14 JUNE 2008

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Zero tolerance for Tory sleaze

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‘W hat gets me,’ said David Cameron in a speech to the CBI last November, ‘is the deliberate extravagance committed by the people at the top of the government machine, the...

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A nother Ark fundraising dinner has come and gone and I

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can finally get back to running my business. More importantly I can focus on the programmes that the dinner paid for. The stress started in January as Ian Wace (my partner in...

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The Blairites are making a comeback — at Conservative HQ

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D avid Cameron really must do something about the quality of the Conservatives’ leaked documents. Once they offered delicious details of the infighting and reprisals which...

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I t would be a lie to say that I feel

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sorry for the Tory MEPs who have been attacked for paying their staff allowances to companies of which they or members of their family are members, but they are not the most at...

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MONDAY Fraught morning. Drew the short straw and had to

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take Mrs Spelperson her camomile tea but couldn’t find her. Looked everywhere. Under the desk, in the filing cabinet. Nowhere. So I couldn’t tick the chart confirming that she...

TUESDAY V exciting! Gary has launched a top level internal

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inquiry into who framed Mrs Spelperson!! He’s sure it’s an ‘inside job’ and is drawing up a list of chief suspects for surveillance purposes. It’ll be nice for him to dust off...

WEDNESDAY Bev from Labour phones with incredible news. She has

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managed to get herself involved in the Miliband leadership campaign, the one that’s not happening, and says if we promise her a seat — ‘any seat, they’re all safe Tory seats...

THURSDAY Gah! Sat up all night going through photocopies of

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old expense claims and found one I put in for a packet of Polos that’s now looking a bit dodgy. I definitely bought them on Jed’s orders for a brainstorming session but I seem...

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Even middle-class children are suffering from neglect

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Rachel Johnson says that working mothers, divorce, Polish nannies and an obsession with extra-curricular activities mean that our children are seeing less of their parents than...

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‘If we die today, you will be responsible’

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David Bosco accompanies the UN Security Council on its visit to Darfur and finds that even meeting the victims of the conflict can’t stiffen the Council’s resolve A bdalmahmood...

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Mind your language

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Does it matter when we lose battles as language changes? In Oxford the other day, I saw another piece of evidence that in the High Street has changed to on the High Street . A...

No child left behind

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The Conservatives think that education is about selecting the lucky few, says Ed Balls . But there is no reason why excellence and opportunity shouldn’t be for all I t’s just...

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Plumed hats, rapiers and heaving bosoms

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Gerald Warner celebrates the unexpected appearance of one last ‘swashbuckling novel’, and mourns the loss of a genre that taught boys honour, courage and chivalry ‘D o you have...

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‘Global warming is not our most urgent priority’

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Bjørn Lomborg, the controversial Danish economist, tells James Delingpole that it is better to spend our limited funds on saving lives than on saving the planet G osh, I do hope...

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T he image of women in Victorian times veered between that of madonna and whore, but nowadays in Britain it veers between harridan and slut. This is only natural in a country...

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Grow up, girls — those stranded

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dolphins don’t deserve your tears Rod Liddle says that our unthinking, sentimental reaction to the plight of the dolphins is symptomatic of our dangerous confusion about animals...

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42 days

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Sir: Thank goodness for Matthew d’Ancona’s clarity of mind on 42-day detention (‘Jacqui Smith’s vote of confidence’, 7 June). People who want to be provoked will always find an...

Sir: Matthew d’Ancona writes as though the current government proposals

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regarding the locking up of suspects without trial are its first. But he knows full well that they are not and many concessions have been wrung painfully out of an executive...

The other side of the desk

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Sir: Those who presume to judge ‘Who’s the worst PM?’ (Letters, 7 June) should reflect on President Kennedy’s deep dissatisfaction with the glib way historians had rated some of...

Blame Le Corbusier

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Sir: Le Corbusier, whom Theodore Dalrymple accuses (Global warning, 7 June) of causing more damage to European cities than Genghis Khan, the Luftwaffe and Bomber Harris...

Irony bypass

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Sir: Is Paul Johnson (And Another Thing, 31 May) an American or has he merely had an irony bypass? Kingsley Amis’s tongue was never more firmly in his cheek than in his bravura...

Local empowerment denied

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Sir: Leo McKinstry’s experience of failing to prevent a wholly unsuitable planning application in a neighbour’s garden (‘Naked greed meets Stalinist control’, 7 June) is sadly...

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Sir: In Leo McKinstry’s article, he puts the blame (as

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we all would) at the point where the result disagrees with his wishes. That happens to be the new planning ombudsman, but anomalies of the type he writes about happen at many...

Apostrophic faith

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Sir: Suffering from a condition verging on OCD when it comes to usage of the apostrophe, I am compelled to write in defence of St Thomas’ Hospital to Dot Wordsworth’s suggestion...

Sir: Perhaps Dot Wordsworth or another knowledgeable person can solve

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this problem. Travelling on the underground, I pass Barons Court and Earl’s Court. Earl’s Court has a possessive apostrophe, but Barons Court does not. Does this mean that the...

Not good, but outstanding

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Sir: If, as Matthew Parris asserts, ‘There are no “good” teachers’ (Another voice, 7 June), then there can be no good practitioners of anything. To state that those teachers who...

A brutish term

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Sir: I cannot be the only reader to be dismayed by the tone all too frequently struck by some of your male contributors. The latest example came in Theodore Dalrymple’s rant...

Rod’s boy

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Sir: Tyler Liddle (Letters, 31 May) sounds like a plea to get a reluctant builder back to work. Peter Fineman Warminster, Wiltshire

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How to get the best exchange rate

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When transferring money overseas, don’t think you will get the best exchange rate from your high street bank. There is an alternative and it will save you money. Changing and...

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Gordon Brown’s moral compass is more like a dodgy satnav

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I often miss the glaring messages in fiction, because I am a prosaic and feeble-minded moron. Take Lyra and her altheiometer, in Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy. I read...

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Don’t ask an African elephant to show you his cardiograms

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I can’t help liking elephants, and I was delighted to receive from India a silk tie with a pattern of these huge and benevolent beasts, raising their trunks in the traditional...

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‘Don’t focus on what you can make, but on what you can lose’

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David Craig , a pioneer of the British hedge-fund industry, recalls lessons learned from John Paulson, the New York investor who topped last year’s global earnings league N ew...

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Ladies, bring us your business plans

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Venture capitalist Bruce Macfarlane says women are a better risk than men, yet they rarely ask him to back them I n eight years in venture capital, my partners and I have met...

Global rules made in London? Brussels sniffs conspiracy

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How gratifying. One set of rules for the whole world, and all of them springing from a fountainhead in Cannon Street, London EC4. There will have been no such display of global...

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Opportunities for vintage growth

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Christopher Silvester says you don’t have to be rich to invest in fine wine, and the rewards can be handsome W ine as an investment asset class intimidates most people, who...

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Time to start putting clients first again

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Simon Nixon says trust in the City is at rock-bottom but he sees a glimmer of hope in the rise of boutique banks O n the face of it, I picked a bad week to volunteer to write...

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How times change: the ECB has become the very model of a modern central bank

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I don’t suppose many of my readers took part in the European Central Bank’s tenth birthday celebrations last week — but if I’m wrong about Jean-Claude Trichet’s taste in...

Page 44

Goats and donkeys

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Sam Leith T HE P AIN AND THE P RIVILEGE : T HE W OMEN IN L LOYD G EORGE ’ S L IFE by Ffion Hague Harper Press, £25, pp. 608, ISBN 9780007219490 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

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The man who could not tell the truth

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Byron Rogers S EMI - INVISIBLE M AN : T HE L IFE OF N ORMAN L EWIS by Julian Evans Cape, £25, pp. 320, ISBN 9780224072755 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his has to be...


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In our issue of 22 March, we published a review by Sir Peregrine Worsthorne of Stephen Robinson’s biography of Lord Deedes. The review was edited, against Sir Peregrine’s...

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Less mighty than the sword

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Caroline Moorehead T HE T RANSLATOR : A T RIBESMAN ’ S M EMOIR OF DARFUR by Daoud Hari Penguin, £8.99, pp. 210, ISBN 97801410370004 ✆ £7.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen...

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A long and happy life

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Jason Goodwin T RYING TO P LEASE by John Julius Norwich Dovecot Press, £20, pp. 384, ISBN 9781904349587 ✆ £6 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n 1957 John Julius Cooper (later...

God bless America

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Margaret MacMillan T HE M OST N OBLE A DVENTURE by Greg Behrman Aurum, £25, pp. 464, ISBN 9781845133269 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he Most Noble Adventure contains...

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The travels of an idealist

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Simon Baker H UMAN L ovE by Andrei Makine Sceptre, £12.99, pp. 249, ISBN 9780340936771 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n Andreï Makine’s previous novel, The Woman Who...

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A gift for friendship

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Rupert Christiansen L ETTERS FROM A L IFE : T HE S ELECTED L ETTERS OF B ENJAMIN B RITTEN , V OLUME IV, 1952-1957 edited by Philip Reed, Mervyn Cooke and Donald Mitchell The...

Love lies bleeding

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Andrew Taylor T HE V OWS OF S ILENCE by Susan Hill Chatto, £12.99, pp.336, ISBN9780701179991 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he Vows of Silence is the fourth novel in...

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Inspirational individuals

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Whatever way the tale is told — a sky blue Sunbeam embellished with a dint in the offside wing, details of Jags with walnut dashes, or the broad, blank strokes eager to get to...

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Can a novelist write too well?

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A t least a couple of times, probably more often, Anthony Burgess declared that Evelyn Waugh wrote ‘too well for a novelist’. ‘Sour grapes’ you may say, remembering that in his...

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Morality takes to the stage

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‘C ome, thou blessed of the Lord’ sing the sopranos and altos, and now the tenors and basses are joining them, with a wondrously layered swelling of sound. The hairs on the back...

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Mixed blessings

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Andrew Lambirth Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, until 17 August Sponsored by Insight Investment T he Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, now in its 240th year, is still...

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Concrete and carbuncles

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Alan Powers ‘ L ondon smells Tory,’ announced Ian Martin, the Beachcomber of architectural journalism post-Boris in his weekly column in the Architects’ Journal . Heritage wars...

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Verdi’s riches

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Michael Tanner Don Carlo Royal Opera House V erdi’s Don Carlo is as much of an obsession for me as one of my favourite operas. Though it isn’t perfect, and can’t be made...

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Dylan obsession

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Charles Spencer T here are artists you admire and there are artists you love, and for me Bob Dylan has long fallen into the former category. I have been listening to him,...

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Unappealing characters

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Lloyd Evans Rosmersholm Almeida Love — The Musical Lyric Fat Pig Trafalgar Studio A Norwegian melodrama about suicide, socialism and thwarted sexual passion. If you saw that...

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Drawing a blank

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Deborah Ross Irina Palm 15, Barbican and key cities T he big film this week is, I suppose, The Incredible Hulk but I chose not to see it because, aside from anything else,...

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It’s so unfair

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James Delingpole Y ou don’t have to look very hard for signs that the Tories are going to romp home in the next general election. There was another one on TV this week: a drama...

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Campaign trail

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Kate Chisholm J ust when you thought it was safe to come out, here he is again. Still on Radio Four but in a surprising new guise; not performing but acting. On Sunday...

Slowly but surely

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Robin Oakley Y ou don’t have to be a brilliant rider to make it as a trainer. As jump jockeys, Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs never rose above the middle ranks. Both have since...

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Belgrade belle

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Taki I never thought I’d see it, a beauty winning a major title, at least not since the Williams sisters and the ghastly Maria Sharapova came on the scene. But there she was...

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Knock, knock

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Jeremy Clarke T hree or four times a week I walk down the road and rap twice with the heavy knocker on Margery’s home-made front door. Always twice, with the same force and...

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Hooked on Beethoven

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Alex James S tephen Lipson, a record producer, lives in the village up the road. Well, he was very pleased with himself, glowing with satisfaction like someone who’d just...

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A visit to the London International Wine Fair is, paradoxically, a

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sobering experience. With about 30,000 different wines on show, it is impossible to sample more than a minuscule number — the worst anyone can be accused of is binge-sipping....

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Shirt-tails of the city

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Joseph Connolly buys the best English shirt in Paris O K, so falling down the stairs in one of the smartest, not to say the very oldest English shop in the whole of Paris was...

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Great apes

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Shena Guild travels to Tanzania to visit our closest living relatives C h i m p a n z e e behaviour has been found by many studies to be so similar to ours that we thought we...

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Did my wife really mean it when she said I didn’t have to be present at the birth?

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B y the time you read this, I will be the proud father of another baby. That is the plan, anyway. My wife has had enough of being pregnant and has booked herself into hospital...

Ancient & modern

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We are happy that terrorist suspects be held for 28 days without charge. So there is no problem about the principle. But the government now wishes to extend this to 42 days, and...

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A fortnightly column on technology and the web

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A 1980s cartoon from Private Eye shows a teenage boy, dressed in animal skins, staring intently into the dancing flames of a small fire. Behind him, bearded and leaning on a...

Q. I have started receiving regular emails from a very

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old friend inviting me to avail myself of the services of the wealth management company in which he is a partner. Since I am penniless, and from the uncharacteristically...

Q. I am about to order some headed airmail paper

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and I am unclear as to whether it should say United Kingdom, Great Britain or England. Please will you be so kind as to advise. G.C., London SW1 A. England has always been...

Q. I have been a member of the London Library

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for about 25 years, but now that the membership fee is going up to £375 I really feel in two minds about renewing my subscription. I hardly ever go to London these days because...