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The thick of it: How to be chancellor (and survive)

No political office is more demanding – and as this week's revelations of tensions between Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling illustrate, none is less forgiving. For his latest BBC series, Michael Cockerell asked chancellors past and present how they survived Whitehall's toughest brief

Darling growth prediction blown out of the water

Less than a year ago, Chancellor Alistair Darling was predicting a return to growth in the second half of this year in his Pre-Budget Report.

A degree will leave you with debts of £23,500

...but there's a 1 in 5 chance that you'll also meet the love of your life

Darling sticks with a rather battered tradition

When Labour came to power in 1997, Gordon Brown marked new beginnings by ditching the battered old Budget box that had been passed down the generations since 1860.

John Rentoul: Cameron's game plan was to sit tight and say precisely nothing

David Cameron's response to the Budget was extraordinary. He sat tight and said nothing. Well, it did not look like it or sound like it. It looked and sounded like an energetic, passionate excoriation of a failed and failing government. The Leader of the Opposition was technically standing up at the time. His lips were moving; sound was emanating from him; some of his lines were so cutting that Labour MPs laughed; his posture was active. But really, he was sitting with his knees together, his hands clamped between them and he was saying nothing. He was sitting and waiting for the great big caboodle – of office, importance, action and the chance to start afresh – to fall into his lap.

Jeremy Warner: Don't count on China to act as the locomotive

Outlook As expected, the big emerging- market economies of Asia are proving more resilient to the global recession than the advanced, industrialised economies of the West and Japan. But can that resilience lift the rest of the world out of its funk? This seems rather less likely.

Green shoots? Not on the day unemployment hits two million

Brown allies slap down Solicitor General for sounding upbeat on jobs

Pandora: Hay fever: Rebellion in Booth's kingdom

The pitched battle between the booksellers of Hay-on-Wye and the renowned literary town's self-styled "King" Richard Booth is threatening to get ugly.

Jeremy Warner: Baroness Vadera puts foot in mouth

Outlook The Government has been accused of copying proposed Tory remedies on the credit crunch. Now it seems intent on copying their howlers too. Baroness Vadera, the business minister, is presumably too young, or perhaps ignorant, to know the origins of the famous "green shoots" of economic recovery comment, which she was coaxed into using in an interview for ITV yesterday.

Minister sees 'green shoots' of recovery

A Government minister said today that she could see a few "green shoots" of economic recovery.

Euro membership: no longer a burning issue

The question of whether to join the euro has so completely disappeared from political discourse in the UK that it is a struggle to recall how live an issue it was just 10 years ago.

<a href="http://s-ogrady.livejournal.com/953.html">Sean O'Grady: Don't blame the banks</a>

Here we go again: banks as scapegoats once more. It was a very similar story in the last recession, in the early 1990s; at that time it was the banks' interest and other charges that were supposedly crucifying small businesses, and Chancellor Norman Lamont was the subject of media campaigns to stop the banks behaving like normal businesses.

Credit crisis diary: 02/12/2008

Return to the Thirties at Peter Jones

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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South Africa
Spain
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there