Were Lego bricks, with those silly great towers, really the best the 20th century could do in the way of toys?
By Sean French - 07 February 12:00

This week I discovered that there is something called the British Association of Toy Retailers. It even has a boring name. Why couldn't it be called the British Association of Toy Sellers? Then it could be known as BATS. That would be a bit funnier.

Our great Carol - can custom stale her infinite variety?
By Cristina Odone - 07 February 12:00

Here she is, crunching figures on Countdown. There she goes, revamping gnome-infested landscapes on Carol Vorderman's Better Gardens. And, oh, could that be Carol spreading cholesterol-lowering margarine on toast in a commercial?

Clause 28: the cardinal should try to be more Christian
By Cristina Odone - 31 January 12:00

Tomorrow, in his classroom, your teenage son will be subjected to pornographic videos hailing fisting as fab. Your daughter meanwhile will be deluged with pamphlets portraying lesbian love as the only way to come.

Too much homework? I tell my daughter to strike
By Darcus Howe - 31 January 12:00

Some weeks ago I spoke at a conference on education of blacks in Hackney, organised by the local MP, Diane Abbott. It was full of anxious parents wanting the best for their children.

Blame is heaped on bad mothers, bad employers, bad government. No bad fathers mentioned whatsoever
By Suzanne Moore - 31 January 12:00

Lately life has come to resemble the Harry Enfield sketch "Women, know your place".

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 31 January 12:00

The success of the BBC political correspondent John Sergeant in landing the plum £140,000-a-year job of ITN political editor brings joy to fat, self-regarding 55-year-old Quasimodos everywhere, including me. But the Beeb is in a lather about his replacement.

Grandmother would be under an oxygen tent just from hearing the word "kinderwhore"
By Sean French - 31 January 12:00

The other day, a person who had just become a columnist for a scientific journal wrote to ask me how I avoided repeating myself in this column. I was tempted to reply, a la Groucho Marx, that I would never consider giving advice to anybody who was stupid enough to ask it from me.

Three wives, five years in the SWP, barley sugar theft: my ministerial career will be ruined
By Laurie Taylor - 24 January 12:00

I can't think what brought it on, but all week I've been imagining that I was a high-ranking government minister and was suddenly required to produce a coherent explanation for one or other of my past moral lapses.

Kosovo, close to being a Mafia state, is littered with unexploded bombs. That's the result of ethical Blairism
By John Pilger - 24 January 12:00

The Blair government's resumption of arms sales to Indonesia ends an unreported hoax. The four-month "ban", supposedly in re-sponse to the renewed repression in East Timor, was hardly a ban at all.

The New Statesman Profile - Ben Elton
By Toby Young - 24 January 12:00

A cross between Goebbels and George Bernard Shaw, even his jokes betray a galloping didacticism. Ben

My children watch a film and then practice ju-jitsu kicks. I watch a documentary and get heavy period pains
By Sean French - 24 January 12:00

It's now a month since Christmas and our 12 year old has watched The Matrix at least six times. Admittedly the film is supposed to be restricted to people aged 15 and above, but I don't understand the certification system in this country.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 24 January 12:00

Collectivism is dead, executed by new Labour, as we know. But hark! Fresh stirrings in the undergrowth.

If Tyson played tennis he would get a warmer welcome
By Cristina Odone - 24 January 12:00

Woody Allen wants to move to London. He feels, according to a forthcoming biography, that his affair with his ex-lover's adopted teenage daughter didn't go down too well in America.

Would the police dare to stop and search Max Hastings?
By Darcus Howe - 24 January 12:00

Stop and search is back. Well, not quite. We are three quarters of the way there. The police have invented something quite ridiculous - stop and talk. And then maybe, maybe not, the search.

Living to be 110 is all very well, but the advantage of being dead is that I won't have to clean the juicer
By Sean French - 17 January 12:00

Have you heard about "clean slate syndrome"? It is - reputedly - a new psychotherapeutic term invented to deal with the tendency for married people to respond to the onset of the "new millennium" by getting divorced.

Aitken gets the quality of mercy that we deny to children
By Cristina Odone - 17 January 12:00

Jonathan Aitken may have been studying the Bible in the nick, but as homecomings went, his did not exactly follow the script of the parable: no jubilant rejoicing, no killing of the fatted calf.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 17 January 12:00

In the upper reaches of the Treasury a particularly maladroit form of words is known as "a Holmes". This has nothing to do with the Home Office computer of the same name, but with Tony Blair's host in Portugal over the New Year holiday, the ambassador in Lisbon, John Holmes.

Ali G is a great act; his critics are just jealous
By Darcus Howe - 17 January 12:00

There is a stampede to the door of the comedian Ali G. An anti-racist clutch of black comedians have deemed him racist.

"Think of your best orgasm," said Claudia. We did our best. "Now imagine that times 1,000"
By Laurie Taylor - 17 January 12:00

Try as we might we simply couldn't get Claudia off cocaine.

Right, you can stop furrowing your brows now - here are the answers to my Christmas quiz
By Sean French - 10 January 12:00

There were some very impressive answers to my Christmas quiz, which just demonstrated once more that my readers are more intelligent than I am. Here are the answers:

Forget the camping holidays: just give the cash to schools
By Cristina Odone - 10 January 12:00

For Americans, summer camp is a rite of passage.

Up before the beak, charged with a rum assault
By Darcus Howe - 10 January 12:00

I entered the holiday period on top of the world. The stipendiary magistrate at Camberwell court saw to that.

Don't be fooled by debt relief: it's just another way of reshaping the third world to the demands of capital
By John Pilger - 10 January 12:00

The recent announcement by the British government that it is to "cancel third world debt" was a propaganda triumph. What a joy, sang the Guardian. Debt forgiveness, said Bob Geldof, was an "instinct" that was "deeply rooted" in Tony Blair's background.

Never mind the first baby of the millennium - as Big Ben chimed, I was almost the first stiff
By Laurie Taylor - 10 January 12:00

After Geoff had taken control and persuaded the rest of the party that there was about as much chance of getting an ambulance over to Muswell Hill five minutes before midnight on Millennium Eve as there was of finding some decent alternative to Gaby Roslin on the box, they decided that the only

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 20 December 12:00

Wherever Tony Blair goes to church on Christmas Day, you may be sure that the setting is appropriately, and unmistakably, Christian.

Don't lump me with Cliff Richard, just because I'm a Christian
By Cristina Odone - 20 December 12:00

I'm fed up with the prejudice I encounter every day. The snide asides, the jokes, the condescension. I am the victim of the one kind of bigotry that our society sanctions - bias against Christians.

Just gently touch my face (above) with your forefinger. Then try to answer these questions
By Sean French - 20 December 12:00

This summer I was sitting by a campfire when one of my companions said that there was a red squirrel on the trunk of the oak tree by the edge of the clearing. I couldn't see it. That was because the squirrel was on the far side of the trunk.

The new mayor has to make the police tell the truth
By Darcus Howe - 20 December 12:00

Trevor Phillips, on that rough road to the deputy mayoralty of London, has just hit a troubled patch.