11 MARCH 2006

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Whose schools are they anyw a y?

The Spectator

A s so often, Norman Tebbit has a point. ‘Three of my grandchildren have gone to grammar schools, as I did,’ he told the Observer recently. ‘Now it looks as if we are going to...

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THURSDAY Only my third day, and I must say that it isn’t so easy being a Tory press officer in the AD era — that’s After Dave (My joke!). People may think it’s all frappaccinos...

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Los Angeles

The Spectator

W hen I boarded the plane for Los Angeles in New York last Friday to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar party, as well as several others, the beautiful Uma Thurman was just ahead of...

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Jowell’s torment is a gift from the gods to Gordon Brown

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T here has been an iron rule at Westminster since New Labour won power nine years ago. When Brown is strong Blair is weak, and vice versa. Imagine a seesaw. This weekend Brown...

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A s so often with people in public life, the career

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of David Mills is beyond satire. If an anti-Blair left-wing playwright invented him, critics would accuse him of improbability. Mr Mills seems to have done almost everything...

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This is all about Don Tony:

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and it’s personal, not business Matthew d’Ancona says that the Jowell Affair has revealed the loneliness of New Labour’s once-omnipotent Godfather, as the Cameron and Brown...

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Mind your language

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‘The government are entitled to pry into our bedrooms’ — there is nothing wrong with that. ‘The government is entitled to pry into our bedrooms’ there is nothing wrong with that...

Cameron is the Tory Muhammad Ali

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Irwin Stelzer gives his ringside scorecard on the young contender versus Gordon ‘Tax ’em’ Brown T he fight is on. In the blue corner, painted green for this event, is Dave ‘Kid’...

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David Davis: loyal, but not tamed

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As David Cameron completes his first 100 days, the man he defeated for the leadership gives his first interview to Fraser Nelson — and foresees policy battles to come A s I wait...

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Ancient & modern

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Alastair Campbell was called upon in the last ‘Ancient & modern’ to conjure up some means by which his new chum Gordon Brown might appear less obviously panting to take over...

300,000 Frenchmen can’t be wrong

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Allister Heath says that the US consulate in Paris is being besieged by people wanting visas to the land of the free and all because of a typically French industrial dispute I t...

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Eurosceptics against the nation state

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David Rennie uncovers the cruel paradox that to save the single market sceptics must support the European Commission Brussels F or years, Eurosceptics in Britain have waited...

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Let’s remember Ronnie by knocking down his shop

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Matthew Norman says that Ronnie Barker’s memory will be best served by the destruction of Arkwright’s store from ‘Open All Hours’ I t is perhaps the least pertinent sign of the...


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THEODORE DALRYMPLE Though I say it myself, who perhaps should not, doctors make very good writers. They are usually down to earth, not a quality always found among the highly...

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A marriage under strain

The Spectator

BBC studio used instead will have been through many manifestations since then. Anyway, successive governments have preserved the spirit of Porridge perfectly, by rigidly...

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Why I hate British films

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Rod Liddle says he refuses to be patriotic about our posturing, second-rate film industry I t was Colin Welland who first uttered those terrible words ‘The British are coming!’...

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Sayonara, Pilks — we’re short of owners with their hearts in the business

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A sprig of the Pilkington family was saying goodbye to his hosts. ‘I’ve an early start,’ he explained. ‘I’ve got to be at the bloody glassworks in the morning.’ When he arrived,...

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What sells wins

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From Peggy Hatfield Sir: How exciting and unusual to see people in the media advising sexual restraint (‘Anyone for chastity?’, 4 March)! As Piers Paul Read reminds us, our...

Falling birth rates good

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From Nick Reeves Sir: It’s high time that governments weaned themselves off the myth, put about by certain economists, that a large population is good and that a declining...

Ghastly British men

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From David Whitby Sir: Rod Liddle (‘Why foreigners love us’, 4 March) must realise that the accommodating nature of British girls, from the visitors’ point of view, is in...

Catch the voters young

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From Ferdinand Mount Sir: I am not in the least surprised that apprehensive commentators like Charles Moore should recoil from the Power Commission’s proposal to lower the...

Jordanians love their king

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From Sir Kenneth Warren Having just returned from Jordan, I am bewildered by Douglas Davis’s article on that country’s future (‘Will Jordan be the new Palestine?’, 4 March). He...

Who owned our churches?

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From Susan Wood Sir: Matthew Parris’s modest proposal (Another Voice, 25 February) is based on a false premise. Rome never had ‘ownership and control of the Church’s fixed...

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Don’t mock the Prince’s ‘black spider’: ti could save the albatross

The Spectator

B riefly last week the nation chortled over its cornflakes at newspaper headlines about the ‘black spider’, and reports of letters to ministers from the Prince of Wales, and...

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A.J.P. Taylor: a saturnine star who had intellectuals rolling in the aisles

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A J.P. Taylor was born a hundred years ago this month. I owe a lot to him because he was responsible for my getting an open exhibition to Magdalen, my favourite Oxford college,...

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Climate of superstition

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Nigel Lawson says that the only way to deal with global warming is to reject the religious zeal of the green lobby There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not...

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A port (or two) in Porto

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‘H i, I’m Buff.’ I looked up to see an extended hand attached to a portly mid dle-aged body clothed in a Polo shirt; the epithet did not seem to be justified. Behind the man, a...

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Hot and cold and healthy

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Fraser Nelson If you continue your journey beyond the little old-fashioned station at Tua — where you know when the train is about to arrive because a moped van splutters into...

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Rallying round

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Matthew Bell Foolhardy tourists go for total immersion, but regulars use a ladder, lower themselves no further than the shoulders and pop out in a flash. It is probably the...

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The grim face of defeat

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Patrick Marnham S UITE F RANÇAISE by Irène Némirovsky, translated by Sandra Smith Chatto, £16.99, pp. 403, ISBN 0701178965 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen Suite...

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Double, double, toil and trouble

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Stephen Abell L UDMILA ’ S B ROKEN E NGLISH by D. B. C. Pierre Faber, £12.99, pp. 318, ISBN 0571215181 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he good news about this novel...

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The Knight’s noble rescue

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John McEwen P AINTING IN I RELAND : T OPOGRAPHICAL V IEWS FROM G LIN C ASTLE edited by William Laffan Churchill House Press, 45 Euros, pp. 269, ISBN 0955024617 T his handsome...

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From cornet to colonel

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Alistair Irwin C OMPANY OF S PEARS by Allan Mallinson Bantam Press, £17.99, pp. 372, ISBN 0593053419 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 S ometime in 1995 Colonel Allan...

Softly, softly, catchee English

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Jonathan Mirsky T HE S ILENT T RAVELLER IN LONDON by Chiang Yee Signal Books, £10.99, pp. 216, ISBN 190266941X T HE S ILENT T RAVELLER IN OXFORD by Chiang Yee Signal Books,...

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The outsider who felt the cold

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Rupert Christiansen A DAM : A N A NTHOLOGY OF M IRON G RINDEA ’ S A DAM EDITORIALS by Rachel Lasserson Vallentine Mitchell (Tel: 020 8952 9526), £45, £19.95 (paperback) each,...

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A diplomat with a difference

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Justin Marozzi B AGPIPES IN B ABYLON : A L IFETIME IN THE A RAB W ORLD AND B EYOND by Glencairn Balfour Paul I.B. Tauris, £20, pp. 329, ISBN 1845111516 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

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Quick reads for slow starters

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Lloyd Evans M aybe you missed it but it was World Book Day on 2 March. I leapt for joy when I heard about this initiative. I assumed it meant the book trade was in such dire...

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Mismatch of two masters

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I hope that I am second to none in my fondness for Dutch art galleries — normally, at least. A candlelight evening in the Franz Hals museum, over 40 years ago, memorably...

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Going Dutch

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Andrew Lambirth Jacob van Ruisdael: Master of Landscape Royal Academy, until 4 June T he Sackler Wing of the Royal Academy is currently in deep-green livery to conjure up a...

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Through the eyes of a tourist

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Laura Gascoigne Light into Colour: Turner in the South West Tate St Ives, until 7 May I n the summer of 1811 the 37-year-old Turner packed his sketchbooks, paints and fishing...

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Betraying Berg

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Michael Tanner Wozzeck Royal Opera House W hen Berg’s great tragic masterpiece Wozzeck opened at the Royal Opera in 2002 in Keith Warner’s production, I was more angry and...

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Times of passion

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Marcus Berkmann Q uick off the mark as ever, I have been listening a lot to the new Kate Bush album. Not that it is exactly ‘new’ any more. It has been out since November,...

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Friends reunited

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Lloyd Evans Embers Duke of York Rotozaza Bullion Rooms The Shadow Box Southwark Playhouse S andor Marai is one of those names that makes reviewers fidget uncomfortably. I’ve...

Demons within and without

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Patrick Carnegy The Crucible Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Women Beware Women Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon A t its première just over 50 years ago,...

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Moral maze

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Olivia Glazebrook L’Enfant (The Child) 12A, selected cinemas The Proposition 18, selected cinemas W ho is ‘The Child’ of the title? Is it Jimmy, the baby newly born to Sonia...

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Phoenix rising

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Giannandrea Poesio Stories in Red Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sadler’s Wells Theatre Romeo and Juliet Royal Ballet P hoenix Dance Theatre is ‘25 years young’, as a filmed...

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Truth and reconciliation

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Simon Hoggart I caught the last Facing The Truth (BBC2, Saturday–Monday) in which Desmond Tutu moderated a meeting between the widow of a Catholic killed in the Ulster troubles...

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Euro acrimony

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Michael Vestey S itting in on the twists and turns of EU negotiations must be enough to spread the political equivalent of bird flu, characterised by high fever and delusions....

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Time to be bold

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Robin Oakley I t was not, perhaps, the wisest inquiry ever made by an international lawyer when the beleaguered David Mills emerged from his home the other day into the media...

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Winning Wyoming

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Taki Gstaad I wrote this last week, as we’re going to press early. It seems everyone who is anyone is staying up late on Sunday night in order to watch the Oscars, and cheer...

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Three’s a crowd

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Jeremy Clarke S haron comes out through the door marked ‘Gents’ wiping her nose on her forearm, her eyes streaming. She spots me through her tears and insinuates herself...

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Skippers of yore

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FRANK KEATING P itched suddenly into England’s cricket captaincy, it has been a delight to see Andrew Flintoff going about the job with a smile on his face. However the series...

Q. I am in the process of restoring an old

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barn and want to use only environmentally friendly, locally available or recycled materials. However, the clipboard Nazis at the local council have told me I must coat my...

Q. As a human resources manager of an international finance

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house I am writing to ask for your advice on a very sensitive issue. I have been approached by our chairman’s PA on the subject of her boss’s halitosis. His offensive breath has...