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Sunday, 6 January 2013

  • Editorial: The big breakthrough is the Coalition's survival
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    For a country which, as Disraeli famously observed, "does not love coalitions", the past 31 months have been telling indeed. True, the ride has not been altogether smooth. On constitutional reform, in particular, the grown-up approach trumpeted by b...

  • If loving food is wrong, I really don't want to be right
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    That's not the only bit of diet news that runs contrary to conventional wisdom. We've also learnt we only need three minutes a week of exercise to stay fit and that fructose, the supposedly "good" sugar derived from fruits, can trigger overeating.The...

  • Editorial: The unholy row over gay Christians
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    This is the opposite of the line taken 10 years ago when the furore broke over the appointment of Jeffrey John, a gay man, as Bishop of Reading. He had to stand down despite announcing that he and his partner were celibate. Nothing material has chan...

  • Editorial: A protest against progress
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    There is no sign of any early end to all this, despite the fact that in the city itself there is practically universal disapproval of the disorder. The Belfast News Letter, a unionist voice since 1737, yesterday restated its support for flying the f...

  • Whitehall farce funnier than the show in question
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    As comedy is largely a matter of taste, it inspires many opinions, but the overwhelming sense I got from my respondents was that the affronted reaction to some off-colour jokes on a TV show broadcast after the watershed was disproportionate. The syno...

  • Editorial: A good idea badly implemented
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    But good ideas do not always work in practice. Because tax is determined on an individual's earnings, while benefits are fixed according to the income of a household, the new measure is throwing up a range of administrative complexities and anomalie...

  • Editorial: Closed blinds vs closed minds
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Yet the relish with which the Chancellor has pursued the theme from his party conference speech about "the shift-worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off...

  • When taking the train was a sign of prosperity
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    The Transport minister Norman Baker suggested that rush-hour travel is a "premium product" and people should expect to pay more for it. If we could look into Mr Baker's mind, I suspect we would see an image of a commuter that is 40 years out of date:...

  • Events, not policies, will decide who takes Downing Street next
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    They both have good arguments. The Conservatives are 11 points behind in the opinion polls and need to be four points ahead to remain the largest party in the Commons. Only in 1955 did the governing party increase its share of the vote after a full p...

  • The case for an independent Falklands
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    The power of Brookes's masterful drawing lay in its ambiguity. His bullet-riddled flag could be an image of plucky defiance but also of imperial collapse. Thirty years on, those islands are still a blank canvas on which any image of bellicose nation...

  • Letters: This test won't cure the NHS
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    When I am ill I want to see "my" GP, who knows about my previous illnesses and my personal foibles. And even here, within 15 miles of Oxford, I don't have a choice of hospitals. If I need to go to the eye hospital (as I shall this Friday), only the ...

  • Editorial: And it's Hayek. Hayek to Suárez. Goal!
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Beloved of Margaret Thatcher, Hayek took the view that the duty of the powerful to help those less powerful – for which one might read a leading Premier League team such as Liverpool and a non-League one such as Mansfield – was minimal. He would hav...

  • Will any party bust the ‘shirker’ myth?
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Labour’s critique is an important one, but it misses a bigger point. Both Labour and the Coalition continue to operate within a rhetoric of hard-working families (good) and out-of-work benefit claimants (bad). The Opposition is only attacking the Bil...

  • It is time to stop prostrating ourselves before the NHS God
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Yet the whole process of attempting to regulate bad practice in the NHS out of existence seems doomed to repeat the failures of the past. After all, the regulator of hospitals, the Healthcare Commission, had passed Mid-Staffs as fine, even after it h...

  • Whatever your age, there’s an anxiety that’s just for you
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    The psychotherapist Leslie Bell argues in her new book, Hard to Get, that, when they are in their twenties, women tend to feel “adrift and lost by the paradox of sexual freedom”. Heaven knows, we have all been there – that paradox of sexual freedom c...

  • Forward, say Cameron and Clegg. But to where?
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Some of the factors that limit them are out of their control. They cannot wave a wand and cure the economies trapped in the eurozone. What happens to the US economy is not a matter for Cameron, let alone Clegg. As leaders they have only limited contr...

  • Warning! Buy art because you like it not because it might make you a profit
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    All those dark alleyways and empty car parks, all those lonely petrol stations with one unnerving truck-driver sweating over a curling sandwich: the only thing missing from the footage of my certain death was a stern policeman’s voiceover.It may be j...

  • Cheer up! We can really bolster your self-loathing!
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    And we have, yes, purposely brought it out a week into the new year, figuring it should chime nicely with your rising levels of self-loathing as you realise that, yet again, you have utterly failed to change yourself in any positive way. Or, as our c...

  • Some parents cry, I fell asleep: Les Misery of watching Les Misérables
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Les Misérables, however, is every bit as long and arduous as the French Revolution itself. Had I been given a guillotine I would gladly have stuck my head in it, though only after finishing my bag of Revels which were delicious.I will begin by saying...

  • Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: Our dad abandoned the family. How can we forgive him?
    Monday, 7 January 2013

     Virginia Says...What I want to know is: Have you told your father how you feel? I imagine that before your mum took him back, they had some proper conversations about what had happened. Presumably he didn’t just walk back in. No doubt she explained ...

  • A gadget to suck food out of your stomach, and 5 other lazy weight loss strategies
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Go to bed when it's darkResearchers at Ohio State University discovered that mice exposed to light at night weighed 10 per cent more than their peers after an eight-week study, despite the fact that both overlit and normally-lit mice ate the same foo...

  • Is an Alawite state Assad's Plan B?
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    In this context has come the notion of establishing something along the lines of the “Alawite State” that existed under the French Mandate of Syria, and which Bashar al-Assad’s grandfather- Suleiman al-Assad, one of the main Alawite community leaders...

  • Ignore the 50p tax rate grandstanding, its real effects are impossible to tell
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Labour say George Osborne’s decision to abolish the tax from this April is proof of the hollowness of his “We are all in this together” refrain. The Conservatives retort that they were merely correcting a dangerous Old Labour tax that cost more than ...

  • Poll: As cigarettes go up to $20 a pack in Australia, how much would you pay?
    The Australian Monday, 7 January 2013

    The hope is that pricey cigarettes will encourage smokers to kick the harmful habit. The move will come as no surprise to Australian smokers, who already contend with some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the world. Last year the government intro...

  • Take Me Out contestants evicted from mansion after raucous party
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    As the fifth series of Take Me Out hit our screens on Saturday, a party in Staffordshire organised for all former contestants got a little out of hand.The party, reportedly organised by two contestants, took place in a swish £1.5 million house - but ...

  • Gerard Depardieu's tax exile has turned him into a pawn for Putin
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    The Russian President himself has stage-managed Depardieu’s arrival. Footage of the pair's meeting in a Black Sea resort was broadcast Saturday on state television (complete with a mismatched bear-hug), shortly before a passport winged its way into D...

  • John Leslie on Daybreak: My 2002 trial-by-press wouldn't happen post-Leveson
    itv.com Monday, 7 January 2013

    Ten years later and post-Leveson, Leslie is back in the public eye and feels the time is right to speak again about his experiences. In an interview on ITV's Daybreak this morning, he told Lorraine Kelly: "Ten years ago the press were not accountable...

  • How can we prevent child abuse if we don't understand paedophilia?
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    It is broadly defined as adult sexual attraction to children and young people below the legal age of sexual consent. That means a paedophile is someone who is primarily or exclusively sexually attracted to children (although they may also be sexually...

  • Letters: The home life of a gay bishop
    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Chris Wright Madeley, Crewe Will flocks be required to blow the whistle if they suspect inappropriate levels of satisfaction in the episcopal marital bed? James Kellar Pewsey, Wiltshire So: if one is a straight man, single or married, one can be a...

  • Editorial: Why we have extended our Christmas Appeal
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    The second is that the security situation in the Central African Republic has deteriorated to the point where the capital, Bangui, may fall to the rebels. Peace talks between them and the government are due to begin in nearby Gabon next week. The 64...

  • Friends and family could be just another box-ticking exercise
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Based on the customer satisfaction survey known as the Net Promoter Score, used by companies including Apple, Virgin and British Airways, patients will use it from next April. Its detractors point out that a recommendation from a friend is no guaran...

  • Army was the target audience of President's theatre at the opera house
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Those who hate Assad will remind us that Hitler’s most important speech came at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin. Bashar al-Assad’s most important speech came yesterday in the opera house he opened scarcely nine years ago. The last work to be performe...

  • Benefit reform will ensure that work always pays
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    But for over a decade, and for millions of people, it hasn’t been the case. For years, the gap between those who earn and those who live on benefits has grown. Consider this fact: since 2007, the pay of those working in the private sector rose by 12 ...

  • The battle to instil hope again
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Please donate to our appeal for child soldiers here.It was a sunny, warm afternoon in October when Grace was walking home with her friends. The 13-year-old girls had just finished a long day at school and were chatting about a boy they fancied in the...

  • Why the numbers game doesn’t add up in the killing fields of Syria
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    But then at New Year’s the UN’s Human Rights Commission tells the world that the real figure is close to 60,000. Come again? Did 15,000 Syrians climb into a mass grave on 1 January, 2013?First, however, a health warning. No-one disputes the carnage i...

  • The Tories intend going on and on. Labour needs a radical alternative
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Just think of all the proud achievements they’ve notched up in just 32 months: a six-fold increase in people relying on food banks; the first attempt to deliberately slash the real income of the poor – whether in or out of work – since 1931; a shamel...

  • We always knew aunts were important
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Many of us had seen this before Biddulph did, but his stamp of authority is hugely important. What’s more, instead of academic obfuscation, he gives brilliant pieces of advice, in simple, clear language. And one of those is to ensure that daughters h...

  • Indigenous people have inherent rights to territory
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    We began by focusing on a piece of legislation called Bill C-45, which attacks the land base reserved for indigenous people and removed protections for hundreds of our waterways. We discussed and planned a national day of action for 10 December – whi...

  • The US sneezes and the UK still gets a cold
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    At the final hour the House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act on a vote of 257 to 167. The vast majority of Democrats voted for it –172 to 16 – compared with only one third of Republicans (85 to 151), including the vice-presi...

  • Spooky-couture: the fashion show from hell, via Fantich & Young
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    The East-London based duo Mariana Fantich and Dominic Young currently have a show in Berlin, Apex Predator, closing 7th February, that features some of the strangest and most unsettling clothes we've ever laid eyes on.There's a Savile Row suit made o...

  • Dos and Don'ts for gay Bishops in the Church of England
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    • Gay Bishops and their partners are allowed to hold hands on the sofa when watching Downton Abbey but snuggling on the sofa is forbidden.• When greeting their partner, gay Bishops may only kiss them once on the cheek. To kiss them twice on the cheek...

  • Why does Beyoncé advertise Pepsi?
    New York Times Sunday, 6 January 2013

    "Knowles is renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in", he says. Plus, there's a measure of hypocrisy in her support for Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign, drawn up to get k...

  • IoS letters, emails & online postings (6 January 2013)
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Most people I know are tolerant and fair towards immigrants, but I am becoming more and more aware of a general anxiety, at best, and anger, at worst, among normally decent people who feel there is no acknowledgement of the problems. In difficult ec...

  • Guns won't protect Indian women. Ask the US
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    They think owning guns will make them safer. Some women in India seem to have come to the same conclusion following the gang rape and murder of a student on a bus, with reports that hundreds of women in Delhi have applied for gun licences. The numbe...

  • Corny PSY fixes my new year blues
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    As we start a new year, perhaps PSY's unlikely success marks a new development – the demise of the global influence of American pop culture. After the Second World War, the US was determined to topple the dominance of European culture and artists lik...

  • If Sarko took Gaddafi cash, why oust him?
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    According to Mr Takieddine, Mr Sarkozy's courageous decision to spearhead, with David Cameron, the western support for the Libyan revolution in 2011 was a flagrant double-cross, one of the most extraordinary acts of political treachery in recent time...

  • Change needs to start in Britain
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    What people here find hard to grasp, as well as this being practised in the UK, is that it completely ruins a woman's life, turning joyous events like the beginning of a love affair into a nightmare. In the part of London where I live, I meet a lot ...

  • US glass ceiling shows political cracks
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    And something of the same is starting to happen on Capitol Hill as well. "Women have the responsibility gene," Hillary Clinton – the most recent of those female secretaries of state – once remarked. In which case, all may not be lost for that feckles...

  • Sometimes, competitive blokes are best ignored
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Still, I'm torn. On the one hand, there's little I like less than the thought police, picking holes in the comment boxes on the bottom half of the internet, or coming after you on Twitter, or complaining to Ofcom about nothing. (Strangers have accus...

  • The true cost of business at any price
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    And so Willie Walsh, chief executive of the BA-owning International Airlines Group, wanted some new airports and the abolition of Air Passenger Duty ("This tax punishes hard-working families, destroys jobs and damages prospects for our economic reco...

  • The world of letters is another male preserve
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Mr Talbot is already a multi-award-winning graphic novelist, and perhaps that's why he seems to be pretty relaxed about hiding his light beneath his wife's bushel on this occasion. Or perhaps, being married to a writer (Mary Talbot's previous books ...

  • Tom Hodgkinson: 'Throw away that guilt-inducing clock'
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    And this remains the dominant ethic today. Politicians, by nature, favour industry over contemplation. They tend to be utilitarian philistines. Chancellor Osborne, of the sixth-form triumvirate, recently said that he was "on the side of those who wor...

  • The Emperor's New Clothes (06/01/13)
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Quite a lot, it turns out. What you have done – the part of the transaction confirmed by that reassuring "confirmation of order" email in your inbox – is the easy electronic bit. Now comes the hard, practical part: getting your buy moved from a ware...

  • Rant & Rave (06/01/13)
    Sunday, 6 January 2013

    Only early January, and already we have a contender for 2013's advert-most-likely-to-offend-everyone award. The ad, for a bike shop which also does small car maintenance jobs, has a woman explaining how to change a headlight bulb: wait till it's dar...

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