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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.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project