Such shocking encouragement of lying to children was bad but that it should be published bordered on the scandalous

So many lies in so little time. Last June our neighbours bought a pig in a poke from the three Brexiteers, Boris, Farage and Gove, and now their count(...)

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras. An e-card from the press office of the Greek finance ministry showed a picture of a frail, stingy Ebenezer Scrooge by the fire. Photograph: Alexandros Vlachos/EPA

Greece’s finance ministry took a page out of Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol to have a dig on Friday at the international lenders who hav(...)

The European Court of Human Rights – an algorithm was able to predict 79 per cent of cases accurately

“The law is an ass,” said Charles Dickens. That may be so but it is a predictable one at that. Researchers at University College London, the Universit(...)

For Roald Dahl, language was a bendy business, including inventing an entire vocabulary, gobblefunk, for his Big Friendly Giant. Illustration: Quentin Blake courtesy of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate

Can you tell a snozzcumber from a snozzwanger? What would you say to a quogwinkle? And have you ever been (even a tiny bit) biffsquiggled? For the (...)

A Spanish-born Eurosceptic and Brexit champion, Michael Portillo is not  looking for the true history and legacy of the locomotive America but a more elusive ideal of England, one that has gone firmly off the rails.

All political careers end in failure, we know, but at least one is bound for Gettysburg. At least, that’s the destination of Michael Portillo’s Grea(...)

The lobby of the Imperial Hotel, Cork, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. Photograph: Flynn Hotels

Napoleon was settling into his first full year of exile on St Helena, Rossini’s Barber of Seville premiered in Rome and in Cork a group of merchants s(...)

The Montorgueil District in Paris has quality food markets and sunny terraces to sit and relax.

There’s a lot going on besides football these days in Paris, Bordeaux and Lille. From Bordeaux’s glammed-up image and futuristic new wine museum to t(...)

The Reading Room at the London Library in St James’s Square, London, in 1954: the library is the world’s largest independent lending library. Photograph:  Monte Fresco jnr/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

St James’s Square, between Pall Mall and Piccadilly, is the venue this weekend for a one-off literary festival, featuring some of the biggest names in(...)

Chinese children in Beijing wait for their train to set off  to their home town for the spring festival, or lunar new year. The auspicious Year of the Monkey begins on February 8th. Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

It’s spring festival in China, and the country resounds with firecrackers as people noisily celebrate the start of the Year of the Monkey, always an a(...)

Vinny made it to Howth harbour but he was forced to take the Dart home. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

The guy looking back at Vinny Fitzpatrick in the mirror was no longer middle-aged; he was officially old. Not as aged as Methuselah perhaps but defini(...)

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