Barometer

The birth of the plastic bag (blame Sweden)

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Old bags The government announced details of a compulsory 5p charge for single-use plastic bags in shops. Plastic bags have…

Does anyone else have an upper house as undemocratic as the Lords?

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Peers’ peers Forty-five new peers were created. Are we alone in having an upper house of parliament made up of…

How common is adultery? Much more common than getting caught

29 August 2015 9:00 am

How many cheats? More data on members of extramarital dating site Ashley Madison were put online. How widespread is adultery?…

How many asexuals are there?

22 August 2015 9:00 am

No sex, please Several friends of the late Sir Edward Heath asserted that he could not be guilty of sexually…

Illegal workers do sometimes get caught (including at the Home Office)

15 August 2015 9:00 am

Caught working The government announced a crackdown on illegal workers. How many illegal workers are caught in Britain? — From…

Just how tough a sentence was 14 years for Libor-rigging?

8 August 2015 9:00 am

Rogue traders Former UBS trader Tom Hayes was jailed for 14 years for rigging the Libor market. How long could…

Just how hard is it to sack a lord?

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Safe house Lord Sewel is unique in leaving the House of Lords in disgrace. Until the House of Lords Reform…

Even Nazis weren’t quite sure how to do the Hitler salute

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Gesture politics A royal home movie from 1933 apparently showed the future Queen, aged seven, and her mother giving a…

Barometer: Where could Lewis Hamilton go and not wear a tie?

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Ties that bind Lewis Hamilton was ejected from the royal box at Wimbledon for not wearing a tie. Some places…

The other terrorists we have trouble naming

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Naming terror David Cameron and the BBC argued over what to call the terror group most papers refer to as…

Would the return of the drachma mean a bonanza for banknote printers?

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Bank job Should we buy shares in companies which print banknotes in expectation of one getting to print millions of…

Labour’s austerity tradition

27 June 2015 9:00 am

The spirit of 1945 No one would have been more surprised at the sight of 100,000 people marching in London…

A political history of The Clangers

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Dropping the Clangers The Clangers made a comeback on BBC television. Some Clanger facts: — The actors doing the voices…

The last Europe vote, 40 years on

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Forty years on The forthcoming EU referendum has rekindled memories of the in-out Common Market referendum of 1975. But it…

Driving test advice from 80 years ago

6 June 2015 9:00 am

First test The driving test celebrated its 80th anniversary. The first person to take the test, R.E.L. Beene of Kensington,…

Cunard – a triumph of steam-age privatisation

30 May 2015 9:00 am

Steam privatisation Cunard celebrated its 175th birthday by sailing three liners down the Mersey. The formation of the Cunard Line…

Cakes, the epicentre of gay rights

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Cake discrimination A bakery in Northern Ireland was found guilty of discriminating against a gay couple for whom it refused…

How Spain got blamed for the Spanish flu — and where to find Ebola on a map

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Plagued by stigma The World Health Organisation told doctors to stop naming diseases after people, places and animals so as…

Can multi-party coalitions work? History says yes, yes, yes

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Party packs Is it possible to form a stable coalition with more than one political party? The Conservative/Lib Dem coalition…

One-way streets are a surprisingly old (and dangerous) idea

2 May 2015 9:00 am

One-way stretch A study at Louisville University in Kentucky concluded that collisions are twice as likely in one-way streets as…

What happens to politicians who insult the audience? Ask Dan Quayle

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Any answers? Nigel Farage accused the audience in the BBC opposition leaders’ debate of being left-wing. Need insulting an audience…

Campaign songs and the singers who wish they weren’t

18 April 2015 9:00 am

Out of tune The use of a song, ‘Love Natural’ by the Crystal Fighters, at the launch of the Labour…

Do Scots really die that much younger?

11 April 2015 9:00 am

The Scottish way of death Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP would block a rise in the state pension age on…

Could you afford to take a job with the royal family?

4 April 2015 9:00 am

Royally paid Staff at Windsor Castle were balloted in strike action over pay. What can you earn in the royal…

A censored hymn to motorway misery

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Service record The government is to form a design panel to improve motorway services stations. These have not always charmed…