14 AUGUST 2004

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M ore than 140 cocklepickers were rescued foul miles from shore

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on the sands of Morecambe Bay after the tractors of two rival gangs collided. Four rowers attempting to break the west-east Atlantic crossing record were rescued on the 39th day...

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First 2old to Greece

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D ick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, speaks for many when he says of the Greeks: They think things being ready at 11:59 is plenty of time. It...

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T he Pope is going to Lourdes at the weekend. But

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he has made it clear in advance that he is not going for a cure, even though he has Parkinson's disease and for several years now has looked as if he might die at any moment....

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The best news for Michael Howard is that Blair has decided to fight the next election

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0 n Monday, just as people settled down for the summer holidays, Michael Howard returned from his. He slipped back into Britain and at once set to work. He is already two thirds...

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T hinking about the outbreak of the first world war 90

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years ago this month, I returned to Hardy's famous short poem 'In Time of "The Breaking of Nations" ', which he wrote in 1915. It is about how some things never change,...

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While England sleeps

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George Osborne defends the war in Iraq, and says that those who dismiss the war on terror are underestimating a ruthless and implacable foe T his week an unusual piece of junk...

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Mind your language

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I'm sure I can't remember hearing it used wrongly before, and now I've heard it twice in a fortnight from politicians. Perhaps they catch it from each other. The phrase in...

Another form of racism

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Andrew Kenny says that the National party has met its logical end — in the bosom of the racist ANC L ast week an Afrikaans man with a plump face, large spectacles and the...

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Bernard Levin remembered

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Katharine VVhitehorn on the prodigious gifts of the late columnist who came to prominence on this magazine I knew Bernard Levin when we both worked on The Spectator at the end...

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Ban this evil rag!

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Benet Simon on the video game Manhunt, whose sales were boosted by a Mail campaign against it T he last time I visited my cousins — three boys between the ages of eight and 13...

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Ancient & modern

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How Francis Crick, discoverer of the structure of DNA, must be enjoying himself in the Underworld! He had so much in common with the early Greek philosophers. These thinkers,...

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Basta Italia!

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On the eve of the Blair-Berlusconi summit, Carla Powell says Italy is still so ill governed that her new villa has no fresh water .. F

.. F , orty years ago I left Italy to

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marry a Brit and adopt the British way of life, in so far as anyone who is not British can. I carried with me a romanticised image of my country of birth as a land not just of...

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No one wronged Faria

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Rod Liddle sees no case for blaming the FA executives who slept with Ms Alam A nd so, the regiment of horribly wronged women marches ever onward and has, in the last week or so,...

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How to make girls cry

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Olivia Glazebrook analyses the power of Magic FM, scientifically programmed to tug at your heartstrings T he term 'feelgood' generates a groan from most who hear it. Feelgood...

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The truth about journalism is that almost none of it keeps

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U nless I am much mistaken, obituarists and tribute-writers have this week been poring over the Fleet Street archives, beset by a difficulty as unexpected as it has been...

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Pole position

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From Tan Kowalski Sir: As Simon Hefter says (It's time to move on', 7 August), there is no earthly reason why Britain should apologise to Poland for not doing more to help the...

Black misgivings

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From Fr John Carey Sir: Whatever may or may not have appeared in the Telegraph Group titles about 'the affairs of Lord Black', it is absurd for Stephen Glover (Media, 7 August)...

A greed-fuelled war

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From Ruth Terme Sir: Anthony Browne in his scholarly alert against the fundamentalism of Islam and its ambition to conquer the world (The triumph of the East', 24 July) claims...

We need the CFP

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From Ben Bradshaw MP Sir: I was surprised that my Conservative shadow, Owen Paterson, in his otherwise admirable review of the excellent book on fishing by the Telegraph's...

They're at it again!

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From Sheridan Morley Sir: 0 God, here we go again. I did not at any time 'review. . . a show [II hadn't actually seen' for the Daily Express (Arts, 7 August). What I did was to...

Waxing Christianity

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From Dr William Oddie Sir: 'Of course,' says William J. Abbot (Letters, 31 July), `Belloc had no way of knowing that by the 21st century Christianity would be well on the way to...

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Don't you tu-toi me, thou impudent fellow!

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R ecently Stephen Bates of the Guardian rebuked me for having Herbert Sutcliffe address the young Len Hutton in demotic speech, on the grounds that Sutcliffe had acquired a posh...

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The Bank cashiers the grand old Duke, and plays footsteps with Granny Gordon

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he Bank of England has sacked the grand old Duke of York. I New wars bring new methods, and it now bases its tactics on Grandmother's Footsteps. The Duke gave his name to the...

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Short on names, tall on tales

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Sam Leith THE BIG HOUSE by Christopher Simon Sykes HarperCollins, £20, pp. 420, ISBN 0007107099 T wo or three years ago, I was invited with my rather posh then girlfriend to a...

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The return of the native

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Olivia Glazebrook THE PROMISE OF HAPPINESS by Justin Cartwright Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 307, ISBN 0747570345 ‘ henyou look at families, there is no such thing as normal.'...

A selection of recent paperbacks

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Non-fiction: Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Phoenix, £9.99) John Clare by Jonathan Bate (Picador, £9.99) The Affair of the Poisons by Anne Somerset (Phoenix, £8.99) The...

Fiction: The Nick of Time by Francis King (Arcadia, £11.99)

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No Telling by Adam Thorpe (Vintage, £7.99) The Book Against God by James Wood (Vintage, £6.99) Waxwings by Jonathan Raban (Picador, £7.99) The Clerkenwell Tales by Peter...

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The pros and cons of Euromarriage

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Jonathan Sumption FREE WORLD: WHY A CRISIS OF THE WEST REVEALS THE OPPORTUNITY OF OUR TIME by Timothy Garton Ash Penguin/Allen Lane, £17.99, pp. 320, ISBN 0712997648 T imothy...

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The dark side of laughter

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Salley Vickers THE SECRET PURPOSES by David Baddiel Little, Brown. £16.99. pp. 320, ISBN 0316859311 A s a rule, [disapprove of reviews which review the author and not the...


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but uneven like the Andes Miranda France PABLO NERUDA: A PASSION FOR LIFE by Adam Feinstein Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 497, ISBN 0747571929 p ablo Neruda had three houses in Chile,...

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'Thou, silent form, doth tease us out of thought'

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Jane Ridley THE MYSTERY OF THE PORTLAND VASE by Robin Brooks Duckworth, .f14.99, pp. 234, ISBN 0715632116 le February day in 1845 a well-dressed young man walked into Gallery...

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Vanity fair and foul

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David Caute ROUGH COPY: PERSONAL TERMS 2 by Frederic Raphael Carcanet, f14.95, pp. 213, ISBN 185 7546571 T he plumber came this morning — 05 including VAT. He was still...

Delusions and delights

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Matthew Dennison THE EYE OF LOVE by Margery Sharp Virago Modern Classics, £7.99. pp. 222, ISBN 1844080307 D isney hijacked Margery Sharp. The novelist, who died in 1991, is...

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A fastidious disdain of poetry

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Jane Rye 1 f William Coldstream (1909-87) was a dull painter, as he is sometimes thought to be, he was most certainly not a dull man. An artist who spent much of his life in a...

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Postcards from the South Seas

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Andrew Lambirth on an exhibition by the gifted but underrated landscape painter William Hodges 1 f you consult The Yale Dictionary of Art & Artists on the subject of William...

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Blunt edge

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Michael Tanner Sweeney Todd Trafalgar Studios at the Whitehall Theatre w hat is the best environment for a production of Sweeney Todd? In the last year Londoners have had the...

False dreams

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Charles Spencer Elor several decades I possessed only one firm article of faith. It was the conviction that whatever else one might achieve in life, nothing could ever offer...

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Bride of Kong

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Mark Steyn A ccording to the 'old Arabian proverb' that opens King Kong: ' And the prophet said: "And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from...

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More head than heart

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Toby Young Sweeney Todd Trafalgar Studios at the Whitehall Theatre The Night Season Cottesloe T he taste of the public and the critics rarely coincides, particularly when it...

John Doyle, one of Britain's leading practitioners of actor/musician theatre,

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has come up with a nifty solution to the underwriting problem: he's masterminded a production of Sweeney Todd that only requires a cast of nine — and they double up as the...

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Grace and favour

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Marcus Berkmann yen the most diligent critic can miss 1 something. As the world's least diligent, disinclined to listen to anything I don't already know I'm going to like, I...

Russians on the Nile

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Alastair Macaulay Spartacus, The Daughter of Pharaoh Bolshoi Ballet Royal Opera House, Covent Garden - D oth the last ballets of the Bolshoi Ballet's 1/London season were set...

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Human zoo

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Simon Hoggart T've given up loathing Big Brother 1 (Channel 4). Life is too short to watch it, never mind hate it. I did catch some of the last pair of programmes, but in the...

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Health fascists

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Michael Vestey S carcely a day passes without some bossy New Labour drone appearing on the radio either to announce yet another ban on something or to demand tougher...

Some like it hot

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Robin Oakley There were even more panamas than you I would expect to see at Goodwood. The ladies were, more or less, in flimsy pastels, although some of them overflowed a...

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Elephant in the room

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Liu Gstaad S orry to bore you, but more about Poles. In all the years I've been writing 'High life', no column of mine has had such a positive response as 'Pole position', of...

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Band aid

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Jeremy Clarke I went to a five-band ska night with Sharon the other night. Ska is a sort of brassy reggae, popular with skinheads in the Sixties, that is virtually impossible...

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Vox pop

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Petronella Wyatt Porto Ercole T was sitting having lunch the other day in my hotel in Italy. We were on the terrace looking out at the sea. The sirocco was blowing, creating a...

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p icpoul is French for 'lip-stinger', which is not perhaps the

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perfect name for a grape, though better, say, than 'throat-shredder' or 'ulcer-maker' might be. Anyhow, the word means little more than that the grape is slightly more acidic...

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0 my Annie long ago!

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FRANK KEATING F orget for the nonce the neighbouring soccer shrine; cricket's Old Trafford in (one must stress) the sun always takes some beating. Hoary Yorkie scribe J.M....

Q. What is the correct attitude to strike when a

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friend regularly inquires whether one has read the latest issue of The Spectator, the purpose of the inquiry being to draw one's attention to correspondence from that person in...

Q. Each week - When I read The Spectator I find

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that there are always one or two articles which are so erudite, lucid, pertinent or amusing that I cannot bring myself to throw them away. I feel that I must tear them out and...

Q. We are staying in a beachside house party in

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Cornwall with nine children. The local ice creams are delicious but too costly (at E18 per day if they have two daily). Can you suggest a cheap and cheerful pudding that anyone...