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Home 2013 January

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

  • Editorial: A squeeze too far on Britain's least well off
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Given the scale of Britain’s public debts, major cuts in spending are unavoidable. And it is true that the cost of council tax benefit has doubled in recent years. Indeed, about five million households in England now receive some support, of which pe...

  • Why fixed terms parliaments are a nightmare for leaders and a gift for rebel MPs
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    The reform in question is fixed-term parliaments. Their introduction was supposed to stabilise the wild rhythms of British politics. For once everybody would know the date of the next general election years in advance and we could all calm down. The ...

  • Editorial: Our police need more radical change than this
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    The most high-profile change mooted is that chief constable jobs should be open to officers from other countries. That this was not already the case came to light when Bill – “zero tolerance” – Bratton, former head of the New York police, found he wa...

  • The private school grievances of head teachers like Frances King do not deserve such a public hearing
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Nor is Ms King the only significant figure in the sector to take that view recently. Last week, Wellington head Anthony Seldon bemoaned the “hatred that dare not speak its name” faced by his pupils, who were up against “jealousy and hostility” and we...

  • Letters: Why we're still angry with bankers
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    The fact remains that those who were primarily responsible for the 2008 crash – in whatever role – are not incarcerated, have not had their assets seized and are often still in employment in finance and government. That is wrong. It is impossible to...

  • The EU has changed Britain – and mostly for the better
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Europe House in Smith Square, where the European Commission and the European Parliament have their joint London headquarters, is the very building – the former Conservative Party Central Office – where Margaret Thatcher celebrated her election victor...

  • Gotta love those Royals: on the Tube, eating Big Macs, doing a day’s work
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    The heir to the throne, throwing protocol to the wind, has travelled on the London Underground with his wife. He mastered the art of the Oyster card and was ushered to his seat where he stayed for a full three-minute journey. The prince’s ride on the...

  • Mali and a new War or Terror: Cameron goes where Blair went before – but at what cost?
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    All that, along with the hostages killed, has been quickly forgotten as David Cameron now proclaims a new, tighter security and defence relationship with a country hitherto regarded as pretty close to a police state with scant regard for human rights...

  • Crazy in love with fizzy drinks: Why sugar tax (or a burping Beyoncé) is needed to break the addiction
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Unfortunately I don’t have the budget or CGI nous to produce this guerrilla advert – which I hope you’ll agree is not without artistic merit – at least not in time for Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl. Beyoncé fans won’t be disappointed though. The Queen of P...

  • Ricky Gervais' Derek may be clumsy but he’s not cruel
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Chin jutting out in an awkward gurn and body hunched forward, Derek is a character who is almost asking to be accused of being offensive, or worse, a mocking depiction of people with learning disabilities. “I have never thought of Derek as disabled,”...

  • It's not that porn degrades women, it's that business degrades porn
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Everything I’ve just cited is also true of music, television, publishing, journalism, advertising, and many other industries. But in porn, those dynamics manifest in ways that are much more controversial and distressing.We all watch porn; we don’t ac...

  • This High Court ruling on criminal records is only a minor win for human rights
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Yes, Phil Dilks, former Labour County Councillor, District Councillor, Parish Councillor, 8 years a member of his local police authority, is a crim. Should I be worried? After all, he lives within sight of my front door. Or have I better things to fr...

  • Humiliating, unnecessary, unjust: The criminal record system is the modern equivalent of the stocks
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    These crimes of mine would currently show up in an enhanced disclosure required for certain jobs – although maybe not for much longer, thanks to a recent ruling by the High Court, which could see an end to discrimination against those with minor, his...

  • Editorial: Syria's cracks are spreading
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    The situation inside the country is dismaying enough. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the near two years since the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad began. Although the regime’s grip is weakening, the fight only gets bloodier; and as many...

  • Clare Balding is undoubtedly a good thing, but are we in danger of having too much of her?
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    She's quite busy on the other days, too. So far this week, she's been named by Tatler magazine as the most fascinating person in Britain and has been signed up by BT's new sports service to present a weekly magazine show. And as if that wasn't enough...

  • Twitter: Do you love it or hate it?
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    He describes the social medium as “like high school, where the mean kids say something hurtful to boost their self-esteem and to see if others will laugh and join in”. With 10 million users just in the UK, Twitter is a hot bed for journo activity, an...

  • Marathon runner Claire Squires' tragic death shows the danger of fitness 'supplements' - and not knowing the damage they could cause
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    The following morning, photographs of the healthy, bright, smiling young woman and keen fund-raiser filled the front pages of our newspapers and a stunned nation responded quickly, with donations to The Samaritans on Claire’s Justgiving page sky-rock...

  • The coldest winter in 20 years for Syrian refugees
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Kitted out in a padded down jacket, jumper, scarf and goretex boots, I still felt the biting cold.  Around me young children, their faces red and raw from the low temperatures, played around.  Most didn't have proper shoes but ran around barefoot wea...

  • The sly wisdom of action hero Sylvester Stallone
    Shortlist Thursday, 31 January 2013

    On aging:"People were saying 'Urgh, has he got varicose veins?' So I thought, f*ck it, and covered them with a tattoo of my wife."On being ripped, yet smooth:"Looking as ripped as I do on the Bullet TO The Head film poster is a temporary situation - ...

  • The 5 Polish phrases every Briton needs
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    1. "Zubrowka vodka seems so passe. What should I serve at my dinner party?"Rubbish Google translation: "Wódka Żubrówka wydaje się tak passe. Co mam służyć w mojej kolację strony?"Iwona Taylor's translation: "Żubrówka już niemodna. Co innego mam podać...

  • The wrong reform - at the worst possible time
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Within weeks they will receive an unexpected council tax bill in the post. Many will assume it is a mistake.  Not surprisingly those providing debt advice, as well local MPs, are bracing themselves for a surge of concern and complaint.The reason for ...

  • Your generosity has been inspiring - now it's time to put the money to good use
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    But so much has happened since that start of The Independent's campaign to save child soldiers there, that it seems like an age ago.I was invited to visit by Unicef, to witness for myself their work, from negotiating the children's release by the mil...

  • Letters: Cheap labour from abroad
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Her column beautifully encapsulates the impressively liberal views of people lucky enough to work in an industry completely untouched by the impact that mass immigration is having on the lives of the British working class. Unlike her, not everyone h...

  • Editorial: Dangerous mission creep in Mali
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Now, however – with barely a blink and certainly no debate in Parliament – nearly 400 British military personnel are to be sent to the region. True, they will not be in combat; the majority will be training troops from Mali and its regional supporter...

  • If you ask me...Fill in this questionnaire, if you can be bothered
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Would you say your evenings are so taken up with relaxing, crap telly you can never find the time to impress your bosses by putting in that extra bit of work?1) If you see a crooked picture do you see a crooked picture that needs straightening right ...

  • Bother the doctor? Yes, and do it quick
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    In a survey conducted by King’s and University Colleges in London, British patients expressed reluctance to visit a doctor, either through embarrassment or not wanting to waste a GP’s time. And as everybody knows (even those who are sitting at home, ...

  • Today it’s office drug tests. Tomorrow you’re sacked for having a fag
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    The surgeon has scrubbed up, put on gloves and adjusted his mask. Housemen, nurses and anaesthetists stand by. “Scalpel,” he mutters to the sister. “Swab. Forceps…” But as he makes the first incision, the doors burst open…At the Norman Carpet seconda...

  • The Costa Book Award is hers, but let's be frank: Hilary Mantel peddles snobbish period soap operas
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Let me be frank about this: I find the success of these books totally perplexing. Mantel is the author of several good novels, including Fludd and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, but she isn’t obviously the best writer working in the UK today. Is she...

  • Chris Brown and other celebrities who've compared themselves to Jesus
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    The latest example is the ever-humble Chris Brown. His most recent spot of bother involves allegedly assaulting Frank Ocean in a car park. Perhaps Brown got fed up with the number of Twitter commentators taking Ocean's side, as this morning he was fe...

  • The tragic rise of Gap year voluntourism
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    In the last two decades voluntourism has soared.  The desire on the part of young people to combine do-gooding with a rattling good time has – in effect– been hijacked and turned to profit by travel agents. Back in 2007, the University of London foun...

  • The reclusive family who didn't see another human for 40 years
    smithsonianmag.com Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    This fascinating piece on the Smithsonian website tells the story of a family whose religious beliefs led them to retreat from contact with other human beings in 1936."The old man's name was Karp Lykov, and he was an 'Old Believer' —a member of a fun...

  • Obama, America, and the Great Inflection
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Here, quoted at length, is the key paragraph. The implications are huge:"In their terrific book, “Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the ...

  • Too often the West sees Africa as a pawn in a power game: John Kerry for one should know better
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    I have four points to make. First, while the Chinese are indeed engaging with a large number of African states, Kerry’s language is needlessly alarmist; this will only serve to heighten tensions between the US and China.Second, to describe Sino-Afric...

  • Party longer with Mike Brown on the London Funderground: The Tube to stay open until 2am at the weekend
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    I’ll tell you. It’s standing outside Camden Tube Station at 1 o’clock in the morning in the pouring rain, filled with fast-percolating lager-wee, surrounded by squealing girls and hollering troglodytes as a drone in an orange jacket shuts the iron ga...

  • In the old days we had tupperware parties, now we have botox parties
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice focuses on the behaviour and competencies these professionals should be expected to demonstrate when providing cosmetic procedures.This is good news, particularly for women who have gazed too long into the...

  • Rupert Murdoch, Gerald Scarfe, and why – as a Jew – I'm dismayed by the Jewish lobby's outrage
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Although I was born Jewish, my parents were not so much liberal as permissive when it came to religious observance, and I have never really regarded my faith as part of my identity. I always remember the late writer and journalist John Diamond being ...

  • Love cats on the internet? Why they're really killer kitties
    NY Times Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Before the internet, who knew that cats were really so popular?Many unknown kitties have become superstars, just by doing everyday things like saying "Oh My God", playing the piano, or a spot of boxing. Cat videos are among the most popular on YouTub...

  • Debate: Your baby is crying. It won't stop. Should you cuddle it - or leave it alone?
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    What's going onAs our brilliant reporter Charlotte Philby wrote yesterday, the celebrity supernanny and alleged parenting expert (whatever that means) Rachel Waddilove has a new book out, advising parents on how to raise their children. These areas a...

  • Scarfe's cartoon for the Sunday Times may have been unpleasant, but was it really anti-Semitic?
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    The image, published in the Sunday Times, would have put me off my breakfast, had I been reading the paper over breakfast. As political cartoons go, it’s not much for subtlety; the clear message is that the Israeli leader is an obstacle to peace and ...

  • ITV2's new show The big reunion: 6ix bands with the power to rock you
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Do you still wish you had hair like that Rachel off of Friends?Do you think the reggae mix of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is the best version? Did your mum have massive glasses? Were T-shirts that changed colour around your armpits a good idea? If so t...

  • Miles Kington: Still missed, five years on
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    As far as I know, journalism has never had the equivalent of Bill Frindall, the great cricket statistician. More’s the pity because it would be nice to know exactly how many columns Miles wrote. It would have been about 5,000 for The Independent, clo...

  • Poll: Would you use the new Bang With Friends Facebook app?
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    According to the app's Californian creators, who have kept their identities a secret, over 30,000 users have signed up already - mostly "20-somethings" - and more are joining at the rate of 5 per minute.To join, users select the friends with whom the...

  • Another step forward for US immigration reform as Obama embraces Senate plan
    Daily Beast Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    You may have caught Amol's column on why immigration reform is so important - and the economic boost it could give the UK economy. Over at the Daily Beast, Howard Kurtz explores the political ramifications of this latest development for the Republica...

  • Berlusconi's praise for Mussolini on Holocaust Day demands condemnation
    Washington Post Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Mussloni's "racial laws" were a fault, admitted Berlusconi, but in so many other ways Il Duce "did good". His alliance with Adolf Hitler was mere pragmatism, and the Italians were "partly unwitting" to the scale of the Holocaust and therefore not so ...

  • Editorial: A rose by any other name...
    Thursday, 31 January 2013

    Thus Kevin Twelvetrees (né Fentiman) also secured his place among the “nominatively determined”, namely those with names that are more than just names. Fans of the concept claim the country is awash with vicars called Vickers, opticians called Seymou...

  • Editorial: At last, a sign of life from the Europhiles
    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    The launch of a pro-EU campaign is, then, to be unreservedly welcomed. Even more so as it counts among its backers both Tory and Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers (Ken Clarke and Danny Alexander) and a Labour heavyweight (Peter Mandelson). It can on...

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