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Home 2012 November

Sunday, 25 November 2012

  • Editorial: A new press watchdog must be independent
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    From the outset, we have recognised the need for the Leveson Inquiry. We have issues with its remit, which we felt was made deliberately wide so as to remove the spotlight from the issue of hacking and payments to public servants, and, given his lin...

  • Editorial: Threadneedle Street's new broom
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Nor is it hard to see why. As head of Canada's central bank, Mr Carney presided over banking in a country that experienced one of the smallest booms before the big global bust of 2008 and has weathered the subsequent downturn best. His record is his...

  • The suffering of Sderot: how its true inhabitants were wiped from Israel's maps and memories
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    By my map calculations, it lies, long destroyed, across the fields from a scruffy recreation centre near the entrance to Sderot, a series of shabby villas on a little ring road where Israeli children were playing on the Shabat afternoon.The inhabitan...

  • David Blanchflower: David Cameron's economic gibberish
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Plus there was the Prime Minister's trite and empty-headed speech to the CBI's annual conference that warrants careful examination as it was supposed to have been about how to generate growth but wasn't. It was an insult to the intelligence of its au...

  • Editorial: A princely warning to be heeded
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    It is all too easy to mock the idea of a lifetime achievement award going to someone whose most notable life achievement was to be born first in line to the throne. And recipients of awards are expected to make speeches, something his detractors thi...

  • Editorial: No to press legislation
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    David Cameron, caught on the back foot over his close relationship to the Murdoch empire, his friendship with Rebekah Brooks and the employment of Andy Coulson, instituted the inquiry in July last year following the revelation that the murdered scho...

  • The latest war with Hamas over Gaza proves Benjamin Netanyahu is leading Israel into isolation
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    The country's liberal elite fear this isolation and the soullessness it has created. How else can one account for the government minister who proposed "sending Gaza back to the Middle Ages" or the accusations against Israeli model Bar Refaeli that sh...

  • The joys of boredom!
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    The conference is organised by James Ward, who blogs about stationery and other boring things. He first held a Boring Conference in 2010, on learning that an event called the Interesting Conference had been cancelled. He simply booked the same speake...

  • Why Dave doesn't give a hoot about the EU budget
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    In fact, the EU budget is a trivial matter. The EU might spend a few cents per citizen more or less each year for the next seven years, of which the British share will be a fraction of not very much. The breakdown of the Brussels summit reminded me o...

  • Sketch: What hope for democracy when consensus breaks out?
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    But agree they did. George Osborne had done a good job of preventing the name of the new Governor of the Bank of England from leaking to the press, so for once, MPs heard it first. They loved that. It made them feel that the Chancellor thinks that t...

  • The idea of an electoral pact with Ukip is crazy. Tories should take on Nigel Farage, not woo him
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Above all, Farage should send a note of thanks to the Liberal Democrats for choosing the impossible challenges of power rather than an easy life in opposition. Before the Coalition was formed, the Lib Dems tended to be the protest vote of choice. Now...

  • Joe Dunthorne: 'In an instant, the adult world became accessible and charmless'
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    The landlady of a crusty boozer near my house had a soft spot for my friend Joel and me and although she knew we were under age she let us sit quietly in a booth, drink one pint of Beamish, feel like outlaws, then go home. We’d run back up the hill t...

  • Chris Brown's vile, cretinous Twitter tirade against comedian Jenny Johnson shows that he's the perfect villain for the modern media age
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Over the weekend, Brown deleted his Twitter account after attacking a comedian called Jenny Johnson who dared to criticise him. Never short on vanity, Brown had tweeted: “I look as old as f***! I’m only 23”, to which Johnson amusingly replied “Being ...

  • Whatever Lord Leveson says, Britain should hold on to its feral beast of a press – despite all its horror
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    I say this not only because Britain’s greatest living playwright would have been a wonderful extra pair of eyes to make sure that the report, vast as it threatens to be, will also be a literary pleasure to read when it emerges in two days’ time. The ...

  • My list of the greatest time-wasting internet sites
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    So here are my favourites:Battersea Dogs Home ( This is the prime site for choosing the dog you would adopt if you were in a position to adopt a dog, which you are not. At present, for example, I would adopt Hooch, who “loves...

  • Your home is a flood risk? That’s life
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Without agreement, the arrangement will expire next June. I say: let it.That is not because having your house or business flooded is not appalling: physically, psychologically, financially, it is as bad as disasters come. And if you live in an old-es...

  • The downfall of UBS trader Kweku Adoboli is another morality tale from the City. But have we learnt anything from the Great Crash?
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Perhaps, after four years of crisis and recession, one should become used to the mismatch. In the real world, the loss over which Adoboli presided amounts to real and significant power, but not, it seems, in the City wonderland. All the reports of th...

  • Furbies are back in fashion, another reason to be thankful for Christmas without children
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    The bunfight has spread across the Atlantic now and Amazon and others go crazy, offering discounts in the hope of getting us to part with our cash.The only trouble is that if you’re buying presents for children, you may not be getting a good deal at ...

  • Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: Visit me
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Virginia says...I may be quite wrong, but I think you may be one of those people who think that everyone else is gifted with the power of reading your mind. I’m a bit like that myself. I’ve often spent hours gnashing my teeth in fury as friends don’t...

  • George Osborne chose wisely in appointing Mark Carney as Governor of the Bank of England
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Which member of the Group of Seven large developed economies came through the last crisis in best shape? The answer is Canada. It avoided the unsustainable housing boom that bedeviled its neighbour to the south. It got its banks through the crisis wi...

  • Murderous pens found on North Korean assassin
    CNN Monday, 26 November 2012

    Weapons experts said all three could kill.Authorities stopped the would-be assassin, named only as Ahn,  as he was on his way to meet an anti-Pyongyang activist in Seoul, ostensibly to talk about funding his work against the North Korean regime.The a...

  • Like a frat on steroids - what it's like being a woman at Goldman Sachs
    The Atlantic Monday, 26 November 2012

    Here's a flavour: "I don't know, then, what kind of woman is the proper type to succeed at Goldman. Even in benign ways, the place was a giant man-cave. The annual industry citations from Institutional Investorthat the analysts strived for were all s...

  • Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: The gift that keeps on giving
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Virginia says...This is a real Gorgon’s Knot  of a problem. So let’s start unravelling. You were given this picture so, legally, it is entirely yours. You can do what you like with it. Deface it, give it to charity, keep it  or flog it.But then you w...

  • A day without Twitter and I'm thinking for myself
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    I will not bore you with my theories about the reasons for Monty Panesar’s 11-wicket match haul. But my few days living as a technological Neanderthal showed the extent to which television and the Internet shape my opinions. And, perhaps, the more we...

  • Shut up, Chris Brown! As this delusional misogynist deletes his Twitter account after hurling abuse at Jenny Johnson, let's hope he stays quiet
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    To see the full transcript of Brown's NSFW tweets, you can go here, and it's likely you will be pretty disgusted. A few brave commentators have pointed out that Johnson has been aiming derogatory comments at Brown ever since his 2009 conviction for h...

  • The sexual exploitation of children is a cause of far more criminality than most of us dare to imagine
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    There is no obvious reason to vandalise an allotment or wreck a car with a plank of wood, so it is convenient to describe these acts as ‘mindless’. Pockets of damage inflicted apparently without motive. But a report published by the Office of Childre...

  • Prince Charles: why isn't he more popular?
    The Daily Beast Monday, 26 November 2012

    "For Charles, it [2012] has arguably been even worse than for the family in general", writes Tom Sykes. "In recent weeks he has finally been forced to give up his long-cherished dream of making his wife Camilla queen when he inherits the throne and, ...

  • Too often, the Metropolitan Police are a force unto themselves. Boris must shake things up
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    When someone is shot or killed by the police it is inevitable that community tensions will result. To avoid rumours and conspiracy theories stoking up those tensions, the community need to see that the actions of the police are subject to rigorous in...

  • Capitalism is the Crisis: why the need to envision and create an alternative is more urgent than ever
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    The origins of these struggles are fairly clear. The largest crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression continues today. States bailed out deregulated banks using trillions in public funds, and now people are left to suffer.A Matter of SurvivalS...

  • Debate: Should we introduce minimum pricing of alcohol to limit sales of cheap booze and curb anti-social behaviour?
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    What's going on?Update: 13/03/13Plans to ban cheap beers and spirits by imposing a minimum price on units of alcohol are set to be shelved by David Cameron following a Cabinet row over the moves.Under the proposals, which are strongly supported by Da...

  • Of course Israel is an emotive issue - but we Jewish diaspora should stand up for Palestine
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    I remember my first clumsy foray into the debate. When I was 16 or 17, I saw another student at my school was putting up posters for a talk he had organized from a pro-Palestinian group. I took umbrage and confronted him. I talked about the need for ...

  • Woman who rode manatee arrested
    LA Times Monday, 26 November 2012

    The endangered manatee is a sea mammal known for its docility - and on October 2nd Gutierrez was papped hitching a ride on one unsuspecting beast at Florida's Manatee sanctuary.Police released a photograph of Gutierrez in the act and asked for help i...

  • #UKIP, Ukip, #Merlin: Why are they trending?
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    He told The Independent: "This pact could yield an additional 20 to 40 seats, perhaps more, in 2015 if Ukip co-operates.In other Ukipnews, Rotherham council is considering a report into the row over a foster family who had children in their care take...

  • Tom Cruise brings London to a standstill
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    Filming scenes for his new movie 'All You Need Is Kill', Tom Cruise dropped in by helicopter to do battle with aliens yesterday - and no, it's not anything to do with Scientology.A Westminster City spokesman apparently revealed that although Londoner...

  • Forget planking, milking is the next big thing
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    The simple act of 'milking' simply involves someone pouring milk over your own head and having the moment filmed to share with all on YouTube.The previous fad of 'planking' which went viral required partakers to lie down imitating a wooden plank in u...

  • Unapologetic Rihanna is music's harbinger of doom Monday, 26 November 2012

    "I worry how the simple momentum of provocation, without consideration for its consequences, isn't being questioned as the marketing machine grinds on," writes Rodgers.It is not the music itself that concerns, so much as how it turns domestic violenc...

  • A Living Wage: The price of hearing 'have a nice day' – and believing it
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    The survey reveals 79 per cent of people thought the local shop should be run by people “committed to the community” and 47 per cent sought a personal relationship with the shop owner. In other words, when the cashier takes our money, looks us in the...

  • Fiscal cliff villains are just the usual suspects
    The New York Times Monday, 26 November 2012

    "So let’s step back for a minute, and consider what’s going on here. For years, deficit scolds have held Washington in thrall with warnings of an imminent debt crisis, even though investors, who continue to buy U.S. bonds, clearly believe that such a...

  • Happiness? Give me 'stuff' over experiences any day
    Monday, 26 November 2012

    According to a paper written by three American psychologists, which has found favour among Downing Street's policy makers, wealthy people have a better diet, more free time, more fulfilling jobs, nicer holidays and, I suppose, more stuff. And if they...

  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest: conquered by Israel
    The New Yorker Monday, 26 November 2012

    "The words being tweeted are more than back-alley threats by big boys with bravado," writes Emily Greenhouse. "This is a whole new mechanism and a whole new monster, one pulling out every propaganda stop in what Israel calls Operation Pillar of Defen...

  • The moods of George Osborne
    The Poke Monday, 26 November 2012

    Next time Osborne delivers a speech on the state of the economy, there will be no need to puzzle over what exactly he means to convey with the curl of his lip or a half-closed eye. You can simply, press pause on your digibox, bring this handy guide l...

  • First reviews in for Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's Osama Bin Laden Movie
    Huffington Post Monday, 26 November 2012

    Zero Dark Thirty, a procedural about the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden is already controversial, after the Obama administration was accused of giving sensitive information to the film crew. However, following the first press screenings in N...

  • The next female Prime Minister is closer than you think
    Washington Post Monday, 26 November 2012

    "For decades, observers have noted that women running for political office are portrayed in the media in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes," writes Danny Hayes in the Washington Post. "Long before Sarah Palin,research had shown that fe...

  • Ukip is sucking up voters Tories can ill afford to lose
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Ukip won just over 3 per cent of the vote in 2010, outperforming the previous best Eurosceptic performance, the 2.7 per cent won by the now defunct Referendum Party in 1997.As recently as January Ukip was still at 3 per cent on average in the polls. ...

  • Letters: Will they check teachers’ politics?
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    This presumes that they are investigating the political persuasion of all of the people who work with children and are supervising children in care at the moment. No doubt they will be concerned about the political views of the teachers in local sc...

  • Editorial: F1 gets a new and exhilarating lease of life
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    The number of those with an interest – declared or not – in buying Formula One shows that motor-racing is again a desirable property. Enthusiasts will look forward to more of the same next year. By the way, Button won the race, and Vettel the champ...

  • Our media demonises immigrants, refugees and Muslims. What will Lord Leveson say about that?
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    We heard about victims of malpractice, including Millie Dowler and Christopher Jefferies – an innocent man monstered by sensationalist British newspapers after the murder of  Joanna Yeates in Bristol. After that we journalists can’t demand business a...

  • The cosy consensus I saw on Question Time's panel is a disservice to every man and woman in Britain
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Take a moment to compare the current crop of political “heavyweights” to, say, the leading lights of post-war Britain. In the first majority Labour government, headed by Clement Attlee, there was Nye Bevan (above, with Attlee), ex-miner, fiery orator...

  • What makes a good parent? It's not discipline, or striving for respect (or fear). Above all else, it's trust
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    This week we saw two items that gave cause for judgement on what makes a suitable parent. The Ukip couple who, last week, had the children they’d been fostering for the last two months taken away from them because of their political beliefs. And we l...

  • Blairite loyalists like myself know that Mr Tony Blair only consorts with the nicest dictators around
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Mr Tony is absolutely huge in Rwanda, where former Downing Street staffers and charity workers of his festoon Paul Kagame’s government, though the source of his besottedness with that tiny country is disputed. Where Blairite loyalists like myself acc...

  • President Morsi of Egypt loses Tahrir Square
    New Yorker Sunday, 25 November 2012

    As he reports: "While many believe that Morsi is flush with a new sense of power, my instinct is the opposite—that he’s probably frustrated and worried about eroding public support. After seeing one constitutional assembly dissolved in the spring, he...

  • Richard III found in Leicester shocker!
    The Washington Post Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Here's a flavour: "Underneath a drab parking lot 90 miles northwest of London, archaeologists have unearthed what may become one of this nation’s finds of the century — half-a-millennium-old bones thought to be the remains of the long-lost monarch. B...

  • John McCain humiliates himself again (this time over Susan Rice)
    The Daily Beast Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Over at the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky explains how McCain got it wrong - again: "We don’t yet really know as a society what a person has to do to completely and utterly cancel out a record of war heroism, but we may be about to find out. If this C...

  • Steven Spielberg's Lincoln captures why we love politics
    New York Times Sunday, 25 November 2012

    In his most recent column, he reviews Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln. It ideally captures, he writes, the mixture of principle and pragmatism that marks all the great political careers. Here's a flavour: "It [the film] shows that you can do more goo...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (25 November 2012)
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Despite having been instructed by Parliament in 2011 to end this cruelty, the Government is pressing ahead with its ill-conceived inspection and licensing regime, which will do nothing to protect animals in circuses from the routine abuse they face,...

  • Editorial: Ukip cannot solve the Tories' Europe problem
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Among those protesting most loudly were Labour politicians, including the leader, Ed Miliband, who clearly sensed a risk that the party could be tainted by association, given that Rotherham is run by Labour. With a by-election on Thursday – called fo...

  • Despite the sabre-rattling, an attack on Iran is now unlikely
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    This is scarcely surprising. The threat has served Tel Aviv and Washington well in the past because it enabled them to persuade the rest of the world to impose swingeing sanctions on Iran as the only alternative to war. Even so, claims that a final c...

  • The day the chickens came home to roost
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    But this year will take some beating. My wife had organised a no-holds-barred dinner party for the main event, and friends duly arrived bearing gifts. One couple excelled themselves by turning up with a very intriguing-looking box that they insisted...

  • Where is Africa's share of the spoils?
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Moreover, windfalls of wealth have created a rent-seeking culture in which living standards are not earned and there is a neglect of entrepreneurial endeavour, technological innovation and hard work.Each year, international oil, gas, forestry and min...

  • I work part-time. (I'm a woman, you see)
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    I'm talking about a double shot of caffeine, of course: anything else might slow me down, and I've got a lot to pull off in the three days that I'm paid for my work. I'm sure the 44 women on a new index singling out 50 people at the top of their pro...

  • On the superhighway to where, exactly?
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    It is not that any of this electronic eye-candy is particularly injurious in itself – although I still roar with laughter at the sight of a leotard-clad exerciser bouncing about to the TV screen when she could be running over a field – merely that i...

  • Manners makyth man. Etiquette's just nonsense
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    But it is, no doubt, very welcome to the owners of Pizza Express who commissioned the new guide as they introduce calzone to their menus. This folded pizza can be eaten with the fingers, the posh person's primer pronounced, even though, with all tha...

  • Why do the Republicans want to stop Susan Rice succeeding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State?
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    The lady, as anyone who follows American foreign policy-making knows, is not just anyone. She is the current favourite – or at least, according to every report, the candidate favoured by Barack Obama – to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State...

  • As the BBC's new Director-General, Tony Hall's first duty is to take the Corporation back to basics
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Tony Hall might be a lord but his broadening of the audience for opera has shown he is certainly not an elitist. I have nothing but admiration for him, but what a huge task lies ahead. First, he has to keep the BBC Trust at arm's length so he can ope...

  • This squabbling sect has no place in the Lords
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Far from it: what I've just described is the privileged position of the Church of England. And it's why last week's fiasco, in which the Synod failed to pass a proposal to allow women to become bishops, matters to us all. As a non-believer, I'm mor...

  • Harriet Walker: Winter food should be snuggly
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    When I eat in restaurants, I'm often constrained by the guilt factor of choosing something I can't have at home – hence my almost ordering the veal's head. I very rarely let myself have pasta if I'm eating out, which doesn't make sense because I cook...

  • Good parenting outranks all other considerations
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    That was the aspiration, but that idealism foundered on the reality that you couldn't always achieve it. Children were missing out their chances of finding adoptive parents because of the delays in finding a match. The rules have changed in the pas...

  • Striving doesn't pay in today's Britain
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    This week, we'll learn that Iain Duncan Smith hasn't made the challenge any easier. The DWP's Work Programme has descended into gridlock as Jobcentre Plus staff lose all confidence in it. Referrals to the programme have halved over the past year , e...

  • Rant & Rave (25/11/12)
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    Sigh. Or should that be Psy? For another week brings another parody or five of the South Korean pop star's hit, "Gangnam Style", the internet meme that never dies. The most high profile has been the Anish Kapoor-led art world "protest" vid. Now, it...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (25/11/12)
    Sunday, 25 November 2012

    My suspicions were first aroused in 2008, on the publication of In Tearing Haste, letters between PLF and Deborah Devonshire. He was obviously proud of his friendship with the chatelaine of Chatsworth. Trouble was, the brilliance of her writing made ...

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