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    The new Tory right is mad, bad and dangerous – and should be Labour’s prime target | John Harris

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 14:12

They have Johnson’s ear on everything from face masks to net zero. But the public mood is against them, and Starmer needs to be too

The House of Commons rarely hears speeches about what it is to be human, the elements of life that give it meaning, and the sanctity of free will. But last Tuesday, as MPs spent three hours considering what measures England should adopt in response to the arrival of the Omicron variant, the Conservative MP Steve Baker gave a brief oration that dealt with these things and more.

The debate, he said, was not really about modest proposals for mandatory face coverings in most public spaces, and 10 days of self-isolation for anyone deemed to have been a contact of someone infected with the new variant. Even if they didn’t know it, MPs were fundamentally considering “the kind of nation and civilisation that we are creating in the context of this new disease”.

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    ‘Back to the bad old days’: Swingeing rail cuts set alarm bells ringing

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 14:07

Rail operators surprised by immediacy and scale of cuts demanded by Department for Transport

Train operators have been told to find ways to cut hundreds of millions of pounds from the railway’s operating costs next year, in a move that is likely to spell fewer services and worse stations for passengers.

The Department for Transport seeks to cut spending by 10% following Rishi Sunak’s autumn budget.

It’s back to the old days of British Rail when they squeezed services and then said no one is using trains because the service is rubbish

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    Icy surfing and a base jumper: the weekend’s best photos

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 14:06

The Guardian’s picture editors select photo highlights from around the world

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    What traditions do I need to add to my Christmas Day?

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 14:01

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts

Are there any great Christmas traditions that I’m missing out on by just going presents-lunch-telly-coma? Emily Janacek, Swindon

Post your answers (and new questions) below or send them to nq@theguardian.com . A selection will be published on Sunday.

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    Readers reply: how is the wind-chill factor calculated?

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 14:00

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts

On the weather forecasts, they always say: “With the wind, it’ll feel like …” How is the wind-chill factor calculated? Mick Rawlinson, Brighton

Send new questions to nq@theguardian.com .

Wind chill factor was designed for a limited purpose. It measures heat loss from exposed areas of the human body, like hands and face, in low temperatures and measured wind speeds. With this information, people venturing outside in exceptionally bitter weather would know an approximate time before exposed areas of the body would succumb to frostbite. BijiDog

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    Most people flee the suburbs, but nowhere land is the perfect backdrop for my novels

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 14:00 · 1 minute

Suburbia is neither glamorous nor picturesque. But this is precisely what makes it rich terrain for my books

It’s early December and in my corner of southeast London the Christmas illuminations are going up. Garden gnomes may have fallen out of fashion, but their seasonal equivalent, inflatable Santas, are very much in evidence. There are some pockets of tasteful conformity, where entire streets observe a “house style”, but mostly it’s a delightful free-for-all. If levels of outdoor decoration reflect a state of mind in the way that rising hemlines are said to mirror economic prosperity, then the mood here among us suburbanites is one of grim defiance.

Apart from three years at university and a gap year in New Zealand, I have always lived in the suburbs, within a small triangle of southeast London – Croydon in the west, Bromley in the east and Norwood in the north. (I know that for postal purposes Croydon is Surrey, but administratively and spiritually it’s south London.) When you are a child, your own life seems normal, so it was quite some time before I realised that Croydon – fictionalised by PG Wodehouse as Mitching, “a foul hole” – had a reputation for architectural mediocrity, that the suburbs in general with their crazy-paving and curtain twitching were despised by both city and country and that having been born there was something which would need repeated apology over the years.

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    Manchester United v Crystal Palace: Premier League – live!

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 13:41

A bit of other team news: Ivan Toney of Brentford has tested positive for Covid-19, and misses their trip to Leeds as a result.

“There was no reason to change the team [after the win over Arsenal] ... they need to enjoy it,” says Rangnick:

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    ‘The view was amazing’: John Morris relives his Ashes Tiger Moth escapade

    news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · 13:37

David Gower’s high jinks came to define the 1990-91 Ashes but his partner in crime is sanguine about its effect on his career

In great sporting events, great events happen peripheral to the great sport, adding phrases to our lexicon and images to our imaginations – consider, for example, the words “ Sprinkler Dance ”, “ 53 cans ” and “ Stuart Broad ”. As time passes, these become a code for the initiated, and by remembering them we remember that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s like receiving a big, warm hug.

During the 1990-91 Ashes that role was played by the “Tiger Moth” couplet. But before we get into it, some context. England had been spanked in 1989 , but because they had won the two previous series against Australia, the team still felt confident.

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