10 MARCH 2007

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Climate of opinion

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T he government has declared the scientific debate on global warming ‘closed’. A dwindling minority of scientists still contest that claim, but let us assume, for the sake...

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W illiam Wilberforce is about to hit cinemas as the Great

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White Emancipationist Hero in Amazing Grace . Wilberforce was a decent guy. We all need heroes; but let’s be clear, this is not, as it claims, ‘The True Story’. Ioan...

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A party talking to itself: this is what Labour risks becoming after Blair

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W ill the Labour party go bonkers after Blair? I only ask because the early signs are worrying — or reassuring — depending what view you take of these things. To judge by...

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W hen I employed him at the Daily Telegraph , I found

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John Kampfner, now the editor of the New Statesman , a pleasant and able man. But his recent conduct towards one of his writers deserves a passage in the annals of editorial...

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MONDAY Off to New York with Dave and DD next week! Am working flat out on preps. First priority: which hotel? It’s the Four Seasons versus Soho House. While East 57th Street...

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Shall we tell the Prime Minister?

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His gang has scattered like rats After an extraordinary few days in the cash-for-honours investigation, Fraser Nelson plots the downfall of the cosy Blairite elite — and...

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If Bush is a man of his word, he will pardon Libby

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The conviction of Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff is a disaster for the Republican party, says James Forsyth . But the President must recognise the loyalty that Libby has...

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Red Nose Day is a bullying smugfest for a nation of cretins

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Rod Liddle says that Comic Relief, no less than premium-rate phone-in programmes, reflects a pathetic deference to anything which happens to be on television N ext week, your...

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The ultimate reader offer: buy our old offices

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Simon Courtauld , historian of The Spectator , says that 56 Doughty Street — now on the market — is a monument to the magazine’s glittering past and the characters who...

Page 22

Mind your language

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I was baffled when I heard last month that British troops in Iraq would be ‘drawn down’. Byron’s Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, but he didn’t need to be...

John Yates has previous — with the royal family

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Michael White explores the past of Assistant Commissioner John Yates, the officer in charge of the cash-for-honours investigation, and the ire he provoked in the royal household...

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Ancient & modern

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Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran — how intelligently is the West, especially America, handling the East? The Romans may have something to say on the matter. When the Romans took on...

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The veteran champ who keeps on punching

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Toby Young is impressed by Sir David Frost’s apparently limitless appetite for his job, and by the renaissance he is enjoying after the triumph of Frost/Nixon S itting in one...

Page 26

Nothing to fear?

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Sir: I rather enjoyed reading Tessa Mayes’s anxious tirade about the imminent arrival of Big Brother (‘Big Brother is coming’, 3 March), although perhaps not for reasons...

Sir: Tessa Mayes’s article was an excellent commentary on the

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insidious erosion of freedom and privacy in Britain. However, she omitted to mention the army of spies presently gathering to be unleashed on the public on 1 July — the smoke...

Iraq, not nuts

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Sir: It is a joy to be mentioned by the magnificent Taki (High life, 3 March) — even if only for my peanut-eating in Saigon in 1972. Alas, I still do like nuts, whereas I know...

Jazz without the chat

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Sir: I am grateful to Charles Spencer for drawing my attention to the Jazz radio station (Arts, 3 March). If his worst fears are realised about it descending towards a jazz...

In the zone

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Sir: A normally reliable friend of mine who lives in Kensington tells me that, contrary to what Anthony Browne suggests (Politics, 3 March), she and her well-heeled fellow...

Isolationism is not an option

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Sir: In ‘America: you’ll miss it when it’s gone’ (3 March) Irwin Stelzer gives a fair imitation of a rejected child picking up his toys and leaving the nursery. The...

Let’s all laugh at Brown

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Sir: Congratulations to Jeff Randall for his cutting satirical rendition of Ko-Ko’s ‘Little List’ (‘The Clunking Fist’, 3 March). This Chancellor and the rest of the...

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The little Spaniard and the bearded lady of the Abruzzi

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S ir Flinders Petrie, who did more than any other scholar to bring Ancient Egypt and Palestine alive for us, once remarked that the perpetual joy of being a historian is that,...

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Pipeline politics is the new Great Game

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Richard Orange says the EU is desperate to secure energy supply routes from the Caspian region — but Russia is equally determined to control the flows of oil and gas ‘W...

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The OFT’s recipe for fecklessness

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Ross Clark N ext month the Office of Fair Trading will produce its longawaited report into parking fines. It is expected to rule that charging motorists £60 for overstaying...

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The shipwreck of the last buccaneer

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Matthew Lynn tracks the career of a transport tycoon and luxury hotelier whose businesses have hit the rocks B efore the number-crunchers of private equity and the hedgefund...

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War has already been declared in Iran — between Coca-Cola and the theocrats

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T he Shah is Dead. Long live the Shah — and I don’t mean Reza Pahlavi, the 45-year-old pretender to his late father’s Peacock Throne, whom many in Washington would like to...

Page 39

Sick heart river

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Tom Stacey STANLEY: T HE I MPOSSIBLE L IFE OF A FRICA ’ S G REATEST E XPLORER by Tim Jeal Faber, £25, pp. 545, ISBN 9780571221028 L ove can drive a man to his grandeur. H....

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Much jostling in the street

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Giles Waterfield B URNING B RIGHT by Tracy Chevalier HarperCollins, £15.99, pp. 390, ISBN 9780007178353 ✆ £12.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 E arly in 1792 the simple...

Guilt and defiance

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P. J. Kavanagh T HAT N EUTRAL I SLAND by Clair Wills Faber, £25, pp. 502, ISBN 9780571221059 I t will be news to nobody that England (or ‘the Crown’) and Ireland had been...

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Brutal, bankrupt Burma

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John Casey T HE R IVER OF L OST F OOTSTEPS : H ISTORIES OF B URMA by Thant Myint-U Faber, £20, pp. 361, ISBN 9780571217557 V £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T hant...

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A kinder, gentler sociopath

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Michael Carlson A SK THE P ARROT by Richard Stark Quercus, £10, pp. 352, ISBN 9781847240392 R ichard Stark’s Parker first appeared in 1962, in The Hunter . Double-crossed...

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Eternal cities forever at odds

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Frederic Raphael R OME AND J ERUSALEM by Martin Goodman Allen Lane, £25, pp. 656, ISBN 9780713994476 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘H ep, Hep, Hep!’ was the...

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Right, if incorrect

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Marcus Berkmann H OW T O B E R IGHT by James Delingpole Headline Review, £12.99, pp. 182, ISBN 9780755315901 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Y ou have to admire...

The human commodity

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Neil Clark Y O , B LAIR ! by Geoffrey Wheatcroft Politico’s, £9.99, pp. 154, ISBN 9781842732067 ✆ £7.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 H ave two words ever said so much?...

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Galatea with feet of clay

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Jonathan Bate H AZLITT IN L OVE by Jon Cook Short Books, £12.99, pp. 214, ISBN 9781904977407 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W illiam Hazlitt — sometime painter...

Too little, too late

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D. J. Taylor A C URIOUS E ARTH by Gerard Woodward Chatto, £12.99, pp. 290, ISBN 9780701179083 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A ldous Jones, the hero of Gerard...

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Wilful wishful thinking

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Jonathan Mirsky T HE C HINA F ANTASY : H OW O UR L EADERS E XPLAIN A WAY C HINESE R EPRESSION by James Mann Viking, $19.95, pp. 127, ISBN 9780670038251 H ere is a first-hand...

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Thriving in adversity

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Francis King G ROWING U P IN A W AR by Bryan Magee Pimlico, £17.99, pp. 390, ISBN 9781845950873 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his book takes up the story, told...

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All’s fair in love and war

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James Delingpole M AN OF W AR by Allan Mallinson Bantam, £17.99, pp. 349, ISBN 9780593053423 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W eevils, sodomy and flogging or Baker...

Venus in tears

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Zenga Longmore T HE H OTTENTOT V ENUS by Rachel Holmes Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 239, ISBN 9780747577768 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 S aartjie Baartman, who...

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The house that coal built

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Clive Aslet B LACK D IAMONDS by Catherine Bailey Penguin/Viking, £20, pp. 518, ISBN 9780670915422 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I opened this book expecting to find...

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A natural approach to Chekhov

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Henrietta Bredin talks to Joanna Lumley about messing around with the playwright’s text J oanna Lumley bears a distinct resemblance to the delectable Mrs Algernon Stitch in...

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Forgotten giant

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Andrew Lambirth William Roberts: England at Play Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 18 March Martin Bloch: A Painter’s Painter Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts,...

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Torments of love

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Michael Tanner Orlando Royal Opera House La Bohème Coliseum H andel’s Orlando , apparently one of his greatest operas, is much more impressive in the first revival of...

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Lower the volume, please

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Lloyd Evans The Unconquered Arcola and touring The Tempest Novello Whipping It Up New Ambassadors ‘H ow I hate!’ is the first line of Torben Betts’s new play. Not a...

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Pleasing but vexing

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Deborah Ross Becoming Jane PG, Nationwide M y dearest readers, I scarcely know how to begin to write to you, but as I appear to have begun with that, I am hoping you will allow...

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Hearing voices

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Peter Phillips O ne of the most persistent and tiresome misunderstandings about how sacred music was performed in the past is that boys’ voices were always involved. In any...

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Carry on camping

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Marcus Berkmann T oo much of my ‘research’ for this column is undertaken while washing up. The other day, listening to Radio Two while scraping a particularly recalcitrant...

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Can of worms

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James Delingpole J ust to remind you, this is the week my splendid anti-Left polemic How To Be Right is published and if you Speccie readers aren’t its natural constituency I...

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Heaven and hell

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Kate Chisholm ‘K eep your angels about you,’ was the inspiring advice given by William Blake in Peter Ackroyd’s Drama on 3 (Sunday), based on ‘the story’ of the...

Brain of Britain

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Taki Gstaad I saw her standing there giving me the once over. Or I thought she did. She was young and pretty and was smiling. Not for the first time I felt confident. The...

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The fascination of the horrible

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Jeremy Clarke S upporting West Ham this season has been so full of drama and surprise, it’s been like living in the Book of Revelation. A brief summary. Last season the newly...

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Basic instinct

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Aidan Hartley Katanga I ’m nursing a beer on my hotel balcony, watching the Congolese scamper for cover as an electrical storm crackles over Lubumbashi. I’m with a chap...

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T his week’s mini-bar is from a new company, titled in

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the modern fashion, FromVineyardsDirect.com. It’s been set up by David Campbell, who is the publisher of the Everyman Library, and Esme Johnstone, one of the founders of...

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The new Immodesty

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Lloyd Evans welcomes the Hollywood ‘bombshell’ back to Soho E ver been lap-dancing? Oh, it’s great. You and a bunch of City bankers can gather in a sweaty Soho basement...

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The fun farm

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James Waldron takes the family on a working-farm holiday T his year I’m eschewing all luxury holidays. It’s true that I will be helped in my resolve by the fact that I...

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Fragile Earth

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Bella Pollen falls in love under the waters of the Galapagos Islands I don’t like fish. I don’t like their scales and bones. I don’t like the way they eyeball you from a...

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The essence of Spain

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Christopher Howse finds the smell of the country has changed radically S pain doesn’t smell the same any more. At the airport, the very first impression used to be of bitter...

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Enchanted island

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Christina Patterson ‘E xcuse me, madam, you are writing for a Buddhist priest?’ For a moment, I was confused — but then enlightenment struck. No, I assured the waiter,...

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An epic journey

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Harry Bucknall T aking a gap year at 40 did not initially seem like a very sensible idea. I had a good business, a nice flat and everything was relatively rosy — so it still...

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Beaches and cream

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P.A. Greenwood S ydney is an opium den for lifestyle junkies, a hotbed of food-loving, sunseeking sport enthusiasts. I realised this the first time I went to Bondi Beach....

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Now there are Six

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FRANK KEATING S ix Nations rugby musters for its last convulsive heaves this weekend and next. Today (10 March) in Edinburgh, the appealing Irish XV should confirm their latest...

Q. I am on my gap year and looking for

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work as a tutor, which I understand is very well paid. The key months for Common Entrance, ASand A-level revision are almost upon us and, although I have my details up on the...

Q. My husband went to a fashionable dinner party in

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London last week and ate mutton there. It was apparently a great success and I would like to have a go at giving mutton to my own guests, but none of my local butchers can...

Q. What is the current convention surrounding novelists and the

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Christian names they allot? A writer friend has given my name to a peripheral, unsympathetic, victim-like character in her latest work. Should I be offended? Should I be...