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Saturday, 8 December 2012

  • Editorial: Berlusconi's return bodes ill for Italy and Europe
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    This is not the same Mr Berlusconi who was drummed out of office last year. Internal divisions, his conviction for tax fraud and his ongoing trial on charges of having sex with a minor have shredded his party's support, which in the most recent poll...

  • Editorial: The game's up for tax avoiders
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    This is the most remarkable rate of return in human history: for a one-off outlay of £77m, a yield of 26 times as much every year, instantly. With this alchemy of public finances it would make unbreakable sense to borrow as much as the Government ca...

  • George Osborne's Autumn Statement just proves that nobody knows how the economy is really doing
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Given that Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, was on poor form, it was left to John Denham, the former Cabinet minister who now serves as a parliamentary private secretary to Ed Miliband, to express Labour's incredulity eloquently. He said that, since ...

  • Google, Amazon, Vodafone and Starbucks might not be breaking laws. But they deserve to be punished
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Managing director of Starbucks UK Kris Engskov claims it had responded to customers, and the ads grovelled "we know we are not perfect … but we have listened …we hope you will give us an opportunity to build on your trust". Was that public act of hum...

  • As Rupert Murdoch's mother well knew, a good innings means more than just sticking around
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    She was obviously a spirited old lady, who, said the obituarists admiringly, at the age of 99 won a case brought against her by the Australian Tax Office on a multimillion-dollar sum which she had inherited. "Rupert Murdoch remained close to his moth...

  • The NHS was forged from care, not box-ticking
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Earlier that day, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Jane Cummings, had called for nurses to focus more on compassion. That was what prompted Ann Clwyd to make her private grief public. "Nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husb...

  • Letters: Call a 'prank' by its proper name – bullying
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    It is time we recognised that when an action is described as a prank or jape the perpetrators are bullies, setting out to humiliate someone, and they must accept responsibility if their bullying drives their victim to take an extreme action like that...

  • Editorial: Why bother to cook Christmas dinner? Because it's there
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Not Meals that Mother Loses Sleep Over or Meals for an Agonised Afternoon, but 15-Minute Meals: quick, modern and painless. While efforts to encourage home cooking are to be applauded in the age of the ready meal and takeaway, it would be a shame if...

  • Labour's John Mann sure knows how to kick a man when he's down. Just ask (Labour's) Ed Balls
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    One had assumed that persecuting the disabled was the Government’s preserve, but apparently not. Mr Balls held his stammer solely responsible for the catastrophe, as you know, and this we must take this on trust – for there is no fiercer foe of phone...

  • Ewan McGregor: With your help, Unicef can give child soldiers another chance at childhood
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Taken from their families and the safety of home, these children, some no older than seven or eight when the LRA abducted them, had experienced the unthinkable, and in the process lost a big part of their childhood. And even when I met them as teenag...

  • A Childhood Violated: why we are launching this campaign with Unicef to help Africa's child soldiers
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    They met in the stronghold of one of the rebel groups in the Central African Republic. The boy was a child soldier who had been press-ganged into the forces of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) which has been fighting for the pa...

  • Against George Osborne's war on the poor and the vile stupidity of his 'workers vs shirkers' narrative
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    The hope is that, by opposing such a cap, Labour can be painted as the unapologetic champion of the widescreen-TV-watching, multiple-child-producing, closed-curtained-home-dwelling “shirkers”.Class warriorsThat a gang of multimillionaire class warrio...

  • A monument to evil that can teach the modern world
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    I didn’t agree. Weren’t some of the killers of 11 September 2001 rather well educated? Wasn’t the Lebanese hijacker of that day the son of a schoolteacher and a tax official?Tore Mydland, a retired Norwegian bank manager, thought about this. He belie...

  • Whether she wins Sports Personality of the Year or not, Jessica Ennis represents the best of Britain
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    New data from the 2011 Census shows around a million Britons identified as “mixed”. The real figure could be twice as high because a substantial numbers describe themselves as “black” (because that is how they are seen and treated by society) and a p...

  • Jacintha Saldanha, Kate Middleton, and how prank calls show comedy can be used for both good and ill
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    After 40 years in entertainment, I believe that making people laugh is, by and large, “a Good Thing”, especially if it’s in a good cause. But – like power, intelligence, money, science and religion – comedy is a powerful tool that can be used for goo...

  • The Bullingdon Chancellor: why George Osborne is a very uncivil, as well as useless, Chancellor
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Mitchell explained that at the outset he told Dole he would never spring a surprise on him and would not resort to personal attacks ever, and he didn’t. The two senators would meet twice a week for dinner to discuss important matters and maintained a...

  • Patrick Moore on: the Germans
    The Daily Telegraph Sunday, 9 December 2012

    "We must take care,” he told the Radio Times. “There may be another war. The Germans will try again, given another chance. A Kraut is a Kraut is a Kraut. The Germans tried to conquer us. The French betrayed us. The Belgians did very little and the It...

  • Patrick Moore on: family values
    The Guardian Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Here is one of the most moving sections from that interview: "My fiancee, Lorna, was killed during the war and that was that, as far I was concerned, with love. It was a terrible loss and I never felt another woman could ever replace her. I would hav...

  • Harriet Walker: I am never going to cut my hair again
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    You can tell because I’ve started flicking my hair again. This is not  entirely thanks to naturally fulsome follicles. I depleted what I had last year by bleaching my coiff to within an inch of its life, turning it a beautiful silvery-grey colour and...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (9 December 2012)
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Joan & Vincent Procter Worthing, West Sussex I have just sent a Christmas card by air mail to a relative in Canada, a distance of 3,400 miles, at a cost of £1.80. If I send the same card to a relative in the next village five miles away it cost...

  • In Syria, the rebels have reached the suburbs of Damascus. Can they break open the dead-lock?
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    The airport road runs past Jaramana, a township of at least 250,000 people, most of whom are Christian or Druze and are seen as supporters of the government. There is still a sculptured head of President Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar and leader of...

  • A happy office runs on gossip and tears
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    I mention all of this only because of a new scientific study which has proved that gossip is good for you. The experts at Amsterdam University found that up to nine out of 10 conversations are largely based on gossip, and that gossip is not necessar...

  • Civil disobedience in middle England
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Take, for example, the Government's proposals for a high-speed rail-link between London and Birmingham (HS2), the latest legal challenge against which came to court last week. As far as one can make out, this much-touted infrastructure project is su...

  • There are rules here to stop a prank backfiring
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    As a "pranker" myself (although I loathe that term) I have to admit that I very much had the feeling of "there but for the grace of God go I". How would I feel if somebody to whom I had done something on one of my television programmes had killed th...

  • Cameron talks the green talk, but... that's all
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Another time, I sat in an audience of environmental campaigners as he addressed the conventional wisdom head on. "I want to tackle an argument that seems to be as cyclical as the economy. The argument that when times are good, we can indulge ourselve...

  • Jessica, save us from the cult of girly-girls!
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    I ask because those great "role models of the future", the Jessica Ennises and Ellie Simmondses, not to mention Mary Kings and Helen Glovers, have long since been knocked off their front pages. Only yesterday, visitors to Mail Online, the world's m...

  • Museums should market their obscure objects of desire
    Saturday, 8 December 2012

    Recently, though, I found myself hankering after a shop that wasn't there. It happened when I visited the Victoria and Albert's new furniture gallery, the most recent of their refurbishments. It's rather good – full of instructive displays about furn...

  • The Turner Prize and its judges have painted themselves into a corner
    Saturday, 8 December 2012

    And as the arts have more, many more, awards than there are weeks in the year, who could begrudge a major one for contemporary art? And yet I do have problems with it. A small problem is the age limit for entrants, which is frankly nuts. What sort of...

  • Bashar al-Assad, Syria, and the truth about chemical weapons
    Saturday, 8 December 2012

    But now Washington is playing the same gas-chanty all over again. Bashar has chemical weapons. He may use them against his own people. And if he does…Well if he does, Obama and Madame Clinton and Nato will be very, very angry. But over the past week,...

  • Totnes did a more than decent thing
    Saturday, 8 December 2012

    Michael Gething, 42, perished in an alleyway, apparently from hypothermia. Totnes has no homeless shelter and, although Mr Gething had been offered accommodation 13 miles away in Dartmouth, he preferred to stay where he was. But the recent cold wea...

  • Who knew that the actor Ryan O'Neal once sent a gossip columnist a live tarantula in the post?
    Saturday, 8 December 2012

    "It seemed weird that it had no return address," the 76-year-old fondly remembers. The mystery was solved a few weeks later when a friend of hers met O'Neal at a party, and reported him "talking about this tarantula in a tennis-ball can. He says he ...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (09/12/12)
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    Since I'm lacking the necessary tools – pipette, test tubes, and microscope – I'm not in a position convincingly to challenge the data on the sperm issue. All I can say is that I'm a father of four whose married sons and their wives have gone into p...

  • Rant & Rave (09/12/12)
    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    At last, there's only a fortnight to go until Christmas! Christmas Time, that is, rather than Christmas the Day. Christmas, as in the handful of days off work when it's OK to sit around eating sweets and drinking dry sherry and you can say "Christma...

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