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Home 2013 January

Monday, 28 January 2013

  • Editorial: High-speed rail is not the best way to spend £32bn
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    What's not to like? Plenty, say those worried for their bucolic back yards. The first section of HS2, from London to Birmingham, is wildly unpopular with many who will live alongside it. After yesterday's publication of the proposed route for the se...

  • Editorial: Violence that bodes ill for Egypt's future
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    But Egypt's transition has unleashed violence in unexpected places. The football pitch, which elsewhere has allowed opposing factions to play out their hostility by non-lethal means, has become something of a war zone in itself. At Port Said last Feb...

  • Editorial: Hillary Clinton leaves a hard job well done
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    As it turned out, the venture proved highly effective. Perhaps Mr Obama went too far last weekend when he described his outgoing Secretary of State as “one of the finest” America has ever had. But Ms Clinton’s four years in office have been largely s...

  • If we want to improve childcare in Britain, we should learn from the example of Europe
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    It is one that we are increasingly taking. Whether because of economic necessity or a desire to fulfil the career potential of increasingly educated women, dual income households are now the norm in developing nations.It's not about the moneyAs more ...

  • Editorial: Mali's lesson is that we still need the US
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    Yet there is a risk that everyone, the French included, may be getting ahead of themselves here. It is not at all certain that the Mali government could have survived in power, let alone taken back the state's north-eastern territory, without help, ...

  • Editorial: Local A&Es are a national issue, too
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    If this case were a one-off, a single point might be made about the injustice of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" and the mixed message it sends about good stewardship in the NHS. What incentive, it might be asked, is there for managers to run a tight sh...

  • Letters: HS2 speeds the wrong way
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    New infrastructure can only attract business where decision-makers are prepared to locate. From a national viewpoint, development in the less crowded North is clearly preferable, but in current circumstances we have to support investments that can o...

  • Ryan Gosling worship is leading to the rise of the 'blandsome'. Let's give men a (Diet Coke) break
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Then there’s Ryan Gosling, an actor who, it seems increasingly likely, is not an actual living, breathing human male but in fact an elaborate satire on the laughably predictable sexuality of straight women. If he was papped tomorrow doing the washing...

  • Who needs a spare room, anyway?
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    The cut applies to any household in which a bedroom isn’t lived in all the time. For example, welfare minister Lord Freud told a parent whose three children stay with him half the week that he would lose the spare room as the kids can sleep on the so...

  • Rupert Murdoch links sympathy for Palestinians to anti-Semitism. The truth is more complex
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    There was a time when a writer could address the spirited disputes sparked by World Holocaust Day in a tone sympathetic to the Palestinian cause without feeling the need to absolve himself of any form of anti-Semitism, though it feels like a distant ...

  • Martin Clunes may be 'surprised' he's been ditched by Churchill Car Insurance. Nobody else is
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    The ad agency and client aren’t being heavy-handed, Martin. They’re showing a rare, remarkable instance of laser clarity and – gasp – morality. You were employed to be the embodiment of “everyman who needs car insurance”. But if, Martin, you were to ...

  • Share prices are rising, but growth is not. Is there a problem - and, if so, what should we do about it?
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    The first – which perception of our economic condition is more valid? – has been discussed here and elsewhere. A middle-of-the-road conclusion would be that share markets, while partly driven by the switch from bonds that has begun in earnest, also j...

  • Editorial: No alternative to RBS bonuses
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Next month’s bank bonus season may be easier for the Government than last year’s. After all, the debacle of the RBS chief executive forced by public pressure (and political weakness) to forgo the £1m to which he was entitled is unlikely to be repeate...

  • Dear Mr Boles, there’s a lot worse than living among disused offices
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Only yards from our sitting-room windows is a gigantic orange crane; its hook swings menacingly to and fro. You can set your clock by the drilling that starts at 8am, six days a week.The former building of HM Prisons Department is being converted int...

  • Smog: A problem the Chinese will find hard to eradicate
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    China, like Britain in the past, is heavily reliant on coal-burning power stations for generating electrical power. However, Beijing has more traffic than London in the 1950s and its vehicles are powered by low-grade fuel that produces a toxic mixtur...

  • Childcare reforms must be seen, not just heard
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Now, heaven help us, the town crier has a special message for a special interest group. “Hear ye, lady womb-owners and infant-bearers of this parish! The great eye in the sky hath seen your recessional pain! Ye can barely afford to work! Ye do not ha...

  • Google, Yahoo and Marissa Mayer
    Wired Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Now her story is morphing into one that is more straightforwardly about business. Mayer used to work for Google. Now, having gone to a rival of the tech giant, she has her eye on a chunky portion of its traffic. As Wired report: "Yahoo is going to be...

  • The Republican Party: Split to survive
    New York Times Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    But he adds: "It’s probably futile to try to change current Republicans. It’s smarter to build a new wing of the Republican Party, one that can compete in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic states, in the upper Midwest and along the West Coast. It’s sma...

  • Our risk averse mental health system is wasting money and harming recovery
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    It should be happening a lot less than it currently does, but the fact remains that there will always be a need for some form of secure care for people who pose a risk to others, or much more likely, to themselves. As long as this kind of care exists...

  • Get on this diet quickly – so you can get off it again!
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    However, while this particular bit of competitive self-betterment is drawing to a close, another one is gaining pace. I'm sure you're au fait with the 5:2 or alternate-day fasting diet but if not, it involves drastically reducing your calorie intake ...

  • Rupert Murdoch's Twitter slap-down has big implications - and not just for News Corp editors
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    One is that all of the editors in Murdoch’s News Corp media empire have been made aware of the danger that when they next find themselves mired in a controversy and fighting to protect their editorial reputation the boss might use his favourite socia...

  • Bill Gates, impact evaluation, and why anxiety is a catalyst for more effective social change
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Writing in The Wall Street Journal this weekend Gates notes “how important measurement is to improving the human condition”.He talks of making sure money given in aid has a significant impact, of measuring its effects on the target population through...

  • Rupert Murdoch says Gerald Scarfe got it wrong - but Charles Moore beat him to it
    Spectator Coffee House Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    As Coffee House notes, Moore wrote the following before this whole imbroglio: "Idly flicking through the latest Sunday Times, I notice the cartoon by Gerald Scarfe. It shows President Assad of Syria, covered with blood, picking the severed head of a ...

  • Why Vine, Twitter's new video-sharing service, is the best six seconds of your life
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Vines themselves are tiny looped snippets of video that remind you at once of a high-brow art installation and an animal gif emailed to you by a friend; less than a week in, the service is buzzing with puppies, fruit, and staged magic tricks using th...

  • Debate: As Nick Clegg faces criticism, do polticians have a duty to educate their children in the state sector?
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    What's going onNick Clegg has given his strongest hint yet that he and his wife, Miriam, plan to send their oldest son, Antonio, to a private school.The Deputy Prime Minister told the BBC: “I totally accept that when we make a decision, that will be ...

  • Was Rupert Murdoch right to apologise for Gerald Scarfe's cartoon in the Sunday Times?
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Scarfe told the Jewish Chronicle that he had not been aware it was Holocaust Memorial Day and “very much regrets” the timing of the cartoon. Rupert Murdoch tweeted an apology reading: “Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Time...

  • WATCH: Hilarious clips of celebrities reading 50 Shades of Grey
    Flavor Wire Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Will Ferrel and Zach Galifianakis stumble through a duet in prim style,  above, backed by seductive jazz saxophone.Fans of 90s shoot-'em-up Duke Nukem will also be delighted by the rendition of voice actor Jon St. John, whose gravel-throated accent i...

  • Tall groom, small bride: why is height still important to relationships?
    Jezebel Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    A new British study suggests - uncontroversially - that height remains an influence on hook-ups, as a survey of 19,000 couples revealed the male to be taller than the female in a disproportionate number of cases.Matched randomly, the woman would be t...

  • Editor of Business Insider flies economy class and thinks it's funny
    Salon Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Blodget presents a photo essay report on his 9-hour flight with American Airlines between Zurich and New York.A tongue-in-cheek tone seems to veer into blowing raspberries at people who travel "economy class" for reasons of economy. Blodget is misera...

  • Everything is about to change forever: My experience of gender dysphoria
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    My life has rapidly changed in the last couple of months. I have gone from a depressed, lonely person, moving through life without actually being involved in any of it, to being able to accept myself as I am for the first time. I can now enjoy the co...

  • Letters: Clegg's dilemma over state schools
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Collectively, those in the government are responsible for controlling many services crucial to any modern society. The most important of these is education of our future workers, parents and leaders. It is therefore crucial that the service is of th...

  • Rhodri Marsden: Mattress adverts – the greatest lie the devil ever sold
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    But selling a double mattress involves imagery so far removed from human experience that they may as well use a picture of one being dragged around Atlantis by a unicorn. I'm looking at one such advert right now. A slumbering man and a snoozing woman...

  • Editorial: Well, they would, wouldn't they?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    In the same way that setting the proportion of A to C grades as the target for GCSE school league tables encourages teachers to home in on those sub-C pupils who can be dragged over the line to the neglect of everyone else; in the same way that the ...

  • If you ask me...So if dogs were human, and we were their dogs
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    1. All humans will be forced to smell of our favourite scent – fox shit – and will be rolled in it daily, possibly at Harrods Fox Shit Spa, and possibly before receiving Harrods’ signature Fox Shit Facial. 2. We will put humans to use as Guide Humans...

  • Give councils direct power to raise tax
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    English regional devolution has been tried and rejected, and there is little appetite for an English parliament. But if English local government were financially independent, local areas could make choices for themselves, and local democracy would be...

  • If we want to limit immigration, why punish Chinese tourists?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    The Conservatives had made a manifesto pledge to “cap net immigration”, its response to the fact that this had become, according to pollsters, the single issue – apart from the economy – which most concerned the population. Yet this pledge was an abs...

  • HS2 shows that investment is not such a dirty word after all. But how did the Coalition get here?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    The media greatly overplayed “spin” then and I do not criticise the Government for seeking to set the agenda now. Governments have to find a way of conveying what they are doing and might do in the future. The fact that Cameron/Osborne choose to high...

  • It’s time we relaunched the grandparent in fiction – and in real life
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    Children’s fiction used to be dependent on a great grandparent: Charlie wouldn’t have made it to the chocolate factory if Grandpa Joe wasn’t around to take him. And, more pertinently, he might not have made it out in one piece if his four grandparent...

  • Gove’s changes threaten Britain’s greatest asset: our creativity
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    This plan for the Ebacc should be studied before it is applauded. And when you do study it, you’re likely to feel a frisson of deep anxiety. Because the Ebacc has a top tier of subjects, on which all the educational energy and emphasis will be placed...

  • Virginia Ironside's Dilemma: Will I ever feel properly ‘grown up’?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    Virginia says...It’s hardly surprising that your feelings of not being “grown up” have come on particularly strongly at this point in your life, just before you’re about to become a father. You’re asking yourself: will I make a good father? How will ...

  • The RSPCA: Can it destroy and protect animals at the same time?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    The country’s biggest animal welfare charity with a royal title, ‘is one of Britain’s most complained about charities,’ according to the Charity Commission. And now the RSPCA is under attack for its expenditure on prosecutions at the expense of rehom...

  • Adam Afriyie can only be regarded as Britain's answer to Barack Obama if you ignore his politics
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    DisserviceIn all the speculation about Adam Afriyie’s destiny as Britain’s first non-white leader, leaked to a bunch of pliant, eager-to-please Sunday political correspondents, the fact that some of his comrades in Westminster think him a distinctly ...

  • HS2 the high-speed rail from London to Manchester will be nice, but it won't do much for the North
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    In 20 years' time, you'll be able to leave Euston and, by the time it takes to queue for an all-day breakfast roll and a coffee at the buffet bar and then get back to your seat, you'll be pulling into Manchester Piccadilly and hearing the announcemen...

  • Childminders and nurseries can now look after more children - this means the quality of care will diminish
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    In my 30 years as a child minder, I’ve seen hundreds come and go and seen the childcare sector develop, professionalise and become one of the the finest in the world. One of the hallmarks of what makes the UK system so good is the personalised, focus...

  • Don't celebrate Adam Afriyie just because the Windsor MP has a ‘clean’ expenses record
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    So far, so much froth. An MP that most people have never heard of sets a hare running for a future leadership bid. Good luck to him.What concerned me though was in the inevitable "profiles" that appeared alongside the leadership bid rumour stories wa...

  • Poll: With Zero Dark Thirty, is Hollywood guilty of promoting torture?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    Oscar contender Zero Dark Thirty has courted controversy by appearing to condone torture, where it leads to a favourable outcome - an end-justifies-the-means attitude that contravenes international human rights legislation. And Kathryn Bigelow's film...

  • A guide for potential immigrants to the worst parts of UK culture
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    Food: Unless you can afford the whopping bills that come with a night at the Fat Duck (and if you're an economic migrant, you probably can't) then Tesco's Value burgers might be a staple part of the diet. And they're made out of horse. Surveillance: ...

  • Hillary Clinton is a liar! (says Jonah Goldberg)
    National Review Monday, 28 January 2013

    Warning: the below is laced with sarcasm.For those of you who haven't had the very immense pleasure of reading Jonah Goldberg's absurdly titled book, Liberal Fascism, it may that you're still unaware of this writer's brilliance/wisdom/perspicacity (d...

  • Chuck Hagel was chosen by Obama because they agree war is always a last resort
    Washington Post Monday, 28 January 2013

    In a brilliant column for today's Washington Post, Bob Woodward - you know, he of the old Watergate stuff - gives an alternative account of why Obama chose Hagel. Woodward is just about the most impeccably sourced journalist since, well, since the be...

  • #silentnomore : Our message to trolls - no, we won't shut up
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    So tenacious is this mantra’s grip on our collective conscious that any deviation from the one true anti-trolling path results in a barrage of advice which basically amounts to two words: “shut up”. The theory, like that strange childhood belief in t...

  • Is Dubai's underwater hotel the wackiest of its kind?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    Visitors will be able to book one of 21 double rooms in the underwater section of the hotel, which is connected by a central shaft to another disc suspended above the water.According to the artist's impression - above, surely inspired by 90s cartoon ...

  • A Pope, a dove of peace and a seagull get together...
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    Naturally this is a point to remind the theologically challenged among you that the seagull's interception was known in advance by God, and indeed could aptly be described as His Will. And let's take this moment of divine providence to remind ourselv...

  • Debate: Is HS2 high speed rail link a waste of taxpayers' money?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    What's going on?Details of the next phase of the controversial HS2 high-speed rail link have been unveiled in a move Prime Minister David Cameron said would boost Britain's stagnant economy.Today's announcement details the northern extension of the a...

  • HS2: a new railway to drag Britain from the 19th century to the 21st. But are the specifics right?
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    A new railway is the right way to drag Britain from the 19th-century to the 21st. The line will re-balance Britain, closing the North-South divide and shifting long-distance traffic from road to rail. But every voter, whether or not they are likely t...

  • Rolling Stone's ‘50 Funniest People Now’ vs ‘People's Sexiest’: Can you be funny and hot?
    Rolling Stone Monday, 28 January 2013

    By scientifically* cross-referencing Rolling Stone's list with People Magazine's annual Sexiest Alive lists, we've come up with an answer to a conundrum that has puzzled for centuries. The answer...wait for it...is no. Not generally, anyway.Only one ...

  • Is Philippe Dubost's online Amazon resume the best CV ever?
    phildub.com Monday, 28 January 2013

    As well as listing the usual educational and professional achievements, Dubost has proved his talents as a Web Product Manager by creating a very convincing take-off of the amazon.com, listing himself as a product.His site has gone viral and he has s...

  • Letters: Holocaust no reason to ignore rights of others
    Monday, 28 January 2013

    The Israeli state, despite condemnations from the international community, has bulldozed its way into Palestinian lands, built a wall that surpasses anything the Russians could construct in Germany, and adheres to a philosophy that the land is given...

  • Bonuses are needed – taxpayers must accept it
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    The taxpayer is understandably in an unforgiving frame of mind and is intolerant of any perceived over-indulgence. But let's remember this: Stephen Hester never asked for the job as chief executive. It was the Treasury and the last government that b...

  • Editorial: Who owns the contents of the clouds?
    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Put simply, the recently re-renewed Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Amendments Act grants Washington access to the data of any non-American that is being held in an internet “cloud” by a US company (such as Google or Facebook). No warrant is ne...

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