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Thursday, 15 November 2012

  • Editorial: More than just mid-term woe for David Cameron
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    Normally, such dire by-election results for the governing party could be dismissed as protests. After all, Labour won most mid-term by-elections in the 1980s, and was still slaughtered at the subsequent general election. Yet yesterday's loss of Corby...

  • Editorial: A watershed moment for Twitter and the law
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    There were more than 3,000 mentions of the former Conservative Party Treasurer on the social network on the day of the Newsnight broadcast. Lord McAlpine's lawyers have now enlisted a specialist company able to recover even deleted tweets to track do...

  • There is still much to be done for our nation's mental health
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    There wasn't enough time for every aspect of Simon's life to be reflected at the funeral, but I knew him as a colleague, a studied and meticulous newspaperman in whose hands a sow's ear of a metaphor would emerge as a silken piece of prose. But I als...

  • Editorial: Whatever happened to those green shoots?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    First, inflation. Many economists blame Britain's slow recovery from the financial crisis as much on unexpectedly high inflation as on either Government cuts or the ructions in the eurozone. Hence the relief when commodity prices eased and the rate f...

  • Editorial: Egypt's balancing act over Gaza
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    For all the human tragedy, the periodic conflicts in Gaza provoke a sense of weary inevitability. What is different this time is that the latest spasm takes place in a region reshaped by the Arab Spring. Under Hosni Mubarak, Egypt was an ally of the ...

  • Save our regional theatre, because if you can’t tread these boards, the show’s over
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    There are, however, two different theatre models under discussion here. One is the semi-legendary “rep” theatre whose demise was mourned this week by Sir Ian McKellen. In its classic form it was a small-town theatre with a resident company which put ...

  • In the Tower of Babel that is Twitter, silence descends. Quite right, too
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    OK, aside from the odd muted grumble about wealthy McAlpine becoming ever wealthier, and the odd meek musing on how he could donate his windfall to Children in Need. But otherwise Twitter seemed to be washing its hair. How strange? This news item tic...

  • Boys and bras have a place in the Girl Guides
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    And she talks about sex. Not in a “lie back and think of England” way, but with more of a “sit up and sort yourself out” type of approach. Julia Bentley, the former head of the Family Planning Association, was named the chief exec of Girlguiding UK t...

  • Why should we be surprised that Lowry had a dark side? As an artist, it's a natural part of the terrain
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    I admit to a predilection for the dark side myself, but then I’m a sentimentalist. The truth is that the best art is made out of an unresolved conflict between all the sides an artist has, and this much we can say: no great art was ever made by an ar...

  • On Police Commissioners, you turned out in your hundreds to vote - but what were you voting for?
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    I doubt my presence made the blindest bit of difference, but if anyone tells you they experienced a rising tide of apathy as it came to polling day, they’re fibbing. Yes, the turnout was shocking. In one ward locally, which normally polls high, fewer...

  • Is dear Sir James Dyson clueless as well as bagless?
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    While we all batten down the hatches and wait for the apocalypse to be wrought by hordes of Sapphic wastrels clutching their BAs and well-thumbed Flammarion editions of Marguerite Yourcenar, how about applying a little lit crit to Dyson's statement? ...

  • Errors and Omissions: When words acquire new meanings, it's best not to stand in the way
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    That is true. “Elide” is a term in grammar. It means to omit, to disregard or slide over a letter, syllable or word. But it is also true that in recent years the word has acquired a new meaning: to blur the distinction between two or more things. The...

  • What should the next BBC Director General do? And will the Israel/Palestine conflict ever end?
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    It’s a very dangerous time, as the advocates of privatisation see rich pickings here. The crisis is not being overstated, but the initial causes have provided a pretext for a marvellously hypocritical show of outrage, while recent blunders (bafflingl...

  • Debt rising, jobs stagnating: should the young think twice before attending university?
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    Except rather than standing out, graduates are now finding themselves swallowed up. A major study out last week revealed that the pulling power of recent graduates has significantly declined.  40% of graduates from the 2006 cohort were still in non-g...

  • A half-baked plan and a whole baked spider: time to get Dorries out of Parliament
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    All residents of Mid Bedfordshire are now without an MP. We have no voice in the House of Commons while our democratically elected representative is earning £40,000 on a reality TV show. Nadine Dorries has not only broken her promise to represent her...

  • Debate: George Monbiot faces legal action over McAlpine tweet, but should inaccurate tweets be subject to libel laws?
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    What's going on?Last night the BBC appeared to have agreed a £185,000 settlement with Lord McAlpine, over false child sex abuse allegations. But McAlpine’s lawyers won’t be putting their feet up yet. They have let it be known that those who named the...

  • This week's wackiest stories from the web: Stupid evolution and the first burger in space
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    The Dumb Shall Inherit the EarthIn a two-part paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics, Stanford University researcher Gerald Crabtree suggest that evolution is, in fact, making us dumber and that human intelligence may have actually peaked ...

  • Mamma mia, these Tesco, Morrisons and Asda adverts take Christmas back to the 1950s
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    What I didn't expect, was that that festive cheer would be laced with an attitude which, in its outdated sexism, could have come straight out of the 1950s.I am, of course, talking about the adverts for Asda, Tesco and Morrisons. The three pillars of ...

  • Iain Duncan Smith's cynical attempt to redefine child poverty will do nothing to reduce it
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    It is what he said that had me so upset. He was speaking about families, and he did make some good points.OutdatedWhen families are strong and stable, he said quite rightly, so are children. But when things go wrong in families, he added, quite right...

  • BBC is well versed in drama; it's time to end this one
    Friday, 16 November 2012

     Lord Patten knew not what to do,As the crisis just grew and grew,And the DG's position?It was like an edition,Of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. It was Humphrys who dealt the last blow,When he exposed what his boss didn't know,He said “I knew rien”,When...

  • Hungry for education? No thanks: I've already Eton
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    I noticed these jokers were silent when, this week, something called the Springboard Bursary Foundation announced it will send 2,000 pupils from poor backgrounds to leading state and private boarding schools by 2023. Eton has signed up for the scheme...

  • Questionable Time in Corby: Chris Grayling, Nigel Farage and not a trouser press in sight
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    Chris Grayling was surprisingly tolerable...He's been an irksome thing of late, has Grayling. It's not the fact that he does the whole puff-chested, 'Tuff On Crims' thing – I expect that from Tory Justice Ministers who aren't Ken Clarke – it's becaus...

  • The scandals over Jimmy Savile and Newsnight show the BBC can either modernise or die. Having a full time Chairman would be a good start
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    I was recording a programme about Race which, when broadcast, was edited beyond recognition. The producer indicated he disliked a fellow contributor, Jane Elliott, and in my view abused his position in an apparent attempt to sabotage her career. This...

  • Howling murder: Russian grandma kills wolf with axe
    Gawker Friday, 16 November 2012

    Gawker has given Maksudova the title of "Most Badass Person in Russia", after her tale of the fight was reported by Sky News."When I raised my arm up like this, the wolf was just holding my hand. Trying to claw my hand. I wanted to open his mouth and...

  • Online security? Pah. Passwords are a hacker's delight
    Wired Friday, 16 November 2012

    "Your email. Your bank account. Your address and credit card number. Photos of your kids or, worse, of yourself, naked. The precise location you're sitting right now as you read these words".All these are in easy reach. This summer it took less than ...

  • Letters: Energy options for 'green' Tories
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    It's been clear for a long time that prominent members of the Government simply don't get the urgent need to build a low-carbon economy, or recognise the huge economic opportunities this will bring. According to the CBI the green economy delivered a ...

  • Editorial: All power to the Energy Secretary
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    Allowances must be made for wishful thinking. But, taken together with the appointments of the wind farm opponent John Hayes as Energy minister and climate change sceptic Owen Paterson as Environment Secretary, and with Mr Osborne's own dismissive al...

  • Hamas, Israel and why social media like Twitter and Facebook are a new front in the war for Gaza
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The exchanges began after the Israeli Defence Force parked its tanks on the social media site boasting at @IDFSpokesperson that Ahmed al-Jabari, head of the Hamas military wing, had been “eliminated” by an Israeli air strike, linked to a Twitpic post...

  • The real villains of the Abu Qatada case are not Theresa May, Jordan, or European courts - but MI5
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    Whether his fury was entirely justified is another matter. In these and similar cases, ministers have been adept at throwing up their hands and acting powerless. On the positive side, they cite the independence of the UK judiciary, separation of powe...

  • A new officer class is required: one that has nothing to do with social class
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    Who, after all, wants to be seen as an authority figure these days? Even those in charge prefer to be seen as approachable, as not that different in many ways from their junior colleagues – first among equals. Leadership has never been less fashionab...

  • Israel and Hamas are going to war over Gaza because conflict is in the interest of both camps
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    President Obama turned aside, saying he quite understood why the Israelis were doing it but hoped they would try and avoid civilian casualties. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, made clear which side Britain was on, declaring that “Hamas bears pr...

  • Abortion and Ireland: The cowardice that let Savita Halappanavar die also condemns my country
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The man lived in a shantytown in Sierra Leone, a country which has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality on Earth. Hospitals there routinely have to let patients die of preventable infection for lack of drugs, equipment or because the family...

  • Nearly eight years after he offended the people of Liverpool, Boris Johnson is finally forgiven
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The London Mayor, above, offended them in 2004, during his early days as an MP when he also edited The Spectator, which ran an editorial wrongly accusing drunken Liverpool fans of contributing to the disaster. He visited Liverpool to apologise after ...

  • Who's afraid of the big bad China?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    Obviously the UK has many historical ties to the US and a ‘ special relationship’ might seem like the natural progression of this. However, in the current economic climate and with the current world power shift, it is time for the Camerons to start h...

  • Amid competition from the likes of Asda, Ryanair's Cabin Crew Calendar is sexploitation at its worst
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But as unhelpful as these adverts are (with their 1950s gender stereotypes insidiously pumping into living rooms and children’s developing world views), on the scale of offensive, harmful exploitation they are not in the same league as the Ryanair ca...

  • Arise, the new Mayor of Bristol
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    It seems a long time ago now, but back in May, Bristol was divided over whether to adopt the elected mayor system in the first place. Even after (narrowly) becoming the only city in the UK to vote in favour of this new form of council leadership, sce...

  • Liz Jones Exclusive!* Why, after five terrible years, I'm leaving the country and won't come back!
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    I thought country people would accept me with open arms. I would be their diamond. They would be my rough. And I would be in them. Instead, they treated me with contempt. They might as well have put up a sign saying 'no blacks, no homosexuals, and no...

  • Creator of The Wire, David Simon on Petraeus and the media's obsession with sex
    Salon Thursday, 15 November 2012

    He's written for Salon today on what the salacious, but otherwise unimportant story, of the ex-CIA chief's infidelities reveals about the downfall of proper journalism. "This is just sex," writes Simon. "This is nothing more than the odd, notable pen...

  • Did India betray democracy in Burma?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But beneath the diplomatic platitudes and the easy-on-the ear soundbites for the media, it soon became clear that Ms Suu Kyi was not entirely happy. Until the early 90s, successive Indian governments had supported the Burmese democracy movement in it...

  • Debate: Local councils are paying off debts by selling school fields. Should education make a profit?
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    What's going on?Holland Park School has just made a profit for its local council by selling off a former playing filed for the development of 72 new homes. The money has gone to a complete re-fit of the schools building, and there was enough money le...

  • The danger lurking in laws to end cyberbullying
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    After years of abuse that took place online, she posted a video on YouTube telling her story, then hanged herself. She didn't seek help from a law to protect her from the man who posted a picture of her breasts on his Facebook page. But there was a l...

  • Letters: The BBC is no Augean stable
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    If the interests of licence fee payers are to be served by an overhaul of the BBC, it is therefore to be hoped that the focus is on tidying up the incoherent mess that BBC television has become. This half of the BBC can learn a lot from its radio oth...

  • Editorial: A killing that will rebound on Israel
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But this will surely be the effect of its decision to kill the head of the military wing of Hamas in Gaza. Israel's intelligence agency Shin Bet warned that this was just the start of a campaign against "those who promote terrorism against Israel". T...

  • From air strikes to hit squads: how Israel disposes of its enemies
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    The death of the Hamas military commander was an echo of similar operations in the past in which dozens of Palestinian militants have been wiped out. Israeli officials object to the term "assassination", preferring to describe the lethal assaults as ...

  • Editorial: Words alone will not save children from neglect
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    In response to a report on children's services in South Yorkshire published yesterday, Michael Gove spoke vividly of the need to give social workers the backing to act more quickly in taking neglected or abused children into care. In theory at least,...

  • Editorial: A different kind of celebration
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    How wrong they were. Celebrate sold a bare 2,000 copies in its first week and, beset by criticism, is now plummeting down the bestseller list so fast that Amazon is touting it for less than half its original price.Notwithstanding the chagrin of both ...

  • Six ways China's new rulers could make life better
    Friday, 16 November 2012

    They cannot even allow people to have their opinions on TV or in the newspapers. They have already blocked lots of international sites with the Great Firewall of China, but leave the domestic sites alone. Please, as a Chinese citizen, allow me to us...

  • Editorial: Don't let one glitch spoil the memories
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    But it would be a pity if this tinge of dissatisfaction were allowed to cast a retrospective pall over all of London 2012. The vast majority of unsold tickets were for football, which was early on and always going to be a tough sell. Otherwise, as Lo...

  • Growth is the key after Xi's long march to the top
    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    He is also a highly networked individual. Xi's ascendancy has happened by a slow process of getting support, or at least avoiding active opposition, from important elements in the 84-million-strong Party. Most crucially, he has had the support of fo...

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