11 JUNE 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK M r Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary,

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speaking in the Commons about the promised Bill to hold a referendum on the European constitution, said, ‘Until the consequences of France and the Netherlands being unable to...

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Subsidising tyrants

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A bunch of ageing rockers belting out their old hits for the supposed benefit of Africa’s poor (not to mention the hope of reviving fading careers) is such a tempting target...

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MICHAEL VESTEY Y ou don’t have to love the budget airlines to find them useful for travelling in Europe. Since I belatedly discovered them I’ve become a habitué and fly to...

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The remarkable hostility of George W. Bush towards Gordon Brown

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T he biggest point about last month’s general election was not really that New Labour won, but that democracy lost. The low turnout, debased calibre of debate and half-hearted...

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CHARLES MOORE I t is proverbial that the British press is disgusting and contemptible, but would we ever have got ourselves into the extraordinary situation of our Continental...

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You can’t bank on the euro

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No common currency has succeeded without a single government: Martin Vander Weyer on the growing likelihood that the euro will fail A ll sorts of revealing things have been said...

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Piss and wind

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Mark Steyn analyses the wildly disproportionate anger over the Gitmo guard whose urine accidentally made contact with a copy of the Koran New Hampshire R obert Mugabe destroyed...

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The law can’t stop hate

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Le Monde has just been found guilty of defamation against the Jewish people, but, says Melanie Phillips , the courts are no place to handle European anti-Semitism S ince the...

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Mind your language

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‘Have you noticed,’ asked Kim Fletcher, a man, at a party to launch his brilliant new Journalist’s Handbook , ‘how people say testament when they mean testimony ?’ I...

The whingers of Oz

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Eric Ellis on the weeping, xenophobic hysteria in Australia over the conviction of Schapelle Corby for smuggling drugs into Indonesia S chapelle Corby, the 27-year-old daughter...

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The evil that men do

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Fear of witchcraft can lead to great barbarity, as we have just seen. But, says Theo Hobson , it is not barbaric to believe in demonic possession S ome forms of religion are...

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Power to the African people

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Julian Morris says that aid and ‘climate control’ will make poverty perpetual N airobi can get quite chilly in July. Barely 50 miles from the equator, its 5,200ft elevation...

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Good value

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From David Conway Sir: Ross Clark says that NHS Trusts are ‘stuffed with local worthies drawing generous salaries and pensions’. I object. Like all other non-executive...

Welcome to America

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From Nick C. Flynn Sir: Come on, you guys (‘Now for the British revolution’, 4 June). Tell the EU to take a hike. You know you really want to. Face it, your relationship...

Insult to injury

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From Jeffrey D. Sachs Sir: Tim Congdon has now matched his illinformed review of my book with an even more preposterous and rude letter (21 May). Congdon persists in claiming...

A settled debt

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From Robert Triggs Sir: I should like to pay tribute to the far reaching influence of the letters page in The Spectator . In the edition of 29 January this year I drew attention...

Hoover’s blond wig

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From Anthony Summers Sir: Gwynplaine MacIntyre writes (Letters, 21 May) that my biography of J. Edgar Hoover, Official and Confidential , contained the ‘outright lie’ that...

Toilet trouble

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From Sir Ludovic Kennedy Sir: With regard to ‘toilets’ (The Spectator’s Notes, 4 June), it depends entirely on whom one is talking to. To Charles Moore, for instance, I...

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June in the Pyrenees is as close to perfection as I ever expect to get

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C anigou is more than a mountain. They speak of the Pic de Canigou, Mont Canigou and the Massif de Canigou . A landmark for more than 50 miles around and visible from much of...

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When Wittgenstein and Hitler were whistling schoolboys together

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I cherish scraps of personal information about great men. At the age of ten, and using only bits of metal discarded as useless, Ludwig Wittgenstein built a working sewing...

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His hopes on the shelf, the PM discovers the dangers of making history poverty

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T he Prime Minister likes the idea of making poverty history. It gives him the chance to forget about Europe and think about Africa. Bob Geldof and his band can know that the...

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The way ahead

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So what is the point of the Tory party? What does it stand for? Where is it going? We at The Spectator decided to ignore any petty skirmishing that may be taking place at...

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The creepiness of Peter Pan

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Philip Hensher H IDE AND S EEK WITH A NGELS : A L IFE OF J. M. B ARRIE by Lisa Chaney Hutchinson, £20, pp. 402, ISBN 0091795397 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 K...

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A disenchanted warrior

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John Keegan R ULES OF E NGAGEMENT : A L IFE OF C ONFLICT by Tim Collins Headline, £20, pp. 406, ISBN 0755313747 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T im Collins won...

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A death greatly exaggerated

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Ian McIntyre T HE C OLLAPSE OF G LOBALISM AND THE R EINVENTION OF THE W ORLD by John Ralston Saul Atlantic Books, £16.99, pp. 309, ISBN 1843544083 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25...

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The good gang of four

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Allan Massie T HE S TORY OF G ENERAL D ANN AND M ARA ’ S D AUGHTER , G RIOT AND THE S NOW D OG by Doris Lessing Fourth Estate, £15.99, pp. 282, ISBN 0007152809 ✆ £13.99...

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The first great bourgeois victory

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Tom Pocock M EN OF H ONOUR : T RAFALGAR AND THE M AKING OF THE E NGLISH H ERO by Adam Nicolson HarperCollins, £16.99, pp. 341, ISBN 0007192096 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p)...

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Damsels in distress

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Zenga Longmore F AT G IRL : A T RUE S TORY by Judith Moore Profile, £12.99, pp. 196, ISBN 1861979860 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 N OT A G AMES P ERSON by Julie...

Judging the Man Booker International Prize

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Alberto Manguel C ompared to literary competitions, Paris had it easy. Instructed by Zeus to judge who, among rich Hera, wise Athena and beautiful Aphrodite, was the fairest,...

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Singing for fun

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Ariane Bankes on how two schools are collaborating on a new music drama I s community singing almost a thing of the past? When church attendance was high there was a weekly...

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Crowd control

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Andrew Lambirth Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, until 15 August have changed,’ I was told by one T disgruntled Academician. Once the members were guaranteed to have their...

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Draughtsman of genius

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Alan Powers C R. Cockerell RA (1788–1863) The Professor’s Dream is the title of a small exhibition (until 25 September) in the Tennant Room at the Royal Academy, a...

Bumping along

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Lloyd Evans On the Shore of the Wide World Cottesloe Sweetheart The Etcetera H ard to know where to start with On the Shore of the Wide World . The title, maybe: a sweet,...

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Slow lane

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Mark Steyn Swimming Upstream 12A, selected cinemas I love Australia, and I used to love Australian movies. But a certain stiffness seems to have set in. Swimming Upstream has...

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Ground force

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Ursula Buchan T his was my 30th consecutive visit to Chelsea Flower Show. You may think that means I have become a little weary and difficult to impress: been there, seen that,...

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Station to be cherished

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Marcus Berkmann L ike every red-blooded male, I do like a gadget, and the latest pointless item of electrical flummery to adorn our absurdly small flat is a digital radio. What...

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Wasted talent

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Michael Tanner Orphée Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House A collaboration between Jean Cocteau and Philip Glass, even though it necessarily had to be posthumous, sounds like a...

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Crisis? What crisis?

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Michael Vestey I t was good to wake up to the news on Monday morning last week that the French had rejected the EU constitution, though depressing to hear Peter Mandelson on...

Picture perfect

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Simon Hoggart T here are weeks when I even feel privileged to be a television critic. You’re vaguely aware that out there somewhere people are watching Celebrity Love Island...

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Winning in style

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Robin Oakley N ormally in racing you place the successful horse’s connections in the winner’s enclosure. After Motivator won this year’s Vodafone Derby at Epsom, it was a...

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To have and have not

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Taki New York M y last week in the Bagel, and just as well. Things are heating up. Mind you, the last two weekends have been great. Noo Yawkers are very predictable, almost...

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Missing Mabel

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Jeremy Clarke Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’, Like the poor cat i’th’ adage. T hus Lady Macbeth derides her husband for hesitating to do Duncan to death....

Star quality

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Susanna Gross BRIDGE clubs can be intimidating places. All too often, normal rules of polite behaviour are left at the door; it’s not unusual to hear someone abusing their...

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Day of the rabbits

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FRANK KEATING F or the first time I can remember I haven’t bothered a fig about England’s Test matches. I haven’t even cocked an ear towards the radio. Keith Miller said...

Q. In the 28 May edition of The Spectator you

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state that ‘a rector enjoys superior rank to a vicar’. While this may be true in popular mythology, it is quite wrong as far as the Church of England is concerned. The...