11 AUGUST 2007

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The disease and us Civen the boost in the opinion

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polls enjoyed by Gordon Brown following the recent floods, a cynic might wonder whether the outbreak of footand-mouth disease in Surrey has been staged in order to give the...

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TESSA KESWICK Xining Qinghai province, China Ivhat is up with

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the once superb Blue Guide that it fails to so much as mention beautiful Qinghai province, up in China's northwest? Here a lively mix of minorities make up 46 per cent of the...

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Brown has handled the crises well, but let's not forget

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he is to blame for many of them There has been something almost Biblical about the challenges which Gordon Brown has had to contend with since moving into 10 Downing Street. It...

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,71 CHARLES MOORE Ive are paying now for the lack

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of a single, comprehensive inquiry into the great foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001. We were unprepared. Although foot-and-mouth information notices were first posted on 4 July,...

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The West is running a protectionist racket against the developing

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world Ross Clark says that President Bush's grand summit on global warming next month will be aimed at assuaging Western guilt — while stifling the efforts of poor nations to...

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Why we are in Afghanistan for the long haul David

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Miliband, reflecting on his recent trip, says that we must stay the course to protect our security and honour, and explains why Afghanistan will always be at the heart of his...

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'Some say Bill Clinton's running for a third term' Gavin

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Esler has been talking to Bob Dole and other Washington insiders about the Clintons and finds that it's still 'buy one, get one free' Ivhen you enter the offices of the Great...

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THEODORE DALRYMPLE You — or perhaps it would be more

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accurate to say I — can't get away anywhere from crime and criminality. I was walking down a country lane in one of the most beautiful shires of England. The sun was shining,...

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Now we know: Brown is a European, not an Atlanticist

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Irwin Stelzer says the Prime Minister has traded the special relationship for a home within an autocratic EU — and that Britain may be replaced in Washington's affections by...

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Mind your language The songs did not go, 'Keep right

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on to the road's end' or 'The railroad runs through the house's middle', but there is now a vogue for using the inflected genitive with inanimate objects. Ordinarily you may...

The irony and the ecstasy of Lady Mary Clive Harry

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Mount talks to the lone survivor of an extraordinary brood of writers on the eve of her 100th birthday, and hears about her friendship with John Betjeman and Ian Fleming Deep in...

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Bergman, Antonioni and the end of an error Toby Young

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says that the old art-house directors were the masters of impenetrable, left-wing gobbledegook and that the true artists were Ford, Capra and Hitchcock Sixteen years ago I got...

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Shambo's revenge: this is what happens when you mess with

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the gods Forget the conspiracy theories, says Rod Liddle: the latest outbreak of foot-and-mouth is the fault of the reckless Welsh farmers who insisted on the slaughter of that...

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Why's Brown so slow?

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Sir: In his interesting and positive account of Gordon Brown's visit to America, Matthew d'Ancona reveals that Brown's thinking on the causes of terrorism has 'shifted' since...

The Melanie maze Sir: It's a pity Melanie Phillips didn't

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do the basic journalistic checks with us before going into print with her highly speculative article about Alan Johnston's kidnap (A major defeat in the war to defend the free...

Science and conscience Sir: Stephen Pollard's commentary on the opt-out

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regarding certain medical scientific procedures seems to be an argument for an abandonment of all restrictions ('Why Europe may soon split along religious lines', 4 August). He...

Adoption policy Sir: The difference between young early adopters and

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old ones is that young folks often adopt things (Facebook, for example, or iTunes) because it is currently fashionable whereas oldies like myself adopt things if and when they...

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Why Gordon Brown's British holiday plans cast a dark cloud

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over Westminster 1 f anybody actually welcomed the eventual death of British motor-car manufacturing last year, you can bet it was government ministers. For 30 years, theirs had...

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One last cigarette before the firing squad?

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Certainly not! Isuppose in 100 years' time, perhaps much sooner, no one will smoke. So we will be back where we were before the 16th century, when adventurers like Raleigh...

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The case for privatising Manchester airport Graham Brady MP says

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Mancunians, unlike Londoners, are proud of their airport, but that its municipal ownership is a socialist anachronism — so why not sell it off? 1 t is 12 years since Tony Blair...

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And so to plot Philip Hensher THE PLOT AGAINST PEPYS

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by James Long and Ben Long Faber, £17.99, pp. 322, ISBN 9780571227136 £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 There's a theory, no doubt implausible and based on selective...

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Not forgetting the horses' indigestion Hugh Cecil WORLD WAR ONE:

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A SHORT HISTORY by Norman Stone Allen Lane, £16.99, pp. 157, ISBN 9781846140136 £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The appearance of this volume is an important publishing...

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Mamet blows his own trumpet BAMBI VS GODZILLA: ON THE

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NATURE, PURPOSE AND PRACTICE OF THE MOVIE BUSINESS by David Mamet Simon & Schuster, £11.99, pp. 250, ISBN 9780743248396 © £9.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 1 t would be easy...

A gallery of pen portraits Alberto Manguel CULTURAL AMNESIA: NOTES

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IN THE MARGIN OF MY TIME by Clive James Picador, £25, pp. 876, ISBN 9780330481748 © £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Trying to explain the limits of his Parallel Lives,...

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Trusty steeds and saucy varlets D. J. Taylor CHARLEMAGNE AND

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ROLAND by Allan Massie Weidenfeld, £12.99, pp. 232, ISBN 9780297850694 £1039 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Supposedly narrated by the scholar and Aristotelian Michael Scott to...

Child of the New Forest Oliver Rackham WILDWOOD: A JOURNEY

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THROUGH TREES by Roger Deakin Hamish Hamilton, £20, pp. 391, ISBN 9780241141847 £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Roger Deakin was a swimmer, old-fashioned socialist,...

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He killed off Georgian style James Jell GOD'S ARCHITECT: PUGIN

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AND THE BUILDING OF ROMANTIC BRITAIN by Rosemary Hill Penguin/Allen Lane, £30, pp. 416, ISBN 9780713994995 £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 pugin is not unknown in the way he...

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Move over, Monet-maniacs Mark Glazebrook argues for abstract painting to

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be studied with the same fervour as Impressionism n 30 January 1999, not long after the Royal Academy had mounted its second Monet exhibition, The Spectator published my first...

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Artistic harmony Andrew Lambirth Georges de la Tour: Master of

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Candlelight; The Shadow Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 9 September If you are planning a holiday visit to Shakespeare country and fancy a change of mood and visual pace...

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Musical gazumping Peter Phillips Why do people spend their lives

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doing something which makes them nervous, even to the point of making them sick? I have watched musicians go on stage so frightened that it has been obvious to everyone present...

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Dying of love Michael Tanner Tristan und !snide Glyndeboume T

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fear the opera will be banned — unless 1 the whole thing is parodied in a bad performance — : only mediocre performances can save me! Perfectly good ones will be bound to drive...

Perils of Poddery Marcus Berkmann h, to be an Early

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Adopter. They are the marketing man's friends. Early Adopters buy only the latest thing, they are up to the minute, maybe even up to the second, these crazed opinion-formers...

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Unenchanted evening Lloyd Evans The Enchantment Cottesloe Absurdia Donmar In

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the Club Hampstead When the public ignores a playwright, it's not because the public is wrong but because the playwright deserves to be ignored. Director Paul Miller and...

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Voices of Protest Kate Chisholm It was a bit surprising

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to find a programme marking the 62nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Radio Two (Tuesday), not Radio Four. The stations are changing, morphing into each...

Not-so-fresh viewing James Delingpole T 'm sure I've read this

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before,' said the 1 Fawn, skimming through my review of Heroes in the week-before-last's Speccie. 'You can't have done, we were away when it came out,' I said. 'Well, it seems...

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The fast Fifties Alan Judd c-isaw Eternity the other night,'

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wrote the 17th-century religious poet Henry Vaughan, arrestingly combining the numinous and the mundane. 'I drove a Facel Vega the other day' may not be quite as evocative, but...

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Marina madness Taki On board SIY Bushido T changed my

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mind about going to Capri. I Apparently no heterosexuals are allowed on the island during August, so I turned to starboard and headed for Sardinia. The last time I was there I...

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Edinburgh rocks Alistair Scott's definitive guide to the world's hottest

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festival city The origins of all the arts(using the term in its very widest sense)-centred celebrations here lie in the foundation, way back in 1947, of the Edinburgh...

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SIMON HOGGART Spectator readers are famous for being richer than

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most, which is why the magazine carries ads for cashmere hip flasks and handbags made from the toenails of hand-reared angora rabbits. Nonetheless, we all like a bargain, and I...

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Hole hearted Lucy Vickery In Competition No. 2506 you were

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invited to submit a short story entitled 'A Life With a Hole In It'. This is the title of a poem written by Philip Larkin in 1974, shortly after a move that plunged him into a...

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Sledge betting FRANK KEATING London on Saturday stages a precise

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convergence of the sporting seasons. At the Oval England's cricketers play the decider of their compelling and all too short Test series against India, and upriver at Twickenham...

iiJ )j1 Jlikj *j.Ji)11/ Dear Maly Q. My future son-in-law

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likes nothing more than to tease me. He recently purchased a garden gnome for the garden at his country pile and when visitors look at it askance, he claims that I was the donor...