12 MAY 2001

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A general election was called for 7 June by the Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, in a speech made, strangely, in a girls' school. Mr Blair had just declared the foot-and-mouth...

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BIGGS DEAL L ike the plodding Russian bear, the Metropolitan Police force has finally got its man. Ronald Arthur Biggs is back behind bars after what sharp arithmeticians tell...

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One reason why Mr Blair will get more than he deserves

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BRUCE ANDERSON T he Prime Minister began his election campaign with a tactical coup. He put himself beyond the reach of parody. Parody can only work if it is rooted in...

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H New York ow to celebrate one of the 20th century's great icons of style? The first ladies of fashion, politics and Hollywood gave the recent launch of the exhibition of...

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Matthew Parris overcomes his hostility to the Tories and urges all doubting Conservatives to come to the aid of the party and to reject the empty piety and intellectual...

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Banned wagon

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LORD Stoddart of Swindon writes to reassure me that he has not suddenly metamorphosed into a temperance fanatic. He says that his Liquor Advertising and Promotion Bill,...

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Martin Bell has been dismissed as a Labour stooge. The truth, says Peter Oborne, is much sadder than that FOUR years ago, to resounding public acclaim, the former war...

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Mind your language

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'IT's a perfectly respectable English word,' my husband said defiantly before returning to an article on new techniques in endoscopy. 'Yes, dear, but don't you find it's...

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Boris Johnson talks to the last Toty leader to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat THE polls are dismal. The Tory troops are bracing themselves for the worst. A hightaxing,...

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Second opinion

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WHEN I was a child I had several great-aunts who on family occasions delighted in asking me whether I knew who they were. Being well-brought-up and not wishing to offend them by...

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Toby Harnden says that senior members of Team Bush are heartily sick of European military posturing Washington, DC MAYBE it was the pamphlet cover, a doctored photograph of...

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Darwinism is being questioned in America, says Elizabeth Nickson, and some scientists are turning towards a version of Creationism Seattle IN America, the culture wars are so...

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David Coleman on why it is nonsense to say that Britain is a nation of immigrants — and why the debate must continue THE only permitted argument remaining in the Townend...

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Geoffrey Owen says that globalism is helping Third World countries to make progress towards democracy and personal freedom IF there is one belief that unites the...

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Soon celebrities will again be collecting academic honours to hang on their loo walls. Mary Wakefield explains why IN a few weeks' time celebrities nationwide will be feeling...

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Wittgenstein's poker has hit us on the head once too often

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PAUL JOHNSON T he recent book Wittgenstein's Poker, about the row he had in Cambridge just after the war with the other great Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, gets to the...

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Doubts over the '79 Tories

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From Mr Allan Massie Sir: I am a bit puzzled by my old friend Bruce Anderson's column, 'John Townend is the reason why the Tories should return to the old selection methods'...

From Mr Michael Brown Sir: Bruce Anderson makes some nostalgic

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remarks about the former methods used to select Conservative parliamentary candidates. I should like to point out that I was one of those who had a chat with Sir Anthony Grant,...

Euro Tories aren't wimps

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From Mr Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP Sir: One of the two UKIP MEPs, Nigel Farage, attacks the Conservative/UUP MEPs, whom I lead, in an inaccurate article under the insulting...

Universities and race

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From Mr R. W. Johnson Sir: I would like to say that I am shocked by the dishonesty of Professor Kader Asmal's reply (Letters, 28 April) to my article on South Africa's...

Slaves as weapons

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From Mr William Cash Sir: The hysterical Baroness Cox (Letters, 5 May) wheels out such well-known international newspapers as the Ottawa Citizen and the Baltimore Sun to provide...

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Green-room gossip

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From Mr Alistair B. Cooke Sir: Why should one believe a word of the stale gossip served up by Sheridan Morley (Arts, 5 May) when he attributes to King George VI, who died in...

Myths about Pius XII

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From Mr Karol Jozef Gajewski Sir; Caroline Moorehead is so eager to dispel the 'myth' of Pope Pius XII's status as a courageous defender of Jews during the Holocaust (Books, 28...

Scruton under scrutiny

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From Mr Peter Davies Sir: Roger Scruton rushed to the defence of the 'sport' of hunting with dogs (Letters, 14 April) by attacking the general work of the RSPCA. Clearly, there...

For and against the NHS

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From Mr Tames Currie Sir: Christopher Silvester's article about the NHS ('Squalid, idle, desperate: welcome to the NHS'. 5 May) contains many justified complaints. Improving...

From Christine Hodgson Sir: I was surprised to read in

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your piece on the NHS that Bart's Hospital had closed. It was very much open three weeks ago when I was a surgical patient there, and I found the numerous medical and nursing...

'Racist' review

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From Mr Osman Streater Sir: Would you have published anything as blatantly racist as Philip Glazebrook's review of Philippa Scott's book Turkish Delight (Books, 5 May) if it had...

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Tim Bell is charming, amiable and universally liked. Pity about his PR

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FRANK JOHNSON L ord Bell — that is, Tim Bell, the publicrelations man — said in a Financial Times interview this week that it was wrong to think of PR as 'being about 19and...

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Why Labour is guaranteed a good press during the election campaign

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STEPHEN GLOVER N ew Labour goes into the election campaign with the enthusiastic or tacit support of every national daily newspaper except the Daily Telegraph and the Daily...

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I must declare an interest in London houses, cheaper negronis and lower taxes

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES I must begin by declaring an interest. This week I received two glasses of white wine and some prawn sandwiches from the Centre for the Study of Financial...

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Bats in

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the family belfry Brian Masters I t is unusual to find a book of popular history infused with a subtle sense of moral censure. This one certainly sets out to teach us all a...

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On the verge of going ballistic

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Hugh Thomas BRITISH ARCHIVES ON THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS, 1962 researched by Jane Priestland Archival Publications International, 1150, pp. 668, ISBN 190300814 X T he summer...

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The gentle art of making enemies

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P. J. Kavanagh BLOOMSBURY AND BEYOND by Joseph Pearce HarperCollins, 420, pp. 340, ISBN 0002740923 I n June 1935 the South African poet Roy Campbell, 33 years old, fell in love...

Down Memory Lane

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Paul Routledge ON ILKLEY MOOR: THE STORY OF AN ENGLISH TOWN by Tim Binding Picador, £16, pp. 335, ISBN 0330369962 M arooned on one occasion in a nationalist drinking den in...

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truthful impostor

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John de Falbe LOVING MONSTERS by James Hamilton-Paterson Granta, £15.99. pp. 308, ISBN 1862074259 I t is a tribute to the power of Loving Monsters that, on finishing it, I...

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Quick change artist

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Julian Mitchell THE MAN WHO WAS DORIAN GRAY by Jerusha Hull McCormack Pa(grave, £16.99, pp. 353, ISBN 0333961048 A year after Oscar Wilde went to prison, Andre Raffalovich...

Not downhill all the way

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Jane Gardam THE VOICE OF VICTORIAN SEX by Rupert Christiansen Short Books, .i4.99, pp. 96, ISBN 0571208150 I n a series called 'Short Lives', here is Arthur Hugh Clough in a...

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A choice of recent thrillers

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Charles Mitchell E nglish readers may not be particularly interested in the fact that Ed McBain and Evan Hunter are one and the same person, as McBain's 87th Precinct books are...

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More Roman-bashing in Gaul

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Robert Macfarlane ASTERIX AND THE ACTRESS by Albert Uderzo Orion, 0.99, pp. 48, ISBN 0752846574 h e tempo of life remains much the same in the small Gaulish village we all know...

The puzzle of eternal charm

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Mark Mason IN SEARCH OF LONDON by H. V. Morton Methuen, £9.99, pp. 440, ISBN 0413184706 M ost people take on holiday with them both a guide book and a good read. You could do...

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Alas, poor Yorick

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David Nokes LAURENCE STERNE by Ian Campbell Ross OUP, £25, pp.498 ISBN 0192122355 P oar Sterne! Everyone seemed to have a reason to wish him out of the way. His parsonage house...

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Food for thought

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Gabriele Annan PARIS TO THE MOON by Adam Gopnik Vintage, £8.99, pp. 340, ISBN 0099772019 A dam Gopnik introduces himself as a 'comic-sentimental essayist', deliberately...

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Music's the thing

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Freddie Stoekdale points out the pitfalls of performing opera in English S hould operas performed here be translated into English? This was debated recently in the letters pages...

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More of 'me'

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Martin Gaylord A while ago I ran into an old school friend who, discovering what I did these days, asked me what I thought of all this dreadful contemporary art. He supposed I...

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Dazzling crash

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Michael Tanner E lliott Carter's opera What Next? to a libretto by Paul Griffiths was given its British premiere in the Queen Elizabeth Hall 20 months after its world premiere...

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What if?

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Sheridan Morley C hristopher Hampton's Tales From Hollywood, in a hugely welcome revival at the Donmar almost 20 years after it was first seen at the National, is based on one...

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Disparate reflections

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Patrick Carnegy O n Hamlet's 400th birthday, Steven Pimlott's new production turns its harsh floodlights on a world of grey-suited courtiers and youthful dissidents. The...

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Seductive elegance

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John Parry on Anish Kapoor's huge new sculpture outside Nottingham's Playhouse Theatre I suppose they could have gone for a statue of Robin Hood or Maid Marion. They could even...

Promise of variety

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Marcus Berkmann T he New Acoustic Movement — now there's a mouthful. Apparently, young men with guitars are no longer turning their amps up to 12 and waking up the neighbours,...

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O Captain,

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my Captain! Mary Wakefield A bout 15 minutes into Captain Corelli's Mandolin, the hero — played by Nicolas Cage — marches with his battalion of Italian soldiers onto the...

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In praise of Searle

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Michael Vestey I have always loved newspaper, magazine and book cartoons and illustrations, political or otherwise. I don't mean the comic strip varieties but those that...

Compelling device

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James Delingpole A few years ago, during a fill-in stint as the Telegraph's film critic, I had to review this film by a director whom critics worship but no one else has heard...

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Classic beginning

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Robin Oakley F or country folk summer arrives, I suppose, with the hedges and the duck ponds springing into life. Townies tell it more by the first chiming of the ice-cream...

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Boardroom gloom

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Taki MRougemont y spies tell me that the Albemarle wedding in Havana was the best ever, which makes it so much harder to take. Instead of sunning myself with scantily dressed...

Words of wisdom

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Toby Young I 'm sitting in the Blythe Road Restaurant in Brook Green when my mobile rings: it's my ex-flatmate, Euan ReHie, calling to tell me he's just got engaged to my...

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Supporting evidence

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Leanda de Lisle h e RSPCA is a confused organisation. It claims shooting wild foxes is humane, while using marksmen to kill penned sheep is cruel. A reader informs me it also...

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Bullish thoughts

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Petronella Wyatt O h, God; oh, Hemingway. Hemingway but this. I remember reading The Sun Also Rises one long, hot summer when I was 19 years old. Lady Brett Ashley. Got to have...

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OH dear! There I was, enjoying my Sunday, not doing very much, idly flicking through the papers, when I saw it. There it was. on page three of the Sunday Times, under the...

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A cue for genius

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Simon Barnes THE term 'genius' is bandied about pretty freely in sport, for this is not an area that goes in for sober, considered judgments. It is normally handed not to...

Q. As we live 20 miles from our twins' day

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school, we share the school-run with some neighbours who have an II-year-old boy in the year above our own boys. The boy is not without charm, but is fairly blunt in expressing...

Q. We often have the offspring of friends from Europe

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or the old Dominions staying with us while they are in England. They are always charming and courteous with beautiful manners, save for one common failing. They have a habit of...

Q. I have recently become engaged and, after the initial

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irritation, have become complacent with regard to the endless questioning about the form of my forthcoming wedding this summer. My parents are being extremely generous, and my...

A. Your letter suggests that, although you may not regard

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these people as friends, they clearly regard you as such. May I recommend that you temper your callous attitude so as to spare their feelings. Say, 'Oh good, have you been...