10 MARCH 2001

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M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, presented a

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pre-election Budget. He extended the band for the lowest tax-rate of 10p in the pound and stressed other measures that would return some of the surplus revenue he had already...

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A ready you can hear the muttering and, who knows, by the beginning of next week the muttering may become a roar. Apologise! Grovel! Be a man, Blair, and say sorry to Peter...

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H ippolytus scratched his generous belly, took a long pull at

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his drink, and informed me that his family had been living in the Chaco for 500 years. He is the head of a community of the hunter-gatherer Guarani Indians, the drink was a...

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Every now and then the arguments for job cuts go dry in your mouth

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MATTHEW PAR RIS T here was one reason to hesitate before writing this: what if the News International copytakers thought I only went to their leaving do to get a column out of...

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Robert Peston reveals that there is a gentleman's agreement in Downing Street that Brown will succeed Blair The question now is: will the PM honour it? GORDON is tired of...

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Gordon Brown interprets the economic world as he would like it to be, not as it is, says Bruce Anderson GORDON Brown is in an enviable position. Inflation is under control,...

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Peter °borne says that the space devoted to the death of John Diamond is the sign of a self-obsessed press THIS LONG, cold winter has claimed plenty of lives. The remaining...

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Ancient & modern

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AS Aristotle pointed out, the world is divided into those who can plan their lives and those who can only follow the plans of others. In a democracy, then, 'liberation' to plan...

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Robert Hardman reports on a Highgrove summit at which tenants ask for a rent cut AN eerie calm hangs over Highgrove this week. On a normal day there would be a steady flow of...

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While the President gets on with his job, says Mark Steyn, Bill Clinton prances around like a spoilt monarch New Hampshire THE United States's sudden decision to implement a...

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Mind your language

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THE Elizabethan magician Simon Forman, about whom Leslie Rowse used to go on so, was a lecherous man. In a review of a couple of new books about him, Thomas Wright noted in the...

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Justin Marozzi reveals how sanctions have driven the Taleban into isolation and mediaeval iconoclasm I WAS standing on his head and really rather enjoying it. The view was...

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Andrew Gimson says that ethnic minorities are among the most conservative groups in the land: the Tories should not spurn them It is the nation that is dying, it is dying...

Banned wagon A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit

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WHEN the 'Liberty and Livelihood' march eventually goes ahead, its title will not be without a certain irony. Liberty and the countryside, not for the first time, have shown...

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David Blair on the background to the meeting in Paris this week between Jacques Chirac and the President of Zimbabwe Harare THEY did not exchange Gallic kisses on both cheeks,...

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Is John Bull the fascist heading for the dustbin of history?

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PALL JOHNSON 0 n Saturday morning I went, as I often do, to the Farmers' Market, which operates at the back of Kensington Place in Notting Hill. It was bitterly cold, and I...

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Conrad Black v. Taki

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From Nora Ariel Berger Sir: I am writing to praise Conrad Black for his courage `to tell it like it is' ('Ivly friend Taki has gone too far', 3 March). Those of us living in...

From Mr Jonathan Snyder Sir: Conrad Black is completely right

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that the British and European governments and press still labour under a massive anti-Jewish bias, and that this bias comes out in their attacks on Israel. I feel that one day...

From The Rt. Hon. the Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar Sir:

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It was surely unwise of Conrad Black to accuse Taki of writing a piece 'almost worthy of Goebbels' and to accuse the BBC, Independent, Guardian, Evening Standard and the Foreign...

London SW1

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From Mr Vincenzo lannelli Sir: In October 1984 I was posted as a UN observer in the Middle East (Untso) where I spent the next two years covering Syria (the Golan Heights),...

From Mr Ernst Fraenkd Sir: Taki's article moved me back

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in time to more than 60 years ago when in street-corner display cases in Berlin I used to read Julius Streicher's Stuermer. Streicher's reward for many years of vicious...

From Mr John Chuckman Sir: In Mr Theodoracopulos's reply to

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Conrad Black (High life, 3 March), he mentions Rabbi Irving Greenberg, who has apologised for writing letters in support of Marc Rich. What he does not say is that Rabbi...

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From Mr Leonard Toboroff Sir: The disgraceful and lamentable catalogue

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of circumstances surrounding the Clinton pardons are the subject of intense news coverage, congressional oversight and criminal investigation in America. There was no need for...

From Mr Naim Attallah

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Sir: It is most uncommon for the proprietor of a magazine to take to task in print one of its leading columnists because he happens to disagree with certain views that have been...

From Mr David Ronder

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Sir: Taki defends himself against the charge of anti-Semitism by quoting his own attack on Arafat: 'Hardly the words of an antiSemite'. Apart from the fact that Arafat is, of...

From Mr Milton Hirsch Sir: Conrad Black's article epitomised the

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concern for factual accuracy and lucidity of expression that should be the calling-card of a free press. This article should be placed on the breakfast table of every political...

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Rusbridger v. Neil: an everyday story of revenge among media folk

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STEPHEN GLOVER T his is about a clash between two Fleet Street behemoths. It all began well. On 16 February, Andrew Neil, the Barclay brothers' chief honcho, emailed Alan...

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When a lovely flame dies, soap gets in your eyes and you lose a trillion dollars

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES H ow swiftly a bubble bursts, and how finally. The rainbow-coloured sphere expands before our eyes, and at the next moment they are full of soap. Nothing is...

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The mysteries of shelf-life

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Philip Hen s her LOST CLASSICS edited by Michael Ondaatje et at Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 304, ISBN 0747553920 A fascinating subject, lost classics, and it's annoying that this...

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Author makes good and so does Dad

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Diana Hendry GABRIEL'S GIFT by Hanif Kureishi Faber, £9.99, pp. 178, ISBN 0571207928 I nearly wrote to Faber about Intimacy, Hanif Kureishi's previous novel. I wanted to know...

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The man who really mattered

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Jane Ridley VICTORIAN SENSATION by James A. Secord University of Chicago Press, £22.50, pp. 624, ISBN 0226744108 I n November 1844 a book entitled Vestiges of the Natural...

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Lord of landscape

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Lindsay Stainton THE OXFORD COMPANION TO TURNER edited by Evelyn Jo11, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann OUP, i60, pp. 420, ISBN 0198600259 T he past 30 years have seen the...

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A virgin sacrifice

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Sarah Bradford NAPOLEON AND MARIE LOUISE by Alan Palmer Constable Robinson, £20, pp. 238, ISBN 0094798605 T he cover illustration shows Napoleon dressed in preposterous rig —...

One hand clapping

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Robert Edric NUMBER9DREAM by David Mitchell Sceptre, 110, pp.418, ISBN 0340739762 C learly. the publishers of David Mitchell's novel are already all too well aware of what the...

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An intrepid traveller's flight of fancy

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Doris Lessing TRAIL OF FEATHERS: IN SEARCH OF THE BIRDMEN OF PERU by Tahir Shah Weidenfeld, f10.99, pp. 320, ISBN 0297645927 h e complaint goes that this planet, like an...

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Is King Money dead?

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Harry Mount THE CASH NEXUS by Niall Ferguson Allen Lane, Penguin, £20, pp. 552, ISBN 0713994657 A few years ago, in the Gloucestershire town of Stroud, a group of people...

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Trouble comes to the cotton fields

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Ranjit Bolt A PAINTED HOUSE by John Grisham Centwy, £16.99, pp. 388, ISBN 0712670394 A writer who can go on about the logistics and economics of cotton-picking at some length...

The prince of lightness

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Jonathan Cecil SEVEN MEN AND TWO OTHERS by Max Beerbohm Prion, £8.99, pp. 233, ISBN 1853754153 I n his old age, Max Beerbohm described how he had recently reread one or two...

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In the beginning and at the end was the word

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Alberto Manguel MAKING THE ALPHABET DANCE by Ross Eekler Macmillan, 118.99, pp.299, ISBN 033 39 03 34X C hristopher Columbus, on one of his four voyages to the place he thought...

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Don't say what you see and hear

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Norman Lebrecht believes that political correctness is eroding our available terms of reference S peech has never been so free and easy, or so you might assume. Anyone with...

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Spirit of an Age: Nineteenth Century Paintings from the Nationalgalerie, Berlin (National Gallery, till 13 May) Northern lights Martin Gayford V isually, most of us have been...

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The Magic Flute; Manon (English Touring Opera, Cambridge) Racing along with Mozart Michael Tanner F or their spring season English Touring Opera are travelling more widely...

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Backstage time-warp Peter Phillips T ravelling musicians have the opportunity to collect things. Stamps, coins and colourful visas, obviously, but also things like metro...

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Port Authority (New Ambassadors) The Secret Garden (Aldwych) West End shame Sheridan Morley J ust about the worst seven days for the West End theatre since Edward Heath's...


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Best in Show (12, selected cinemas) Dog tired Mark Steyn C hristopher Guest will always have a small but important place in motion picture history for his role as guitarist...

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Right royal celebration Michael Vestey W hen I opened an envelope containing a gilt-edged invitation to a party hosted by Prince Charles at St James's Palace to celebrate 50...

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Justified anger Simon Hoggart B efore a big new series starts, the BBC likes to generate lots of excitement in the press. They got what they asked for a couple of weeks ago...

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The turf

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Fingers crossed Robin Oakley A 1 economic adviser sent for after the fall of communism to boost new enterprises told me once that when the international hotel chains moved...

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Food for thought

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Broccoli transformed Simon Courtauld W hile Mark Steyn was musing, a fortnight ago in these pages, on the enchiladas that President George Bush would have enjoyed for lunch...

High life

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No justice Taki T Rougemont his is by far the saddest column I've written in 24 years, and certainly the most frustrating. It has to do with a judicial decision that mocks...

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No life

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Amorous intentions Jeremy Clarke W e'd been standing in the queue at the supermarket checkout for what had seemed like a very long time. A three-toed sloth on Mogadon would...

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Singular life

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How much am I worth? Petronella Wyatt I finally know the answer — to how much I am worth. In pounds and pence, that is, not in moral weights and measures. The most...

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Spoilt for choice

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Simon Hoggart FOR the first Wine Club offer of the new dispensation, I turned to Comey & Barrow, the London merchants who have sold thousands of cases to Spectator readers....

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Unsung heroes

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Simon Barnes LAST weekend, a marshal at the Formula One grand prix in Melbourne was killed. He was struck by a wheel that flew from a crashed car. Jacques Villeneuve, who drove...

Q. For years my partner and I lived in a

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lovely house in a waterside suburb of Sydney owned by a well-off local family. The rent was well below market rates, and no lease or bond was expected: solid tenants introduced...

Q. In your column of 24 February you dealt with

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three not uncommon causes of embarrassment and, as usual, you provided entertaining solutions. An alternative solution to one of these occurs to me and, for what it's worth, I...

Q. My beloved wife, whom I have recently married, is

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causing me a problem. While I need to have a good eight hours' sleep every night and do not need to get up until nine, my wife is in the habit of setting the alarm for seven...