11 OCTOBER 2003

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T he Conservatives, holding their annual conference in Blackpool, offered to

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reinstate the link between pensions and average earnings, but at the same time to reduce taxation if elected. They also floated ideas for the equivalent of vouchers for...

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Israel's right to retaliate

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N o country can be expected to sit icily by while its citizens are slaughtered by suicidal fanatics, as those of Israel are. Moreover, virtually by definition, the fanatics...

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p eople sometimes compare the Daily Telegraph and the Conservative party. Watching the heaving sea from the Imperial Hotel in my last week as editor of the above, I do the same....

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I do not see how the Attorney-General can stay in the government

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W hen the House of Commons returns next week, lain Duncan Smith will face a personal and political decision that must rank as among the most challenging of his career. He has to...

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lyv hat more convincing a vindication of the case for war

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could the Prime Minister have offered in his conference speech than his own tearfulness over his postbag? `During the past months on Iraq,' he said, 'I have received letters...

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The road to revival

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In spite of the bickering, the Tories have been in bullish mood in Blackpool this week, says Peter Oborne. A leadership contest now would be boring, and would bring the party...

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Bigger than

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Watergate Mark Steyn says the CIA scandal is important not because it put an agent's life at risk — it didn't — but because it shows that US Intelligence is either obstructive...

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knowledge Rome's Yellow Pages carries 49 pages of listings for detective agencies. Francis X. Rocca finds that in Italy infidelity is big business — for some Rome I taly, says...

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Mind your language

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'What's he mean "After Theory"? Doesn't make sense,' said my husband looking up from the paper with no further clues. Luckily, I'd already noticed that the funny old Marxist...

Town and out

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In a single generation, says David Lovilbond, drugs and drink have turned Devizes into a place of incoherent rage I n better days the world left Wiltshire alone. Blighted by...

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Ninety-eight per cent of the British population, according to the

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results of the government's 'national debate', say that they do not wish to eat genetically modified food. Eighty-four per cent say that GM food is 'an unacceptable interference...

Jacques de Gaulle

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Jonathan Fenby says the French President is a single-minded nationalist who is not at all popular in Brussels T here is a new bull in the European china shop. Gone are the days...

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The search for the good has been replaced by the desire for the nice. Appearance is more real to us than any reality, and deeper judgments have become not only unfashionable but...

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Ancient & modern

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The refusal of his patients to assume responsibility for their own actions is a recurrent theme of Dr Theodore Dalrymple's columns. He and Aristotle see eye to eye on the matter...

Let's not get into a paddy

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Nobody likes a bigot, says Rod Liddle, but the Met would do us all a favour if it stopped trying to nab hate criminals and instead pursued thieves and murderers i mi hey're...

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Talking tripe

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Theodore Dalrymple visits Quick, France's fast-food chain, and is disgusted by its food and its ethos Nv hen I flew recently to Memphis, Tennessee, the first thing that struck...

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Come on out with the money, chairman we all know you're in there

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I emer g ed from the Lexin g ton Avenue subway to find an ambulance and a fire en g ine parked in the middle of Wall Street. The barricades were up, police were everywhere, and...

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An American-owned ITV would be even trashier than the one we have now

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T he merger of Carlton and Granada may seem a matter of little importance. Who cares if two ITV companies, neither of which any longer produces very distinguished programmes,...

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Follies, nonsense, whims, inconsistencies and the tinkle of Jane's laughter

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0 ne of my favourite and most used possessions is a plainshaped mug with a handsome picture of Jane Austen on it. It is accompanied by a quotation from one of her letters:...

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In their own way the Tories are perfectly normal. Consider Mr Norris

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I n-between returning from being one of the Daily Telegraph's representatives at the Bournemouth Labour conference, and setting off to be one at the Blackpool Conservative...

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The party's over

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From Geoffrey Harrison Sir: Peter Hitchens is right in his analysis CA party split from top to toe', 4 October). I would go further — the Conservative party has been slowly...

From IV Carter Sir: The very grievous truth of Peter

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Hitchens's article on the Tory party springs, I suggest, from the conversion of formal politics into an equal-opportunity professional career. To the perks that always came with...

From Dr A.D. Harvey Sir: I am surprised that Peter

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Hitchens describes the Conservative party as a coalition of irreconcilables. Most of the British electorate see the Conservative party as a coalition of chaps perfectly...

Gellhorn's selective rage

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From Sir Peregrine Worsthorne Sir: Victoria Glendinning refers to Martha Gellhorri's 'rage at injustices perpetrated on the poor and powerless, and at the stupidity and...

Charterhouse blues

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From Dirk van Heck Sir: I was saddened but unsurprised to read of Charterhouse's decision to sell off its unique museum (`The treason of the beaks', 4 October). As recently as...

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From Francis Bennion Sir: Anthony Lipmann's mention of his Charterhouse

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headmaster the late Oliver Van Oss reminded me of the time when, during a stay at the nearby Enton Hall hydro, I called on Van Oss. In the middle of a conversation about his...

Buried evidence

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From William Shawcross Sir: Melanie Phillips is quite correct to scorn the new conventional wisdom that the evidence before the Hutton inquiry shows that Blair lied. The inquiry...

Out of tune

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From Margaret Potts Sir: I read with interest Alasdair Palmer's article on Orvieto's Museo dell'Opera (Arts, 27 September). It brought to mind an amusing incident when, a couple...

Otiose equinity

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From James Blount Sir: Dot Wordsworth's lament for the decay of the default meaning of words (Mind your language, 27 September) brought to mind an especially ugly example....

In their warp aint

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From Gerard Henry Sir: When tempted to share Michael Heath's mockery of 'Bunny' as a male appellation (Diary, 4 October), I recall an obituary that appeared a few years ago of...

Just the job

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From Shaun Williams Sir: Nicholas Boles reheated that old canard about why the BBC advertises in the Guardian, so often the refrain of rival newspapers and magazines jealous of...

Plenty in common

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From Tom Callaghan Tom Callaghan Dubai Sir: It is heart-warming that whatever social chasm may exist between the two very different characters who write the High and Low...

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Native wood-notes wild

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JOHN CLARE by Jonathan Bate Picador, £25, pp. 637, ISBN 0330371061 T his is an exceptional biography, which is just as well, since I don't think one could bear to have the...

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The old order changeth

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Eric Anderson THOMAS GAGE by James Fleming Cape, £16.99, pp. 297, ISBN 02240 7119X A s a historical novel Thomas Gage is more Hardy than Tolstoy. The classic historical novel —...

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Hobbling the sacred cows

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Harry Mount LONDON PERCEIVED by V. S. Pritchett, with photographs by Evelyn Hofer Penguin, £12.99, pp. 216, ISBN 0144441014199 H ere's a real cure for anyone with a bad case of...

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Sounding the last post

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Philip Ziegler THE DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOK OF MILITARY OBITUARIES edited by David Twiston-Davies Grub Street, E17.99, pp. 416, ISBN 1904010342 T he work of the obituarist is not...

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knickers and knockers

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Byron Rogers CAMILLA: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT by Rebecca Tyrrel Short Books, £14.99, pp 239, ISBN 1904095534 W hatever else this is, an intimate portrait of Mrs Parker Bowles it...

What you see is what you get

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Marcus Berkmann WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? by Cilia Black Ebury Press, fl 7.99, pp. 406, ISBN 0091890365 \AT hat's It All About? joins Bob Geldof's Is That It? and Auberon Waugh's...

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Northward and upward

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Graham Stewart BILL CLINTON: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY by Nigel Hamilton Century. £25, pp. 784, ISBN 1844132080 T his first volume of Bill Clinton's biography, taking the story as...

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The beauty of signal-boxes

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I. K. Gricer BRITAIN'S HISTORIC RAILWAY BUILDINGS by Gordon Biddle Oxford University Press, £60, pp. 798, ISBN 0198662475 T he Duke of Bedford insisted that railway stations...

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Dubious goddesses in human form

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Carole Angler THE LIVES OF THE MUSES by Francine Prose Aunan,f16.99, pp. 416, ISBN 1854109448 T his is a fascinating subject, and often a fascinating book. But much of The...

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Searching for a touchstone

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John McEwen ART'S PROSPECT: THE CHALLENGE OF TRADITION IN AN AGE OF CELEBRITY by Roger Kimball Ivan R. Dee, $26, pp. 275, ISBN 566635098 T he New-York-based Roger Kimball has...

Rebellion in the suburbs

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Kate Chisholm THE WISE VIRGINS: A STORY OF WORDS, OPINIONS AND A FEW EMOTIONS by Leonard Woolf, with a new preface by Lynclall Gordon Persephone Books, £10, pp, 285, ISBN...

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Recent first novels

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Venetia Ansell ping such animal allegorists as Orwell and Kafka, Alessandro Boffa presents us with Viskovitz, alternately mammal, fish, bird, insect, reptile and zoophyte....

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The other island

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P. J. Kavanagh THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF IRELAND edited by Brian Lalor Gill & Macmillan, 1150, pp. 1218, ISBN 0717130002 T his massive volume weighs in at seven pounds on the...

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Speaking of God

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Simon Jenkins DISCOVERING ENGLAND'S SMALLEST CHURCHES by John Kinross Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £14.99, pp. 186, ISBN 1842127284 W here is England's smallest church? The question...

No one's fault?

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Robert Oakeshott INTO EXILE AND BACK by Simon Zukas Bookworld Publishers, Lusaka, Zambia; available from David Zukas, 189 Mouniview Road, London N4, £8 incl. p+p, pp. 220, ISBN...

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Remembrance of things past

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Jane Gardam THE BEQUEST by John de Falbe Harvill, £15.99, pp. 325, ISBN 1843430398 T his is a mixture of a chronicle novel and a biography of the author's family in the 19th...

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Is this the end of painting?

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Martin Gayford asks whether the high-tech age spells doom for old-fashioned art S ome arty readers may have been concerned by the recent news about Monet and Rolf Harris. A...

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Rekindled passion

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Susan Moore on how the Italians have come back into the art market I t was not only Italian property prices that soared after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's amnesty...

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Carnival of impurity

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Andrew Lambirth Sigmar Polke: History of Everything Tate Modern, until 4 January 2004 S igmar Polke (born 1941) is one of the most influential of contemporary painters. Along...

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Let loose in Toulouse

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Mark Glazebrook learns how to `disarticulate consensual gestures' I t is a truth universally acknowledged that a visual arts festival, like the pudding famously criticised by...

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Distant approach

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Laura Gascoigne Evelyn Williams: Recent Paintings Agnew's, 43 Old Bond Street, London, WI, until 17 October Uor a culture so cushioned from the 1 reality of death, we make an...

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Listen with Pleasure

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Michael Tanner Parsifal Welsh National Opera I n Parsifal Wagner takes many of the polarities which had tormented him throughout his life, and which he had explored in all his...

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Fry's toffs

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Mark Steyn Bright Young Things 15, selected cinemas S meyears ago, I was asked if I'd like to adapt Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies as a musical. It's about 'bright young things'...

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Dinner-party fiasco

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Toby Young See You Next Tuesday Albery A Woman of No Importance Theatre Royal Haymarket F irst, the good news. See You Next Tuesday, a French farce starring Nigel Havers and...

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Tireless activist

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Peter Phillips T he death of Edward Said on 25 September from leukaemia deprived the musical world of one of its most tireless activists. Every article I have read about him...

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Government pressure

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Michael Vestey W e were reminded last week in The Long View on Radio Four (Tuesday) that the refusal of the BBC to name Dr David Kelly as Andrew Gilligan's source for his Today...

We want more RSHRWTDs

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James Delingpole W hat I'd really meant to say the other week about Ray Mears's Real Heroes of Telemark was that it's the first in an inspired new TV hybrid genre — the reality...

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With knobs on

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Simon Courtauld S kate or ray — either name will do, though one thinks of the former when the fish is eaten, and of rays as the larger and sometimes intimidating specimens,...

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French lessons

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Tald T've had some further thoughts as to the 'reasons why a mistress enjoys more influence over a French politician than, say, over an Englishman, a question posed to me by...

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Dangerous animals

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Jeremy Clarke T dreamt about Sir Mark Prescott the 1 other night. We were in the Congo, or somewhere like that, and paddling up a wide, muddy river in a dug-out canoe. It was...

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Short memories

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Petronella Wyatt have just returned from Magyar land, that is Hungaiy. The forthcoming year is going to be a whopper for the Hungarians as they are joining the EU in May....

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M uch excitement at the offices of the Independent, partly because

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of this tabloid business. When the idea was first mooted, I got the wrong end of the stick entirely — predictably enough, as I have a fearfully low IQ — and thought it was going...

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Come on, you Turks!

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MICHAEL HLNDERSON Blackpool T he bars (they can't be called pubs) are full in mid-afternoon, full of slobs (the men). slatterns (their women) and noise (it's certainly not...

Q. In their light-headed enthusiasm, some of the disciples of

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the late Dr Atkins seem to have lost their social judgment as well as their weight. Last week, whilst dabbing at her crocodile tears on having to discard so many of her...

Q. My beloved wife is of aristocratic origins. This may

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possibly account for the fact that at breakfast time she leaves the lids off Marmite, marmalade and honey jars for someone else to attend to, as I suppose they would have done...

Q. How can one avoid the 'Esq' on an envelope

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when writing to inappropriate people? I have a new friend (in his fifties) who does not hail from the Esquire classes but who is very aware of these things. He is a single man...