Page 5

Fannie, Freddie and Gordon

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L ast week, at a cost of a billion pounds or so, the Chancellor announced a package of measures to boost the housing market, including a temporary raising of the stamp duty...

Page 9

T here are many things I’ll miss about my year with

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David Cameron, not least my regular visits to Portcullis House, the ugly upside-down cow’s udder opposite the Commons (it was designed by Michael Hopkins, although it looks as...

Page 10


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JAMES FORSYTH When the Tories get complacent, they should think of what Palin has done to Obama I f Labour does dump Gordon Brown before the next election, then each of the...

Page 11

� s�ra�rs �arEs

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CHARLES MOORE T his column and its readers have just won our first battle in our long war. The BBC Trust has announced that it will investigate the way in which the television...

Page 12

By Tamzin Lightwater MONDAY Look! There is no question of

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us doing a U-turn on our pledge to match Labour’s spending plans. You can’t do a U-turn if you were never going to go a particular way in the first place. Or if you went for a...

Page 14

Brown has exploited immigration to hide from deep problems

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The PM’s claim to have created three million British jobs is a grave deceit, says Fraser Nelson . Strip out immigrants from the picture, and Labour has barely dented the problem...

Page 16

How I became a world record holder

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At a Google conference in Rhodes, Matthew d’Ancona finds himself part of a bid to break the world record for Zorba dancing — and to relive one of the greatest scenes in cinema...

Page 18

Moscow’s secret war in Ingushetia

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Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, pretends that this republic is a haven of stability. Not so, says Tom Parfitt : the Ingush are subject to a campaign of murder and...

Mind your language

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My husband’s club was closed in August, which meant, paradoxically, that I saw less of him, because he enjoyed the chance to exercise reciprocal rights at other clubs, which I...

Page 19

Advertisement Feature

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Dubai as an entrepôt O ver the past thirty years, the Dubai economy has been boosted by the general rise in oil prices. But with its oil reserves likely to run out over the...

Page 20

The laureate of intractable conflicts

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Clemency Burton-Hill talks to the American playwright Christopher Shinn about his new play about a US presidential election night in the era of MySpace and YouTube L ooking...

Page 22

Have we ever faced an enemy more stupid than Muslim terrorists?

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These narcissistic adolescent halfwits should not fill us with fear, says Rod Liddle . The aircraft plot trial showed yet again that those who wish to murder us with fizzy pop...

Page 24

State education has outlawed difficulty

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But private schools, private tutors and bestselling books are filling the vacuum, says Harry Mount . Larkin was right: there is a hunger in us all ‘to be more serious’ T he...

Page 25

Taking care of Toby

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Sir: Kirsten Dunst never insisted that I ban Toby Young (Status anxiety, 6 September) from the set of How To Lose Friends & Alienate People . Toby’s piece stemmed from a recent...

Many a diamond jubilee

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Sir: Robert Hardman believes that ‘Up to now, only one monarch in history has celebrated a diamond jubilee’ (‘Never mind the Olympics — get set for the Jubilee’, 6 September)....

One-sided history

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Sir: M.A. de A Brandao is right (Letters, 6 September) to draw attention to the brutality of the Germans and Japanese in the second world war, and he is probably right to assert...

tory are virtually neglected in school syllabuses. We can only

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truly honour our heroes if we acknowledge our villains as well. Leo Quirk Via email

Lidl luxuries

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Sir: Judi Bevan is mistaken (‘Nice pork, pity about the pizza’, 6 September) in thinking the middle class don’t shop at Lidl; I modelled green corduroys in the first Boden...

Alpine monsters

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Sir: According to Taki (High life, 6 September), quoting the Victorian secretary of the Alpine Club, ‘goblins and devils’ had long vanished from the Swiss Alps by the middle of...

Lines of duty

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Sir: Peter Cooch (Letters, 6 September) is correct: the line ‘What we need at this stage of the war is a futile gesture’ first appeared in Beyond the Fringe , not Blackadder ....

Page 26

First the housing market collapsed. Now I fear the trade in llamas will be next

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I n these straitened days, when the international money markets teeter nervily between relief and panic, and stock exchanges hang upon the slightest twitch of one of Alistair...

Page 28

Should a widowed mother aged thirteen be a saint?

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W hen is too old? When too young? Almost every day I hear a story of someone, at the height of his power and energy, being compulsorily retired at 60. Or there is a fuss because...

Page 30

Greener than thou: the carbon tax contest

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Labour’s climate change levy has led to lower emissions, says Elisabeth Jeffries , but can the Conservative alternative yield better results — or command business support? T...

Page 32

Who are housebuilders trying to fool?

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Richard Northedge I f Britain’s housebuilders really want to sell more homes, they ought to slash their prices rather than lobby the government for packages like last week’s...

Page 34

When we lost our mojo

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Sam Leith O UR T IMES by A. N. Wilson Hutchinson, £25, pp. 720, ISBN 9780091796716 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W ith Our Times , A. N. Wilson concludes the sequence of...

Page 35

More nattering please

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Francis King T HE O THER G ARDEN AND C OLLECTED S TORIES by Francis Wyndham Picador, £7.99, pp. 403, ISBN 9780330457200 ✆ £6.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T here are...

Page 36

Perhaps the greatest?

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Andro Linklater A LASDAIR G RAY : A S ECRETARY ’ S B IOGRAPHY by Rodge Glass Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 341, ISBN 9780747590156 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t would be...

A fascinating woman, ill-served

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Sarah Burton S TAR OF THE M ORNING : T HE E XTRAORDINARY L IFE OF L ADY H ESTER S TANHOPE by Kirsten Ellis Harper Press, £25, pp. 464, ISBN 9780007170302 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

Page 37

Stepping-stones of his past self

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Lee Langley G HOST T RAIN TO THE E ASTERN S TAR by Paul Theroux Hamish Hamilton, £20, pp. 485, ISBN 9780241142530 ✆ £16.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen Paul Theroux set...

Page 38

All things to all men

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John Michell M ICHAEL X: A L IFE IN B LACK AND W HITE by John Williams Century, £11.99, pp. 281, ISBN 9781846050954 ✆ £9.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 P oor Michael. His...

Page 39

Adventures of a lost soul

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Philip Ziegler E TTIE : T HE I NTIMATE L IFE AND D AUNTLESS S PIRIT OF L ADY DESBOROUGH by Richard Davenport-Hines Weidenfeld and Nicolson, £25, pp. 450, ISBN 9780297851745 ✆...

Page 40

A city frozen in time

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Raymond Carr POMPEII by Mary Beard Profile, £25, pp. 315, ISBN 9781861975164 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n the early morning of 25 August AD 79 Mount Vesuvius blew...

Page 42

Of zyzzyva and syzygy

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Caroline Moorehead L ETTERATI : A N U NAUTHORISED L OOK AT S CRABBLE AND THE P EOPLE W HO P LAY IT by Paul McCarthy ECW Press, £12.99, pp. 240, ISBN 9781550228281 ✆ £10.39...

Alternative reading

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Surprising literary ventures Gary Dexter U NDERMINING THE C ENTRAL L INE (1989) by Ruth Rendell and Colin Ward R uth Rendell, it turns out, as well as being the queen of...

Page 44

‘Booming, beaming waves of noise’

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Igor Toronyi-Lalic looks back to the early 20th century when organs were in their heyday ‘A s in England, in America the organ is King,’ wrote the French organ-composer Louis...

Page 46

Masochists and miserablists

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Lloyd Evans Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress Leicester Square Theatre Liberty Globe Sons of York Finborough organ curator of the Royal Festival Hall. But...

Page 48

Abbreviate into intensity

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Andrew Lambirth Francis Bacon Tate Britain (sponsored by Bank of America), until 4 January 2009 A t Tate Britain is a glorious centenary show of paintings by one of our...

Page 50

Best left in the attic

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Giannandrea Poesio Matthew Bourne’s Dorian Gray Sadler’s Wells I often wonder whether in a society so greedily obsessed with the commercial acquisition of good looks Dorian...

Page 51

Unbridled talent

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Peter Phillips A lthough I spend my time working with counterpoint, and know jazz is as capable as any other sort of music at yielding the greatest delight in it, how jazz...

Page 52

What a drag

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Deborah Ross Pineapple Express 15, Nationwide until, midway through the film, my niece sought me out to ask: ‘Deb, what’s an orgasm?’ Naturally, I sat her down and very calmly...

Page 53


The Spectator

Lacking colour Michael Tanner Saint Frangois d’Assise Royal Albert Hall A s the climax of the Proms centenary of Messiaen, The Netherlands Opera brought his vast opera Saint...

Page 54

The magic of science

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Kate Chisholm I f you’re able to read this magazine on Saturday in an unchanged world, it’s probably safe to assume that Wednesday’s gigantic experiment with particle physics...

Save the last waltz

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Taki Regensburg T he mighty Danube begins in the park of the Furstenberg Palace and flows eastward for a distance of 2,000 miles across ten countries on to the Black Sea. Last...

Page 56

Wild at heart

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Jeremy Clarke I first came across the book Iron John: Man and Masculinity by Robert Bly when I saw it being clutched in the bony old fingers of the man that used to chair...

Page 57

Don’t be fooled

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Melissa Kite A t last, I’m starting to enjoy the downturn. The key was realising that by buying less of everything I’m annoying people in positions of power and calling a lot...

Page 58

Time is of the essence

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Alex Bilmes says vintage watches have come of age D eep under the Royal Arcade in Mayfair, in a tiny room reached by a death-trap staircase, I’m holding a pretty but, to the...

Page 59

Flaunting the fizz

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Jonathan Ray C redit crunch? What credit crunch? The Champagne Bar at St Pancras — at 90 metres, reputedly the longest in Europe — is doing a brisk trade in champagne...

Page 60

The diamond dash

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James Sherwood • 1998 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Brut, £75. The Nicolas Feuillatte co-operative makes one of my favourite standby NVs (£17.99 if you buy two at Majestic)...

Page 61

You really are what you eat

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Charlotte Metcalf W hen Marks & Spencer first began using that treacly voice to advertise food on television, it was a signal to the mass market that ‘just’ any old food was no...

Page 62

The HAVs have it

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James Delingpole B efore I head off to meet Angus Gibson, I find myself simmering with bitterness and resentment. Gibson is the man you go to see if you want a state-ofthe-art...

Page 70

If I die this weekend, at least I will breathe my last in the name of a good cause

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STATUS ANXIETY B y the time you read this I may be dead. I have been pressganged into taking part in the London Duathlon this Sunday in order to raise money for the Chelsea and...

Ancient & modern

The Spectator

The military-backed President Musharraf of Pakistan has been dragged, screaming and kicking, into retirement. He doesn’t know how lucky he is. How power maddens people! In...

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator .

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Forum, challenging anyone to hold him to account. That’s class. And that, too, is the point. No one became or stayed emperor without blood on his hands. Sheer terror at losing...

Page 71

Spectator Sport

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R emember the Wightman Cup? For anyone under 40, this was the annual women’s tennis tournament between Britain and the US, which eventually passed away, largely unmourned, at...

Q. When my husband retired two years ago I was

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pleased that I would no longer be obliged to be polite to his colleague, Bob. Now my husband says the reason he’s so restless at night is that he keeps having hectic...

Q. Further to your letter from J.W. in Phnom Penh

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who asked where, in the absence of a mantelpiece, he should display invitations, you may tell him that many ambassadors without fireplaces use their windowsills. P.W., East...

Q. I am one of a group of six young

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women who have known each other since college and we plan much of our social calendars around each other. In recent years, however, one of our group has fallen by the wayside...

Q. My boyfriend is great in all respects but he

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has a habit of eating with his mouth open. He stops when asked but it is a problem when we have guests to dinner as I am obviously unable to remind him that he is doing it...