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Why Michael Gove is the best leader Labour never had

Michael Gove received a surprising amount of support from the opposition benches when he unveiled his GCSE reforms in the Commons on Monday. Among those Labour MPs saying they welcomed his proposals were David Blunkett, Barry Sheerman and, most unexpectedly, Diane Abbott, who said that they would particularly benefit working-class and black minority ethnic children.

America’s Pacific Coast is no match for Cornwall

The first time my wife and I decided to rent a cottage in Cornwall in the summer holidays, the idea was to save money. Not that summer rentals are particularly cheap in Cornwall, but when you’ve got four children the cost of flying anywhere is prohibitive. There’s also the additional cost of renting a car

Energy special: It’s decision time on shale gas

‘UK shale Eldorado just off the M62’, declared the Financial Times, reporting a huge gas find below Cheshire. Shale gas is natural gas trapped in beds of underground shale; it can be released by hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, which means pumping water, sand and chemicals into the shale under high pressure. That much we know

Energy special: The green jobs myth

Tim Yeo MP called his proposal for yet another draconian target to decarbonise Britain’s power sector the ‘green jobs amendment’. It was defeated last week by 290 votes to 267. One sweeping new regulation was apparently enough for the day as the Commons settled for casually renationalising the energy sector by passing the government’s bill.

Energy special: Get ready for the ‘fire ice’ revolution

On Saturday, 8 June, the research vessel Kaiyo Maru No. 7 left the port of Joetsu, in western Japan, to begin a three-year survey of the Sea of Japan — the latest step in a little-known research programme that in a decade or less could profoundly change the international balance of power. Kaiyo Maru, a


My last chance to follow in Napoleon’s footsteps

St Helena, the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died, is so far away from anywhere else that even pirates never discovered it. The only way to get there is by the last Royal Mail ship in existence, RMS St Helena, after a six-day journey from