This narrow obsession with Covid has starved our lives of meaning

An English vicar went viral this past week. A phrase you don’t have the pleasure of reading every day. The cause was a snippet of a video which went around the internet showing the priest, in church and in front... Read more

Blackburn Sings Christmas with Gareth Malone, review: a sumptuous feast of spirit and sentimentality

However adventurous we may be in the kitchen, many of us return to the old certainties of Delia, Mary and co when it comes to Christmas food. Similarly, while a little bit of invention never goes amiss on television, at... Read more

Ghosts Christmas special, review: bursting with seasonal charm, goodwill and mischief

A series more or less purpose-built for the Christmas special, Ghosts (BBC One) has warmth, silliness and no fewer than nine spooks, where Charles Dickens only had four. Last year’s episode The Ghost of Christmas focused on the chequered past... Read more

Jon Snow’s grand farewell, or: how to make Sturgeon and Rees-Mogg agree

Jon Snow has never been shy about wearing his emotions on his sleeve during his decades-spanning career as a reporter and news anchor. And he looked variously humbled, embarrassed and overwrought as he took his bows after 32 years presenting... Read more

Ministers choose top banker with ‘an outsider’s eye’ to run NHS England

A pressing priority for the new chairman of NHS England, who is offered pay of £63,000 a year for three days work a week, will be to bring down NHS waiting lists, which have soared to 5.7 million during the... Read more

Thursday evening UK news briefing: Analysing Professor Lockdown’s omicron claims

It comes as Mark Drakeford has been accused of lying to the public by a former health statistics boss after he said omicron was “probably” just as severe as delta, despite three studies concluding the opposite.  Jamie Jenkins, the former... Read more

Nicola Sturgeon urged to ease ‘too cautious’ self-isolation Covid rules after omicron shown to be milder

In a second major cross-Border split, the UK Government said the self-isolation period for positive cases in England was being cut from 10 to seven days if they get negative results from lateral flow tests on days six and seven.... Read more

Boris Johnson bypassing the media with private vanity photographers, David Cameron suggests

The Government employs three dedicated photographers to take pictures of ministers on official visits, including Andrew Parsons, a former press photographer who now works in Downing Street full-time. Mr Johnson has been criticised for the hires, which news agencies argue... Read more

New Year’s Eve likely to escape new Covid curbs

New Year’s Eve restrictions are increasingly unlikely, Government sources have said – after an official report confirmed omicron is likely to be a far milder variant of Covid. A new analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) found that... Read more

Hopes that EU ‘hangover’ will be cured with pints of sparkling wine

A Government source told The Telegraph on Thursday night: “Pint-sized bottles were a victim of the EU’s war against imperial measurements, which are widely used and understood in this country. “Now we’ve left the EU, we can rid ourselves of... Read more

Handforth parishioners go to the polls to replace councillor who berated Jackie Weaver

Ms Nisa, who stood for the Labour Party, pledged to use her skills as a lawyer to scrutinise planning applications. Mr Cooke is listed on the election notice as “Englishman”. On Thursday, Mrs Weaver, who still works as the chief... Read more

Mark Drakeford accused of lying over claim omicron is ‘probably’ as severe as delta

Research by the University of Edinburgh, presented to ministers, has concluded that the symptoms of omicron are likely to be far milder than delta, while booster vaccines will provide “substantial” extra protection against symptoms. Real-world data analysed by the researchers... Read more

Latest Covid omicron data offers cause for growing hope amid the uncertainty

Dr Jim McMenamin, the national Covid-19 incident director for Public Health Scotland, labelled the findings a “qualified good news story”, but warned that it was “important we don’t get ahead of ourselves”. Professor Aziz Sheikh, who led the study, said... Read more

Questor: sell this trust, we said in 2019. Now almost 25pc cheaper, it’s worth owning again

He said this revision to the trust’s strategy should support its objective of providing investors with an attractive level of income and the potential for capital and income growth. When we last wrote about Ediston, in May 2019, we advised... Read more

Where house prices jumped by 20pc this year

This year also saw the traditional price divide between the north and south narrow, with nine of the top 20 performing towns for price growth located in the north west of England, Yorkshire and the Humber and Scotland, according to... Read more

Estranged couples rush to remortgage ahead of ‘no-fault’ divorce change

Relationship breakdowns hit a seven-year high this year, placing even more pressure on courts which were close to capacity before the pandemic hit. Amanda McAlister, of McAlister Family Law, warned that huge delays in the legal system had caused costs... Read more

‘We used to queue for food in Soviet Russia – now we own a Mayfair restaurant empire’

They have not been deterred by coronavirus nor its ruinous effect on the hospitality industry. Last December they opened Hideaway, a cafe with a Hedonism wine list (Royal Siberian caviar with your lobster roll, anyone?) and more recently The White... Read more

Toy story: how James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 and Corgi caused a sensation at Christmas 1965

A helping hand surely came from the films, which had “broken out” with Goldfinger the previous year. Number 261 became the fastest-selling toy car in history, registering sales of about 750,000 units in the seven weeks between release and Christmas.... Read more

Superyachts, police escorts and private beaches: How the mega-rich do Covid-secure Christmas

One thing the very rich avoid at all costs is Christmas in Britain. The most magical time of year is miserable when not spent aboard a superyacht in the Caribbean or partying on a beach in the Maldives. With omicron... Read more

Dementia, Dad and me: Seven ways we get through Christmas

Christmas is all about memories, and making them. But what happens if memory dims like fading winter light? It’s a topic that my family and I are all too well aware of, after our father was diagnosed with vascular dementia... Read more

Drugs, steak and tears: the brutal truth of working in a restaurant

“I think if we made it now, we’d have included more about the staffing issue,” he admits. “It would have been even more stressful, even more intense for our characters, they would have had less staff, less suppliers. But it... Read more

The NHS must finally close its healthcare gender gap

If you’ve already mentally clocked off for the festive break, you’d be forgiven for missing the latest publication from the Department of Health and Social Care – a vision document for their forthcoming women’s health strategy, snuck out just 48... Read more

Unpicking the mystery behind the ‘yarnbombing’ craze

Under the cover of darkness on November 30, six teams were dispatched to the streets of St Albans in Hertfordshire. They skulked around corners, determined to stay hidden while they completed an operation so covert, locals had no notion of... Read more

The dos and don’ts of Christmas tipping

Christmas is all about dilemmas. Stick with turkey or go rogue with a goose, joint of beef or massive curry? Presents before lunch, so the children shut up about them, or after, so they learn basic patience and avoid getting... Read more

Rachel Riley deserves every bit of compensation for the hard-Left abuse she’s endured

The court case between Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and Labour’s Laura Murray told us so much about the crisis of antisemitism that poisoned the party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.   Congratulations and thanks are due to Ms Riley and her lawyer... Read more