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Friday, 6 January 2012

  • Leading article: Too easily seduced by the glamour of high-speed rail
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    Trains speeding along at up to 250mph, travel time cut from nearly an hour and a half to a nippy 49 minutes, £17bn-worth of stimulatory infrastructure investment. Between the undeniable glamour of futuristic technology and proponents' sweeping claims...

  • Letters: Winston Churchill
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    That year, Labour and other socialist parties received early 50 per cent of the votes but some 65 per cent of the seats, showing the undemocratic nature of our electoral system. I doubt if a Conservative victory in 1945 would have made much differenc...

  • Leading article: Hungary retreats from democracy
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    The thrust of the joke was that this linguistically unique, geographically challenged central European nation had produced a stunning number of scientific and artistic geniuses given its diminutive size. But events of the past two years have given th...

  • David Usborne: A democracy where money doesn't always talk – but the press is kept on its knees
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    They then proceeded to ask him some tough policy questions and, to his credit, he gave some pretty specific answers. The first thing he would do if elected president? End all federal government support for abortion, no exceptions. (Making life as h...

  • Viv Groskop: The truth about the Tiger Mother? She's as powerless as the rest of us
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    Quite the opposite. It's a proven fact that in terms of educational achievement a child's background is a far better predictor than his or her abilities. But beyond the basics, can we really make or break them?This week BBC2's documentary Meet Britai...

  • David Owen: Thatcher's disciples do her no favours by covering up her illness
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    Meryl Streep's brilliant portrayal of Margaret Thatcher takes us into the cabinet room and we witness the Iron Lady's open display of personal contempt for Sir Geoffrey Howe, previously her Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary.Contempt w...

  • Leading article: An issue of dignity that can no longer be avoided
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    According to the Commission on Assisted Dying, a terminally ill person with less than a year to live should be able to go to their GP for help in taking their own life – providing that they are aged over 18, of sound mind and have reached their decis...

  • Leading article: The not-so-brief history of Hawking
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    When that man is Professor Stephen Hawking – who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21 and given only two years to live – it is nothing short of inspirational.Professor Hawking's intelligence, academic rigour and unswerving sear...

  • Harriet Walker: Relax if you feel left out or deformed: the super-boob is officially over
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    The inmates of this year's televisual peep show are practically an ethnic minority compared to the number of artificially inflated tits in there with them – and I'm not even talking metaphorically. From twin Californian Playboy Playmates and blow-u...

  • Alice Jones: There really is no place for sex in politics
    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    Watson might defend himself by pointing out that Mensch has occasionally displayed a somewhat muddle-headed attitude towards the importance of image in politics. A spread in GQ this month features the Conservative MP for Corby posing in a leather ski...

  • Simon Kelner: The offside rule, and other male-female stereotypes
    Friday, 6 January 2012

     They were at a restaurant table, and Nancy, by moving salt and pepper pots across the table, was explaining how the offside rule works to Sven. She became increasingly exasperated as her practical demonstration met with bemusement. It was a brillian...

  • Lisa Markwell: What to expect when she’s expecting
    Friday, 6 January 2012

     It has unleashed vitriol, scorn and quippery across the Twittersphere and beyond. There seem to be enough strands to this story to keep every snarky onlooker happy. There’s her youth (22); her appearance (she seems to be much slimmer than in recent ...

  • Letters: Hirst is no 'great', nor a craftsman
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    In stating that Hirst's use of assistants is "a little insulting to craftsmen, skilful craftsmen", Hockney is clearly implying that, unlike the artists cited by Petry (Bernini, Rembrandt and Reynolds), Hirst uses assistants because anybody could exec...

  • Leading article: Alarming escalation over Iran
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    The latest chapter in the controversy was opened by November's report from the International Atomic Energy Agency. It concluded that, contrary to Iran's denials, the programme has a military purpose and it included expert assessments that the country...

  • John Kampfner: Abbott's law - you must not overreact to Twitter
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    What is more discomforting was the hysteria that surrounded Abbott's tweet. Twitter is used for differing reasons. I relish looking at it several times a day to find out what is being said and written. I find it useful to see what free expression eve...

  • Leading article: Time to cut back on over-long school holidays
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    They are wrong. All the academic evidence suggests that long holidays are bad for children, and bad for poorer children, particularly those from ethnic minorities. Put simply, school compensates for disadvantages at home. So while children with diffi...

  • Harriet Walker: A truth that has rarely been uttered before - women don't want it all
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    A new book published this week and written by Gaby Hinsliff, a former former political editor of The Observer, explores the inescapable tug of war, and of conscience, that most modern women face between desk and duty, career and carer.Half A Wife: Th...

  • Kim Sengupta: Changes mark shift in US strategy and emphasis
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    "The long wars of the last decade are over," declared Barack Obama yesterday, reflecting not just budgetary realities, but his antipathy to the missions of invasion and nation building he inherited from the Bush administration. All the indications ar...

  • Simon Read: A shorter summer holiday is a good idea
    Friday, 6 January 2012

    My boys, aged nine and 12, return from school full of new facts and tall tales or gossip. Conversations get more exciting when they're at school and eager to find out more about dinosaurs and bloody battles.Sure they need a rest from academia but ho...

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