Leading article: Mr Miliband is yet to answer all his doubters

The Labour leader has failed to deliver an alternative message with clarity
Alastair Campbell, a former No 10 spin doctor, suffers depression

PM's 'happiness plan' could lift Ed's spirits, says Campbell

Alastair Campbell has praised David Cameron for adopting "happiness" as a goal of government policy and urged Labour to embrace rather than deride it.

Tony Blair rails against ‘tax abusers who pay little or nothing while others pay more than their share’

Blair's company paid just £315,000 tax on income of more than £12m

When you have already spent half a million pounds on rent, £300,000 on furniture and £2.3m paying your staff, an extra £8m on unexplained “administrative expenses” might seem to be stretching credulity, but that is what Tony Blair has told Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which as a consequence has received a rather smaller cheque from the former Prime Minister than it might have expected.

Minor British Institutions: Auld Lang Syne

What apter way than this for looking backwards and forwards through a dizzy mist of vigorously induced benevolence? A simple, forgiving tune; fine, dense and eminently slurrable dialect, as in: "We'll tak a right gude-willy waught, for auld lang syne", which translates as a goodwill drink (waught: draught) for old times long since (gone). Its origins are lost amid Rabbie Burns, strong drink and folk memory: some even claim the tune is English.

Leading article: Let sleeping hounds lie

As hunts gathered all over the country for their Boxing Day meets, the agriculture minister, Jim Paice, said that the ban on hunting wild animals with dogs "simply doesn't work". Some construed his words as a plea to bring forward the Government's promised parliamentary vote on repealing the controversial law. But it could have been just an elementary statement of fact. It would have been none the worse for that.

Arts review of 2011 - Television: You've no idea how much we liked watching

Mr Drew of Passmores school was my hero, in a year in which the reality show got a bit more real

The British and European flags flying side by side in Brussels

John Rentoul: Any PM would have done as Cameron did

Ignore the Eurosceptic cheers. It may turn out to have been wise to step away from the heat as the euro begins to meltdown

Sarah Sands: Charity is about more than money, but giving is a start

The BBC can be bashful about the place of Christianity in our national life: it recently sanctioned the substitution of the lovely terms Before Christ and Anno Domini by the thumpingly prosaic and Welsh examination boardesque Before Common Era and Common Era.

David Cameron

Andrew Grice: Plenty of talk about cracking down on lobbying – but still there's no action

The political parties may talk tough – but they are happy to take the lobbyists' money

Tony Blair with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Downing Street in 2006

The two faces of Tony Blair

The former PM's Faith Foundation champions religious freedom. So why is he doing deals with a despot who persecutes believers?

Steve Richards: Number Ten is disturbed by the debates sparked by e-petitions

Power to the People is always one of the most potent slogans in British politics. No leader would enter an election arguing in favour of less power for the people.

Diary: Be afraid, Sir Cliff, Tony Blair is the kiss of death

The CIA has explored many unconventional methods of sabotage, as Jon Ronson explored in The Men Who Stare At Goats. But reflecting on recent events, the mystery is why the agency neglects the one guaranteed method of destroying its enemies. All it need do is hire Mr Tony Blair to befriend them. Look at global villains of the age, and there he is, caught on camera winking, embracing and a-schmoozing. Mubarak, at whose Sharm el-Sheikh palace the Blairs enjoyed all those hols; Gadaffi, Mr Tony's partner in that manly hug; Berlusconi, on whose yacht he reposed when Casa Mubarak was taken ... and now Rupert Murdoch, for whom he vainly tried to fix a satellite deal with the Italian Stallion; and Rebekah Brooks, at whom we saw him waving coquettishly on a state visit to Wapping in footage replayed last week. If Cherie is a creature from Greek myth (half woman, half supermarket trolley), her soulmate is a supernatural hybrid spanning the ages. Mr T is the lovechild of Zelig and the Angel of Death. God knows who's next, but right now you wouldn't want to be Sir Cliff Richard.

Ed Miliband declares 'new centre ground'

Ed Miliband has declared a "new centre ground" in politics after Tony Blair warned that the Labour Party should not lurch to the left.

Village People: The artful dodger

The Tory MP Michael Fallon demonstrated on Newsnight on Thursday evening why David Cameron appointed him deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

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peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
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Media baron Rupert Murdoch owns News Corps and 20th Century Fox
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The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
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Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?