News George Osborne is said to have paid £100 an hour to be trained by a Harley Street vocal specialist during his days as shadow Chancellor

George Osborne is said to have paid £100 an hour to be trained by a Harley Street vocal specialist during his days as shadow Chancellor, to help him sound weighty and authoritative. But did he get his money’s worth? After listening to the Chancellor’s speech on Monday, the Labour MP Jamie Reed seemed to think not. He tweeted: “Can someone please reintroduce Osborne to ‘t’ as a consonant? Cos I godda dell ya, that speech made me wanna scream.”

RJB may have to close two mines

Letter: Bank note bridge

Sir: I am afraid that Mr Atkinson is wrong in his letter about the Skerne bridge (letter, 21 December). The bridge on which he played is on the main line, but the one which was taken as a model for that on the pounds 5 note was on the now-abandoned Stockton & Darlington line from the present North Road station to Fighting Cocks.

Letter: `Failing' services

Sir: It is encouraging that Councillor Peter Arnold in his letter of 30 November acknowledges the usefulness of publishing comparative information about social services.

Letter: Unfair tables

Sir: The social services league tables (report, 24 November) pose as many questions as they answer.

Three Dinners

Three dinners are scheduled for the next three months.

Letter: Just the ticket

JANET STREET-PORTER is correct in thinking that bus tickets usually don't need editing. (After the jokes, it's down to the real business of editing, 4 July). However, they do need editing here in Middlesbrough, a town plagued by misspellings of its name. On a bus journey, I happened to glance at my ticket. There was that supernumerary "O" again: "MIDDLESBOROUGH". And perpetrated by a Middlesbrough bus company, to compound the felony.

Rugby Union: Va'a bangs another nail into Hartlepool coffin

West Hartlepool 35 Richmond 36

Budget 1999: Budget Thought for the Day

"Forty thousand pounds a year is a moderate income -

Letter: Millennium cards

Sir: I hope Hugh Rogers' friends have noted that he is not sending millennium cards on 1 January 2000 (letter, 6 January) and has thereby counted himself out of party invitations. Away with such pedantry! Life is for living, and is fragile enough without allowing mathematical fundamentalists to intimidate us out of our generally accepted usages.

Football: Problem pitch threatens Darlington hopes

DARLINGTON'S money-spinning FA Cup second-round tie against Manchester City could be called off because the Feethams pitch has been branded as dangerous, writes Alan Nixon.

Letter: Goats in peril

Sir: Your recent article entitled "Moorland scarred by tracks for shooting" (28 September) concerned the Northumberland National Park, where there is a herd of feral goats. This herd, generally known as the College Valley group, has a history that illustrates only too well the plight of our national native breed of goat - the British native goat.

North-south divide lives on

THE NORTH-SOUTH divide refuses to die away, according to a new survey on lifestyle habits in the UK.

Letter: Mitfords at home

MITFORD Hall, in Northumberland, was not the house "immortalised in Jessica [Mitford's] Hons and Rebels" ("Talk of the Toon", 21 March). The relevant house in her book was the newly built one at Swinbrook, near Burford, Oxfordshire.

Letter: Angelic challenge

HOW long will it be, I wonder, before an attempt is made to climb the Angel of the North? Will the wings end up being painted in the black and white stripes of Newcastle or the red and white of Sunderland? It seems an awfully inviting challenge.

You might think this Roman is stark raving mad. But no. It's New Year's Day, the whole world over

First wave: An Italian dives into the Tiber from Rome's Cavour Bridge (top) and bather flee the sea at Scheveningen beach in The
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Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence