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Saturday, 12 January 2013

  • I used to be a reality TV snob, until Drew Pritchard and 'Salvage Hunters' changed my mind
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Who am I kidding? Just because talent shows leave me cold and if I want to see a roomful of people arguing, I can visit my parents for the weekend, I’m as hooked as the next telly addict. I just prefer my reality to involve making, baking, selling or...

  • Editorial: The unaffordable cost of climate change delay
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    The most recent foot-dragging was at the UN talks in Doha, which concluded last month. The hope was that the 18th conference on the Convention on Climate Change, attended by nearly 200 countries, would agree rules for an updated treaty – to be signed...

  • Editorial: An alarming spike in snooping
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    There is an established legal framework for HM Revenue and Customs' activities. The department can use the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to request access to communications data, allowing investigators to track what websites their suspect ha...

  • A civil servant too effective for his own good
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    No such anonymity is enjoyed by the present Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. He was questioned on television last week by MPs about Andrew Mitchell's moment of jobsworth-rage. Heywood is often mentioned in newspaper reporting of policy debates ...

  • Savile's escape has put our public institutions on trial
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    I was a young reporter on the Yorkshire Post in the days when Savile had just made the transition from a Radio 1 DJ to the presenter of one of Britain's most popular television shows, Jim'll Fix It. He was, consequently, a major figure in his home to...

  • Bought off: how crime fiction lost the plot
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Let me explain. Some years ago, I was in a Soho taxi late at night when its driver was attacked by two businessmen. I agreed to act as his witness, but outside the courtroom the police persuaded the plaintiff to drop his case in exchange for cash. Th...

  • Editorial: Cameron gives the game away
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    It is worth returning to the basic arguments for and against British membership of the EU, therefore. The Independent on Sunday welcomes David Cameron's decision to do just that, by delivering a speech in the Netherlands next Tuesday. But the speech...

  • The jobless are lazy? That's just a vile lie
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    We know from work I have conducted with David Bell of the University of Stirling that long spells of unemployment when you are young create permanent scars, rather than the temporary blemishes they are on older age groups. There is little evidence th...

  • Letters: US self-interest rears its head again
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    As a regular speaker on the East Coast circuit I am familiar with this Washington-based geo-political outlook. There is no "special relationship". It died at Yalta. There is a special bond between the military and academic people, but it is persona...

  • Editorial: Pig-Hoo-o-o-o-ey: welcome to Blandings
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Have Timothy Spall et al pulled it off, though? PG Wodehouse fans steeped in Plum's masterful tales of porcine rivalry, stolen manuscripts and the incident of Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe and the prawn are a tough crowd to please.The fact remains, how...

  • Is FOMO depriving us of our ability to exist in the present and take pleasure in the here and now?
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    It’s as if you’ve got the best tickets at Wimbledon, you’re watching Andy Murray play Roger Federer, and you hear a thunderous burst of applause from Court 13: you’re immediately paralysed with anxiety, unable to enjoy what’s in front of you because ...

  • The retrial that will seal the fate of Hosni Mubarak
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Bleak HouseMohamed Morsi’s government dare not – and will not – free this elderly but petulant man for retirement in Sharm el-Sheikh after 800 protesters died in Egypt’s 2011 revolution. Under Mubarak himself, the laws were perverted. Now they have b...

  • Sorry Steve Hilton, there's no excuse for Cameron not to know what his own policies are
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Hilton produced a foot-high bundle of paper for his audience, representing four days’ worth of documents circulated to Cabinet committees. He then said: “It just shows you the scale of what you’re up against in trying to control these things. The ide...

  • It is vital to step in now and stop the deadly march of these extremist militias in Mali
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Now this bustling city is on the frontline of a struggle between the past and the future, between extremist militias who want to impose their distorted and destructive vision of Islam on a people that want no part in their brutal nightmare.The French...

  • The war in Libya was seen as a success, now here we are engaging with the blowback in Mali
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Mali’s current agony has only just emerged in our headlines, but the roots go back generations. Like the other Western colonial powers that invaded and conquered Africa from the 19th century onwards, France used tactics of divide-and-rule in Mali, le...

  • Burchill's attack follows the same pattern - trans stories are only of interest if we star as villains
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Meanwhile, a poll on Independent Voices, finds some 90 per cent of readers reckon that Ms B went too far in her "defence of Suzanne Moore", who herself seems to have been so impressed that her picture, which adorned early versions of the piece, later...

  • India's women are speaking out about rape. When will Britain's women do the same?
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Then I flew back and into the Savile report and, simultaneously, the shockingly low rates of conviction for rape in Britain. Only 1,070 rapists are convicted each year. An average of 15,670 victims report the crime. According to the Justice Ministry ...

  • A Case for Radio: How can Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg get the most out of his new medium
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Don’t give air time to crazy homophobic pastorsThis week US pastor John Hagee used his radio show to describe homosexual people as “two disturbed people playing house”, and used the Hagee Hotline – a kind of hellfire-and-brimstone Call Clegg - to rea...

  • Liz Jones on Clare Balding: The reaction
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Under the headline "You need more to be a TV role model than bad clothes, Clare" Liz Jones has written a piece in today's Mail on Sunday ostensibly about Balding's failure to "criticise the use of the whip by jockeys, or collapse in tears and rage wh...

  • Poll: Did Julie Burchill go too far in her ‘transphobic’ defence of Suzanne Moore?
    The Observer Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Following an angry exchange on Twitter, Moore appeared to close her account much to the dismay of her many followers and some supportive fellow members of the commentariat.Burchill, a longtime friend of Moore, took her support one step further and wr...

  • Cuts to domestic abuse services may make short-term savings, but the long-term costs are too high
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    When women and children flee to our South Asian refuges in Derby, this is how they describe the lives they have left behind. Many have lived in extreme isolation, cut off from everything and everyone beyond their violent partner. Many have not been a...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (13 January 2013)
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Chris Harrison Westbury, Wiltshire Ruth Rendell is right: we must tackle female genital mutilation in the UK ("Change needs to start in Britain", 6 January). Around the world the cutting of genitals causes indescribable pain and lifelong health pro...

  • I knew it would end messily with Tom Daley
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Yes, dear reader, cover your eyes, because I have agreed to appear on ITV's new Saturday night show Splash! in which "celebrities" are taught to dive by Daley and a team of trainers, before performing live in front of the nation. When my agent got th...

  • The war against the Shia catches all in its crossfire
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    The victims of the war in recent years are mostly Shia. Last week a suicide bomber walked into a snooker club in a Shia district of Quetta in Pakistan and blew himself up. Rescue workers and police were then caught by the blast from a car bomb that e...

  • Tarantino dresses up violence, but violence it is
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Anyway, the director was in London last week, for the premiere of his new movie, when he suffered a meltdown on Channel 4 News. It's a gem: during an interview with the mild-mannered Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who asked him about possible links between o...

  • Forgive us, Oprah, for we have sinned
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Well, you go to the woman who is said to have won the presidency for Barack Obama four years ago. You go to the woman who – even more miraculously – transported Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, all 837 pages of it, back to the top of the bestseller lists...

  • Overseas study is good for business
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Choosing to learn within another culture is something to celebrate rather than to condemn. First, UK companies need people with broad experience to compete internationally. Second, though we still have some of the best universities in the world, the ...

  • Working for the money? Whatever next!
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    As unravelled by Paul Myerscough in the new year number of the London Review of Books, this gets us thinking about 21st-century corporate culture. Would-be Pret workers, according to a list of Dos and Don'ts, are hired for their "personality", which...

  • Leave me out of this Bowiemania
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    I was told to present myself backstage at Earls Court, an hour before his show. He stipulated our chat was filmed walking from the dressing room to the stage, with a capacity crowd screaming their heads off. (See it on YouTube.) Later, I discovered t...

  • Supermarkets trade in mediocrity and waste
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    This weekend I am particularly keen to talk to these people, because it's for them that half the world's food is thrown away, according to a new report. Not just into their own bins, because they were so keen to take advantage of a two-bags-of-satsu...

  • Tom Hodgkinson: The boys seem happiest surrounded by screens
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    Take packed lunches. My own ideal packed lunch would be a nice sandwich made from brown home-baked bread, an organic apple, a beaker of water, some carrot sticks, maybe a pork pie made by a farm which treats its pigs humanely, possibly some Burt's cr...

  • The hidden evil in Kate's new portrait
    Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Looking at the newly unveiled portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge by Paul Emsley, I was reminded of the sequel to horror movie The Omen. One of the creepiest parts of Damien: Omen II, was when a reporter, who had seen an ancient painting of the son...

  • So Tate Modern's had 5.3m visitors, but do gallery visitor numbers really add up to all that much?
    Saturday, 12 January 2013

    The trouble is that, setting aside Tate Modern's excellent bookshop, and its more debatable exhibition shops, what's on offer inside this building is far more intangible than any high-street product. A visit to Selfridges isn't a terribly complicated...

  • Letters: End the scandal of edible food going to waste
    Saturday, 12 January 2013

    The GM companies are after control of the food chain, pure and simple. Once they have achieved this, prices will be set even more according to companies' bottom lines. It is time to dismiss their arguments once and for all and set about redistributin...

  • Rant & Rave (13/01/13)
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    So, it's fair to say that Nick Clegg's first morning taking listeners' calls on the radio station LBC couldn't have gone much worse. Clegg was confronted by an "ashamed" former Liberal Democrat Party member who had torn up his card; a student who f...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (13/01/13)
    Sunday, 13 January 2013

    November at least has some colour, and February sticky leaf buds, brevity and the distant whiff of hope in the air, and the first signs of growth in the ground. January? It's all the reject bits of the other months stuck together in one big awful lu...

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