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Why sex surveys are going to the dogs

This month, some startling new statistics have come to light. A higher proportion of Britons find Sir Cliff Richard a powerfully erotic fantasy figure than they do George Clooney. Between Carol Vorderman and Nicole Kidman, it is the Countdown presenter who is found to be the more arousing. Eight million British adults, crushingly described as "neo-virgins", have become sexually inactive, while a plucky 1.8 million (you know who you are) have had sex with more than 100 partners. In Scotland, people have significantly more orgasms than in London. It is sex survey time again. It seems that hardly a week goes by without new revelations about who does what, with whom, and how often, lovingly compiled by the army of erotic specialists out there counting orgasms, but a forthcoming book by the Hampstead psychotherapist Brett Kahr is no sexological quickie. Called Sex and the Psyche, it is, we are told,...

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It is easy to shout from the sidelines

Fingers on buzzers, your starter for 10: which public figure has just achieved the unique double distinction of having an exhibition based on his work shown at Tate Britain while in the same month being voted 2007's Most Inspiring Political Figure by viewers of Channel 4? The answer, of course, is that hero of Parliament Square, Brian Haw, whose protest against government policy towards Iraq has endured from June 2001 to this day, through wind, weather and official discouragement. By accumulating contributions from others who oppose the war - sentimental, ill-drawn, violent, naive but undeniably heartfelt - and then displaying them within loud-hailing distance of the House of Commons, Haw has come to represent street dissent and popular rage. When, stupidly, the Government included a provision in last year's Serious Crime and Police Act banning unauthorised demonstration within a kilometer of the Houses of Parliament, Haw's mini-market of protest, by...

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An oasis of calm in a poultry crisis

The signs are now in place on the borders of the restricted zone. Local newspapers have moved on to emergency footing and bear headlines which read "The crisis - what YOU can do". Meanwhile, within the zone, we are doing our best to keep calm. We try to keep our chickens from fraternising with wild birds. We scan the horizon for any shovelers, swans or geese who might, addled by disease, perhaps, have overshot the east coast and flown inland. Outside the zone, the mood seems to be rather more twitchy. Friends have called to ask whether I might not be getting rather too close to my little flock of bantams while feeding them. Perhaps, they suggest, the health risk involved in poultry keeping has become unacceptably high. There are anxious enquiries as to whether I have been in close contact with the birds. That is a slightly tricky one....

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