11 FEBRUARY 2006

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No joke

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W e are not publishing the cartoons which caused such offence after they appeared in Denmark, and we believe other British newspapers are right not to have published them. There...

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PORTRAIT OFTHEWEEK M ustafa Kemal Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza, the

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hook-handed Muslim cleric, aged 47, was sentenced to seven years in jail on six charges of soliciting to murder, two charges of ‘using threatening, abusive or insulting words...

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A s this edition appears I will be back in Edinburgh

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for my latest bout of electioneering. The last time I appeared there was a massive crowd of students boiling away in a bar, and an alarming group at the back waving banners...

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Why Tony Blair wears that look of virtuous but irritable bafflement

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T he Prime Minister has long felt an unshakeable conviction that he brings to bear a unique insight into human affairs. There are great schemes to transform society and make a...

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CHARLES MOORE T he best thing would have been for all the British papers to have published all the cartoons of Mohammed that appeared in Jyllands-Posten . As well as...

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A monster of our own making

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Allister Heath says that by creating chaos in Iraq, the West has allowed Iran to emerge as a dominant and extremely dangerous regional power C yrus the Great, the ancient...

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It’s time to get serious

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Theodore Dalrymple says that in the row over the cartoons the West has shown itself to be cowardly and decadent W hen the Taleban blew up the ancient statues of Buddha in...

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Why you never hear ‘Muslim jokes’

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Jackie Mason Muslim fundamentalists have decided that even if you never saw or heard of the cartoons, you deserve to be hit with rocks, have your car wrecked and your embassies...

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Mind your language

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Small earthquakes of rage rumble from drawing-rooms and studies all over the land whenever the word epicentre is misused, as it usually is. Its meaning is perfectly simple:...

Arctic arms race

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Global warming may open up the Northwest Passage, says Paul Robinson , and that could provoke an armed stand off between Canada and the US I n 1981 a Vancouver couple, worried...

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Blue-collar blues

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Rod Liddle says the Rolling Stones’ willingness to be censored at the Superbowl show merely confirms that they were never true revolutionaries Gold Coast slave ship bound for...

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Ancient & modern

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Boris Johnson and the Dream of Rome on BBC2 ended in nightmare: that, in Boris’s view, only when the EU has the equivalent of an emperor can it hope to emulate the...

Pick your own police chief

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Daniel Hannan says communities would get the policing they want if they were allowed to elect local sheriffs Y ou’d be surprised how many champions Sir Ian Blair has. Ken...

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What keeps my father going is the thought that one day he will be vindicated

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In the Montblanc/Spectator Art of Writing Award last year, readers were invited to submit a short essay on the subject of immortality. Here is the winning entry. M y father is...

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Plight of the Poles

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From Martin Oxley Sir: Anthony Browne’s article suggests that demand from UK employers is driving mass migration of new EU nationals to Britain (‘Invasion of the New...

The poorest don’t fly

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From Richard Laming Sir: I have no objection to cheap flights, but I do have an objection to irrational tax policies (‘The plane truth’, 4 February). The fuel used by planes...

A necessary horror

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From James Strachan Sir: It is difficult to respond briefly to Jane Kelly (Letters, 4 February), particularly as we can all sympathise with her feelings of horror at the...

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Worse than Hamas

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From Ralph Blumenau Sir: Your leading article (4 February) says that Hamas has power over its suicidebombers and could, if it wanted to, control them. Maybe, but don’t forget...

Educate, don’t brainwash

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From Paul Phillips Sir: Rod Liddle (‘Brains not included’, 4 February) is right to say that you cannot force people to be infinitely ‘inclusive’. We have to sweep all...

Lesson of 1933

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From Daniel Situnayake Sir: I must applaud Julian Manyon’s article (‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of terrorism’, 4 February). For all the bitter lessons of the 20th...

No place for ethnicity

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From R.E. Bland Sir: The coincidence of A.N. Wilson’s excellent article on Michael Wharton (‘The enemy of liberal cant’, 28 January) with a letter from the twin of Keith...

Team Schumann

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From Nerissa vom Baur Roehrs Sir: Peter Phillips regrets that Shostakovich has been neglected in the worldwide frenzy of the Mozart celebrations. May I add that 2006 is also the...

Waspish behaviour

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From Frank Miles Sir: There have been letters in recent weeks arguing for and against the existence of a Creator. But surely a key aspect of the debate has been ignored. This is...

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Round in circles and over the edge — that’s the way the money goes

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T his week’s message from the Confederation of British Industry: we’ll just die and then you’ll be sorry. I take this as more of a threat than a promise, but since it is...

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Cameron’s vision is a thing of beauty — but will it be destroyed by cries of ‘Tory cuts’?

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L ast week David Cameron delivered the best speech on modern Conservatism since Keith Joseph’s lectures in the late 1970s. Read to the Demos think-tank on Monday 30 January,...

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Did Timothy take Paul’s advice about water?

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T he headline on the tabloid said, ‘Britain running out of water’. I don’t believe this. Indeed, I never believe scare stories about the world going to pot. But water is a...

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D ecayed gentility and a feckless father. These make the springiest

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springboard for the angry artist. Dickens, Picasso, Joyce, Shaw, Francis Bacon all enjoyed these unsung advantages in life. So did Samuel Langhorne Clemens who called himself...

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Murdering for diamonds

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Anthony Daniels A D IRTY W AR IN W EST A FRICA : T HE RUF AND THE D ESTRUCTION OF S IERRA L EONE by Lansana Gberie Hurst, £16.99, pp. 224, ISBN 0253218551 I t was at Freetown...

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Service, military and literary

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John Gross A L IFE OF P RIVILEGE , M OSTLY by Gardner Botsford Granta, £12.99, pp. 272, ISBN 186207873 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 G ardner Botsford grew up on...

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Dirty tricks down Mexico way

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Francis King T HE E AGLE ’ S T HRONE by Carlos Fuentes Bloomsbury, £15.99, pp. 310, ISBN 0747577692 V £12.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 S et in 2020, this has been...

Coming to terms with the old man

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Patrick Skene Catling T HE S AILOR IN THE W ARDROBE by Hugo Hamilton Fourth Estate, £16.99, pp. 263, ISBN 0007192177 V £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 F ollowing the...

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The man who named Australia

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John Jolliffe T HE F EVER OF D ISCOVERY : T HE S TORY OF M ATTHEW FLINDERS by Marion Body New European Publications, £15, pp. 250, ISBN 1872410456 T he fever of discovery...

Making the surgeon laugh

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Hugh Massingberd N EVER H AVE YOUR D OG STUFFED by Alan Alda Hutchinson, £17.99, pp. 224, ISBN 0091796520 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O ne of life’s...

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Up against it down under

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Charlotte Moore T HE S ECRET R IVER by Kate Grenville Canongate, £12.99, pp. 334, ISBN 1841956821 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W illiam Thornhill, convict, is...

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A martyr’s memorial in verse

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David Crane E DMUND C AMPION : M EMORY AND T RANSCRIPTION by Gerard Kilroy Ashgate, £45, pp. 261, ISBN 0754652556 O n 1 December 1581 — not a good day in English judicial...

Mother Earth in a bad mood

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Tom Fort T HE R EVENGE OF G AIA by James Lovelock Allen Lane, £16.99, pp. 176, ISBN 9780713999143 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he other day someone —...

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Trapped in his own tangled web

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John de Falbe S EVEN L IES by James Lasdun Cape, £12.99, pp. 199, ISBN 0224075926 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A t the outset of James Lasdun’s fine new...

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Great leap forward

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L et me at once state an interest: I have just written a book with Maggi Hambling about her life and works, currently available from all good booksellers. But long and intimate...

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Expectant Danorak

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Marcus Berkmann Y ou have played all the new CDs you got for Christmas and you think, right, what next? Sometimes I worry that I have the attention span of a gnat, but...

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Quintet of worthies

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Lloyd Evans Missing Persons Trafalgar Studios 2 The Second Maiden’s Tragedy Hackney Empire The Andersen Project Barbican J ust in from the Edinburgh festival, Missing...

Gardeners’ gardener

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Ursula Buchan C hristopher Lloyd died on 27 January. Not since the deaths of Gertrude Jekyll in 1932, William Robinson in 1935 and Vita Sackville-West in 1962 has so much...

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Classic sparkle

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Giannandrea Poesio Mixed Bill The Royal Ballet I have always been intrigued by the way different artists, and even entire companies, respond to works created for other...

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The big squeeze

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Stuart Nicholson J azz in the new millennium is in a very different world from that of the idealised television retrospective Jazz, directed by the American film-maker Ken...

Dynamic duo

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Michael Tanner Le Nozze di Figaro Royal Opera House T he Royal Opera rightly celebrates the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth with Le Nozze di Figaro , the greatest of his...

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Mind your language

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Simon Hoggart N o, doctor, it’s not as bad as you think. I can keep it under control — my wife has been wonderful, don’t know what I’d do without her — it’s just...

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Family affair

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Robin Oakley D ick Francis spent more than ten years gathering material for his biography of Lester Piggott, a man not famed for his spendthrift ways with cash or words. ‘I...

Sense and sensibility

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Michael Vestey R adio Four cobbled together a special Moral Maze in place of its usual repeat last Saturday night to discuss the demonstrations against the publication in...

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Civic limits

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Taki I am personally in touch with British Muslim leaders and appealing to them to spare the life of my friend Claus von Bülow. For far too long, Claus has been mistaken for a...

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Keep right on . . .

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Jeremy Clarke I wanted to get from the youth hostel in the centre of Dartmoor, where I was staying, to a town on the outskirts where my brother lives. My brother has a...

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Survival instinct

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James Delingpole Frank Russell served as gunner in a Cromwell tank with 1st Royal Tank Regiment. ‘I thought, whilst I’m serving the country, I’ll serve myself by being...

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Snow balls FRANK KEATING A seasonal competition: which phrase will BBC commentators utter most over the next fortnight: a) ‘winter wonderland’; b) ‘mountain magic’; c)...


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Dear Mary Q. My new husband has baggage from his previous life in the form of two best friends, a couple he has known for over 20 years. The female member of this couple drives...