10 AUGUST 2002

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T he Ark Royal aircraft-carrier set off for the eastern Mediterranean

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for manoeuvres. Its sailing was linked by the press with preparations for war against Iraq. Field Marshal Lord Bramall, a former Chief of Defence Staff, warned America and...

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I t was the 'white heat of technology' which famously stirred the emotions deep inside Harold Wilson's Gannex raincoat. For Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, it...

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L ast March, on the ski-bus from my hotel to the Kaprun ski-lift, I formulated one of life's great truths. Let me share it with you. This principle is called 'The cut on someone...

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If we are to go to war with Iraq, Mr Blair must tell us why

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SIMON HEFFER T his is the time of year when wars break out. President Bush could not have made it clearer that he wishes, in the seasonal spirit, to remove Saddam Hussein. His...

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Max Hastings says that New Labour has shown itself to be horribly old Labour in its often visceral distaste for the countryside A FRIEND of mine said the other day, 'I don't...

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Ancient & modern

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TWO American film companies are evidently racing neck-and-neck to bring out a film about the great Carthaginian general Hannibal, and the word on the street is that one of the...


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Now that Europe has fixed the market in jeans, Simon Nixon says that anti-federalists must fight the system from within IN the end, it was the jeans wot did it for me, All my...

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Mind your language

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I JUST happened to mention to a friend how ineradicable popular etymology is — when it is in error, that is. I hadn't finished sounding off about posh when he received an answer...


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White skin, that's what. Fergal Keane deplores the shameful silence in response to ethnic cleansing in Zimbabwe NAOMI RAAFF is leaving Africa. She was born on the continent,...

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First there was Ecclestone, then Mittal. Now, says William Oddie, Labour has found a generous friend in a biotech millionaire IT seems to a lot of people,' said Mr Bill...

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Mark Steyn says that the only way to deal with the Middle East is to destabilise it, starting with Iraq New Hampshire WAR with Iraq looms and not everyone is happy about it....

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Bruce Anderson says that the war against Iraq looks like strengthening ties between the United States and Russia THERE will be no parallels in duration or in casualties, but...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit NOT content with stopping free-born Englishmen from hunting, shooting and fishing, backbench MPs are turning their...

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David Lovibond describes his continuing mid-life crisis, and the Professional Woman who now rules his roost LAST Saturday afternoon in Bath I understood that I had become the...

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Canterbury's way

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From Mr Jeremy Harris Sir: Any lingering doubts that the media 'silly season' is upon us have been dispelled very effectively by Damian Thompson's latest confection (`Fighting...

From Mr Emerson Roberts Sir: Damian Thompson doubts whether Rowan

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Williams will be a rebel, using the homosexuality litmus test as his sole basis for suggesting not. The whole point is that Rowan Williams does not care about this issue half as...

Councils of despair

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From Mr Bernard Cowley Sir: Shelagh Shepherd (Parish slump', 3 August) has put her finger on the button when she describes New Labour's attack on parish councils as evidence of...

Pet grievance

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From Elizabeth Foss Sir: Grandparents may be lumbered with grandchildren ('Where have all the grannies gone?', 3 August), but even worse, here in Australia, are grown-up...

Patten on Palestine

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From The Right Hon. Christopher Patten, CH Sir: Douglas Davis ('Massacre of the truth', 20 July) packs three false accusations against me into a single bracket in his piece on...

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No document unread

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From Professor Robert W. Istrich Sir: In 'Pius the hero' (20 July), John Laughland uncritically repeats Father Gumpel's claim that members of the Catholic-Jewish historical...

Woolly pears

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From Victoria Glendinning Sir: Leah McLaren ('The tragic ineptitude of the English male', 27 July) has, after only a few months in this country, come to some dire conclusions...

From Mr Charles Gowlland Sir: I read with considerable interest

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Leah McLaren's review of the shortcomings of English men's courting skills, in which I dimly recognised myself as 'Nigel'. It can only be assumed that Leah's failure to...

Making a hash of it

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From Dr Philip M. Peverley Sir: The insouciance with which Petronella Wyatt smokes one joint and then sets herself up as an authority on drugs (Singular life, 27 July) is...

Partnering Hutton

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From Mr Patrick Bums Sir: It is a pity that neither The Spectator nor Derek Matthews contacted the Work Foundation or Will Hutton before publication of your article ('Will...

Lamb's tale from India

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From Bunny Suraiya Sir: David Kempe's letter on the subject of Alexander's descendants (13 July) interested me because of an odd gastronomic coincidence. While in London I ate...

Witching hour

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From Mr Brandon Withey Sir: I would request a retraction of Barnaby Jones's assertion that 'witches do not exist' ('Sex crime', 3 August). We do, and have for centuries, but...

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Houses in a time-slip we're back in the year when curates roamed the land in couples

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES W c seem to be back in the Year of the High Church Curates. The landscape is all too familiar, and now the Halifax, our biggest mortgage lender, has clinched...

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Great expectations dashed

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Philip Hensher CHARLES DICKENS by Jane Smiley Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99, pp. 214, ISBN 0297607774 0 h dear. This is a book I've been looking forward to all year, and in the...

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Dishing the dirt

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David Hughes THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL by Sam Kashner and Jennifer Macnair Little, Broi4n, £20, pp. 380, ISBN 0316847380 R arely do I feel a book too slight to review, yet I...

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Smoking the cigar of peace

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Philip Ziegler CHURCHILL'S COLD WAR by Klaus Larres Yale, £19.95, pp. 594, ISBN 0300094388 I n the 1951 election campaign the Daily Mirror famously portrayed Winston Churchill...

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Not much balm in Swiss Cottage

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Alan Wall THE STRANGE CASE OF DR SIMMONDS & DR GLAS by Dannie Abse Robson Books, £14.95, pp. 195, ISBN 1861055048 D annie Abse has a number of identities, and he's never...

Taming the wilderness

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Hugh Brogan MEASURING AMERICA by Andra Linklater HarperCollins, £17.99, pp. 312, ISBN 0007108877 A ll historians agree that their subject is intrinsically exciting; the problem...

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Outlaw and income

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Michael Davie SIDNEY NOLAN by T. G. Rosenthal Thames & Hudson, £42, pp. 304, ISBN 0500093040 THE BOYDS by Brenda Niall Melbourne University Press, £23.50, pp. 392, ISBN...

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A lovelier war

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Hugh Cecil THE UNQUIET WESTERN FRONT: BRITAIN'S ROLE IN LITERATURE AND HISTORY by Brian Bond CUP. £17,50, pp. 728, ISBN 0521809959 T his book is much needed. Over the past 70...

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A giraffe in a cage is worth two on the box

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Yann Martel ZOO: A HISTORY OF ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS IN THE WEST by Eric Baratay and Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier Reaktion, £28, pp. 400, ISBN 1861891113 Y 0. will notice when you...

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A business approach to opera

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Tom Sutcliffe on why English National Opera got rid of its much admired general director G ordon Brown's 2002 spending review should be good news for the arts. Labour has...

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Beguiling talent

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Andrew Lambirth S tanley Spencer has long been a favourite with the British (and more recently with the Americans), as much for the beguiling oddity of his life and work as for...

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The Quiet American (PG, National Film Theatre) Special relationship Mark Steyn h e Quiet American is the first American movie about Vietnam, though at the time — 1958 —...

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Uneasy mixture Peter Phillips I 've heard it said that the Proms are becoming evenings out for people who don't normally go to concerts. Perhaps this explains why I've found...


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Goyescas; L'Heure espagnole (Royal Albert Hall) Plain Spain Michael Tanner T he Spanish theme at this year's Proms got its first full evening with two short operas, one by a...

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The Coast of Utopia (Olivier) Gruelling ordeal Toby Young A I staggered out of the National last Saturday, having been cooped up in there for almost 12 hours, I half expected...

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Frenetic activity Ursula Buchan I t is far worse than I could have ever imagined. When I wrote last autumn about my husband's desire to keep honey-bees, I felt confident that...


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Join the club James Delingpole T his week I am starting an exciting new club. It is called the Kill Billy club, and all you need to do to become a member is email me on...

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Real lives Michael Vestey D ramatising historical events is always a risky business in which the truth can be sacrificed to the need to engage the audience. It happens mostly...

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The turf

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Betting tricks Robin Oakley I n my cheese-and-onion-butty days as a junior journalist on the Liverpool Daily Post, a friend and I went once to a dodgy greyhound track for an...

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High life

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Apples of discord Taki A Gstaad some of you may remember, at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, Eris — who was uninvited — threw down an apple marked 'for the most beautiful'....

Low life

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Dog days Jeremy Clarke I normally get the Sun or the Mirror. I prefer the pictures and the adverts in the tabloids to those in the broadsheets. But last week, without anything...

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Wild life

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Tea breaks Aidan Hartley WMalindi e're at my mother's beach house on Kenya's Indian Ocean. I've been driven to a state of sexual desperation during the course of my wife...

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Singular life

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Thin spin Petronella Wyatt T his is the season of diets leading to fruitlessness. For the past week or so virtually every newspaper and magazine has been showing those before...

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Attitude problems

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Michael Henderson THE Commonwealth Games in Manchester were a terrific success. Of course they were. Every time you turned on the radio or television somebody was busy saying...

Q. I am shortly to fly to Cuba on business.

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A senior colleague who, I have reason to believe, is harbouring lustful feelings towards me, informs me that she, too, has business in the region, is travelling out there on the...

A. There is no need to worry. The armrests in

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the Air Jamaica first-class quarters are sturdy enough to repel any covert invasions. To make certain that you can nod off without any threat of nocturnal groping from your...

A. Many take the view that a surprise party is

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passive-aggressive. Even if its subject has pulled out all the stops visa vis their personal appearance, their first reaction is bound to be dismay that they have not been...