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Thursday, 27 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: There must never be another Rochdale
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    With most of the abusers in the Rochdale case of Pakistani heritage, and most of the victims white, the suggestion of a racial component has lurked behind much of the subsequent – justifiably appalled – commentary. The judge at the abusers' trial sa...

  • 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 ...

  • David Cameron was just bluffing on Letterman's show, says Boris. And what would he know?
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    “I think he was only pretending. I think he knew full well what Magna Carta means. It was a brilliant move in order to show his demotic credentials and that he didn’t have Latin bursting out of every orifice,” Johnson told LBC yesterday. The Mayor, b...

  • Israel and the Occupied Territories are much changed - yet peace seems more distant than ever
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    But recollections from the outset of my just-completed eight years’ reporting from Israel and the Occupied Territories are a reminder of what has changed as well as what hasn’t. The second intifada has long since ended, along with suicide bombings an...

  • A Political Life: Knocking on doors, you learn that impression, not detail, is what matters
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    At another door, I had an extensive discussion with a teacher who was furious with Labour because of Michael Gove. I tried pointing out that Gove is a Conservative, to which he replied: “Yes, but in a Labour government.” And a week later, I was just ...

  • Why do we care about Megan Stammers from Eastbourne but not "Suzie" from Rochdale?
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    In this culture, young women are not treated as sexual beings, merely as sexual objects. The weary moral panic that crotch-flashing music videos and Playboy Bunny pencil cases are somehow “sexualising” young girls betrays the prejudice: female-bodied...

  • It’s the audience question you dread above all others. ‘Do you remember... ?’
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Last week, in Henley-on-Thames (I will go almost Anywhere-on-Thames), I did the Kenton Theatre, a charming, and some say haunted, little playhouse dating from 1805, which makes it the fourth or fifth oldest theatre in the country. Because it holds on...

  • Has Abu Hamza hurt British justice? And does it matter if Andrew Mitchell said the word 'pleb'?
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    The delays have been damaging, as Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge has spelt out. They are fully entitled to justice – justice delayed is justice denied. But the defendants shouldn’t complain: it is principally their determination to string out the lega...

  • On Abu Hamza as on defending your home, the suitably named Judge Judge has called it right
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    They came after a sex offender was freed after the judge ruled his victim had been “coming on to him” – the victim being a seven-year-old girl. Credit due therefore to the Lord Chief Justice – the appropriately named Lord Judge – who marked the start...

  • Note to publishers: even authors have to eat
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    The rights to The Casual Vacancy were, on the other hand, sold for a sum that we are not being told about. Fortunately, we have now reached the point where interviews are being conducted not just with the author to promote the book, but, when she is...

  • They all sell out. Lana Del Rey’s just got there at full throttle
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    This is what happens when a musician, usually of an indie bent, betrays his or her “roots” and gets into bed with big business. Witness Lana Del Rey, the sultry singer who emerged last summer, seemingly straight from a 1950s B-movie, with a lo-fi, fu...

  • Errors & Omissions: In this nuclear war of words, we've surrendered to hypocrisy
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    It is an iron law of journalese usage that every nuclear power in the world has a nuclear weapon – except one. Britain alone occupies a higher moral plane, and deploys not a weapon but a deterrent. Nuclear weapons are very horrible, but nobody, surel...

  • Nepal Plane Crash: Is it safe to fly internally?
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Those words will prove no comfort to the families and friends of the seven British travellers who died in Nepal on the eve of a great adventure. Their devastating loss follows five previous plane crashes in the past two years in the Himalayan kingdom...

  • Rock bottom: New Kate Middleton pics show more
    Gawker Friday, 28 September 2012

    Gawker reports "From what we understand, they're new photos from the set of sunbathing shots taken by paparazzi in France last month and publised in French magazine Closer — only these photos show a little bit more."The woman, who appears to be the D...

  • The miracle of driverless cars
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    The Bill will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate these driverless cars on California’s roads and highways. Nevada already has legislation allowing such cars on their roads.Google has a dozen driverless cars- they have be...

  • Why gardening keeps you ever so humble
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    “No, just the garden,” I said. “…K,” he mumbled, visibly losing interest.No one is interested in you – as a person, I mean – if you are showing off your garden. People want to know about the plants, and how you grow things. You could be a scarecrow f...

  • Winckler's Wacky World: Samuel says vote
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Who said Google Street View wasn't good?In the course of mapping the the world's reefs for Google Street View, divers found the teensy weensy Denise's pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus denise) in Australian waters for the first time, reports New Scientist....

  • Is it time to forgive and forget Kelvin Mackenzie and the Sun over the lies they told about Hillsborough?
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    I thought so, because I’ve spent the last few years writing on football and sometimes knock around Liverpool Football Club, where I see The Sun’s decent, diligent football writers, going about the formidable task of covering the club in the place whe...

  • Men who shirk housework stay married longer
    The Telegraph Friday, 28 September 2012

    The Telegraph also quotes Dr Frank Furedi, Sociology professor at the University of Canterbury, who has some interesting theories to explain the statistic. He believes the figures make sense as chore sharing takes place mainly amoung middle class, pr...

  • Leftists must learn to embrace the free market
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Consider the washing machine. For much of human history, laundry could take an entire day's honest toil for one household alone. Textiles would have to be soaked, scrubbed, wrung, beaten and rinsed, all by hand. Countless trips back and forth to the ...

  • Missing Megan Stammers Found in France
    The Independent Friday, 28 September 2012

    Earlier today it was reported that police were widening their search to Spain after grumbles about the level of cooperation from French authorities. In France the age of consent is 15.Chief Inspector Jason Tingley said that the French authorities hav...

  • It’s time to shoot down the game hunting myths
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Despite being brought up in the country, I am often accused of being ignorant of the ways of country folk. Shooters would like me to think that they are nature-loving do-gooders. They insist the birds lead a natural life roaming freely on our wild la...

  • Free speech allowed: Why Europe needs debate
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    While the latest round of austerity measures intended to stabilize the Eurozone generates more civil unrest on the streets of Spain and Athens, it is strange that UK headlines have been governed by Andrew Mitchell’s rude exchange with a policeman and...

  • Thieves steal $10,000 in wedding gifts
    Yahoo News Friday, 28 September 2012

    "We had to call every family member and friend and ask them what did you give, it was embarrassing," Amy told the police.Just to rub salt in the conjugal wound, they later found ripped-up cards in a pond nearby.Other ruined wedding stories from this ...

  • Pete Townshend explains child porn searches
    The Evening Standard Friday, 28 September 2012

    “It’s a product of success,” said Townshend, speaking from his home in Richmond, southwest London. “I had experienced something creepy as a child, so you imagine: what if I was a girl of 9 or 10 and my uncle had raped me every week? I felt I had an u...

  • Nazi statue made from intergalactic space dust
    yahoo Friday, 28 September 2012

    One of the items they stole was a 1000 year-old statue of the Buddhist mythological figure, Vaisravana. It turned up again at an auction in 2007 and scientists who analysed samples have concluded it's made of intergalactic space dust. Sort of."The st...

  • Why are they trending? Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Libor, Luis Suarez and #ireadthedailymail
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    The 27-year-old will replace the famous driver Michael Schumacher next season as Schumacher retires.Hamilton has tweeted an Instagram picture of his vehicle with the words "I have the best fans in the world, some of them are here. Whether at the trac...

  • Question Time returns: Steve Coogan, public schoolboys and plebgate
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    As Question Time returned to our screens many of us could have been forgiven for not being as excited at the arrival of Steve Coogan as we were with John Lydon in the final episode of the last series. However, Steve showed throughout last night's sho...

  • When people are told ‘feel free to shoot’, more people get shot
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Witness the heartbreaking news from America this morning of a father who shot a masked man dead outside his house, believing him to be a burglar, only to discover that the victim was his son. This is so unbearable that one hardly knows how to process...

  • Australia to kill sharks on sight
    The Australian Friday, 28 September 2012

    Five fatal attacks  in the last ten month off the West Australian coast caused panic for locals and tourists. In response, the government this week announced a $6.85 million package of "shark mitigation" measures that include the tracking and killing...

  • Hook-handed hate preacher Abu Hamza: more delays to his deportation Friday, 28 September 2012

    As we report this morning on "Extensive delays in cases such as the extradition of radical cleric Abu Hamza are a 'source of real fury', the most senior judge in England and Wales said today The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said...

  • John Terry must apologise
    The Daily Mail Friday, 28 September 2012

    If he doesn't and continues to pick at this like a "festering sore", it "risks  poisoning his entire system. This is known as the Luis Suarez option."Samuel continues: "What matters from here is that he admits that the events on October 23, 2011, s...

  • Inside Obama's war on weed
    The Daily Beast Friday, 28 September 2012

    Here's a flavour: "The reason for the recent enforcement actions has to do with the skyrocketing growth of dispensaries, said a former U.S. Justice Department official who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity. 'We are responding to ...

  • How dirty is J K Rowling's ‘The Casual Vacancy’?
    Gawker Friday, 28 September 2012

    "Note: These are all direct quotes from the novel, but, in order to prevent spoiling the plot, we've replaced all character names with new, randomly-chosen names to hide their identities."BloodyAppears: 61 timesSample: “'Bloody old slapper,' said Pro...

  • Could we see a Labour-Lib Dem coalition?
    The Guardian Friday, 28 September 2012

    "Labour supporters, spitting expletives, vow coalition is unthinkable. But they need to think again. This is not just about cynical electoral self-interest. Even now, with so many voters having bolted, most in the Lib Dem rainbow party remain clos...

  • Facebook ads don't work
    Time Friday, 28 September 2012

    "Social media may be transforming the way people interact with each other", writes Brad Tuttle. "But, at least for the time being, it doesn’t seem to be having much of a direct impact in how consumers decide to buy things."The study comes from Forr...

  • Cameron's Letterman Fail: Could you do better?
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    “Do you mind if I ask you a lot of dumb American questions,” Mr Letterman began, as he interviewed our Prime Minister this week on The Late Show with David Letterman.After asking the PM who composed Rule Britannia and further testing his knowledge...

  • Letters: Hamza - Queen speaks for many
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Mike StroudSwanseaIn 1911 George V was privately telling ministers he thought that some of the dukes were being "very mean" in their opposition to the Parliament Bill. Similarly in 1946 his son advised the Labour Government against too hasty an imple...

  • Editorial: All power to Mr Wheatley's elbow
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Nor does further enquiry paint any rosier a picture. In a speech at the Mansion House in London this morning, veteran financier Martin Wheatley will set out the conclusions of his seven-week investigation into Libor. To his credit, he is not pulling...

  • The test is at fault, not the kids or the teachers
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    That having been said, serious doubts have been raised over whether the Government's new phonics test for five- and six-year-olds – with its made-up words – is the best way to do this. It is said by teachers that some of the brightest children fail ...

  • Spain shows it 'gets it'
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    In Athens, meanwhile, politicians seemed to be laying down the law to Europe over what needs to be done. Investors and eurozone members are going to be worried that Athens now wants to play hard ball – saying it will introduce spending cuts requeste...

  • Whistleblower's tale: 'A4e routinely fabricated results to get payments'
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    I was appointed head of audit of A4e in October 2010. It quickly became evident that the incidence of frauds and irregularities was a major problem for the company. An ever-increasing volume of frauds came to my attention.The type of frauds perpetrat...

  • 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 ...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Editorial: A lesson from golf about Britain in Europe
    Friday, 28 September 2012

    For most of its history, the biennial golf tournament pitched a US team against a British one. By the late 1970s, however, the Brits were floundering. Repeated, humiliatingly predictable drubbings at the hands of apparently unbeatable American rival...

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