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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

  • Editorial: A brave effort to square the Coalition circle
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The tasks before the Liberal Democrat leader at Brighton were as clear as they have always been, and as unenviable. He had to argue that, even as the junior partner in the Coalition, the party had not squandered its time in government. He had to show...

  • Editorial: About more than a free bus pass
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    A squeeze on Britain's welfare bill is unavoidable, with another £10bn of cuts by 2016 pencilled in by the Chancellor, on top of the £18bn already made. Not only are costs ballooning unaffordably; there are also any number of areas which, regardless ...

  • 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...

  • Another royal palaver: expat says I'm not wearing this in row over Kate Middleton's dress
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    She has now come out fighting in the Solomon Star, saying that she pinned a note to the clothes explaining that they were a gift from the Cook Islands. She added: “When the Duchess came out in the Cook Islands dress, I was so shocked I immediately we...

  • A child can't 'choose' to be a prostitute
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The problem isn’t young girls running wild, drinking too much and getting pregnant. It isn’t “wilful” 14-year-olds having relationships with older men. And it isn’t about race, although cultural misogyny and class come into it. The problem is child p...

  • Europe’s leaders are sowing the seeds of the euro’s collapse
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Then a technocratic government for a while that negotiated Greece’s second bailout, and two elections. The first was inconclusive, reflecting the strength of feeling after many years of hardship. So in May, the people voted in protest, leading to a r...

  • Get real, the Arab Spring is no endorsement of the West
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    There is nothing Western leaders would like more than to “own” the Arab Spring. Both Barack Obama and David Cameron were at it this week at the UN; Obama the more reasoned in the light of anti-American protests which had killed his Ambassador to Liby...

  • Is lesbianism so awful you’d rather your child married a gold-digger?
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    How much would you pay to make sure your kids turn out the way you want? Expensive school fees? Piano lessons? A gap year helping poor people in exotic climes? Or why not just take The Merchant of Venice approach and offer $60m to any man who will ag...

  • Cameron can’t do a Boris – and shouldn’t try
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The late-night American talk show is a genre we do not really have in Britain. It is not the BBC Jimmy Young Show of old, where Margaret Thatcher proved such a hit, but nor is it anything like the sober and periodically pugilistic Newsnight. It is ne...

  • School security makes you feel like you're entering a prison
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Last week I visited a secondary school in East London. A theatre company staging a play for students had invited me to review their work at this performance. They had cleared my presence with the school so I was an expected guest – not that you would...

  • Obama attack ad brutalises ‘47%’ Romney
    The Washington Post Thursday, 27 September 2012

    According to Greg Sargent, the spot will air in seven key swing states. It comes "exactly at the moment when Romney is fighting perceptions that his policies are skewed in favor of the rich, and undecided voters are making their final choice about ...

  • Forget trolls, it's the troll-hunters I hate
    Spiked Thursday, 27 September 2012

    "it turns out that, amazingly, there is something even more irritating on the internet than these so-called trolls", writes O'Neill. "It’s the troll-hunters, the celebs, commentators and coppers who have made it their business to chase down trolls, e...

  • John Terry found guilty over Anton Ferdinand incident: Do you agree with the punishment?
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    John Terry: The Poll   Poll by Laura Davis at  

  • Our nuclear weapons are neither needed nor deployed. Does Ed Miliband have the courage to scrap them?
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The list of the ‘new’ nuclear states – with the obvious exception of China – is a clear demonstration of the disconnect that has evolved over the past decades. There are countries which feel the need for a bomb for a variety of reasons, like Israel b...

  • Boy survives bite from most deadly snake
    Sky News Thursday, 27 September 2012

    "The 17-year-old walked into hospital in the small town of Kurri Kurri...according to reports, his friend was carrying a plastic tub containing the snake responsible". After identifying the snake as an inland taipan, toxicologists gave the youth nti-...

  • Letters: Badger culling is emotive, but debate over scientific evidence is ignoring established facts
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The pilot areas have been designed to ensure the benefits of culling outweigh any negative effects due to perturbation, including boundaries such as rivers and motorways, to stop badgers spreading TB. The injectable vaccine is ineffective if badgers ...

  • Joint embassies make sense, not just with Canada
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The way in which the project is being spun, however – as a counterweight to the EU's joint diplomatic operation, the External Action Service – seems designed to placate the Tory Eurosceptic right. In fact, the thinking behind the EAS has much the sam...

  • Editorial: Half an answer to sclerotic banks
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Part of the trouble is structural: to establish the risk associated with making a loan, a bank must assess both the business and its market – an operation which swiftly becomes too costly when the amount of money requested is relatively small. The st...

  • Le Pen's attacks on Islam are no longer veiled.
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    In his forthcoming book, Manifeste pour une droite décomplexée (Manifesto for an unabashed right-wing), Jean-François Copé declares he is willing to ‘break taboos’ and to denounce the growing ‘anti-white racism’. This mainstreaming of a type of disc...

  • Investigation into the death on set of Johnny Depp's The Lone Ranger
    TMZ Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Although it appeared Bridger suffered from a heart attack, there has been an investigation launched by workplace safety enforcement agency Cal/Osha to see if there was any negligence or wrongdoing.

  • Megan Stammers' tweets to teacher
    The Daily Telegraph Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The 15-year-old's timeline "is crammed with pleading messages to Jeremy Forrest". 'I apologise for my behaviour last night, I am so embarrassed. It won’t happen again!' reads one missive sent as long ago as March. The same day she wrote: 'Oh no did I...

  • The tyranny of sex: Just imagine what you could be doing without it
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    It’s the ultimate dilemma: would you rather live a long life without any sex or die young and have it off till you drop?It sounds like one of those pointless conundrums you pose to your mates down the pub but the predicament is closer to reality than...

  • Winckler's Wacky World: Deputy Dawg appointed
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Daddy's girl?One of Hong Kong’s richest men has offered a reward of nearly £40 million to the man who can woo his lesbian daughter. Lisa had a sisterLeonardo Da Vinci painted another Mona Lisa and, after 35 years of research, the ...

  • New New Labour for children of the Blair years
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    But other children of the elite of the Blair years are considering political careers. Will Straw is vying for the Labour nomination in Rossendale and Darwen, next door to his father's Blackburn constituency, which the Conservatives took in 2010 with...

  • Why are they trending? drugslive, RIP Avalanna, Andy Williams, David Cameron, Letterman
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    RIP AvalannaJustin Bieber has paid tribute to a young fan on Twitter, after the six-year-old Avalanna Routh died from a rare form of cancer. Bieber met Routh in New York earlier this year after her family created the "Get Avalanna to Meet Justin Bieb...

  • Is Facebook the 21st century confessional box?
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    At 20:43 on the 19th of September, Stuart Bradshaw updated his Facebook status to ‘I’m actually the scattiest person in the world, in one day I’ve lost my passport and my sunglasses’.Why bother posting this? Who actually cares? Stuart’s friends were ...

  • Review Round-up: J K Rowling's The Casual Vacancy
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    In the Independent Boyd Tonkin notes that Rowling still seems most fluent writing about teenagers: she "can be long-winded and laborious in the clunkily satirical set-pieces" but "picks up passion, verve and even magic with Krystal and the other adol...

  • Trenton Oldfield is part of our eccentric heritage. We should cherish him, not imprison him
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    After an extensive survey of this important work I've concluded that, historically, British rogues come in two main types. The first is the aristocratic English eccentric, like the 8th Earl of Bridgewater who shod his many dogs in handmade boots, and...

  • Does taking ecstasy live on TV glamourise drugs?
    The Sun Thursday, 27 September 2012

    The Sun have debated whether the show glamourises the use of drugs, with Allen arguing one side, and Jullie Manning opposing. She says "David Nutt loves publicity and he is doing this because it is controversial." Another participant, Graham Lawton, ...

  • Kelvin Mackenzie - beyond sick
    Liverpool Echo Thursday, 27 September 2012

    "This isn’t a sick joke. It’s beyond sick," says an editorial. "Let’s just ponder this madness for a moment – Kelvin MacKenzie, a sad and miserable apology for a human being who seemingly didn’t care that he was defiling the memory of those who died ...

  • Jon Hamm in not-so-hot shocker.
    Buzzfeed Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Buzzfeed have dug up some old pictures of the young Hamm, who plays Don Draper, alpha-male-to-end-all-alpha-males, in the hit (but not always Emmy-winning) HBO show Mad Men. In one of them he's appearing in a pretty rubbish-looking musical, in one of...

  • The gall of Kelvin MacKenzie
    New Statesman Thursday, 27 September 2012

    It seems Mr MacKenzie has forgotten why his paper is usually singled out for censure during discussions of press treatment of Hillsborough. If that's the case, he will find the front pages reproduced by the New Statesman today a useful aide-memoire. ...

  • Anti-cuts riots grip Spain as Europeans fight back against austerity
    Bloomberg Thursday, 27 September 2012

    "Spanish protesters marched for a second night in Madrid, calling on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to reverse austerity measures as his government prepared its fifth package of budget cuts," writes Emma Ross-Thomas for Bloomberg this morning.Meanwhile...

  • So, how did David Cameron do on Letterman? Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Letterman gave him a pretty esoteric quiz of British general knowledge. Dave failed, incorrectly naming Elgar as the writer of 'Rule Britannia' and he didn't know the English translation of Magna Carta either. But he did know his stuff when it came t...

  • Letters: Hamza faces the Queen's judges
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    We know that the Queen told her Home Secretary in 2008 that she was upset that Abu Hamza had not been arrested. It seems to me that her action now makes it impossible for Abu Hamza to obtain a fair hearing from the her loyal judges, who will be all ...

  • Editorial: Not such a departure from Harry Potter
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Instead, thanks to her self-confessed, post-Potter status as "the freest author in the world", Ms Rowling has written a novel for adults. At first glance, The Casual Vacancy, which hits bookshops this morning, seems the work of a writer grabbing her ...

  • Soak the rich, Vince? There aren't enough of them to tax
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    Click HERE to view graphic These practical questions facing the Coalition have been very evident this week, but of course they will run far beyond the life of the present government. They go to the very heart of what kind of society we want to...

  • Clegg's speech: what he said – and what he meant
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    [The obligatory incantation of the sacred Olympic magic names, or a balanced selection thereof.]"Our party: from the comforts of opposition to the hard realities of government. Our country: from the sacrifices of austerity to the rewards of shared pr...

  • Sketch: Nick's big on hand signals – but short on inspiration
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    In fairness — to use the most overworked word in Brighton this week — this may, in fact, have less to do with the dissatisfaction with Clegg than a realisation that extreme measures may be needed to rescue the party from its dire poll ratings: the pr...

  • Chalk Talk with Richard Garner: These exam reforms matter – so do let's stop playing politics
    Thursday, 27 September 2012

    It started with leaks to right-wing newspapers in a way to appeal to the Conservative right wing – thus prompting speculation it was all about the incumbent Education Secretary presenting himself as a rival to "BoJo" in a forthcoming Conservative par...

  • 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...

  • 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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