We need to count successful mothering as a plus, or at least not a minus, on the CV. ‘Leaving to spend more time with your family’ is still a common euphemism for being fired. And we are all guilty of double standards. If Bob Diamond had attended his daughter’s sports day (before the Libor scandal) I would probably have been saying ‘great dad’, while giving no credit to a female equivalent.

Sneak Peek: Camilla Cavendish on the reasons Barclays won’t have a female boss.

In Putin’s Russia, where the Government is run more like an organised crime syndicate than a functioning state, no inquiries are made about politically reliable billionaires and how they make their money. Sleaze is the norm. But Britain has the rule of law, not to mention a moral, political and financial obligation to its citizens to block the import of corruption. Will any Russians bearing billions be investigated?

Sneak Peek: Alexey Navalny, the Russian blogger and political activist, tells us Brits not to be so blasé about the unending influx of Russian billionaires to London.

Last year Barclays’ profit after tax was about £3 billion. Any fine of less than £1 billion is, therefore, largely irrelevant. If Barclays shareholders had seen a significant chunk of the profits disappear in a fine, with a concomitant drop in the share price, it would not be long before they straightened out the board.

Sneak Peek: David Davis MP, who chaired the Future of Banking Commission in 2010, thinks the £291 million fine levied against Barclays for its role in the Libor scandal just isn’t enough.

This year the Olympics will follow the lead of Champions League football, Twenty20 cricket, WWE Wrestling, Gladiators and Spearmint Rhino by using loud pop music to ‘enhance’ the action. Is it because people forced to watch the handball or the canoeing or the 10km walk will fall asleep if they are not simultaneously belted round the chops with one of 2,012 songs from a giant playlist based on the themes of ‘energy’, ‘primetime’, ‘extreme’, ‘heritage’ and ‘world stage’? Five more tragic, hideous, unmeaning, corporate Eurowords I cannot think of. They sound like branding options for some new range of isotonic exercise drinks. Or like second-rate cable channels, or Mike Tyson’s dogs, or five costumed sex options in a high-end Tokyo whorehouse.

Giles Coren barfs at the prospect of “Rock the Games”. Read more in The Times tomorrow.

When you use the term ‘daylight robbery’ you are invoking a 17th-century British tax and a tax avoidance scheme still visible in many parts of Britain. In 1697, Parliament introduced a tax on windows. Householders would henceforth pay a tax proportional to the number of windows they owned. Middle-class and wealthy homeowners simply boarded up some, and in a few cases all, of their windows to avoid paying what they owed.

These buildings belonged to the Jimmy Carrs of their day, as Ben Macintyre explains.

Why would politicians favour the old directly when it comes to welfare and the attitudes of the old when it comes to something like immigration? They vote. That’s why. At the 2001 general election turn-out among 18- to 24-year-old voters was 39 per cent. It was 69 per cent among 55- to 64-year-olds and 70 per cent among those over 65.

Sneak Peek: David Aaronovitch thinks that if politicians pander to the prejudices of the aged, we will end up with more lock ‘em up, send ‘em home, reactive-not-proactive policy.

I saw a car bomb go off 30 yards from where I was standing. The corner shop was blown up twice, maybe three times. When they didn’t manage to kill the owner, the lovely Mr Kelly, with a bomb, they shot him in the head as he stood behind the counter.

Rosemary Bennett, The Times's social affairs correspondent, grew up in Belfast in the 1970s. The prospect of the Queen shaking hands tomorrow with Martin McGuinness, the former IRA commander, leaves her cold.

The Greek football team is everything the country is not: highly competitive, disciplined and focused on collective effort. The foundation of Greek footballing success was built by a German manager years ago. Every now and then it is a good idea to follow German advice.

Clemens Wergin, Foreign Editor of German newspaper Die Welt, gives Greeks some friendly advice ahead of their Euro 2012 quarter-final clash. Read more

I was surprised, perhaps a little upset, given that I could lose the £20,000 I guaranteed to stand him bail. I don’t have it sitting in my bank account, and its loss would impact directly on the welfare of my family.

Vaughan Smith housed Julian Assange for 13 months until Christmas last year. Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy earlier today, breaching the terms of his bail conditions. The WikiLeaks founder faces extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape, which he denies. Smith writes for The Times today.

It is an illusion to think that if Greece is expelled from the euro, let alone the EU, it will simply hang there, looking wistfully westwards. For months, financiers and western officials have described exploratory trips to Athens by Iranians keen to see how their relationship might improve further if Greece were pushed out of the euro — and shut out of world credit markets — at the same time as sanctions crack down on the export of Iranian oil.

Bronwen Maddox in The Times.

Sneak peek | The changing face of the English gentleman

Mark Hedges, Editor of Country Life, delved into his magazine’s archives to research the changing face of the English gentleman. Some fads, it seems, are cyclical:

In 1900, the new fashion for tattoos among the English and European aristocracy (partridges seemed to be very popular on the tummy) caught on. The discomfort of the process was eased by the injection of a mild solution of cocaine under the skin.

Read the full piece in The Times tomorrow.

Sneak peek

According to the Huffington Post, Nicholas the llama in East Sussex has had an uninterrupted run of correct predictions, so far, for the Euro 2012 football. Friends are urging me to seek the views of my own llama, Vera, on the outcome of the coming Greek general election; and she certainly does have views. Instead of choosing one from a selection of sprays of horse-chestnut leaves, each representing a different party, she gathered them all together into her velvety mouth. Evidently she thinks these elections will result in another stalemate.

Matthew Parris in The Times tomorrow.

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