Voices

Disabled people shouldn't be forced to shop on the internet. The high street should be available and accessible to everyone

The Two Worlds of Charlie F: A journey of discovery

“I need more mongness from you,” director Stephen Rayne calls across the hallowed, ancient auditorium of the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Dreams turn to reality for surrealist film director

The Czech film director, Jan Svankmajer discusses a troubled childhood and the inspiration for his new film.

Ministers fear the revolt will undermine David Cameron's drive to modernise his party

Matthew Norman: The Prime Minister is showing a feeble commitment to disabled people

Those who know him only as the ribald host of the Golden Globes in Hollywood will be unaware that Ricky Gervais was once Britain's most strikingly prescient socio-political satirist. Long before last year's outbreak of "mong" warfare on Twitter, Gervais produced an uncannily accurate predictive metaphor for the Tory attitude towards the disabled, on view this week as the Welfare Reform Bill wended its contentious way through the Lords.

Matthew Norman: Cameron is the David Brent of welfare reform

The Prime Minister seems to be happy to pat the disabled on the head and then leave them behind

Police investigate assault on dwarf

A dwarf who was picked up and dropped on the floor while celebrating his birthday during the Rugby World Cup was told he will have to use a wheelchair as a result of his injuries.

Photography: Power and Movement: Portraits of Britain's Paralympic Athletes, By Richard Booth

Somehow evoking movement and stillness at the same time, the commercial photographer Richard Booth's graceful monochrome portraits of Britain's confirmed and hopeful 2012 paralympians also seek, as he says in his introduction, to "redefine traditional perceptions of disability, fitness and power".

Sarah Sands: YouTube justice is a kangaroo court online

What should you do if someone is foul mannered on public transport? It is spirit-crushing for everyone who witnesses it, yet intervention feels thankless or dangerous. You can report someone swearing or smoking or ranting to an official, but they are as fearful as everyone else. The signs in stations, or hospitals for that matter, warning that staff must not be threatened or abused by passengers or patients, suggest an institutionalised dread of the public. You could call the police, but that means lock-down and nobody getting to work. Furthermore, nobody expects it to lead to a conviction. The result is that we are wretchedly complicit in an uncivil society.

Tips and deals of the week: Vietnam Airlines, Star Clippers and Adapted Vehicle Hire

The Flight

Vietnam Airlines has begun new non-stop flights from Gatwick to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the first direct route from Britain.

Go to vietnamairlines.com

Laurie Penny: How could Labour have been so cruel?

It's because of the previous government that cancer patients are suffering additional pain
The Paralympic silver medallist Monique van der Vorst, 27, was confined to a wheelchair for 14 years until a freak accident last year prompted a miracle recovery enabling her to regain the use of her legs

How a bike crash set paralysed cyclist on the road to a miraculous recovery

The world of professional cycling has been astounded by the remarkable story of a paralympic hand-cycling athlete who has been recruited to one of Holland's top racing teams after an accident prompted a miracle recovery enabling her to regain the use of her legs.

Scotland Yard fees protest probe inadequate

The police watchdog has ruled Scotland Yard inadequately investigated officers for using excessive force against a wheelchair-bound student fees protester, his solicitor said today.

Tips and deals of the week: 21/08/2011

The Access

Virgin Holidays has launched beach wheelchairs for customers with disabilities at selected Caribbean resorts.

Email special.assistance@virginholidays.com

Edinburgh Diary: A little ray of sunshine

Eyebrows have been raised at the Edinburgh International Festival's decision to continue its association with the Chinese government in light of artist Ai Weiwei's detention in April and his continuing media ban.

Man held over death of relatives

A man was being questioned today over the murder of his grandmother and aunt.

Whatever Happened to Benny Hill? Tron Theatre, Glasgow

The tragicomic circumstances of Benny Hill's life and death are familiar to anyone who remembers the comedian, and there's a narrative arc to them which doesn't require undue forcing. From wide-eyed young wannabe variety performer to internationally famous television superstar to unmarried and far out-of-fashion pensioner dying alone in his rented Teddington flat, the glory and the sadness of his life speaks for itself.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'