12 FEBRUARY 2005

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PORTRAIT OW THE WEEK M r Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary,

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proposed a points system, measuring desirable skills and suchlike qualities, to determine which immigrants from outside the European Community would be allowed to settle...

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A model Prince

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T he Prince of Wales, it is said, employs a manservant for the task of squeezing toothpaste on to the royal toothbrush. The servant cannot have the most demanding of careers,...

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A s the result of a hip operation (arthritis, but I encourage people to think it was made necessary by a riding accident), I won’t be able to follow hounds again before the...

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Labour’s heavies make the Sopranos look like the Vienna Boys’ Choir

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W atching Labour’s 2005 election campaign unfold, I’m afraid words fail me. The great Democrat governor of New York Mario Cuomo once remarked that ‘we campaign in poetry...

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CHARLES MOORE A ll journalists, by our nature, tend to favour freedom of information; but it does not necessarily follow that Freedom of Information is a good thing. The...

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Die in Britain, survive in America

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James Bartholomew says American healthcare is an expensive muddle that leaves millions unprotected, and yet it delivers much better results — for everyone — than the NHS W...

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Leave it to Hollywood

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Andrew Gilligan says America’s best hope of spreading freedom is to rely on the attractions of capitalism, not the 82nd Airborne T o help us through the many longueurs of the...

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Give us our money back

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Daniel Hannan offers the perfect way to cut taxes: withdraw Britain’s £12 billion EU contribution I have found it: the philosopher’s stone of politics, the fiscal elixir of...

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Mind your language

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Wednesday was the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, and it was also the Chinese New Year, the first day of the ‘Year of the Cockerel — Year 4702 in the Chinese calendar’...

Make naivety history

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Rod Liddle says debt forgiveness would merely entrench the power of corrupt Third World governments ‘My friend Kevin says that it’s as if we’re all living with an elephant...

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Time to rescue BBC English

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Michael Henderson says that too many broadcasters have no idea how to speak our language L ast month at the British Library, as part of the admirable series of poetry evenings...

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Bush will not be mocked

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Mark Steyn says it’s time for limp, languid Tory toffs to join the fight for freedom New Hampshire O n the eve of the Iraq election, the Times treated us to a riveting...

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RSPCA isn’t ‘anti-pets’

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From Jackie Ballard Sir: Jeremy Clarke’s article (‘Animals don’t have human rights’, 22 January) contains so many inaccuracies that it is virtually a fact-free zone. It...

They also served...

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From C. Schofield Sir: Max Hastings says in ‘Forgotten heroes’ (5 February), ‘The government decided that it would be politically unacceptable to send 18-year-old National...

Squabbling schools

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From Alistair Cooke Sir: Terence Kealey (‘Science is for posh kids’, 5 February) asks why learning should be restricted to the few. We all know the chief culprits: Labour...

Double Dutch

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From Mike Farish Sir: The apparent swing from ‘liberalism’ to ‘neoconservatism’ that Rod Liddle detects among the Dutch people in the wake of the murder of Theo van Gogh...

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Why is the Times so down on the Tories?

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And is it to do with Katharine Raymond? P olitical parties should not sue newspapers: that would certainly be my general view. But one can understand why the Tories should have...

Everyone benefits

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Government continues drive for better, more efficiently organised public services In a guidance pack sent out today to Leaders and Chief Executives of all local authorities in...

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Spin-doctor Campbell proposes a risky course of schemo-therapy

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A ll of us, whatever our politics, will be sad to hear that the Prime Minister is once again undergoing treatment from his spin doctors. Mr Alastair Campbell, president of the...

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When copulating, beware falling into Deep Structures

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I don’t give a damn for grammar, or syntax either. Having learned to ‘parse’ as a small boy, and done ten years of Latin and eight of Greek, I take it all for granted. But...

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He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for Eddie’s sake

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B ill McDonough once preached to Wall Street from the pulpit of Trinity Church, taking his text from St Matthew and reminding his astonished hearers of their duty to their...

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The benefits of hindsight

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Noble Frankland P OISONED P EACE , 1945: T HE W AR THAT N EVER E NDED by Gregor Dallas John Murray, £25, pp. 739, ISBN 0719554780 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T...

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The painter properly portrayed

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Richard Shone W ALTER S ICKERT : A L IFE by Matthew Sturgis HarperCollins, £30, pp. 768, ISBN 0002570831 ✆ £26 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W e are continually told that...

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Tunnel of love vision

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Stephen Abell VILLAGES by John Updike Penguin, £17.99, pp. 321, ISBN 024114308X ✆ £15.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T im Madden, the narrator of Norman Mailer’s...

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Fits and starts

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Tony Gould EPILEPTIC by David B. Cape, £16.99, pp. 361, ISBN 0224075020 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 A book with a title like Epileptic does not raise high...

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A guide who opens eyes

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Lloyd Evans A W RITER ’ S V OICE by Al Alvarez Bloomsbury, £12.99, pp. 126, ISBN 0747576289 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I s there a more charming literary...

Huddled masses yearning to breathe free

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Julia Neuberger H UMAN C ARGO : A J OURNEY AMONG R EFUGEES by Caroline Moorehead Chatto, £12.99, pp. 336, ISBN 0701175958 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 A s...

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A floating, maybe drowning voter

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Brendan O’Neill S O N OW W HO D O W E V OTE F OR ? by John Harris Faber, £7.99, pp. 160, ISBN 0571224229 J ohn Harris, the mop-topped commentator from Manchester, better...

Keeping to the Pavement

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When the wind rides rough in a vagabond sky I think of the wagon I failed to buy a gypsy wagon with dandelion wheels and a rounded top as green as the hills; strong shafts to...

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R ussian bandit capitalism — sorry, the joys of the free market — is reaching beyond the grave. Latest victim: Fyodor Dostoevsky. The novelist’s great-grandson Dmitri has...

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Finding the connection

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Stephen Pettitt on how London’s churches add to the musical life of the capital I t’s often said — if mainly by Londoners — that London is the musical capital of the...

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Surrealist legend

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Andrew Lambirth Lee Miller: Portraits National Portrait Gallery, until 30 May Sponsored by Herbert Smith T he ravishing new exhibition of Lee Miller’s portrait photographs at...

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Wanting ‘friends’

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Mark Steyn Mayor of the Sunset Strip 15, selected cinemas ‘ I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales,’ they sang in the Twenties....

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Struggle for liberty

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Toby Young Don Carlos Gielgud Man and Boy Duchess Richard Herring Riverside Studios A s the lights came up in the interval of Don Carlos , a revival of Schiller’s...

Taking a break

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Marcus Berkmann T ired. I am exhausted. For one reason and another the workload has been intense recently, and the pressures have been unyielding. After a while you wander...

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Neglected talent

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Stuart Nicholson A couple of years ago, the Ken Burns television documentary Jazz was screened by the BBC. While some aficionados welcomed the ten-part series for bringing an...

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Seductive power

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Giannandrea Poesio Manon Royal Ballet O n the way home after a fairly good performance of MacMillan’s Manon, a friend asked me whether I still had something to say about that...

Happy with unhappiness

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Michael Tanner La Traviata; Turandot Royal Opera House T his is the time of year when the Royal Opera aims to keep people happy by providing standard fare, usually, it almost...

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Where are they now?

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Ursula Buchan N o one wants a garden any more, declared an estate agent friend to me recently, with a fine disregard for my feelings. Although hyperbole is to estate agents...

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Raging and ranting

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Michael Vestey W hen I was last in the United States, I was pleasantly startled to hear on the radio right-wing talk-show hosts, the scourge of Democrats and those on the...

Cash rich

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James Delingpole T he best pop video ever made was the one Mark Romanek directed in 2003 for Johnny Cash’s swansong — ‘Hurt’. It’s also definitely the bleakest. The...

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Club ties

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Taki St Moritz T his is the worst news I’ve had since Paulus’s Sixth Army surrendered in Stalingrad. I was speaking to a very old friend in St Moritz when she suddenly...

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Hotel reservations

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Jeremy Clarke W e’d had a tiff in the Strand and I’d stormed off. It was late. I didn’t have anywhere else to stay the night, and I live in Devon, so I had to storm off...

You are what you eat

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Petronella Wyatt T hailand and Japan have traditionally had some of the lowest cancer rates in the world. Recent reports, however, show that cancer, particularly of the breast...

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FRANK KEATING O ne of Ian McEwan’s familiar setpiece exuberances in his acclaimed new novel Saturday — ‘undoubtedly his best’: Anita Brookner, The Spectator , 29...


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Q. I sent a thank-you letter for dinner to a couple whom I know only slightly. In the thank-you letter, I asked them to dinner. I have had no reply and the date has come and...