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Saturday, 19 January 2013

  • Obama must seize the chance to make history
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The President has learnt a lot, not least how intractable are the partisan, interest group-driven ways of Washington. He will not repeat his first-term mistake of making only small use of the famous presidential bully-pulpit, in the misguided belief...

  • Editorial: A dilemma that won't go away
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Sir David points out that some 40 per cent of all patients in the average general hospital now have dementia. Yet, this growing body of often confused people find themselves all but abandoned in the alien environment of modern hospitals that "are fa...

  • Obama's inauguration: No more Mr Nice Guy!
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    As for Michael Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol who has been in charge of inauguration planning for a year now, he is praying that tomorrow's big day won't be thrown into turmoil by a last-minute fall of snow. But no need to worry. No white stuff ...

  • Musicians of Mali fight for nation's soul
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    This is a tragic twist for a people whose faith revolves around the more tolerant strands of Sufism. For all its poverty, Mali has traditionally been open to outsiders. It is a nation where women are prominent and musicians more closely entwined with...

  • A short history of modern manners
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Etiquette is essentially a veneer, a gloss of cosmetic excellence. It is a subject that prompts tittering on two counts: some of us titter at other people's faux pas, and some of us titter at the very idea of such finishing-school flummery.I am put i...

  • Don't go to war over a band of zealots
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    There will be those who will feel that the bloodbath in the Algerian desert is justification enough for Britain to be backing the French military intervention in Mali. This is, we have been told, al-Qa'ida Mark III. First was Osama bin Laden's origin...

  • Will practice make perfect for the PM?
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Cameron, on the other hand, has recently completed his 10,000 hours of practice at being Prime Minister. Assuming he does 12 hours a day before settling down to what he calls "a bit of back to back", watching consecutive episodes of The Killing, two-...

  • Editorial: Caution, Mr Cameron, caution
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    As the 10th anniversary of the disaster of the Iraq war approaches, and as British troops are still taking casualties in our long overstayed mission in Afghanistan, how uncanny it is to hear a British prime minister using such similar words with onl...

  • Editorial: When the snow lay round about
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Not that you'd ever imagine that from our panicky reaction. Each year, the same relatively light dusting of snow elicits the same response: panic-buying in shops, shutdowns of railway lines and airports and that old staple, "traffic chaos" on iced-u...

  • The polar bear is a beast that taps into our primitive fear of the ultimate predator
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    When hunting was banned in Norway and Russia, polar bear populations there were under real pressure – since the bans, populations have recovered. Some leading experts say that hunting may currently be an even greater threat to the polar bear than cl...

  • Algeria, Mali, and how the murder of hostages shows our leaders play into the hands of Islamists
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Sure, class and race meant some had more than others. But when caught in such a grisly drama, all such distinctions must dissolve, burn off. Grief too will be shared between high and low as families mourn. They are united in agony and turmoil. Ours i...

  • British politics urgently needs a new force - a movement on the Left to counter capitalism's crisis
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    This might all sound parochial, the obscure goings-on out on the fringes of Britain’s marginal revolutionary left. But the SWP has long punched above its weight. It formed the basis of the organisation behind the Stop The War Coalition, for example, ...

  • Why do our politicians seem to hate the arts?
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    She is spot on. Even though British culture is revered across the world; even though it provides jobs, inspiration and joy to millions in the UK, you will never catch a politician actually attending an arts event. I have never bumped into an MP, let ...

  • If only Lance Armstrong had given Alastair Campbell warning about his drug-taking past
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Even then, although acknowledging the possibility of wishful thinking, Ali preferred to see the accusations as media persecution and more evidence of the crazed nationalistic arrogance and anti-Americanism that kept France out of Iraq. “To some,” he ...

  • Given the state of Britain's economy, Capable (Mark) Carney needs to work miracles
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    There was some confusion over how long rates would be kept at zero, given differing comments from members of the Federal Open Market Committee. This was made clearer in the recently published minutes of its  meeting of December  11-12 at which voting...

  • Ben Affleck, Argo and a chilling portrait of suspicion and vengeance in post-revolutionary Tehran
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    They had already prowled through my bag, read copies of my telexed dispatches. I was using the word “policeman” ironically. “Why did you stay two weeks longer than your original visa?” I had obtained a legal extension from the foreign ministry. “Why ...

  • Is Barack Obama a lousy manager?
    New York Times Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Writing in the New York Times, David Rothkopf argues that it's not just Congress that Obama has been lousy at managing, it's the Oval Office too: "The administration has not done a good job of delegating to and empowering cabinet officials. Nor does ...

  • Now that Gary Lineker has left Twitter, we'll just have to get used to the idea he's a real person again
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Lineker was one of the most popular figures on Twitter - he had 1.3 million followers, and was admirably demotic in his willingness to engage any of them in a discussion - but, with a startling statement that left one of two questions hanging, he twe...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (20 January 2013)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The essence of the latest Met Office view is that warming is continuing, though at a variable and currently reduced pace. Such variation is to be expected given the interactions between the underlying trend and the natural fluctuations in weather an...

  • Tall buildings and low flying do not mix
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The tower beside the Thames at Vauxhall, known as 1 St George's Wharf, has been a preoccupation of mine since it first nudged above the skyline. It was almost a relief when its tapering crown appeared – proof that it would not be rising higher. At ni...

  • Bang, bang – the liberal left is hit
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Back in the days when certain films were screened before audiences of local councillors in a bid to establish their suitability for public view, this attitude led to a curious kind of detachment, the moral equivalent of a chemistry teacher, clothes-...

  • High streets don't need chain stores
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    There needs to be a new model for the high street which doesn't compete with online shopping and out-of-town superstores, but offers something completely different. Pedestrianisation killed off shopping too – old people who enjoy daily shopping as a ...

  • 'Mr Marlboro' lands a seismic blow
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Last Wednesday, before dawn, Belmokhtar refreshed this reputation in spectacular fashion when the raid he had masterminded on the Tingantourine gas works near In Amenas in eastern Algeria was launched, resulting in hostage deaths and placing acute st...

  • It's horses for courses in Kazakhstan
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    It was on my first day in Almaty that I became aware of the Kazakh love for horsemeat. Wandering around the city that is supposed to have first brought apples to the world I came across The Green Bazaar, a large covered market. Rather helpfully, the...

  • 'War on terror' is a tempting defence, but it isn't that simple
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    The speed of the jihadi retaliation has led to doubts that the two events are connected, but the likelihood must be that French action in Mali precipitated a pre-planned assault on this target. It is a typical al-Qa'ida operation, in the tradition of...

  • 'Red Ed' looks more like Ed the Ready (for No 10)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    No, cried The Daily Telegraph, the 2015 election is not yet lost! David Cameron "could be a transformative leader" if he had more confidence. The Daily Mail revealed that he's a romantic at heart, gushing in The House magazine over his "date nights"...

  • Surly Hurley and the muddle that is fame
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Last week, at Perth airport, Hurley and Shane Warne were approached by a TV reporter, who asked them some fairly polite questions about the previous day's cricket match. Warne tactfully kept his mouth shut, but Hurley walked straight into the report...

  • Harriet Walker: Moving house is a Sisyphean task
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    It's a lovely time to relocate, this month which is equal parts dreariness and naïve optimism; when all the telly adverts are for honing the body you have into something entirely unrecognisable, or for starting a collection of collectables that you'l...

  • The case for migration is a compelling one, don't let Miliband's introspection on election defeat drown it out
    Saturday, 19 January 2013

    When I was told I was moving from Treasury to become Immigration and Asylum Minister, I was dismayed. I enjoyed the Treasury, and knew I’d now be on a hiding to nothing from both left and right.Labour secured power without anticipating how immigratio...

  • Against the new conformism
    Saturday, 19 January 2013

    The day before, John Mulholland, editor of The Observer newspaper, withdrew from online publication a column about transsexuals by the journalist Julie Burchill. It had been deemed editorially fit to appear in his paper over the weekend, but so outra...

  • PRs rejoice! The Twitter critics are here, and they love your new movie
    Saturday, 19 January 2013

    It has taken a few decades, but, thanks to Twitter, today's producers are finally catching up with Mr Merrick. A newspaper ad for the film The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, has eschewed the normal round of critics and printed mi...

  • The Shard's view is a new joy, but taking the high ground has always elevated the senses
    Saturday, 19 January 2013

    It's hard not to think that there's some biological imperative at work in our passion for this rentable and temporary supremacy – some ancient advantage to having a panoramic view of the surrounding land which flickers within us as we take the expres...

  • Rant & Rave (20/01/13)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Have you seen the new, multimillion pound TV advert for Virgin Atlantic, which is trying to recruit 150 extra staff for its new domestic routes? It stars a number of gifted children – one with second sight, one who has superfast reactions, another ...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (20/01/13)
    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    "Our car industry? God, she was a beauty, old boy. Used to go like the clappers. Wonderful names there were. Allard and Alvis, Hillman and Humber, Jensen and Jowett, Lanchester and Lagonda, Swallow and Sunbeam, and, of course, dear old Armstrong Sid...

  • Lance was doing the wrong drugs
    Saturday, 19 January 2013

    A long time ago in Glasgow, I used to play five-a-side football with some friends. One day, on the bus across town to meet the guys, I thought it would be a sweet idea to take some LSD which I had bought at a party the previous night. Mere minutes l...

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