achievements - and not always those for which they thought they would be remembered. John Major promised little and delivered less: the National Lottery. Margaret Thatcher tamed the trade unions and inaugurated privatisation, which came about largely by accident. Harold Wilson promised a technological revolution that never happened but gave us the Open University instead.

Black Panthers and Zapatistas pool guerrilla tips in jungle convention

GUERRILLA GROUPS from across America will today descend on an Amazonian jungle town to swap tips on winning the revolutionary struggle.

World revolutionaries gather for their summit

GUERRILLA GROUPS from across the Americas will today descend on an Amazonian jungle town to swap tips on winning the revolutionary struggle. Left-wing terrorist groups are to join with street demonstrators fresh from battle in Seattle, in a corporate- style convention to discuss the path to power.

Hot gospel of a brand missionary

Roger Trapp talks to the `born again' businessman who came back from Death

Why sexual passion is failing us between the covers

`Passion requires time, energy and, perhaps, a secluded life in a Yorkshire parsonage'
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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin