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Friday, 17 February 2012

  • Leading article: An economy in need of a convincing growth plan
    Saturday, 18 February 2012

    There is, however, also no clear pattern upon which a definitive judgement might be made. Indeed, in the past week alone, the conflicting signs have been altogether bewildering. The retail figures are stronger than expected, but the verdict of a cr...

  • Letters: The history of Secularism
    Saturday, 18 February 2012

    Secularists have an intellectual and credal pedigree of their own, going back to Greek and Roman believers and half-believers who knew nothing of Jehovah, such as Aristotle (whose Ethics is a marvel of moral writing) and Cicero (whose On Duties led t...

  • Leading article: A touch of complacency over Libya
    Saturday, 18 February 2012

    After a series of public irritations – from David Cameron's European veto, to Nicolas Sarkozy's attack on UK "interference", to the scrap over fighter jets for India – the British Prime Minister's eighth official visit to the French capital needed ...

  • Leading article: The starting gun is fired in defence of the union
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    The Prime Minister certainly had plenty of ground to make up. He was largely silent on the question of Scottish independence until last month, leaving Scotland's tenacious First Minister to dominate for the first 18 months of the Coalition Government...

  • Mehdi Hasan: Follow Obama, Ed, and get in touch with your inner populist
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Late last year, the "Ragin' Cajun" turned his attention to the re-election efforts of Barack Obama. "People often ask me what advice I would give the White House," he wrote in September, offering his new maxim: "Fire. Indict. Fight." The president sh...

  • Leading article: Too soon to throw away the Lemsip
    Saturday, 18 February 2012

    It seems that the virulent H1N1 "swine flu" strain behind the 2009 pandemic has almost disappeared, ceding dominance to the less vicious H3N2 variant. After two bad years in succession, it is a welcome reprieve. Even better is that, notwithstanding t...

  • Alice Jones: So much bitterness and hostility in just a few smudged, shaded lines
    Saturday, 18 February 2012

    It seems like such an old-fashioned rigmarole when Twitter is spooling out hundreds of word pictures a second from the press benches and public galleries. What's the point? Now I know. The first sketch to come out of the hearing of Chris Huhne and hi...

  • Simon Kelner: House prices may be root of southern unhappiness
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Here, on the north-west frontier with Scotland, the levels of contentment – measured in terms of how people feel about their home, their personal prosperity, and their community – are way above the national average, and contrast starkly with the poor...

  • Donald MacInnes: The ups and downs of having very distant relations
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Better still would be a web from that experiment where scientists gave spiders various substances to see how their silky skills were affected. Some were given caffeine, some marijuana, others LSD and so on, producing results which have delighted stud...

  • Letters: High energy prices could be good
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    If energy prices rise then, presumably, two positive outcomes are likely. First, usage will go down and second, looking for alternative sources of all types of energy will become more attractive. Uncomfortable perhaps but logically consistent. Joh...

  • Leading article: The tax system is credible only if fair
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Not so unusual; it now transpires that two dozen or more senior staff paid by the Department of Health benefit from a similar tax status. The department has now apologised for denying in a Commons written answer that any of its civil servants were pa...

  • Jeremy Laurance: 'Wireless medicine' helps solve one of doctors' biggest problems - getting patients to take drugs
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    It may appear surprising that people will go to the trouble of making an appointment with a doctor, visiting the surgery, getting a diagnosis and a prescription, and then choose not to follow it.The reasons are many. The drugs may be painful to take,...

  • Viv Groskop: Did you know Miss Piggy is really a man?
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    I also got something I was not expecting. The revelation that feminism is alive and well in Hollywood. Sort of. Trailed ahead of the film and coming soon to a screen near you: Brave, the Disney Pixar story of a Viking princess, and Mirror Mirror, fea...

  • Phillip Blond & Graham Allen: We need a magna carta for true local government
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    How would we all respond if local government were truly set free from the clutches of Whitehall? That is the challenge currently opened up by Parliament's Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, which is asking if we need to create a ne...

  • Leading article: Let's keep faith with Religious Education
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    The reason why MPs are suddenly taking an interest is that RE, while remaining compulsory in schools, will not count towards the new English Baccalaureate. That decision appears to have led to a reduction in the time devoted to it, although it remain...

  • Martin Hickman: A tough new line that will benefit millions
    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Until 2008, when it reluctantly launched its Market Probe – after a front-page in The Independent on British Gas's bumper profits infuriated the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown – Ofgem had a strong philosophical bias in favour of an un...

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