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Home 2012 September

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

  • Nick Clegg's conference speech: 'Tax Wealth, Not Work' should have been the slogan
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    And though the competition is fierce, I think the offering plastered on lecterns at the Lib Dem conference this year - "Fairer tax in tough times" - is up there with the best of them. It's the sort of phrase - plodding, witless, earnest - that you mi...

  • Rowling swaps magic classes for middle-class vices
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    The pre-release hype has probably made sure of that: this is Ms Rowling's first piece of adult fiction, and the publishers have kept copies of The Casual Vacancy under lock and key, allowing reviewers to read the book only under supervision and then ...

  • Editorial: Britain's aid promise must not be broken
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Last week, the latest figures showed that the number of children under the age of five who died from preventable causes in 2011 was 700,000 lower than the year before. That is the biggest annual fall in child mortality ever recorded. And it was not a...

  • Greenhouses are fertile ground in fight for equality
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    But now, thanks to a far-sighted piece of legislation which came into force four months ago, affording women equal rights at workingmen's clubs, the entire character of horticultural shows – and particularly where the prizes are going – is changing. ...

  • Power has come at a colossal price that Clegg isn't ready to concede
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    His message was strong, the only one available to him, but seriously undermined and challenged by the unacknowledged context in which he was speaking. First, he argued that the Lib Dems, and we, were on a journey from austerity to prosperity. When th...

  • Can the BBC really be a hotbed of adulterous passion? I do hope so
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    That the irascible knight had a (sadly unrequited) crush on the lovely Ms MacGregor came as a surprise because Radio 4 fans, on the whole, could not imagine the possessors of Radio 4 voices having crushes on anyone, or indeed sex with anyone, let alo...

  • Snooping on our children won’t prevent another case like Megan Stammers
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    They discover that BlackBerry Messenger correspondence (a preferred method of communication for many youngsters) is easily deleted; and that their Facebook account, the one that accepted you as a “friend” when your child was younger, is dormant – the...

  • Don’t shoot the messenger – minorities are kept out of the top jobs in medicine
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Last week, The Independent published a front page report headlined “Senior GP tells doctors to act less gay”. It related to my advice book for doctors on how to pass their Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) examination interviews. Brief passages from t...

  • When the Queen gave me a story, I didn't blab
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    But the Queen would have had no need to speak to the Home Secretary. For, as is well known, the Queen has a weekly meeting with the Prime Minister. It is at these encounters that Her Majesty can exercise her three rights: to be consulted, to advise a...

  • Justin Lee Collins in court for abusive behaviour
    The Independent Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    It's reported that he:- made Anna Larke throw away her DVD collection 'on the basis she found some of the male actors attractive- made Anna Larke close her email, Facebook and Twitter accounts- kept a notebook to list every sexual experience with eve...

  • The Princess Bride: Where are they now?
    Moviefone Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    As the film turns 25, many are reminiscing about where the cast are now. The legacy from director Rob Reiner and William Goldman's screenplay (based on his own book) means that apparently not not a day has gone by in a quarter of a century when som...

  • Nick Clegg plays catch-up on tuition in conference speech
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    This focus on pupils who need to ‘catch-up’ is already adopted by many successful schools in England. These schools explicitly target pupils requiring rapid catch-up tuition in their first year at secondary school by placing them in small groups with...

  • Lady lego bits: The sexiest tribute yet?
    The Sun Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    The Sun phwoars in approval: "The anniversary has also inspired fans to use the famous plastic bricks to recreate great moments in history - including the London 2012 Olympics and even scenes from movie classics.But this is by far the sexiest Lego tr...

  • Leaked: JK Rowling's new book 'The Casual Vacancy'
    New Yorker Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Described as "Not. A. Children's. Book", the new novel is set in the small British village of Pagford, and tells the story of what happens after the unexpected death of a town official leaves a vacancy on the town’s governing body.Associated Press sa...

  • Winckler's Wacky Web: Save your bacon
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Thirsty workQuestion of the day: How long does it take to afford a beer? economist.comNo-brain on planeWhy can’t you open windows on planes? Asks US president candidate Mitt Romney. Gaffe-prone Romney, 65 — dubbed Mitt the Twit — told how his wife An...

  • Of giraffes - the ones that got away and the ones that didn't
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    There was a time when I would drive to work through Regent's Park; on a good day, you could just glimpse the giraffes standing outside their stall and reaching up to eat their leaves. The sad fate of Victor, the giraffe at Marwell zoo, who collapsed ...

  • Do not overestimate the rise of Muslim radicals
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    The Independent disclosed that what happened was not a spontaneous outpouring of anger but a deliberate and organized assault by an armed group with links to al-Qa’ida. This was subsequently supported by other news organisations and it is now, afte...

  • Muslims call for blasphemy law: Do you think blasphemy is a case for the courts?
    Global Post Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    “We are living through a period of unease," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week."We are also seeing incidents of intolerance and hatred that are then exploited by others. Voices of moderation and calm need to make themselves heard at this...

  • Megan Stammers: Relationships with schoolgirls are wrong and stupid, but there are grey areas
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    It wouldn’t be right for me to comment much on the details of this case because I don’t know the facts. I know only what I have read in newspapers – well spiced up by some of them.Suffice it to say that any teacher who has a relationship with an unde...

  • Madonna calls Obama a "black Muslim" on stage
    The Washington Post Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    During her her Monday night show at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. Madonna capped off some inter-song speechifying re Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King with a stern injunction to her audience "Those kind of human beings did not die for no...

  • Time to monitor police: PC Simon Harwood, sacked over Ian Tomlinson death, accused of assaulting schoolgirl
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Emilie Diakiese, a 19 year old psychology student, who was 12 when the alleged incident took place, has accused Harwood of attacking and racially assaulting her.The incident which happened in 2006, according to Diakiese, followed her father's arrest ...

  • Has there ever been an atheist President?
    Slate Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Slate argues that Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) was probably the most religious "It’s impossible to know the contents of a man’s heart, but historians who study the religious lives of the presidents point again and again to the words and deeds of James Ea...

  • Are indie boys misogynists?
    The Quietus Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Joe Kennedy has written a fascinating piece in which he uses examples from Peep Show and a recent interview in Wire magazine with Ariel Pink, to suggest that beta males can be just as of sexism as their bantering alpha counterparts."If you spent any ...

  • CCTV photos of Missing Megan Stammers and Maths teacher
    Eastbourne Herald Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    They hope the images will help locate the girl who has now been missing for five days."The pair are believe to be travelling in Mr Forrest's balck Ford Fiesta, and Sussex Police is liasing with French authroties and Interpol in a bid to trace the pai...

  • MTV Valleys show is patronising, says MP
    BBC News Wales Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    "It implies that the only way you can get on in life if you live in the Valleys is to get out of the Valleys and go to Cardiff and that somehow the streets in Cardiff are paved with gold," said Bryant. "And secondly the impression that you're more li...

  • Letters: Free speech means free to offend
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    What is at stake is the freedom to criticise and lampoon religious beliefs, which must take their chance with all other ideas and beliefs in the rough-and-tumble of public debate, whether or not their adherents claim to be offended. We could all clai...

  • Editorial: Flood risks cannot be ignored
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    It would be unfair to say that nothing has been done since the 2007 floods left hundreds homeless and cost billions of pounds in damage. The Government sought to improve both councils' and water companies' preventative measures, with the Pitt Review ...

  • The Sketch: Modern Lib Dems: more powerful – yet more parochial too
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    "I will choose my words with the greatest care", he announced with delusional grandeur. "I do not wish to make any comment that will exacerbate the crisis in Quemoy and Matsu." Back then, when every self-respecting Liberal minded about what happene...

  • Fill the productivity gap and the growth will follow
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    For the past century, the underlying growth rate of the UK has been around 2.25 per cent a year, a rate of course affected by wars and recessions but evening out over the years. Growth has been driven mostly by increasing productivity and participati...

  • Not quite the justice you might be thinking, your Majesty
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    She knew, for example, that this man, who came to Britain on a student visa, and worked for a while as a bouncer in a strip club, and thought Britain was “a paradise, where you could do anything you wanted”, found ways to make sure he did. She knew t...

  • The BBC's apology to the Queen over Frank Gardner shows us where privacy and monarchy collide
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    The apology was warranted, we are told, because Frank Gardner, the journalist who broke the story, was passing on the content of a private conversation with her majesty. And it’s true that journalists owe their sources protection: if they agree to sp...

  • Can Clegg exploit the gap in the market?
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    How did Britain get so good at cycling? It all came down to sweaty shorts. Dave Brailsford, the inspirational performance director of British cycling, understood that tiny improvements in many areas – what he called “the aggregation of marginal gains...

  • We're condemned by our DNA to betray our classes’ worst traits
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    As a pleb, I’m dismayed not to have experienced the full umbrage owed to me during the Andrew Mitchell “plebgate”. Perhaps it’s down to my poor education, or the fact that I subsisted for most of the 1980s on complex carbs fried in Stork SB – often s...

  • Why islanders are feeling shirty over Kate Middleton's costume gaffe in the Solomon Islands
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    The visit was intended to celebrate the culture of Solomons, an archipelago where more than half a million people live, most of them descendants of people who arrived there in the Stone Age. To the horror of their hosts, instead of coming to the stat...

  • I’m sorry – so that’s all right then
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    They’ve discussed it with their team and worked out the likely impact on public opinion and then make a sterile statement such as: “With regard to the film taken secretly in my office, in which I took part in a ceremony during which I drink the blood...

  • Catalan Independence: Can cash-strapped Spain afford the most-treasured jewel in its crown?
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    Around 1.5 million people were thought to have filled the streets of the Catalan capital last earlier this month. Independentistes poured in from around the region, creating a sea of yellow and red up and down the famous boulevards. The strength of ...

  • As Welsh reality show The Valleys debuts, this time MTV’s arrogance might just cost them
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    If you're a fan of Desperate Scousewives, The Only Way is Essex or Geordie Shore then MTV have a real treat lined up for you tonight. Whether it's binge drinking, fighting, cleavage or six-packs you're after, The Valleys promises to serve it up in ab...

  • Thorpe Park to breathalyse drunk students
    Metro Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    Metro reported that the 62mph speeds of The Swarm will purge the students' systems, according to research by neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis.As this week has seen a 250 per cent rise in on-ride vomiting, a park spokesman said: "By putting them on ...

  • Big bosses less likely to suffer heart attack
    Daily Mail Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    The study, carried out by Harvard University, looked at almost 150 bosses and their cortisol levels.Researchers said the findings were true for all ages, gender and ethnic backgrounds, suggesting leadership levels are a strong determining factor in ...

  • Let's touch base on this office jargon
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    Right. In case you’re not an office worker yourself I just said I might be opening myself up to criticism here but I want to try take a high and wide view of office jargon to see why so many office workers use it these days... and I’m very excited.Of...

  • BBC to Queen: We're so sorry, ma'am!
    BBC News Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    It's not just any old apology too. It's an unreserved one. The BBC website reports: "Frank Gardner told listeners on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the Queen had expressed her own concerns over the Abu Hamza affair to the previous Labour governme...

  • Abu Hamza: The Queen's annoyed but what happens next?
    BBC News Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    But what happens next? Quite a lot, actually: "Department of Justice officials will begin talking to their London counterparts in the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice about how the men will be handed over Typically, an extradition happens with...

  • Winckler's Wacky World:The Big Flush
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    The future of drink-drivingIn what's claimed as a world first, the Tullibardine distillery in Perthshire has linked up with a spin-off company from Napier University in Edinburgh to turn whisky "leftovers" into fuel for vehicles. fish ...

  • Canadian man in search of Irish woman: We shouldn’t encourage creepy behaviour
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    This story about a Canadian man who has come to Ireland searching for a woman he met in Ireland last year, has been doing the rounds this week. The story goes thus… He had a brief encounter with the woman in a cafe - she was the “most beautiful Irish...

  • Chris Brown fails drug test on probation
    Sky News Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    And check out the last bit of this chunk from the Sky News report: "The R&B singer tested positive for marijuana in June in his home state of Virginia, where he is fulfilling his community service. Brown, who is midway through a five-year probati...

  • The secret to long life? Castration
    Wired Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    It has long been observed throughout the animal kingdom that females live longer than males, which has led the scientists to an interesting hypothesis: "This 'life fast, die young' effect could be mediated by testosterone, a hormone involved in teste...

  • Study shows science professors biased against females
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    The study was conducted by Yale University researchers and published online by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.According to an abstract of the study, faculty members who participated not only rated male applicants higher but also offe...

  • David Blaine is back! Tuesday, 25 September 2012 picks up the story: "A trailer for the stunt shows the 39-year-old endurance artist wearing a futuristic-looking bodysuit in between two conductors. Blaine’s last stunt was hanging upside down without a net high over New York’s Central Park ...

  • Cats are better than dogs: The Proof
    Buzzfeed Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    Buzzfeed contributor Scott Lamb has peformed an invaluable service to humanity with this video, which uses pictures and a voiceover of indisputable authority to prove what many of us have long suspected; cats are, like, way better.Will the global can...

  • Exclusive: 'News of the World computer hacker' exposed Scotland Yard mole
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    ***A POLICE “mole” who secretly infiltrated a private detective firm for Scotland Yard was exposed after he was identified by an alleged computer hacker with links to the News of the World.Former Met police officer Derek Haslam worked undercover for ...

  • The blog of maths teacher who 'groomed' Megan Stammers Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    30-year-old Jeremy Forrest used 'Jeremy Ayre' as a stage-name and a blog post at, written in May, shows signs of a troubled conscience.Under the title "You hit me just like heroin", it warns that what follows "will have to be a bi...

  • Lady Gaga: Why are we picking on her weight gain?
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    In the same week that UK papers splashed pictures of a shockingly emaciated anorexic in a bid to show that recovery is possible (not the way to do it), the same publications launched a scathing attack on a celebrity known to have a history of eating ...

  • Hook-handed hate preacher Abu Hamza is off to the US
    The Sun Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    The distinguished prose stylists in Wapping continue: "But last night the European Court of Human Rights ruled that its April decision that the men can be sent to America must stand. Hamza, 54, and the others will be booted out in days. Home Secretar...

  • Romney the parasite
    The Guardian Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    Sounding a similar note to President Obama, who said in July, to the outrage of outraged Repuiblican commentators, "If you've got a business - you didn't build that",  Monbiot argues that the vital Republican narrative of the self-made man is simply ...

  • JK Rowling wouldn't be your friend
    Gawker Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    Caity Weaver writes: "Over the course of some 9,000 words, the profile manages to make J. K. Rowling seem, not mean, exactly, but not warm either. Like a woman who accidentally wrote one of the best-selling books in history a long time ago and wis...

  • Drugs live on TV: The Ecstasy Trial
    New Statesman Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    Michael Brooks says "almost everything we hear about Ecstasy is anecdotal and subjective" and Channel 4's show is important because "it will highlight the fact that we need to get away from anecdotes about Ecstasy, whether positive or negative".The s...

  • It's not all anti-America in the Middle East
    The Washington Post Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    In Egypt, the country's most prestigious sheiks and other Islamic leaders called the protests outside the US embassy in Cairo "shameful and contrary to Islam". Numerous commentaries in the country's newspapers added to this pushback, warning against ...

  • Editorial: The reputational harm is punishment enough
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    For whatever happened at the gates of Downing Street last Wednesday evening – and we have still not heard the definitive version from both sides – it was very definitely not this benign scenario. It was a bad-tempered stand-off involving a senior pol...

  • Rhodri Marsden: Witnesssing an inadvisable act of romantic sabotage
    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    After a while the guy excused himself politely to visit the bathroom. But on returning, in a staggering breach of dating protocol, he put his index finger under her nose and said "smell this". She had little choice but to comply; she instinctively r...

  • Editorial: No regrets over the departure of Abu Hamza
    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    Which is not the end of the story, of course. Abu Hamza has still to be tried in the US courts and there are still doubts about the justice in sending to the US judicial system Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, who are accused of supporting terrorism...

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