10 FEBRUARY 2001

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M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, drew attention

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to the fact that from April a new child tax-credit will apply to families earning up to £40,000. The Conservatives proposed abolishing tax on savings for anyone earning less...

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I t is not untypical of the character of the Home Secretary that, having accused the Tories of 'playing the race card' over asylum-seekers, he should himself launch an assault...

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A re you feeling hot, hot, hot?' asked the chap in the song. 'Are you feeling hot, hot, hot?' he demanded of the revellers at the Conservative Winter Ball. We were indeed, and...

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Israel will never enjoy a secure peace until the Palestinians have a state on the West Bank

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BRUCE ANDERSON d Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God. . . will without fail drive out before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the...

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Why I am beginning to fall for Polly Toynbee

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MATTHEW PARRIS T he importance of not being earnest is, among the Right, hard to overstate. Of all the thought-crimes a politically sound Conservative columnist can commit, the...

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In this exclusive interview with Justin Marozzi, Opec's new secretary general, Dr Ali Rodriguez-Araque, accuses the West of racism and humbug, and calls for an end to sanctions...

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Andrew Lansley, the Tories' Mr Manifesto, tells Anne McElvoy how William Hague will win the next election THE man with the plan does not, it turns out, have a plan at all —...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit IT was never likely that our legislators would be happy banning just items purposely designed for killing people, such...

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Benedict Glazier, a commuter, on the spitting, cursing, punching mob that overran the buses on the day of the Tube strike I DON'T know whether the rail unions realise quite...

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Mark Steyn says that Jesse Jackson's love-child — or 'indiscretion' — is Bill Clinton's real legacy New Hampshire I HAVE been on a short vacation. Well, not that short as it...

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Ancient & modern

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EMOTIONS are running high over the way hospitals have been removing for research internal organs from the dead — especially dead babies — without permission. But inhumation and...

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Alan Sked says that the UKIF; which he founded, has been infiltrated by the extreme Right POLITICS can be a grubby game, although very rarely one that assumes the form of...

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The select committee on education wants 'widening access' — but, says Leo McKinstry, that will only mean more dumbing down IT has been argued, in certain circles, that too...

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The Thing in all its horrifying power makes us think of God

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PAUL JOHNSON 0 ur capacity for storing information is so enormous that all kinds of material are now kept for purposes yet to be determined, as a matter of routine. In the USA,...

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Turkish discrimination

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From Mr A. Kevorkian Sir: If Anthony Daniels (`Turkey shoot', 3 February) wants to say kind things about the Turks, he is free to say them, but it would have been hoped that he...

From Mr Osman Streater Sir: Anthony Daniels's article reporting on

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his visit to Istanbul goes further than the whole of the rest of the British press put together to explain some of the Turkish case against Armenian genocide accusations. Here...

Tweed or Weed?

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From Mr Conrad Black Sir: Bruce Anderson's otherwise excellent article (Politics, 20 January) states that 'President Lincoln's party was also the party of Tammany Hall and Boss...

Fantasy rap

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From Mr Robert Aterrnan Sir: Robert Lewis (Arts, 3 February) is right to take notice of rap music, but he gets almost everything else wrong. One of the most salient features of...

Lunch with Alasd air

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From Lord Rees-Mogg Sir: In Michael Vestey's interview with Alasdair Milne ('Right-wing conspiracy', 27 January), who was director-general of the BBC in the mid-1980s when I was...

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Naked truth

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From Mr John Roemmele Sir: Quentin Letts ('Let's take our clothes off, 3 February) did well to expose our political and bureaucratic masters' shady hypocrisy in condemning...

Intentional last words

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From Mr Armand Laferrere Sir: An interesting addition to Paul Johnson's list of famous last words (And another thing, 27 January) is the (apparently genuine) last sentence of...

Whingeing Burge

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From Mr James Robbins Sir: When I read Petronella Wyatt's interview with the Countryside Alliance's chief executive Richard Burge (`Gone to Claridge's', 20 January), I...

Cheap shot

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From Mr Douglas J. Keil Sir: Sion Simon (`Yes, we have no big ideas', 27 January) has clearly joined the ranks of those who think it hip, clever and ever so slightly naughty to...

Fighting memories

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From Mr Patrick Bishop Sir: If any Spectator readers have unpublished letters or diaries by family members who belonged to or were connected with Fighter Command between 1936...

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What happened to all Peter's friends in the newspapers?

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STEPHEN GLOVER I t is now almost universally accepted that Peter Mandelson was a devious politician who should never have been restored to government after his earlier...

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Low, simple, compulsory let's start again with the taxes on savings

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES N igel Lawson thought that taxes should be low, and simple, and compulsory. What a shame that he never got round to reforming the taxes on savings. Few...

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An exercise in non-speak

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Philip Hensher THE BODY ARTIST by Don DeLillo Picador, £13.99, pp. 124 D on DeLillo has now reached the sunlit uplands of literary celebrity where publishers will allow you to...

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Thinking for England

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Rupert Christiansen NEVER ONES FOR THEORY?: ENGLAND AND THE WAR OF IDEAS by George Watson Luttenvorth, .115, pp. 143 G eorge Watson doesn't feature in Noel Annan's The Dons —...

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The beautiful and the damned

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Zenga Longmore RUDE BOY by Chris Salewicz Goliana, £1099, pp. 262 C hris Salewicz has fallen passionately in love with Jamaica. Rude Boy reads very like a love letter in the...

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Not knowing when you're beaten

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Andrew Roberts BLOODY ALBUERA: THE 1811 CAMPAIGN IN THE PENINSULA by Ian Fletcher The Crowood Press, £35, pp. 128, Tel: 01672 520320 THE LINES OF TORRES VEDRAS: THE CORNERSTONE...

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God bless the work

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Nicola McAllister PERFECT TENSE by Michael Bracewell Cape, £10, pp. 168 h ere is a scene in an earlier novel by Michael Bracewell where a young man enters an office building in...

A sadder and a wiser man

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Jonathan Cecil ENTER A FOX by Simon Gray Faber, £9.99, pp. 121 A s well as being one of our most celebrated dramatists, Simon Gray is a unique diarist and ferocious chronicler...

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Seeing the humoresque side of things

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Norman Lebrecht ON MUSIC: COLLECTED ESSAYS by Alfred Brendel Robson, £16.95, pp. 418 O ne Belgravia night, going in to dinner, I caught a frosty look in Alfred Brendel's eye....

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Total victory, then total defeat

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Jonathan Sumption CRUCIBLE OF WAR: THE SEVEN YEARS WAR AND THE FATE OF THE EMPIRE IN BRITISH NORTH AMERICA, 1754-1766 by Fred Anderson Faber, 125, pp. 877 T he Seven Years War...

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French lessons post-Stalin

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Anne Applebaum MADAME by Antoni Libera, translated by Agnieszka Koiakowska Canongate, £10.99, pp. 438 I f the task of a good novel is to describe a particular time and a...

The past as a friend

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Francis King HE DANCED WITH A CHAIR by Ted Walker London Magazine Editions, 30 Thurloe Place, London SW7, tel. 0207 589 0618, £12.50, pp. 198 E dwin Muir, chiefly known as a...

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Every day, in every way . . .

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Sam Phipps ITS GETTING BE 1 1ER ALL THE TIME: 100 GREATEST TRENDS OF THE LAST 100 YEARS by Stephen Moore and Julian L. Simon Caw Institute, $14.95, pp. 264 D iseases are down,...

Angels of life and death

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Anita Brookner THEY CAME LIKE SWALLOWS by William Maxwell Hamill, £9.99, pp. 174 N othing becomes this novel so well as its title, which is taken from a poem by Yeats,...

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Avoiding the company of kings

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Raymond Carr JOURNEY TO PORTUGAL by Jose Saramago Harvill, £20, pp. 452 F or Jose Saramago travelling is not a matter of moving from place to place but of 'being'. In 1979 he...

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Recent audio books

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S hort stories make good talking books. They adapt well to the conditions under which most of us listen to tapes — in the car, in the kitchen, in those scraps of time when we're...

A fter a decade spent soldiering on the hot plains of

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India, Major Yeates, the eponymous Resident Magistrate in these classic stories from the 1890s, has retired to the drizzlier reaches of Southern Ireland, There he lives in a...

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Barton's Trojan vision

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Patrick Carnegy finds much to admire at a marathon day at the theatre M ore than 20 years ago John Barton edited material from Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Homer into a...

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Too many questions

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Martin Gayford L ast May, Tate Modern opened with a tremendous fanfare and a colossal party. Since then it has exceeded every expectation for visitor numbers. Of all the...

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What's the problem? Peter Phillips I n his reasoned reply CAR doom and gloom', Arts, 20 January) to an article I wrote in this column, Norman Lebrecht writes: 'Beautifully as...

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Romeo and Juliet (Royal Opera House) Handle with care Giannandrea Poem K nneth MacMillan's first three-act ballet, Romeo and Juliet, is one of the most representative works...

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Tristan und Isolde (Opera North) Palestrina (Royal Opera House) The greatest of them all Michael Tanner i nci or even adequate performances of Wagner are so rare these days,...

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Dude, Where's My Car? (15, selected cinemas) Crippled by tastefulnesss Mark Steyn D ude, Where's My Car? is the recently unearthed Bunuel masterpiece from the early Thirties....


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Hooked from the start Simon Hoggart V S. Pritchett famously said that he had travelled all over the world and had discovered that humankind's greatest yearning was not for...

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The art of lying Michael Vestey It seemed a good idea at the time, accepting an invitation to attend a live edition of Radio Four's The Moral Maze (Wednesdays) before an...

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Food for thought

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Simply indispensable Simon Courtauld h e potato has a lot to answer for. Its monoculture in Ireland was largely responsible for a fivefold increase in the island's population...

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The turf

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Sheer class Robin Oakley W e were lucky to be racing at all on Agfa Diamond Day at Sandown, the four previous jump meetings at the Esher course all having been lost to the...

High life

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Spin, not sin Taki S Rougemont t Augustine believed that all sin springs from a lack of gratitude for God's gifts. St Augie had a point. Mind you, there are sins and there are...

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No life

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To George and the revolution Jeremy Clarke I took a minicab outside Streatham station around lunchtime. It would have been much cheaper to have caught a train to West Ham, but...

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Singular life

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Passing pleasures Petronella Wyatt D isaster, despair, and all that. I may not be going to Claridge's after all. The man at my insurance company who okayed the deal, signed on...

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torn - rom

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CUBAN CIGARS IT is always a pleasure to visit Yapp Brothers of Mere, but never more so than as the temporary custodian of The Spectator Wine Club, for which Robin Yapp has a...

Easy on the pocket and the tooth enamel

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Jonathan Ray in the Loire — it is deliciously juicy and jamtny, both on the nose and in the mouth, and, apart from a touch of typical herbaceous stalkiness, there is scarcely...

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Not all plain sailing

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Simon Barnes ANTHONY Powell, interested in people who choose to attack life by playing some kind of role, divided them into two groups: those who bring off their chosen parts...

Q. Might I suggest an alternative rejoinder to that suggested

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to your correspondent N.A. (Your problems solved, 3 February) when asked at a funeral, 'What on earth are you doing here?' When confronted myself with the same impertinent query...

Q. Recently, while on holiday in foreign parts, I was

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'taken short' and had, perforce, to seek the sanctuary of a public lavatory. Imagine my dismay, Mary, when entering the premises. I was confronted by cubicles screened only by...

A. Thank you for this tip.

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A. You could have eliminated all these anxieties in one

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fell swoop simply by mounting the alien lavatory in either side-saddle or rodeo formation with your back to the 'door'. As anyone who has been on safari would attest, the...

A. Give your daughter a short, sharp shock by staging

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an ambush. Target three or four of your adult friends with whom she is not particularly well acquainted and equip them with Balaclavas or perhaps Tony Blair masks, widely...