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Home 2012 December

Sunday, 2 December 2012

  • Editorial: More of the same will not do, Chancellor
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    The details depend on updated forecasts to be published by the Office for Budget Responsibility alongside the mini-Budget. But more pain, for longer, is set to be the central message. Indeed, the Chancellor himself prepared the ground with Sunday's ...

  • Editorial: Time to up the pressure on tax-avoiding giants
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    It is round one to the campaign to put the spotlight on multinationals that appear to operate flourishing businesses in the UK but pay almost no tax. Only weeks ago, in October, managing director Kris Engskov was dismissing calls for a change in Sta...

  • David Blanchflower: Ideology rules the Coalition's jobs policies
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    In the United States, experimental estimates of the impact of youth training funded under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) resulted in large cuts in the programme. The experiment found statistically significant negative impacts on the earnings...

  • Editorial: Take a stand on illegal settlements
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to give the go-ahead for some 3,000 new homes in the occupied territories may be part of long-held plans to cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian territories, killing off hopes of a sepa...

  • Editorial: Mexico must renew its resolve
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Left-wingers and liberals may be appalled by the return to power of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the monolithic party that ruled Mexico autocratically for most of the 20th century, but they are likely to be the least of the new leader's pr...

  • Editorial: Only a free press is democratic
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Instead, we find that the lines have been drawn up on either side of the Rubicon, a nondescript stream that has assumed huge symbolic significance. The whole of the Leveson inquiry, its months of hearings, hundreds of witnesses and revelatory emails...

  • Cameron discovers a principle as he fights for a free press
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    That was why I mocked Ed Miliband when he called for a "full, independent public inquiry" into the whole business. I said that calling for a "Fipi" was the factory setting of the opposition politician. It was over the top, pointless and an attempt to...

  • There is room on a bike for a code of conduct
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    The New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has made a big show of making the city more like London by creating wide lanes for cycles only, and adopting a "Boris bikes" scheme. But there are some things that can't be exported. Britain is a cycling nation....

  • Help us save families from domestic violence
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    A century has passed since she, and many others, fought so valiantly for women's rights. In this time we have put men on the Moon, invented wonder drugs to cure disease, and probed the depths of the ocean. Yet we still cannot guarantee the safety of ...

  • The idea that all Jews have the same views about Israel and Palestine is wrong, rude and offensive
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Lots of people think they know what I think about Middle Eastern politics, because they know I am Jewish and they assume that Jews must have a particular viewpoint. This is both wrong and rude. Wrong because, like most people, my views are changeable...

  • Letters: No threat to good journalism
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    However, there is one issue which Lord Leveson has not addressed. That is why and how the press was able to get itself into the position in which it could undermine democratic institutions. Overwhelmingly, that was due to political cowardice. Crave...

  • Editorial: A Turner Prize to confound the sceptics
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    To many people, the Turner Prize is beyond parody – an incomprehensible homage to pickled sharks and unmade beds. There was, however, more obvious skill and depth to this year's offerings. Ms Price's 20-minute piece, centred on a fatal fire in a b...

  • Perhaps George Osborne is indeed a fine political tactician. But is his economic medicine working?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    He was being highly political when, in opposition, he proposed setting up the Office for Budget Responsibility, an independent body to present the true state of the economy. It allowed Osborne to declare: “After Labour’s spin, there will be no more p...

  • Amazon, Google Starbucks: why many people trust these business giants more than the MPs who call them immoral
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    No wonder the Seattle-based firm has had conniptions over the accusation by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that its tax planning – along with that of other multinationals such as Amazon and Google – is “immoral”. When your brand is me...

  • From the Pope's new Twitter account: Anyone know if it’s a mortal sin to end a tweet with OMG?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    There were worries that this medium of tweeting – short, chatty and instant – would not suit the Pope’s more leisurely style, and it is certainly true that the @pontifex account has made something of a slow start. After several hours, there was not a...

  • If you value your life, move away from that thermostat
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    This guide, which I devised in conjunction with a sensible person who does not associate the use of central heating with any kind of moral or physical defectiveness, offers this advice: * If your partner recommends you “do some star jumps” and then “...

  • British Comedy Awards: The serious business of finding new ways to make people laugh
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    The real issue is that when people don’t find something funny, they tend to assume that no one else could either. No one leaves a ropy production of Hamlet thinking it isn’t a tragedy: you might not like the production, or the lead actor, or the dire...

  • God bless this royal foetus! As Kate Middleton announces she is pregnant, here's why we should all love the glorious House of Windsor
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Nevertheless, as we erupt into a paroxysm of national ecstasy over the forthcoming appearance of yet another addition to the civil list, it is worth reflecting how, well, feudal all this feels. You don’t have to watch much Simon Schama (still less Da...

  • A poem to Kate and Wills
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Wapping cheered when news did greet usthat the Duchess is now truly up the duff.‘Kate is pregnant!’ we all shouted.All this time, we never doubtedthat the Royal seed would ever be rebuffed.Did you ask the Queen for her seal of approvalor just decide ...

  • So long as the US taxes income rather than wealth, Grover Norquist might as well be winning
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    About 20 years ago, Norquist embarked on a quest to get every Republicans to pledge to never - never ever - raise taxes. Conservatives already believed government wasn't the solution to America's problems. It was the problem. But Norquist's organizat...

  • Wills and Kate: Best baby tweets
    #royalbaby Monday, 3 December 2012

    Meanwhile, some commentators, like @amolrajan, are torn between simple joy at the news of new life and the opportunity to argue that the royals should immediately renounce their titles and go live in a hovel in Wales.Here are some of the funniest, we...

  • What if it's a girl? The constitutional dilemma facing Prince William and a pregnant Kate Middleton
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    David Cameron secured an agreement at the Commonwealth Conference in Australia last October that all the countries who recognise the Queen as head of state will alter their constitutions simultaneously, a process now being co-ordinated by the New Zea...

  • America reacts to Kate Middleton's pregnancy
    USA Today Monday, 3 December 2012

    Here's a flavour: "Interest is so high because bearing the next heir and the sooner the better — she's 30 — is sort of Job #1 for the duchess. William's mother, the late Princess Diana, and his grandmother, then Princess Elizabeth, both had their fir...

  • William Hill, Paddy Power taking bets on Kate Middleton pregnancy
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    William Hill are hustling for bets on the child's hair colour (6/4 brown, 8/1 ginger if you're interested)Paddy Power offer punters the chance to gamble on the weight of the baby, with 5/2 the shortest odds for 7lbs to 7lbs 15oz.And prices of 33/1 ha...

  • Buzzfeed reacts to Kate Middleton's pregnancy
    Buzzfeed Monday, 3 December 2012

    Then they give it the Buzzfeed treatment.

  • Kate Middleton: what will the baby look like?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Here's a morphed image of the two.What a beautiful child.

  • What next for Prince William's career now that Kate Middleton is pregnant?
    Now magazine Monday, 3 December 2012

    Here it is from Now: "A source adds: 'When they got hitched, Wills made a commitment to Kate that they'd be together no matter what happened. 'They also agreed to start a family next year. 'If Wills stays with the RAF then Kate will essentially be li...

  • Kate Middleton pregnant: how the baby was planned
    Daily Mirror Monday, 3 December 2012

    Here's a flavour: "There was speculation that the Duchess, who showed herself to be at ease with youngsters on official engagements, was broody. Even the food they had shipped to their honeymoon island in the Seychelles - apparently Brussels sprouts ...

  • Kate Middleton pregnant: the wait is over!
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    The Duchess was taken to hospital this morning complaining of acute morning sickness.And later St James's Palace said in a statement "Their Royal Highnesses the The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambri...

  • Rejoice! An open letter to dear Kate Middleton and Prince William, who are expecting their first child
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    What utterly wonderful news. You must be thrilled! Naturally the whole nation is chuffed for you. The letters of congratulation will come flooding in, the emails, tweets, royal Facebook messages with special elbow length white gloves, and so on. And ...

  • What should Wills and Kate name their royal baby?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Quizzes by Quibblo.com 

  • International Day of Disabled People: Why isn't Iain Duncan Smith looking at the barriers that prevent disabled people from getting work?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    When questioned by Owen Jones on the Government’s welfare reforms for disabled people, he responded by blurting out:“I didn’t hear you screaming about 2.5 million people who were parked; nobody saw them for over ten years, not working, with no hope, ...

  • If the law had been enforced properly, there would be no hacking scandal, Leveson Inquiry, or change in regulation. So why do we need new laws?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    A letter to the i-paper last week caught my eye. The correspondent criticised Chris Blackhurst, editor of The Independent, for failing, in his defence of press freedom, to show any “remorse” about the sins of newspapers. Hang on a minute, thinks I, w...

  • Poll: Is it beneath Pope Benedict XVI to engage with the masses on Twitter?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    The Pope joins the Dalai Lama (5.6 million followers) to beef up Twitter's regiment of religious leaders who engage with believers on the site.What do you make of the Vatican's decision: is it a wise move for the 85-year-old Pope to jump on board? Ha...

  • Lord Leveson understands that legal back-up could improve the quality of journalism in Britain
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    I, like the Independent’s editor Chris Blackhurst and a host of Fleet Street’s finest, gave evidence to the enquiry and I don’t recognise their characterisation. I met a man who was attentive, probing and actively engaged in trying to see how he coul...

  • In defence of multinationals: Danny Alexander may boycott Starbucks - but it's our barmy tax system that's to blame
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    No one pays anymore tax than they have to - on your tax return each year, there's no box asking you “would you like to give us any more than you absolutely have to?” If you're a business, you try and minimise cost wherever possible, and you won't pay...

  • What the victory of independent George Ferguson in Bristol tells us about the democracy in Britain
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    How did an architect of no fixed political abode win an election that has the potential to change the way things are done in local politics?RespectHe was the right man. Well known locally, not just for his red trousers, George commands respect across...

  • Messing with natural habitats only makes flooding worse
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    One sector that has been hard hit is insurance. Because flooding is becoming more frequent due to climate change, some areas are becoming uninsurable. Some 200,000 properties could soon see withdrawal of flood insurance and talks between government a...

  • So Australia are banning branded packaging on cigarettes, why not go one further and ban all of our vices?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Where does the sanitisation of life (that some governments are hell-bent on) end following Australia's decision to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes?We all know that smoking is bad for our health. We're also aware that they're not much good fo...

  • What are you looking at? A 'Jewish' face (whatever that means) is more complicated than you think
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    There is a common assumption that such a thing as a stereotypically “Jewish” face exists. My intention was to discuss the origins of this idea, question why stereotypically “Jewish” looks have historically been deemed unattractive, and outline the im...

  • Should we move to an ‘opt-out’ system of organ donation?
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    What's going on?This week the family of a schoolgirl in Wales made the brave decision to allow their daughter's organs to be used in transplant operations after she died of an asthma attack.Although it’s difficult to comprehend the pain her parents f...

  • Golf brings out the best and the worst in humanity
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    One of the great things about golf is its rules and regulations, and the requirement on its competitors to follow a strict code. But one of the worst things is the way these strictures breed an officious attitude in those who consider themselves resp...

  • Enough tokenism. Show us some disabled superheroes for kids to look up to
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Despite the statistic that 6% of children are disabled in the UK, there’s not so much as a hearing aid or facial disfigurement between the TV heroes so revered by young viewers.We live in largely enlightened, diversity-friendly times. Yet, although i...

  • By your font shall you be judged (I'm Pistilli Roman)
    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Helvetica is the cool kid, loved by many, designed in Switzerland in 1957 and still going strong. Comic Sans is a bit of a joke. Created in the mid-1990s by a typographer working at Microsoft, its friendly, rounded letters have made it the font of ch...

  • The New Yorker profile of Elisabeth Murdoch
    New Yorker Monday, 3 December 2012

    To give you a flavour, here's Auletta's final paragraph: 'I asked Murdoch a final question: How much of her drive was motivated by a desire to impress her father? “You’d love your parents to be proud of you,” she began. “Of course that influenced me....

  • Letters: Don’t make child poverty worse
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    With basic living costs increasing, we know many families are having to make difficult choices; a freeze on benefits and tax credits will make these choices even harder. Far too many families on low incomes live well below the poverty line. We know t...

  • Editorial: An imperial past that the French can't quite escape
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    It all suggests that we in Britain are not quite as unusual as we tend to think in our obsession with a glorious and heavily mythologised past. In France the cult of Napoleon endures, an eternal paradox for a nation that takes pride in its revoluti...

  • What happened to that nice David Cameron?
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Another David Cameron argues against one of the report’s fundamental recommendations – statutory safeguards underpinning a new independent regulatory body – certainly controversial, but manifestly not “bonkers”. The third David Cameron still maintain...

  • Tragic deaths that demand a better response than I witnessed
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    I’ll never forget the moment of collision: although, of course, it was not obvious what had happened until a shaken train guard informed us all over the loudspeaker. Neither will I forget the largely respectful silence that followed, or the woman who...

  • Obama marks Rosa Parks anniversary with picture of himself on the bus where she refused to give up her seat
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    At the time the photo was taken, ABC News reported:"I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn...

  • Diary: Ironically, Archbishop forgives The Sun its trespasses
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Prodigal Sun on Sunday cleric John Sentamu came home yesterday, and was swift to solve the mystery of his prolonged absence from the Sunday Service column. The Archbishop of York originally meant to return after a Lindisfarne retreat in July, he told...

  • Yes, I plugged my friend’s novel. So what?
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    After all, most of us are skint, and many of us are drinking to forget our sales figures. Add the sheer exhaustion of having to pretend that you’re still doing as well as ever, and it’s a miracle that any books are written at all. But we still have C...

  • Both Arab and Jew lived in the original Palestine. Why, Ruth Dayan asks, can't they do so again?
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    On the wall of the flat is a photograph of a beautiful young woman with long, dark hair. She is sitting on a lawn with a handsome young man in British uniform. I am sitting opposite a lady aged 95, the sea glittering behind her Tel Aviv balcony, her ...

  • Crocodile attacks 12 year-old boy in Australia
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    The boy was attacked as he as he swam with a group of people in a quiet lagoon in Port Bradshaw in East Arnhem Land.Other members of the group tried to spear the animal but the crocodile swam away with the boy.Police Superintendent Michael White said...

  • How can the Atos boss get a bonus of £1million while disabled people suffer?
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Thierry Breton’s bumper payout means he pocketed more than £1.9million last year.Details of the obscene sum paid to the head of French firm Atos come as David Cameron draws up draconian new welfare cuts.Atos was brought in to reassess 2.5 million peo...

  • Can The Wanted and One Direction finally bury the hatchet?
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    The British boy bands have both found success in America, but fail to play nice with each other.Max George-Wanted and Zayn Malik-Direction have had public Twitter spats in the past:A source has apparently revealed that “Both of the bands management t...

  • Janine is forgiven for pushing Barry off a cliff as Charlie Brooks is crowned Queen of the Jungle in I'm A Celebrity
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    The Eastenders actress commented how she was used to taunts about playing the murderous Janine Butcher as she'd grown up in the role since she was 17.The final last night featured its two remaining contestants former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts, and...

  • Must watch: Chicago TV reports breaking news of plane crash, only to discover it was TV show set
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Chicago TV News Anchors were left red-faced when they reported on a plane crash that was "supposedly right in the middle of the road".The news helicopter showed the devastating footage to viewers, only to be revealed moments later that it was all par...

  • David Beckham plays his final match with LA Galaxy, would you want to see the footballer return to the Premier League?
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Rumours are circulating that he plans to buy a 25 per cent stake in the Los Angeles Galaxy and then play for AS Monaco, that he might open a restaurant with Gordon Ramsey and that Victoria's been on the look out for new homes in London.He and Victori...

  • Coffee shop laptop snobbery
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    In my left hand, the debit card, poised and waiting so as to not disrupt the hushed speed and order of it all. In my right, a battered, stained laptop case.Flat white upon me, it’s out the door, fast. It’s nearly always to go. I can’t possibly sit do...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (2 December 2012)
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    The Queen would no longer be the head of the Church but a member of the congregation as she is in Scotland. Future coronations would be secular with participation from all religious groups, as would events such as Remembrance Day. Breaking the tie wo...

  • Movember is over. You may kiss me now
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    1. Some people won't like it …"What I look for mostly in a man," the Oscar-winning actress Sally Field once said, "is humour, honesty, and a moustache." It's a sentiment with which, I now realise, many of those closest to me would violently disagree....

  • Everyone's a winner on the level playing fields of sport
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    That was back in 2002, when George W Bush was preparing to invade Iraq, to the horror of most of the Old Continent. But it encapsulated broader assumptions about fundamental trans-Atlantic differences, between a US that practised a pure and virile ca...

  • Rwanda's dark past is no reason to withhold aid
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Our policy is to give aid to countries making efforts to improve democracy, root out corruption, promote peace and respect human rights. Aid works better in those conditions. Rwanda is – like Uganda and Ethiopia before – a "donor darling". It has lif...

  • Our right to die young is under attack
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    It was all too much for the Daily Mail, which not only ran an inflammatory headline about "nanny watchdogs" interfering in our lives, but produced a character named Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of something called the TaxPayers' Alliance, to fu...

  • Shame on the UN for creating the deadly cholera epidemic that's killed 7,500 in Haiti
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Not any more, thanks to the UN. The disease was carried to the island in 2010 by UN troops from Nepal, where cholera is endemic; and it first appeared near their camps. In the past two years, it has ravaged Haiti, killing 7,500 people and making 600,...

  • Raise booze prices to save lives
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies reckons a minimum pricing of 45p a unit will cost an average couple up to £100 a year. On the other side of the fence, the medical profession is campaigning for the change, claiming it will cut hospital admissions by ...

  • Churchill had the right idea, sartorially
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Yes, the "onesie" is now fashionable. It has been decided by whoever decides these things that it is now acceptable to wear these all-in-one zip-up outfits and not be immediately thrown into the Jimmy Savile camp by anybody spotting you in one. Man...

  • How to do your Christmas shop: go out, buy stuff, go home. Easy
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Some of you might think that internet shopping was invented to save time, stress and energy. That means either that you haven't done it very much, or that you work at home. Because it's not the shopping itself that causes all the trauma – the interne...

  • Tom Hodgkinson: Shopkeeper are the real revolutionaries!
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Prof Scott points out that when American wage slaves, tied down to factory jobs, are asked by opinion polls what sort of work they would prefer, most say they yearn to run their own shop, restaurant or farm. Prof Scott goes on to say that, "the desir...

  • It's unfair on the ordinary taxpayer
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    It calls into question the amount of debt that football clubs carry and whether it is sustainable. I would like to know how much deferred tax is collected by HMRC and what happens when clubs get into difficult times. What safety mechanisms are in pl...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (02/12/12)
    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    The letters have gained this terrible reputation because alarming numbers of folk have used them as a form of social point-scoring – school playground boasting, only with better grammar. You know the kind of thing: "Lavinia got straight A-stars and ...

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