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Is this Labour’s next leader?

In Yvette Cooper’s home, an entire room is given over to memorabilia of her husband’s life in politics. Pictures of Ed Balls hang on the walls and the room is kitted out with phone lines and computers so it can function as a nerve-centre for the shadow chancellor while he is working from home. Cooper’s

Ship of fools

Ah, those Italians. Let’s just blame the bloody Eyeties for the catastrophe of the Costa Concordia and have done with it, shall we? That way we don’t have to think too much about the perils of floating citadels in general. There was something peculiarly Italian about this disaster. The night his ship went down Francesco

What colour is Wednesday?

If you are one of that small band of people who happen to see days of the week, months of the year, even single numbers and letters in colour, you are considered either very peculiar or very lucky. It also means you are a synaesthete. I am one of them. Synaesthesia is a rare condition:

Fear and loathing in Baden-Wurttemberg

Stuttgart Everyone is frightened of the euro. So said the sweet old lady who runs the small hotel where I am staying. She and her husband are Germans who came to Stuttgart from Slovenia 50 years ago. They have worked ‘day and night’ to build up their modest fortune, and now they fear their savings

A yacht? Wouldn’t the Queen prefer a really nice soap?

Gove, a man so unsuited to the satanic machinations of high office that he looks like a permanently startled guppy, made a really strange boo this week by suggesting a collection of rich monarchists buy the Queen a £60 million yacht for her diamond Jubilee. Really? A yacht? Men just can’t buy presents, can they?

The age of achievement

Doctors say it’s all downhill from 45. History suggests otherwise A study in the British Medical Journal suggests that our brains begin to deteriorate from the age of 45. Examining the vocabulary, comprehension and memories of 7,000 45- to 70-year-olds, the researchers found a 3.6 per cent decline in the second half of their forties.

Web of tyrants

The internet can promote freedom and democracy – it’s a shame it also facilitates mob rule and witch-hunts Even those who are wary of the utopianism the net has generated tend to take it for granted that the new communications technologies have saved us from the need to worry about censorship. Sceptics fear that the