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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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General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power