I read Byers's notes to himself: "Saying Sorry", "Fuel" and "Pensions"
By Lauren Booth - 16 October 13:00

I hastily agreed to appear on Radio 4's Any Questions during a phone call that came when my dog was hanging "playfully" off the arm of my jumper and my lunch was burning in the oven.

Is it bad manners to reply to someone's e-mail without deleting the original message?
By Sean French - 16 October 13:00

The phone rings, you answer it, and a voice at the other end says: "Hello? Who is that?" So you say something like: "But you're the one making the call. Who are you calling?" "I don't know. That's what I'm trying to find out." "But if you don't know who I am, how could you call me?"

It takes a childless woman to think of fines for cannabis
By Cristina Odone - 16 October 13:00

It is not what you have, but what you don't have, that makes you stumble as a politician. Gordon Brown doesn't have a car, so he doesn't understand why a rise in fuel taxes will have people baying for his blood.

The Privy Council halts Caribbean hangings
By Darcus Howe - 16 October 13:00

To hang or not to hang, that seems to be the question dominating the Caribbean political landscape.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 09 October 13:00

William Hague may laugh a lot, but he has scant sense of the absurd. He's banned the chicken-run, that hallowed Tory tradition permitting Tory MPs or ex-MPs to regard a safe seat as an inalienable human right. Previous beneficiaries include Michael Ancram, Sir Brian Mawhinney and Peter Lilley.

Professor Carey is a brave man to admit he prefers small books over big, easy over difficult
By Sean French - 09 October 13:00

Years and years ago, when The Godfather Part II came out, it got a rave review from Margaret Hinxman, the then film critic on the Daily Mail.

Hague just can't get his head round England: it's way too big
By Cristina Odone - 09 October 13:00

This Christmas, William Hague, Ffion at his side, will be sitting in his Range Rover, enjoying a bottle of wine and some turkey sandwiches as he feasts his eyes upon the Yorkshire Dales. Weather permitting, the two may take up their sticks and go for a walk.

Joyce huffed and puffed, causing macho men to tremble
By Darcus Howe - 09 October 13:00

The woes of the past few weeks required a period a long, long way from home, in a faraway place with a strange-sounding name. I chose Grenada, in the eastern Caribbean, off-season in tourist terms, which means instant departure, cheap flights and cheap accommodation.

The New Statesman Profile - Denmark
By Robert Taylor - 09 October 13:00

Its porn is fun, its cities clean, and in social justice it is leagues ahead of us. As for that No

Nationalist sentiment over the Olympics is hypocrisy
By Darcus Howe - 02 October 13:00

This has been an awful week. Friends slid into death's dateless night. Nasher, one of a small group of mates who moved around together over 30 years, had suddenly contracted cancer. He seemed to be on the mend. He had convinced us he was.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 02 October 13:00

A new edition of Donald Macintyre's biography of Peter Mandelson suggests that the undisgraced Northern Ireland Secretary will support Gordon Brown in any future election for the Labour leadership. Ir'n Broon is unmoved. "Can't he support somebody else?" he asked colleagues.

I have never been able to end a relationship by slamming the door behind me, not even now
By Laurie Taylor - 02 October 13:00

I have had some excellent rows in my life, and have come up with one or two devastating last lines, but I've not yet mastered the art of slamming the door behind me.

I love the Olympics, especially the beach volleyball, played by women in tiny two-piece suits
By Sean French - 02 October 13:00

When we moved to the countryside, I had an image of making civilised trips to London. You think of English gentlemen in the Twenties and Thirties: mid-morning train; Trumpers, or whatever it's called, for a haircut; Lobb's to be measured for new boots; then lunch with your wine merchant.

After years of exposing Britain's role in the abuse of human rights, Amnesty is now playing politics
By John Pilger - 02 October 13:00

Amnesty International has just published UK Foreign and Asylum Policy: human rights audit 2000. When Kate Allen, Amnesty's UK director, was interviewed on the Today programme, she agreed that new Labour could claim "seven out of ten" for its human rights record.

How science turned our bodies into moral templates
By Cristina Odone - 25 September 13:00

Go to the mirror and take a long, hard look at that body of yours. Gone are the days when you thought it was a matter of "the headbone's connected to the neckbone, the neckbone's connected to the shoulderbone . .

The New Statesman Profile - Lynda Lee-Potter
By Michael Leapman - 25 September 13:00

The <em>Daily Mail</em> institution whose pen drips venom and strikes terror into the hearts of the

We excel at birthdays. But when it comes to deaths, we are positively deficient
By Laurie Taylor - 25 September 13:00

Although the members of our little group are rather good on the populist political implications of the fuel crisis and the pseudo-relationships engendered by Big Brother, we're not so hot when it comes to dealing with the death and terminal illness that overtakes our parents from time t

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 25 September 13:00

Sarah and Gordon Brown's party was the social event of the parliamentary recess. The ploterati assembled in what looked like a disused aircraft hangar in Southwark.

When a child asks you to close your eyes, my advice is to keep them open by half a millimetre
By Sean French - 25 September 13:00

Every so often, one of the children will come up to me and say: "OK, now: shut your eyes and open your mouth." Or sometimes they say: "OK, now: shut your eyes and hold your hand out." Yes, a surprise is imminent.

The CRE is a ghetto; it is time to bid it farewell
By Darcus Howe - 25 September 13:00

Some weeks ago, Sky News asked me to be part of a panel that would question the new chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Gurbux Singh. Other panel members were to be Adam Boulton and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 18 September 13:00

Cherie Blair is finally to get her biographer. The film-maker Linda McDougall has signed up to write the book, which will be serialised in the Express. She has asked the first lady for her co-operation, and a frantic telephone conversation with Downing Street is under way.

Why is it that people no longer suffer from cancer, but always "fight" or "do battle" with it?
By Sean French - 18 September 13:00

I am addicted to reading obituaries. I don't want to sound like a complete and utter bastard, but just once I would like to read one that ends: "During his long final illness, he was self-pitying and cowardly, insatiable in the demands he made on those around him." I know I would be.

If we all spit together, then we are all socially included
By Cristina Odone - 18 September 13:00

I am walking down the street and I pass a woman in a flowery dress, mouth stuck to an Evian water bottle. She bounces along, and some of the water spills down her chin. We stop at a pedestrian crossing and I spot a little saliva trickling out of the side of her mouth.

Britain is recolonising Sierra Leone in an attempt to get its hands on the country's diamonds
By John Pilger - 18 September 13:00

The ITN reporter in Sierra Leone described the killing by British troops of 25 Africans in their own country as a fine operation, an unqualified success. The rejoicing consumed the British media, which featured a coy appearance by paratroopers who had taken part in the massacre.

It seems to have slipped out that Mo Mowlam's favourite record used to be "Chuck E's in Love"
By Laurie Taylor - 18 September 13:00

It was a typical enough Sunday morning: six of us sitting around in Geoff's backyard, reading our way through a mound of morning papers and trying to outdo each other's moans of exasperation.

The New Statesman Profile - Douglas Daft
By John Lloyd - 18 September 13:00

Globalisation - Meet Douglas Daft, the non-American revolutionary at the helm of Coca-Cola

Britain is fighting a losing battle in Africa
By Darcus Howe - 18 September 13:00

It is more than 40 years since Harold Macmillan stood on African soil and proclaimed the wind of change. It was not an act of generosity. Africa had bush-telegraphed revolt in pursuit of independence and of control over those raw materials that were so hotly chased by European imperialists.

By a vote of five to two, we agreed to exclude the Christian from our fortnightly dining club
By Laurie Taylor - 11 September 13:00

Sarah has let us all down. Only a week after we had agreed that she would be a valuable member of our fortnightly dining club, she turned up at our planning meeting in The George and casually announced that she had decided to become a Christian.

When a man's genitals are bitten off by a pit bull, can anything be retrieved that's worth sewing back on?
By Sean French - 11 September 13:00

Anthony Lane wrote in the New Yorker that the moment he heard that Speed was about a bus with a bomb on board which would go off if it dropped below 50 miles an hour, he gave an anticipatory grin. Some ideas are like that.

Now only Clare Short stands out from a grey Cabinet
By Cristina Odone - 11 September 13:00

And then there was one. With Mo Mowlam announcing that she will step down as an MP at the next election, only Clare Short is left to stand out from the greyness that is the new Labour Cabinet.

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