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Things get better — for betting

The Spectator

1 n a free society, people are at liberty to gamble, much as they are at liberty to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in other practices which, if indulged to excess,...

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CHARLIE HIGSON There are a few fantasy gigs around

The Spectator

CHARLIE HIGSON There are a few fantasy gigs around, those jobs which we minor celebrities know deep down that we're never going to be offered, but which we prepare for anyway,...

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What loans-for-honours really shows is that nobody believes a word No. 10 says any more

The Spectator

FRASER NELSON 1 f nothing else, Lord Levy has at least learnt the etiquette of being investigated by police. When he was first detained last July, he contemptuously accused...

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The Spactator's Notes

The Spectator

CHARLES MOORE Ivill we look back on the last quarter of the 20th century as the only time since the Reformation when Roman Catholics have really been tolerated in Britain?...

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Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody

The Spectator

By Tamzin Lightwater SUNDAY Hideous day of torment fielding non-stop calls from rude reporters asking, 'What's Dave got against Catholics?' and 'Does he support gay rights, or...

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Look back in anger: how Tony Blair betrayed a generation of pupils

The Spectator

In 1997 the Prime Minister made education his priority. Ten years on, his promises lie in tatters: Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth sift through a decade of political failure in...

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How I met Harvey Weinstein at Sundance

The Spectator

Toby Young reports from the film festival founded by Robert Redford — and finds that its celebration of 'independent' movies is now completely cosmetic 1 'd been in Park City...

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A new home rich in history and genius

The Spectator

After three decades in Doughty Street, The Spectator has moved to Westminster. Michael Kennedy says its new office has an inspiring past as an artistic salon and shrine to Elgar...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

A reader wrote in to share his triumph at thwarting an attempt by an organisation to which he belongs to change the title 'chairman' to 'chair'. The current chairman happens to...

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Sex offenders in schools? That's yesterday's news

The Spectator

A year on from the scandal over paedophiles in the classroom, Tessa Mayes asks how much progress has been made — and finds herself up against a bureaucratic brick wall Scandals...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

Last time we saw how the Athenians always reverted to type when they established large-scale alliances with other Greek states: what started off as a free union of states...

Memo to the new BBC chair (which won't be me)

The Spectator

After weeks of speculation, David Puttnam announces that he is not going to enter the race to succeed Michael Grade. Here he offers advice to the successful candidate Ifind it...

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Arrogant, not brave

The Spectator

From Jolyon Connell Sir: Michael Gove is heartened by the leftwing writers who have denounced Islamic terrorism rather than seeking to make excuses for it (All hail the new...

The diamond conflict

The Spectator

From Eli Izhakoff Sir: Clemency Burton-Hill is quite right to condemn the illegal trade in conflict diamonds (Blood Diamond should help Sierra Leone', 27 January). We share her...


The Spectator

From Christopher Booker Sir: Charles Moore asks for help in refreshing his 'vivid memory' as to who said in 1997 that 'political satirists' supported Tony Blair so strongly that...

Not entirely Trujillo

The Spectator

From Stephen Schwartz Sir: Taki (High life, 27 January) should know that Rafael Leonidas Trujillo did not rename the Dominican Republic after himself — only its capital, before...

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On gay adoption, I long for true compromise. I fear the Catholic Church wants a fight

The Spectator

MATTHEW PARRIS Minette Marrin, the columnist with whom I most often agree, put it best in the Sunday Telegraph last week. Couldn't we just have fudged this gay adoption/Catholic...

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What Shakespeare thought of death, and New Labour

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON 1 t is a mark of Shakespeare's genius that even his secondary plays may be worth a fresh voyage of discovery and often have powerful relevance to our times. Measure...

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The long haul for Britain's last industrial world leader

The Spectator

Neil Collins says Rolls-Royce's aero-engine factory is now a shockingly rare example of British excellence — and faces an increasing struggle to recruit home-grown talent Mark...

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Take control of your own streets

The Spectator

Julian Morris Councils the length and breadth of Britain are smelling the money Red Ken is making and talking of introducing congestion-charging schemes. Interest groups are...

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INVESTMENT The perma-bear who sees the ice melting

The Spectator

Jonathan Davis hears the trenchantly pessimistic views of Yorkshire-born US investment guru Jeremy Grantham Ive're barely ten seconds into our interview when Jeremy Grantham,...

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The benefits of privatising BA seem to have worn off so why not do it again?

The Spectator

MARTIN VANDER WEYER 1 t is exactly 20 years next week since British Airways was privatised. Arguably, it was the most successful of all the Thatcher-era privatisations. Under...

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Fishing for compliments

The Spectator

James Leith tries to impress his guide in the Jardines de la Reina HASSAMADDA? I tell you cast 12 metres, 1 o'clock. Why you cast 10 metres 12 o'clock? You think bone-fish eat...

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Talking about a revolution

The Spectator

Molly Watson part of the fun of visiting Venezuela is witnessing, at close quarters, the rapid descent into egomaniacal madness of its President, Hugo Chavez. Venezuelans, as...

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Grin and bear it

The Spectator

Neil Barnett As my little car laboured around a bend in the snowy Carpathian logging road, a brown furry figure jumped out of the forest on all fours and made off in front of...

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Left out in the cold

The Spectator

Philip Hensher WHAT'S LEFT? by Nick Cohen 4th Estate, £12.99, pp. 405, ISBN 9780007229697 £1039 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Abook about the failures of the Left in the last...

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Enlightenment a distant gleam

The Spectator

Jonathan Mirsky THE WRITING ON THE WALL: CHINA AND THE WEST IN THE 21ST CENTURY by Will Hutton Little, Brown, £20, pp. 431, ISBN 9780316730181 © £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

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Virtually a kangaroo court

The Spectator

Anthony Daniels TRAVESTY: THE TRIAL OF SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC AND THE CORRUPTION OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE by John Laughland Pluto Press, £14.99, pp. 214, ISBN 9780745326368 © £11.99...

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Beautiful Victorian behemoth

The Spectator

Judith Flanders ST PANCRAS STATION by Simon Bradley Profile, £14.99, pp. 193, ISBN 1861979967 © £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 1 t would take a heart of stone to...

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For reasons of state

The Spectator

Jonathan Sumption BETRAYAL: FRANCE, THE ARABS AND THE JEWS by David Pryce-Jones Encounter Books, New York, £13.99, pp. 170, ISBN 1594031517 rance discovered the Arab world with...


The Spectator

Sometimes, in the night, sharing our bed I feel cage-restrained. I cannot stretch, or scratch, or swear at moths or mosquitoes looking for the light, or me. I cannot listen to...

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Now you see him, now you don't

The Spectator

Andro Linklater TRICKSTER TRAVELS: IN SEARCH OF LEO AFRICANUS, A SIXTEENTH-CENTURY MUSLIM BETWEEN WORLDS by Natalie Zemon Davies Faber, £20, pp. 435, ISBN 9780571202560 © £16...

Things falling apart

The Spectator

D. J. Taylor MEASURING TIME by Helon Habila Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp. 383, ISBN 9780241141854 © £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 : How to write imaginatively about the...

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When the judges got it right

The Spectator

1 n 1907 the Nobel Prize for Literature was for the first time awarded to an English-language writer: Kipling. It wasn't even then a choice that went down well with those whose...

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'Culture's still a low priority'

The Spectator

Mark Glazebrook talks to the director of Tate about its collection, its future and its funding For a hundred years or so, the director of the Tate Gallery has normally been a...

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Charming the aristocracy

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Canaletto in England Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 15 April analetto is one of the best-loved of foreigners who visited these shores and attempted to capture...

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Ten for the road

The Spectator

Charles Spencer Back in November, I wrote about the sad death of my old VW Passat on the way down to Dorset. It was gloomily pronounced on all sides to be irreparable, and the...

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Classical influences

The Spectator

Stuart Nicholson t the turn of the 20th century, the classical tradition of Western music could look back on a continuous evolutionary cycle that stretched back to plainsong....

All-purpose affair

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Carmen Royal Opera The Marriage of Figaro Coliseum The Royal Opera's new Carmen, which opened last month, is back with different singers in all the most important...

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Dench on top form

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Notes on a Scandal 15, Nationwide Notes on a Scandal is a fairly nasty book and this is a fairly nasty film — very Patricia Highsmithian is the nearest I can get to...

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Confusion galore

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Twelfth Night; The Taming of the Shrew Old Vic There Came a Gypsy Riding Almeida The ladyboys are back. Ed Hall's allmale Propeller group is in London with a pair of...

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Something for nothing

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart T caught The Antiques Roadshow (BBC1, 1 Sunday) almost by accident the other day. It was one of those moments when you're too lazy to turn the television off, you...

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Urban delights

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm El or years I was lucky enough to live close to Brockwell Park in south London, between Brixton and Herne Hill, with a better view of St Paul's from the hill in...

Genetic advantage

The Spectator

Robin Oakley What makes a successful racehorse trainer? Patience and an eye for detail. Man management and a flair for publicity. But the right genes help, too, and there Nick...

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Get Carter

The Spectator

Taki Gstaad ALondon friend has sent me a book whose subject caused a few faint complaints in the beginning but has now escalated to a full-scale furore, Jimmy Carter's...

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Banal questions

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke same territory with one group dominating the other is apartheid in my book, and to hell with those who will call the poor little Greek boy a racist and an...

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Love thy neighbourhood

The Spectator

Roy Hattersley Tast Sunday, while taking Buster for his late-night walk, I was stopped by a neighbour — name unknown — with what, on the face of it, seemed a friendly question....

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The Spectator

DEBORAH ROSS Acorn House is London's first truly environmentally sustainable restaurant, which is fine — restaurants are, on the whole, obscenely wasteful — but I would ask...

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Finding time

The Spectator

Jenny Wilhide ponders time and the artists who first measured it ne of the greatest clockmakers of all time was the Englishman Thomas Tompion (1639-1713), whose ravishing Mostyn...

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Flavour of the month

The Spectator

Rachel Simhon says that prizing rarity is a pleasure we have almost lost Looking at some Chilean strawberries in Sainsbury's the other day, I was reminded of the Grimm fairy...

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The slow track

The Spectator

Harry Mount crosses the mountainous waist of America hen a hobo dies after a lifetime riding the rail across America, his fellow hoboes say, 'He's gone west.' I could hardly...

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Your Problems Solved

The Spectator

Dear Maly Q. I am the chairman of a charitable foundation that owns a couple of wild animal parks in southern England. Recently one of our more generous donors shot a leopard...

Going Green?

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING Rugby union's Six Nations tournament begins this weekend with Ireland the soothsayers' hot fancy to achieve its first Grand Slam in all of 58 years and England...