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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

  • Leading article: Failed attacks and primitive politics
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    There have been 49 bombs planted in Northern Ireland during the past eight months, compared with 22 during the whole of 2009. This year has also seen 32 shootings in the province as dissident republican groups try to put an end to the peace that ha...

  • Leading article: Taxation - neither transparent, nor efficient
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    For some it will be good news. Around 4.3 million people have paid too much and are due a refund from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC). But 1.4 million have underpaid and will face an average repayment bill of £1,400. Some will face demands...

  • Michael Brown: Cameron's safe from rebels – for now
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    When the report stage begins in earnest – considering questions such as the date on which the referendum is to be held and whether there should be a 40 per cent threshold of voters supporting a "Yes" vote – the Tory whips may have a harder task. But ...

  • Leading article: Labour's sleepers awake
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    The former culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, revealed to this newspaper last week that her phone had been hacked 28 times. All of the Labour leadership candidates have called for a thorough investigation. And Alan Johnson, who was home secretary when ...

  • Letters: Languages
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    Michael Gove's plans to consider a new baccalaureate certificate ("Baccalaureate planned to reverse the decline in modern languages", 6 September) and combat the flight from languages should be warmly applauded. He rightly said that lack of languag...

  • Susie Rushton: A lesson needed in lightening up
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    After a long legal battle with his neighbours and the council, Mr Alvand agreed to reduce the height of the concrete barrier known locally as the "Berlin Wall". His revenge is Megahedge, a stupendous specimen that demonstrates the growing powers of t...

  • Leading article: A promise is a promise
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    The aims were ambitious, the intentions sincere and the means approved. Yet it would be foolish to think that, a decade on, we are anywhere near achieving these goals. Strides have been made in improving primary education (enrolment is now 90 per cen...

  • Simon Price: This year the shady cabal of faceless judges got it right
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    For the last 19 years, the Mercury has presented itself as a connoisseur's alternative to the Brit Awards, a classy Cannes Palme D'Or to the Brits' trashy Oscars (though it's debatable how genuine an alternative it can claim to be, given that it, lik...

  • Sean O'Grady: My tangles with HMRC's culture of bullying and fear
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    Thus, my abiding memory of contact with HMRC was a threatening call from the Inland Revenue Collections Centre in Bradford, which seems to be the HQ of HMRC's elite squad of sadists. A woman – who might easily have got a role on a West Yorkshire vers...

  • Boyd Tonkin: Some big omissions, but a nicely balanced list overall
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    McCarthy, now flavour of the month, reaches it with the richly inventive but structurally flawed historical novel C; whereas Mitchell's richly inventive but structurally flawed historical novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet disappears from si...

  • Letters: Wiliam Hague
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    It is always a delight to read the common sense of Yasmin Alibhai Brown, in this case on the intrusion into the private life of yet another media victim (6 August). If William Hague is as angry as I am about this latest intrusion, I hope he will ta...

  • Leading article: Fair and fowl
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    The former Gosport MP is donating the proceeds (£1,645) to Macmillan Cancer Support, rather than keeping them for himself. In a way it is a shame that Sir Peter has left politics, because his decision to forgo the profits of infamy shows that his pol...

  • David Sharrock: As unemployment soars, splinter cells think their time has come
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    On the rare occasions when politicians in Westminster are forced to consider Northern Ireland most would be forgiven for shaking their heads in disbelief and asking themselves: "What do these people want?" Of course the question, and its response, re...

  • Kim Sengupta: Dissidents aim to recreate the dark days of the past
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    The rise in violence in Northern Ireland does not, of course, mean that the security situation is anything like as bad as when the Provisional IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) were carrying out their bombing campaigns and loyalist gr...

  • Pablo Munoz: If Northern Ireland is a model, Basques need a Gerry Adams to call order
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

    That's never an easy thing for an armed organisation to do. But the problem is that Eta currently lacks that sort of Adams figure – even though they have had such leaders in the past. But after so many recent arrests in the last year, the group's hig...

  • Leading article: Body talk
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    Apparently some of the crucial components of a successful male display are the speed of the right knee, and the size of movement of the neck, trunk, left shoulder and wrist. One can only hope that no man takes that little summary too literally, or we...

  • Holly Williams: No manual could improve a man's dancing after seven pints
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    Sorry chaps, but a manual can't help you here. Any man who reveals turning cogs while attempting to throw shapes is doomed to fail. In British nightclubs, with confidence bolstered (but co-ordination unimproved) by seven pints and a tequila slammer, ...

  • Shaun Walker: Democratic opposition live in fear of arrest – or worse
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    Scratch the surface, however, and it becomes clear that it's also not the harmonious paradise the Belarusian authorities and their Western PR agencies insist it is. "Life is fine here, as long as you don't decide to go into business or politics," one...

  • Kim Sengupta: Insulting Islam can have lethal repercussions on battlefield
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    General Petraeus's warning that the stunt is likely to put the lives of American troops in danger is not far-fetched. Five years ago 15 people were killed and dozens injured in riots in Afghanistan after Newsweek magazine claimed that interrogators a...

  • Alice-Azania Jarvis: While in London, solidarity with Tube staff is in short supply
    Wednesday, 8 September 2010

    No problem, I thought - at least the bus drivers are still working. I logged on to Transport for London and selected an hour-and-fifteen-minute route. Easy! Expecting extra traffic, I left two hours to get from my home in east London across to The I...

  • John Rentoul: Perhaps they mean ironic
    Tuesday, 7 September 2010

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