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Daily catch-up: Underground, Overground, over the Irish Sea and clever pigs

Your guide to the start of the week (and the month) from our political columnist

1. One of my favourite signs in London. This is at Whitechapel, where the Underground (District and Hammersmith and City lines) goes over the Overground line from New Cross to Highbury and Islington.

Which raises a timely question for those in the metropolis returning to work after the summer holiday: how much of the Underground is underground? (For the answer, see below.)

2. We had a Top Ten of Political Interviewers in The Independent on Sunday magazine yesterday, compiled by Oscar Pearson, who runs Chat Politics, a website featuring interviews with politicians, writers and comedians. Pearson will probably be on the list one day.

3. Also in The Independent on Sunday, I did a round-up of some of the late silly-season stories of last week, a late flowering of a great British tradition just as August drew to a close. Pinch, punch, first of the month.

My political column was about Douglas Carswell, whom I like, but who I think has taken a wrong turning to impossiblism.

And we also had an extract from Robert Hutton's brilliant new book, Would They Lie To You?, which is published this week. It is a guide to not saying what you mean. For example, "We must have lunch," means: "We won't have lunch."

4. David Hayes has a lovely (long) essay at Inside Story on the history of the UK and Ireland. Viewed with the perspective of the centenaries of the birth of the Irish Republic 1912-23, at a time of a similar debate (conducted rather differently) in Scotland, he sees 2011-14 as a golden time and wonders about the future. 

Hayes is a great writer who always sees more clearly from the longer view.

5. How much of the Underground is underground? This much, in grey.



Thanks to Matt Navarra.

6. Finally, thanks to John Brennan for this:

"Cunningham would be a good surname for an intelligent pig."

And to Pete Sweet ‏for his response:

"What about Einswine?"