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Blears criticises career politicians

Britain has too many career politicians with little experience of real life, Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities, told the Hansard Society yesterday.

Norman Lamont: You Ask The Questions

The Former Chancellor of the Exchequer answers your qusetions, such as 'What would you be doing differently if you were Chancellor in this crisis?'

David Prosser's Outlook: Blanchflower's iceberg alert is spot on, but MPC won't change course

The tax saving that dare not speak its name; Lies, damned lies and government statistics

How Mr Darling is going to do his best... to make the figures add up

The public finances are a car crash. That much we knew. What we did not realise until yesterday was just how mangled they are.

Government borrowing soars by half

Government borrowing ballooned by 50 per cent in the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year, and could soon exceed £50bn.

Raising the steaks

Café Boheme, Old Compton Street, , London W1, 020 7734 0623

Public Finances: To spend, spend, spend in a fragile economy, the deficit takes the strain

The public finances are now deteriorating to such a degree that the Government stands in danger of breaking both its fiscal rules. With little room to increase taxes, thanks to the fragile state of the economy, and still opportunity to renege on important public spending commitments on child poverty and other priorities, Alistair Darling indicated that he is going to let the budget deficit take the strain.

A lesson from history: keep it safe and full it you want to stay in your job

Sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt was the last politician to find himself in the position that Alistair Darling was in yesterday. A Victorian Liberal, with receding hair and a fine beard, Sir William too stood nervously at the Despatch Box, making his first Budget speech, conscious at every moment of the domineering leader with years of experience running the Treasury sitting behind him.

Bath 34 Wasps 42: Bath's collapse shows Halliday that charity begins at home

Bath may be depending on the Charity Commissioners to end years of legal argy-bargy by granting them a long-term future at the beautiful Recreation Ground, but it was stretching the point just a little to pick them in their back division. The West Countrymen presented Wasps with so many gifts, the visitors must have thought it was "Love a Lawrence day". And Mr Dallaglio wasn't even on the field. Neither were half a dozen other first-choicers. A record defeat against a shell of a team? When Bath play like this, mere charity will never be enough to save them.

FROM THE INDEPENDENT ARCHIVE

17 September 1992 From a leading article after Black Wednesday

Major calls for moratorium to end election `dirty tricks'

JOHN MAJOR called for a moratorium on the release of any more papers from past Tory governments in the run-up to the general election after accusing Labour of a "dirty tricks" campaign.

Britain's exit from ERM on Black Wednesday cost pounds 4bn

BRITAIN'S HUMILIATING exit from the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM) cost taxpayers pounds 4bn, according to confidential Treasury documents released yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act.
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'