13 MAY 2006

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Sorry, you’re no Mrs Thatcher

The Spectator

O ne of Tony Blair’s most cunning and cynical ploys in his early years as Labour leader was to model himself explicitly upon Margaret Thatcher. In 1995 he said, ‘She was a...

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W hen the gifted Australian actor Russell Crowe threw a telephone at an American hotel desk clerk, I sent him a letter of congratulation. As one might expect in a wonderful but...

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The trouble is Blair wants ‘ample time’, too.

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So let’s see how the education vote goes T ony Blair has long had a private ‘timetable’ for his departure. The trouble is that it is much more complicated, conditional...

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CHARLES MOORE L abour has run out of steam. Like the Conservatives after about 1988, they cannot think straight, and they are more interested in their own quarrels than in...

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‘You can’t change without upsetting people’

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In his first full interview since his local elections triumph, David Cameron tells Fraser Nelson that his party must accept even more modernisation — and, in an extraordinary...

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We need government and we need it to be boring

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Geoff Mulgan , a former senior adviser to Tony Blair, says that government has had a bad press and that its future lies in cooler rhetoric and stronger accountability W hen Bill...

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What a shame that Brown does not understand gold

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Allister Heath says the price of gold will continue to rise, thanks to economic and political forces; a pity the Chancellor has not exploited this opportunity as cannily as the...

Mind your language

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This year we celebrate the centenary of the coining of the word aeroplanist . It meant the driver of a flying-machine, a device that had been invented three years earlier. After...

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Who needs UFOs when you can play Sudoku?

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Rod Liddle asks where all the flying saucers have gone, and explores the death of a great conspiracy theory, ruined by the refusal of governments to keep things secret any more...

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‘It seemed to me that Tony was suffering’

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Sir Cliff Richard tells Tim Walker why he is selling his Surrey house and reflects on his house-guest Tony Blair, the PM’s regrets over Iraq — and the ‘kerfuffle’ over...

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THEODORE DALRYMPLE ‘That Shakespeare,’ a German friend of mine once said to me, ‘knew a thing or two.’ You can say that again. Sometimes, indeed, I think he knew...

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F or the last couple of years we have been arranging

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‘Nelson’ trips in the West Indies aboard the incomparable sailing ship Sea Cloud II . What began as a one-off event has now grown into a hardy perennial and we are delighted...

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Mosley is no EU hero

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From David Meikle Sir: In his review of Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism by Stephen Dorril (Books, 6 May), David Pryce-Jones makes the disgusting suggestion...

Very hunted, Norfolk

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From James Wells Sir: Charles Moore (for whom I have the greatest respect) is sadly mistaken in stating that there is no hunting in large parts of Suffolk and most of Norfolk...

Third degree at JFK

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From Bill Troop Sir: Peter Phillips, in his article on the problems musicians face when visiting the United States, doesn’t know the half of it (Arts, 6 May). When Krystian...

Dogberry wouldn’t do

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From David Jones Sir: In Martin Vander Weyer’s article subheaded ‘I am an ass’ (Any other business, 6 May), the author shares with the reader his forthcoming thespian...

Turban vs biretta

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From Osman Streater Sir: ‘This doesn’t pretend to be more than a useful focus exhibition,’ writes Andrew Lambirth of the ‘Bellini and the East’ exhibition at the...

Constitutionally wrong

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From John Klein Sir: Enough is enough. The right of the people to pursue happiness is promoted not in the US Constitution, as Charlotte Moore thinks (Books, 22 April), but in...

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Hugo Chavez: a man with the perfect name to be a Cameroon MP

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T wo weeks ago I mentioned here the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez; I think he is the international Left’s best hope at present: anti-American without being bin Laden. He...

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Dishonesty begins not with the poor but with the powerful

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A re people less honest than they used to be? Most would say, bitterly, yes. But it depends on what happens to you. I once carelessly dropped a £10 note in Uxbridge High...

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How to keep the oil flowing in a dangerous world Rupert Steiner talks to Britain’s most admired businessman, BP chief executive Lord Browne, about Middle East conflict and...

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Other people’s debts Matthew Vincent ‘A financier is a pawnbroker with imagination,’ claimed Arthur Wing Pinero in his 1893 play The Second Mrs Tanqueray . His work may...

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Jumping on the low-fat bandwagon

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Simon Nixon says food companies will make money out of the government’s obsession with obesity – and consumers will pay S ometimes life really does imitate art. It’s less...

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CITY LIFE China’s brand image problem: it’s a country full of counterfeits

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A ugustus the Strong, the 18thcentury king of Saxony and Poland, is an unlikely but fitting metaphor for a rising China. Fitting because Augustus was as weak as he was strong. A...

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Books do furnish a TV series

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Bevis Hillier 12 B OOKS THAT C HANGED THE W ORLD by Melvyn Bragg Hodder, £20, pp. 372, ISBN 0340839805 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen I was younger, I used to...

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Ill-considered imperial gestures

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Douglas Hurd 1956: P OWER D EFIED by Peter Unwin Michael Russell, £20, pp. 256, ISBN 0859552969 D uring 1956 three major powers made dramatic efforts to prop up their...

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No end of a lesson

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Allan Mallinson C OBRA II: T HE I NSIDE S TORY OF THE I NVASION AND O CCUPATION OF I RAQ by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor Atlantic Books, £25, pp. 603, ISBN 1843543524...

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Public skool monkey business

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Eric Anderson WICKED! by Jilly Cooper Bantam, £17.99, pp. 846, ISBN 0593052994 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I misjudged this book. I thought the airport fiction...

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Missing the middle path

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Sebastian Smee B LACK S WAN G REEN by David Mitchell Sceptre, £16.99, pp. 371, ISBN 0340822791 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R eading David Mitchell’s fourth...

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The master and the loyal retainer

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Judith Flanders V ISITING P ICASSO : T HE N OTEBOOKS AND L ETTERS OF R ONALD P ENROSE by Elizabeth Cowling Thames & Hudson, £25, pp. 408, ISBN 0500512930 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45...

The book that didn’t make the short list

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Alexander Waugh T HE L OST G OSPEL by Herbert Krosney National Geographic, £16.99, pp. 309, ISBN 1426200412 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE G OSPEL OF J UDAS...

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Humanity makes all plain

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Richard Ollard T HE L ETTERS OF S AMUEL P EPYS edited by Guy de la Bedoyère Boydell, £25, pp. 296, ISBN 184383197X ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he title of this...

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In the shadow of the master L ast week I found myself at one of the strangest concerts I have ever been to. It was given by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under its chief...

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Pioneering vision

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Andrew Lambirth Albers and Moholy-Nagy: From the Bauhaus to the New World Tate Modern, until 4 June Sponsored by BMW (UK) Ltd H ere are more than 300 works in yet another...

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New arrival

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Ursula Buchan I t is an intriguing fact that, every halfcentury or so, a conifer arrives on the scene which makes a real impact on our gardens. (As every schoolchild knows, a...

Shaken or stirred?

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Patrick Carneg y Othello Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Hamlet Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon C ompletism has become a maddening obsession these days with the...

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Beyond belief

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Toby Young Donkeys’ Years Comedy Footloose Novello Crooked Bush A t the matinée performance of Donkeys’ Years I attended, Michael Frayn was seated in the row behind me....

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Feel the force

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Michael Tanner Don Giovanni Scottish Opera I t’s a great relief to see Scottish Opera back on stage again, even if their season consists of only a handful of performances of...

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Single minded

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Marcus Berkmann A great surge of lipsmacking new releases is on its way, tragically preceded in my household by a couple of whopping bills, so I am having to restrain myself....

Watching the detective

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Olivia Glazebrook Brick 15, selected cinemas I have read all Raymond Chandler’s books, some of them several times, but if you asked me for a synopsis of any of them I think...

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Comic timing

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Michael Vestey H ow quaint the wave of alternative comedy of the 1980s seems now. It began at the Comedy Store in Soho just two weeks after Margaret Thatcher first became prime...

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Building on success

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James Delingpole A lain de Botton has done it again and I hate him. A few years ago, I decided to make him my friend as a way of warding off the bitterness and jealousy I might...

The Aston challenge

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Alan Judd W e don’t often get second chances. Education, the direction of your career, first love, life itself — they’re none of them dress rehearsals, unless you’re...

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Double standards

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Taki New York A fter his second smash-up in three weeks, Patrick Kennedy was escorted home by obliging cops and to hell with any test for booze or drugs. Tests are for the...

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Just the ticket

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Jeremy Clarke I ’ve got my ticket. I can’t quite believe how I managed it — I keep studying it under a magnifying glass and holding it up to the light to make sure it’s...

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SIMON HOGGART A ustralian wines now firmly lead French in British off-sales; but apparently we still prefer French wines in restaurants. My guess is that there is a race on, as...

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Dare to wear white

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Oscar Humphries W hen I was 13 my father took me to Venice. I remember canals and smelly water and pigeons and an organ by Guardi that — apparently — we were lucky to see....

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William Boyd sends...

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Six Postcards from Buenos Aires The Alvear Palace It’s a long way from London to Buenos Aires: many thousands of miles and a good 15 hours when you travel via Sao Paolo and...

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DEBORAH ROSS I want to try a Russian restaurant in Clerkenwell called Potemkin. I just fancy it, I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s simply because it isn’t one of the usual...

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Señors vs Juniors FRANK KEATING R omantics as well as purists will be lucky if today’s FA Cup final in Cardiff riddles the cockles and stirs the spirits. The knockout...

Q. At a sumptuously catered private view, a well-known London

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art gallery director bounced up with very expressive congratulations about my latest book. My initial delight soon turned to numb shock when I realised she had confused me with...

Q. I am 85. Until I was 60 my friends

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would say, ‘How are you?’ From 60 to 70 they said, ‘How are you keeping?’ After 70 they asked, ‘How are you keeping now?’ My mother, who lived to 97, would answer,...

Q. When I try to find a copy of The

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Spectator at a news-stand or even within a newsagent’s store, I find I am always having to skim past the hardcore pornography before I can locate it. How can I make it clear...