This England

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Get Shorty

The use of insults at a young age improves social skills and helps children develop a sense of humour, it was claimed.

Dr Erin Heerey, a psychologist, also said "play fighting" gives pupils the chance to tell the difference between real and pretend violence. She insisted that teasing and nicknames were an "essential part of life" and should not automatically be confused with bullying.

She said that personal nicknames such as "lurch", "shorty" or "chubs" could make children more popular in the long run.

"If everybody's smiling there's no reason to step in and stop it," she said. "The children are learning about social norms and how to interact with each other."

Dr Heerey said: "I think it takes a while for kids to gain proficiency."

Daily Telegraph (Robert Dando)

Unusual Englishwomen

As for [the Pre-Raphaelites'] wallpaper, well, it's an unusual Englishwoman who hasn't soothed herself to sleep imagining what her sitting room would look like layered with something from the William Morris back catalogue.

Guardian Review (Peter Barnes)

Just recently Google has brought out with a great deal of alterations and improvements to their prominent search system, including Googles Knowledge Graph Release. Read More...

This article first appeared in the 02 March 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Thatcher: 30 years on, the final verdict