12 MARCH 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK T he government was defeated in the

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House of Lords by 249 to 119 when a Liberal Democrat amendment to the Prevention of Terrorism Bill was passed — to apply the prior sanction of a judge rather than the say-so of...

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Two faces on terror

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T he latest crime-fighting proposal from the IRA is so boneheaded, so stunning in its stupidity, so stereotypically moronic, that if it had not come from a bunch of thugs and...

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A bout once a decade, the editor of The Spectator asks

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me to write a diary column. I always accept, though diaries, contrary to what might be supposed, are among the most difficult types of journalism to write. I accept partly...

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Suddenly, the Chancellor has extra money to play with

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M r Len Cook lives with his wife in a flat near Victoria and can often be seen eating a modest lunch at Goya, a quiet family restaurant in Pimlico. In the evenings he is a keen...

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R ight-minded people are fighting to retain habeas corpus . We would

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have more popular success, I feel, if the public knew what habeas corpus meant. The trouble is that, even translated into English, it is still obscure. H abeas corpus means, of...

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A revolution made for TV

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Mary Wakefield talks to hip, fun-loving young people in Beirut and sees how cameras and lip-liner are helping to spread democracy in Lebanon O nTuesday, half a million people...

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The Pentagon’s new pin-up boy

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Toby Harnden talks to Walid Jumblatt, who has seen the error of his anti-American ways Mukhtara, Lebanon W ith his bald pate, droopy moustache and sad, bleary eyes, Walid...

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A question of breeding

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Rod Liddle believes that the huge increase in the number of children with autism may be explained by modern mating habits W hy has there been such an enormous rise in the number...

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THEODORE DALRYMPLE Having spent so long, if not in the lower depths exactly, at least among their inhabitants, it is not surprising, perhaps, that I see the lower depths...

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Let’s not be dumb about stupidity

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A new prejudice has emerged — discrimination against people with low IQs. Michael Hanlon investigates T he strange notion of a dumb Britain has taken hold in the national...

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The Spectator Classics Cup 2005

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Last year there was one Classics Cup on offer. This year there are no fewer than three: one for the Open competition (any 200-word piece from The Spectator in Latin or Greek...

The price of happiness

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Petronella Wyatt talks to Richard Layard, who believes that higher taxation can reduce envy and make us all happier R ichard Layard, the founder of the LSE Centre for Economic...

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Mind your language

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I enjoyed the book Long Live Latin rather more than the Spectator reviewer (5 February) seems to have done, and its author, John Gray, has put his finger on a misleading passage...

Bogus Brown

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Allister Heath says it’s business as usual: next week’s budget will be another prosperity-destroying exercise in big government B ritain’s hard-pressed taxpayers may finally be...

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Spoil sports

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Lloyd Evans joined a march against the Olympics, and returned more convinced than ever that London needs the Games N ecessary evils have been good to London. The Great Fire...

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No, Minister

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Tory plans to cut waste remind David Howell of Edward Heath’s failed initiative of 1970 I f the Tories want to know how Wars on Waste work out, the best test is to go back not...

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ADHD is an illness

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From Lady Astor of Hever Sir: I am the mother of a daughter who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For the past 23 years I have protected her and defended...

From Simon Cooper

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Sir: Leo McKinstry’s interesting article reminded me that in Australia, where the condition still tends to be referred to as ADD, sceptics — of which there are very many —...

Japanese discipline

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From Robert Walls Sir: Rod Liddle says it is time that British teachers took back control of the classroom (‘Children can’t be trusted’, 5 March). When I was in Japan a few...

Nothing in the pipeline

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From Michael Cecire Sir: Michael Meacher’s flaccid charge that the Afghanistan war was in part about the Unocal pipeline (‘One for oil and oil for one’, 5 March) is just silly,...

Gilligan hard to defend

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From The Rt Hon. Lord Patten of Barnes Sir: Andrew Gilligan (‘Selling out to China’, 26 February) ascribes to me the view that Europe should end the arms embargo because it is...

Signals of democracy

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From Sir Peregrine Worsthorne Sir: How will we know if democracy putting power in the hands of the people is really spreading throughout the Middle East? My answer would be...


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From Chris Doyle Sir: Mark Steyn seems obsessed with trying tirelessly to prove that he was right about the ‘big things’ concerning the Middle East (‘The right side of...

A lesser terror

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From Rory Allen Sir: Mark Steyn’s otherwise astute article (‘Death of a Salesman’) in your 19 February issue missed the most obvious flaw in The Crucible . When I first heard...

Cobbett was ready

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From Philip Pullman Sir: I’m grateful to Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 26 February) for his neat demonstration of why I’m right in the grammar debate. The study of...

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Long may Piers Morgan and Tony Blair enjoy their celebrity culture

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L anding a job, at an early age, which enabled him to hobnob whenever he liked with Piers Morgan, seemed to go to Mr Tony Blair’s head. That is the real message of the Morgan...

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It’s the Schwed Test: was your money stolen or did you just lose it?

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T he hurricane season has opened early in Florida, where a hedge fund has blown away, leaving some seriously rich investors seriously poorer. The $250 million question, so their...

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Trundling Musso’s stolen obelisk back to its African home

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N ot many people know much, or indeed anything, about the civilisation of Aksum. A pity: it is one of the jewels in Africa’s crown and absolutely genuine too, unlike most of the...

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Whatever happened to shame?

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Stanislas Yassukovich says profit counts for far more than reputation in the modern City W hen I arrived in the City of London in 1961 to work for White, Weld & Co., a New York...

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Continental capital

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Simon Nixon says the City is now the driving force for European integration O ne of the most startling things about returning to work in the City after an absence of six years...

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Leave gender off the board agenda

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Heather McGregor says companies don’t need diversity in the boardroom but skill, commitment and experience ‘I n the corporate boardroom, the importance of the non-executive...

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No trumpets for the FTSE 100

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Just because the index has hit 5000 again, don’t be tempted to chase it higher, warns Matthew Vincent M rs Parker Bowles has done the City a favour. Not by obliging the Prince...

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Carry on up the Nile

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Martin Vander Weyer unravels the tale of an African oil venture which has startled the stock market W hite Nile is certainly a name to conjure with. It recalls Alan Moorehead’s...

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No such thing as free advice

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Merryn Somerset Webb says financial advisers are too eager to sell us products we don’t need S uppose you want to buy a newbuild buy-to-let flat, and the estate agent says he...

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Profit without honour

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Sam Leith E arly on in Piers Morgan’s memoir of his career as a tabloid editor, there is a very funny incident. It is a Saturday in 1994 and Morgan, then editor of the News of...

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Where Heaven meets Hades

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Sandy Balfour M AD A BOUT THE M EKONG : E XPLORATION AND E MPIRE IN S OUTH -E AST A SIA by John Keay HarperCollins, £20, pp. 294, ISBN 0007111134 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870...

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Almost off the map

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Paul Binding T HE I CE M USEUM : I N S EARCH OF THE L OST L AND OF T HULE by Joanna Kavenna Viking, £16.99, pp. 334, ISBN 0670913952 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I n...

Lady into urban fox

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Andrew Barrow A F ACTORY OF C UNNING by Philippa Stockley Little, Brown, £14.99, pp. 377, ISBN 0316729280 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T his is a thoroughly rotten...

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The battle of Babel

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William Brett E MPIRES OF THE W ORD by Nicholas Ostler HarperCollins, £30, pp. 614, ISBN 0007118708 ✆ £26 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 A pparently, this book is a work of...

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Putzi the Nazi patsy

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Andrew Roberts T HE U NKNOWN H ITLER : N OTES FROM THE Y OUNG N AZI PARTY by Ernst Hanfstaengl Gibson Square Books, £17.99, pp. 449, ISBN 1903933242 H ITLER ’ S P IANO P LAYER...

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Edinburgh still rocks

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Digby Durrant 44 S COTLAND S TREET by Alexander McCall Smith Polygon, £14.99, pp. 325, ISBN 1904598161 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W ill Alexander McCall Smith’s...

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The lights that failed

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Ian Garrick Mason E NGLAND ’ S L OST EDEN by Philip Hoare Fourth Estate, £25, pp. 548, ISBN 0007159102 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W hile the Victorian age was...

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The sensuous recluse

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Grey Gowrie M ATISSE : T HE M ASTER by Hilary Spurling Penguin, £25, pp. 512, ISBN 0241133394 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W hat in the world has happened to the...

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Watch this space

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David Hughes ALIENS by Bryan Appleyard Scribners, £15.99, pp. 340, ISBN 0743256859 ✆ £13.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I read this nice well-intentioned book with devotion,...

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A quartet of debutantes

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Olivia Cole STRANGERS by Taichi Yamada Faber, £9.99, pp. 203, ISBN 0571224369 T HE G REAT S TINK by Clare Clark Penguin, £12.99, pp. 358, ISBN 0670915300 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25...

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A dove with a touch of hawk

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Tim Congdon A GAINST THE F LOW by Samuel Brittan Atlantic, £25, pp. 385, ISBN 184354377X ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 S ir Samuel Brittan has long been a national...

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Going full circle

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The Roundhouse will reopen later this year. Ariane Bankes reports on its progress I t is a clever conceit to fundraise by degrees, and one that fell into the lap of those...

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Visual feast

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Andrew Lambirth Matisse, His Art and His Textiles: The Fabric of Dreams Royal Academy, until 30 May Sponsored by Farrow & Ball A good many years ago I wrote a short article...

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Dark thoughts

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Giannandrea Poesio Highland Fling: New Adventures Sadler’s Wells Theatre U nlike Giselle, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake , the romantic ballet La...

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End of the road

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Marcus Berkmann O ld, dying and dead rock stars seem to crop up quite frequently in this column, but then many of the musicians I like seem to fall into one of those three...

Too much sand

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Mark Steyn Flight of the Phoenix 12A, selected cinemas T he Flight of the Phoenix rises from the ashes. Remember the original? James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Ernest...

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Crowning glory

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Michael Tanner L’Incoronazione di Poppea Festival Hall M onteverdi’s last and greatest secular masterpiece, L’Incoronazione di Poppea, is an opera we get far too few chances to...

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Ground force

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Ursula Buchan O n a mild, wet, early morning last autumn, I came across two earthworms ( Lumbricus terrestris ) mating on the lawn. At the vibration of my tread, they split...

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Heart of darkness

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Toby Young Primo Hampstead A Raisin in the Sun Lyric Hammersmith The Dresser Duke of York’s I sat down to watch Primo with a good deal of scepticism. Surely, this one-hander...

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Battle of the sexes

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James Delingpole T he programme I’m enjoying most at the moment is The Apprentice (BBC2, Wednesday), in which teams of men and women, all of whom have supposedly resigned from...

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Among the aliens

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Michael Vestey I ’ve long been intrigued by the language of EU-fanatics, particularly when they ascribe motives to those opposed to the EU constitution and the euro. There’ve...

Urban sprawl

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Taki A letter to the editor from Frederick Forsyth takes me to task. Enough about Gstaad is its message. OK, but only because it’s you, Freddy baby. Instead, I will treat you...

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In the swim

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Jeremy Clarke ‘S wim, please,’ I said. ‘Member.’ The receptionist swiped my card and looked at her computer screen. Optimism, surprise, puzzlement and finally despair swept...

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SIMON HOGGART Y ou may remember the scene from one of Jancis Robinson’s excellent wine programmes. She offers a Burgundy vigneron the best selling Chardonnay in Britain. He...

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Solid Gold

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FRANK KEATING T o tell the truth, I am not a mad racing man, nor has betting much bothered me. Down the years I was dispatched often enough by the Guardian (then drearily...


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Q. What can one give as a present to friends, in their fifties, who are getting married? Both have previously been married to other people and already have all the material...