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Saturday, 8 September 2012

  • Editorial: We must use the Games' success to change Britain
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Without risk of hyperbole we can surely say that the Games, taken together, have helped this country to see itself in a new and better light, while the Paralympics have profoundly altered most people's very understanding of the term disability, the o...

  • Desmond Tutu had a point. Why shouldn't "playground bullies" face the ICC for leading us into needless wars?
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    The cast includes EastEnders' Amanda Drew, the talented black actor Rhashan Stone and Linda Bassett, who told me she was a big fan of The Independent and this column. In one memorable exchange, women of a certain age talk about the dangers posed by S...

  • Editorial: Discord will not help solve this case
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    At the same time, the French clearly feel irritated both by the pressure coming from the other side of the Channel and from the army of reporters camped out in Annecy, whose presence, some feel, is a distraction, adding only to a swirl of speculative...

  • These remarkable Paralympic Games have taught all of us plenty about people with disabilities
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    One of the great things was how the Games challenged people's perceptions about what it means to be disabled. This is what I think the Paralympics has taught us:* Disabled people can be elite athletes and not just piano tuners, box assemblers, benefi...

  • The Eds can work it out and get it straight, or say good night
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Since then, reports, which have not been denied, have identified policy on banking as one source of disagreement between Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, with Balls more concerned to preserve the City of London's global advantage in financial services. Thes...

  • The whale - so special, and scarcely understood
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    In Iris Murdoch's strange, Booker-prize winning novel of 1978, The Sea, The Sea, the protagonist, Charles Arrowby's cousin James informs him: "The sea is not all that clean …. Did you know that dolphins sometimes commit suicide by leaping onto the la...

  • Editorial: A magical summer
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Yet now, as the glorious spectacle draws to a close, we can begin to appreciate the less tangible lasting benefits of the Games. Was it worth £9bn of the British people's money? Well, how can you put a price on the national pride and confidence in st...

  • Editorial: It's not too late for Midnight's Children
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    The answer in this case is India's continuing sensitivities over the complex subject matter, which sank a BBC attempt to turn the book into a TV series two decades ago, and mean that the film still lacks an Indian distributor.Writer's note. If you ha...

  • Ban private schools now!
    Huffington Post UK Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Private schools are a blight on our society; they are divisive and corrosive. Here in the UK, we don't like to talk about such schools or discuss their excessive power and influence. It's one of the biggest taboos in British politics; the educational...

  • Why daddy matters
    New York Times Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Think of epigenetics as having ushered in a new age of sexual equality, in which both sexes have to worry about threats to which women once felt uniquely exposed. The well-being of the children used to be the sole responsibility of their mothers. Now...

  • How Cameron flunked the reshuffle
    The Observer Sunday, 9 September 2012

    How far Mr Cameron has travelled from those balmy days when his aides would hand out tree saplings at news conferences and he would promise to lead "the greenest government ever". I am also old enough to remember when he wanted to "hug a hoodie". I c...

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

    Aviation already accounts for about 13 per cent of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. If allowed to continue unchecked, aviation growth will make it impossible for the UK to meet its target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Recent resear...

  • Conventions over, now the serious business begins
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    However, conventions, even the most flawlessly orchestrated ones, don't win elections. As a lobbyist put it to me in Tampa, using a sporting analogy, conventions are all-star games, flashy frolics in which the best players in the leagues strut their ...

  • Season of mists and new polyester skirts
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Tonight's Paralympics closing ceremony really signifies the official start of the end. During the Games, we've had a reprieve from the pelting rain, which started the moment we planted out our courgettes and finished about a minute before the Olympic...

  • Cumberbatch ‑ the last of his kind?
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    The "gentleman" has been getting a bad press for upwards of 70 years. Simon Raven's essay in mock sociology The English Gentleman (1961) saw him as a wholly anachronistic figure, vainly trying to maintain a hold on civilised values while sniped at by...

  • If you want a good review, write it yourself
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    It's one of the factors, I suspect, behind the revelation that a handful of authors have been resorting to "sock puppetry": using made-up identities to post favourable comments about their work and to disparage rivals. A crime writer called R J Ello...

  • I pig out every other day, and the weight falls off
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    I started doing it in France, where it was much easier as food tastes good there. On my "fast" days, I can have 600 calories. In France, I would have wonderful watermelon or heavenly white peaches. Back in England, things are not quite so satisfying...

  • What that Nokia ad was really about
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    It was a PR nightmare. The launch was supposed to arrest the dramatic decline of Nokia, once the world's biggest mobile phone maker, whose share of the market has plummeted thanks to the launch of the iPhone. Instead, the firm's advertising gurus ri...

  • Save us from these Big Idea Tories
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    The idea that bankrupt Britain can be galvanised by sanctioning thousands of new home extensions is so daft it's touching. David Cameron erroneously believes that the British building industry is being held back by restrictive planning laws which, i...

  • What is Cameron's problem with women?
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    The reshuffle showed David Cameron's blind spot. Despite his promise to increase the number of women in government, the proportion remains a lowly one in six – half the number of the previous Labour government. Cabinet women were far more likely tha...

  • Neglect of the mentally ill is the great scandal of our times. Are we prepared to pay for the solution?
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Slaughter of innocent victims on a mass scale for no apparent reason, whether it takes place in the US, Norway or Britain, invariably attracts massive coverage, though usually of a crude and superficial kind. Stereotypes are reinforced by the hundred...

  • Tom Hodgkinson: ‘Waggling our hands in the air felt right’
    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    I was reminded of Burton's wise words recently at a festival called Shambala. For here was Merry Old England in action. Around 10,000 people gathered in a field by a wood and lake for a weekend of medieval fun. There were bonfires, fairground rides, ...

  • The positive power of the press must be recognised
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    Every newspaper editor has received this document. It's not directed at them individually or their title – the comments are aimed at the entire press.As a wholesale demolition of our trade, it takes some beating. I can't go into detail because the br...

  • Errors and Omissions: Is "Schizophrenic" offensive?
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    In one of Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour novels, a pompous American character is constantly calling things “significant”, prompting the question: “Signifying what?” Quite. Back in the 1940s, Waugh clearly saw “significant” as an unwelcome American im...

  • How do you solve a problem like Maria?
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    I can't agree. Many in the arts world would have liked one of their own at the helm. But how much sense does that really make? The arts are broad. A painter or indeed a novelist would certainly understand the pain and pressure involved in completing ...

  • We can’t afford not to save the melting Arctic
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    In 1979, the Arctic in September had more than 7,000,000sq km of ice. This September, when the melting season ends in a few days’ time, it is likely to have less than 3,500,000sq km.Its disappearance, maybe within the decade, has the most profound im...

  • Letters: Olympic messages
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    So, Mr Cameron, set up a special list for scientists, and let us recognise that science is at least as important to the United Kingdom as is sport. Lord Coe: meet Lord Higgs.A A ChabotBirminghamMy seven-year-old came back this evening from a wonderfu...

  • Letters: Catholic concerns are society's too
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    The issues that attract the wrath of the media are centred on the Church’s teaching on sex and marriage. One would have hoped that a thoughtful journalist would look for the big idea behind what makes the Church so unpopular. The Church is essentiall...

  • Letters: No need for new taxes – just collect the current ones
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    Why, for example, do we persist with the bizarre system of bands for Council Tax under which a £50m mansion pays only twice as much as the smallest flat? Many developed countries such as Sweden have a straightforward flat-rate annual tax of around 0....

  • Why Oscar will always be my hero
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    An unfair advantage, he declared, which at first left an odd taste. He had to battle similar accusations about his blades when lining up against able bodied athletes as he did in the Olympics (he reached the 400m semi-finals). The Daily Mail even ven...

  • Dappy says he's making his own TV show
    Saturday, 8 September 2012

    Dappy seems an unlikely successor to JR Hartley. Where the Yellow Pages' frontman was a kindly old gent who scoured antiquarian bookshops in search of a copy of his own Fly Fishing tome, Dappy is… Well, suffice it to say that there is no record of Mr...

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

    It's not the patriotism that's the problem. I'm the first person to well up at the opening bars of "Jerusalem", and get all quivery-lipped about those blue remembered hills whenever Elgar comes on. But the point about being British, and feeling prid...

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