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Leading article: Mr Prescott should not be made a scapegoat for a flawed transport policy

JOHN PRESCOTT is not the sort of man to duck out of a fight, but cutting short an official visit and flying 4,000 miles back from India just to be insulted by John Redwood takes political pugnacity to new heights. Mr Prescott, in truth, doesn't have too much to fear from his Conservative critics, given their record in office on Transport. No, Mr Prescott has a much more intractable problem, which is that he is rapidly becoming the scapegoat for the Government's failure in transport policy and is descending into the dangerous sort of political joke territory that was last occupied by the unlamented Norman Lamont.

Words: black, adj.

"A WORD of difficult history." So the OED notes of black. As a synonym for doom-laden, will it remain linked with Norman Lamont's Black Wednesday (1992) or will popular memory revert shudderingly to the events of Black Monday (1987) or even those of Black Thursday and the Crash.

Friends in high places

BOTH sides of the Carlton/ United News & Media merger boast formidable political firepower, writes Sonia Purnell.

The Archer Affair: Car dealer Norris kept his political engine running in case of emergency

AS A maverick politician with a colourful private life, Steven Norris may appear at first sight to be the last person the Tories should choose to replace Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare as mayoral candidate.

`I am a Hagueite', preacher Michael tells twin set and pearls revivalist meeting

HE WAS always going to be the main attraction, and for the Tory faithful of Kensington and Chelsea it was worth the wait. When he did appear to be anointed as the candidate for this blue-chip Tory constituency, Michael Portillo played all the right notes.

John Humphrys floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee

`It is thought that you cannot wait to get out of the studio and back to real life. Is that true?'

It is `just history' - but this feud is still tearing the Tories apart

The modern Tory party remains haunted by a brutal regicide of the woman who led them

So who's up, who's down, who's in, who's out. Who cares?

The annual ritual of the cabinet reshuffle is destabilising, unnecessary and should be scrapped

The Joys of Modern Life: 51. WINE WAREHOUSES

DO YOU remember what buying wine used to be like in this country? Of course you do - that's what it's still like, most of the time. In other words: a depressing search through three shelves of Paraquat which all seem to have come from non-wine-producing countries like Poland. The shop is called "Booze `n' Fags" and is by a smelly bus shelter in a high-insurance belt of town.

Scots with a Norse accent

Iain Millar went to Shetland, drank champagne on the high seas and bumped into a singing traffic warden

Rogue Trader: The week ahead

Monday

Aitken Sentenced: Humbling of a high-roller who gambled and lost

SO THE HUMBLING of the aloof and glamourous Jonathan Aitken, born into the heart of the establishment and once tipped to hold the highest public office, is now complete.

CBI to tell ministers when Britain should join Emu

BRITAIN'S leading employers organisation will next month tell the Government when - and even at what rate - to join the European single currency, if its members decide firmly in favour of one option.
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried