14 MAY 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK L abour won a majority of 67

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in the general election, securing 356 seats (of the 645 contested), 47 down, with 9,556,183 votes, 35.2 per cent of the total; the Conservatives won 197 seats, 33 up, with...

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Floreat Notting Hill

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T hey are Achilles and Patroclus. They are David and Jonathan. They are Wallace and Gromit. Not since the emergence of the youthful Blair and Brown has there been a pair of...

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T he trouble with country life is that it is so

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unhealthy. Where I used to walk to the Tube I now take the car. Where I used to go out and see friends I now ruin my eyes watching television. After 20 years in Leicestershire I...

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The next election campaign starts now

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T here has never been such a dramatic political decline. Three months ago, Tony Blair was full of plans for his third term. Now, he is a corpse waiting for a coffin. Three...

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T he election has brought out the tension between Scotland and

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England (see last week’s Notes). The Conservatives won more votes than Labour in England and, as before, managed only one seat in Scotland. Labour has 41 seats in Scotland,...

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The sad, strange, undignified end

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Peter Oborne reports on how power has flowed invisibly but irrevocably from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown A peculiar arrangement prevailed in 8th-century France, during the final...

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It’s the ideas, stupid

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Mark Steyn says the Tories should follow the Republican lead and make Conservatism romantic — and conservative New Hampshire T he day after the election, the BBC reported...

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Why we lost

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Boris Johnson says the Tories failed to convince the electorate that they were ready for government N ow that there is not much chance of Michael Howard ever becoming prime...

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Mind your language

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‘What does SIM mean?’ asked my husband, looking up like a sulky sunset from a mobile-phone instruction booklet. Well, I knew what it was, but not what the acronym stood...

Is Belarus next in line?

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Julian Evans on why the EU supports the US in its drive for freedom in Belarus I f you listen carefully, you can hear the drums of revolution beating once more in Washington....

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Sachs appeal

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Angelina Jolie tells Alex Bilmes about her enthusiasm for the hottest economist on the block R ecently I found myself idling away an afternoon in Angelina Jolie’s Winnebago....

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Victory for the fringe

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Rejoice, says Rod Liddle . Last week we rejected the status quo and voted for nutters, outsiders and misfits T he scariest thing about the election, the thing that really...

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Does prison really work?

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Douglas Hurd notes that the sensational increase in the prison population has not been accompanied by a sensational reduction in crime T hey have changed Armley Prison since I...

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Tories must be less strident

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From Stuart Baran Sir: Simon Heffer tells us that what the Conservative party now needs, above all, is ‘stability’ (‘The way ahead for Conservatives’, 7 May). But it...

London is safer

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From Julian Joyce Sir: There is a simple solution to Susan Hill’s problem (‘Sorry, the doctor can’t see you now’, 7 May). She needs to move to the city where, as she...

Junk these machines

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From Jessica Johnson Sir: I sympathise with Nicola Horlick’s horror at the unappetising and unhealthy victuals she witnessed being consumed at a picnic on Bank Holiday Monday...

Tories need a new ‘narrative’

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From David Harcourt Sir: There is nothing new about the distortion of truth into a coherent ‘narrative’ which encourages popular adherence to a particular world-view (Peter...

Promiscuity spreads Aids

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From Dr James McEvoy Sir: I enjoyed Frank Johnson’s analysis of the recent papal election (Shared opinion, 23 April), but it is a pity he repeats the canard that the Catholic...

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Not so bel canto

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From J.L.A. Hartley Sir: Peter Phillips (Arts, 7 May) wonders why there should be such a gap between the standards of the Sistine Chapel choir and the average English cathedral...

Critical errors

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From Jeffrey D. Sachs Sir: Tim Congdon’s review of my book The End of Poverty (Books, 7 May) is repeatedly incorrect. Here is a sampling of his errors. ‘But the blunt...

With friends like Taki ...

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From Manuel Escott Sir: Taki’s column in which he hails the election of Pope Benedict (High life, 30 April) is one of his most richly comic to date. The German Holy Father...

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The gentleness and courage of my friend Peter Campbell

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T he late Peter Campbell, sometime professor of politics at the University of Reading, would have enjoyed the irony. He died just before the general election. His funeral was...

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Last one to leave the skyscraper, please turn out the lights

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W hen is the big crash going to come in China? Various indicators suggest trouble but perhaps the most significant one is the Skyscraper Index. First formulated by Andrew...

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French kissing

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V ows made, speeches finished, champagne quaffed and we’d done it. We were married. Our car swept us away from the Palace of Westminster, where we’d plighted our troth in...

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Hard times

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Jane Kelly T he rain was very annoying, especially for the old people, standing next to me on the pavement with their bad coughs and wheezing chests. At 3 p.m. the doctor was...

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Yours, valuably

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Victoria Lane can neither eat or sleep for thinking of you my dearest love, I never touch even pudding... Last night I did nothing but dream of you altho’ I woke 20 times in...

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Space to think

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Clover Stroud W hen I was a child I was scared of the dark. My sister Nell and I shared a room, and after the lights went out I’d make Nell promise to tell me when she closed...

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Language barriers

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Mark Palmer T here was an unfortunate incident the other morning during breakfast at a smart hotel in central London. A middle-aged man asked a waitress for some English...

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Air time

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James Leith K emble Airfield in Gloucestershire, formerly RAF Kemble, was once the home of the Red Arrows. City commuters from Kemble station nearby would return of an evening...

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Titfers for toffs

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Damien McCrystal I n the next month or so, several thousand people will be retrieving dusty top-hat boxes from attics and above wardrobes. The hats are to be given their only...

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Aussie rules

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Jonathan Ray M elbourne looks a lot more spruce than when I was last there. Handsome Flinders Street Station has had a bit of a clean and Federation Square a complete facelift....

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The last refuge of a scoundrel

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Philip Ziegler PÉTAIN by Charles Williams Little, Brown, £30, pp. 568, ISBN 0316861278 ✆ £28 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T o be successful, biographers must possess...

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Zéro de conduite

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Deborah Devonshire P ETO ’ S P ROGRESS by Nick Peto Long Barn Books, £12.99, pp. 175, ISBN 1902421116 N ick’s progress takes us at a gallop on his trusty hunters, Willie...

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The questions dated, the answers fresh

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Caroline Moore C URIOUS P URSUITS by Margaret Atwood Virago, £17.99, pp. 413, ISBN 1844081494 ✆ £15.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 C urious Pursuits is a collection of...

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Not quite there

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P. J. Kavanagh T HERE Y OU A RE : W RITINGS ON I RISH AND A MERICAN H ISTORY by Thomas Flanagan New York Review of Books, £16.99, pp. 488, ISBN 1590171063 ✆ £14.99 (plus...

One way of doing it

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Anthony Daniels T HE E LEMENTS OF M URDER : A H ISTORY OF P OISON by John Emsley OUP, £18.99, pp. 421, ISBN 0192805991 ✆ £16.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I n his...

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Food for plutocrats and the people

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Elfreda Pownall G RAND L IVRE DE C UISINE by Alain Ducasse Stewart, Tabori & Chang, £159, pp. 1080, ISBN 2848440007 T HE N EW E NGLISH K ITCHEN by Rose Prince Fourth Estate,...

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Murder made easy

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Robert Stewart T HE A WFUL E ND OF W ILLIAM THE S ILENT : T HE F IRST A SSASSINATION OF A H EAD OF S TATE WITH A HANDGUN by Lisa Jardine HarperCollins, £12.99, pp. 175, ISBN...

A low opinion of human nature

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Jonathan Mirsky F ORTRESS B ESIEGED by Qian Zhongshu [Ch’ien Chung-shu], translated by Jeanne Kelly and Nathan K. Mao Penguin, £18.99, pp. 426, ISBN 02265345316 ✆ £16.99...

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Mombasa and Zanzibar

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Francis King DESERTION by Abdulrazak Gurnah Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 262, ISBN 0747577560 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T he bitterness of the immigrant...

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A place in the sun

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Andro Linklater R ED S TRANGERS : T HE W HITE T RIBE OF K ENYA by C. S. Nicholls Timewell Press, £18.99, pp. 349, ISBN 1857252063 I n 1892 Frank Hall, who was building a road...

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Tracking a Moroccan ghost

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Justin Marozzi T HE H ALL OF A T HOUSAND COLUMNS by Tim Mackintosh Smith John Murray, £20, pp. 318, ISBN 0719562252 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T im...

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Lament for lost beauties

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Philip Mansel I STANBUL : M EMORIES OF A C ITY by Orhan Pamuk Faber, £16.99, pp. 288, ISBN 0571218326 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T his magnificent memoir...

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A true portrait

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Michael Prodger on possibly the greatest equine picture in the history of art I n painting, as in music and literature, artists whose work in old age is comparable to that of...

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Haunting melancholy

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John McEwen Andrzej Jackowski Purdy Hicks Gallery, 65 Hopton Street, SE1, until 6 June A s a former winner of Britain’s most prestigious award for painters, the John Moores...

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Visual enlightenment

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Andrew Lambirth Leonard McComb: Drawings, Paintings and Sculpture Wolsey Art Gallery, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich (tel: 01473433554), until 17 July L eonard McComb (born...

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Force of nature

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Lloyd Evans Henry IV, parts 1 and 2 Olivier If Destroyed True Chocolate Factory S ummer on the Southbank kicks off with both halves of Henry IV. Many an elderly ham has gone...

Degrees of pain and passion

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Patrick Carnegy Twelfth Night Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon The American Pilot The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon T welfth Night deals in our susceptibility...

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Tireless Keenlyside

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Michael Tanner 1984 Royal Opera House Tamerlano University Music School, Cambridge T here has been a lot of tut-tutting about the Royal Opera being ‘bought’ by Lorin Maazel...

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Private passions

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Ursula Buchan T he British have developed a number of garden styles over the centuries but none more unexpected than the ‘woodland garden’. No one in 1800, when the first...

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Clash of images

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Giannandrea Poesio Aterballetto Sadler’s Wells Theatre T here are basically two types of Italians living abroad: those who respond over enthusiastically to any...

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Standing still

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Marcus Berkmann ‘A rt for art’s sake,’ sang 10cc in 1976, ‘Money for God’s sake.’ And promptly split in half shortly afterwards. It’s a conundrum every new young...

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Loss of faith

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Mark Steyn Kingdom of Heaven 15, selected cinemas L et’s say you were setting out to make a parody of contemporary Hollywood’s inability to make a film on any historical...

Untold bravery

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Simon Hoggart C hannel-hopping on Sunday night, I caught a brief moment from BBC1’s celebration of VE Day, A Party to Remember . Eamonn Holmes was co-presenting. The camera...

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Changing lives

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Michael Vestey I t’s always useful to be reminded of the remarkable stoicism and bravery of the generation of people that lived through the second world war. It’s hard to...

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Ten for the Flat

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Robin Oakley H ow to keep sane during an election which Labour’s Austin Mitchell aptly described as ‘like a funeral but without so many cars’? My way was to spend ten...

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What’s in a name?

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Taki I Married a Princess is among the most embarrassing reality shows to have appeared on American television, which makes it unique in view of the garbage which fill the...

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Internal peace

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Jeremy Clarke O n Election Night I went to the pub, then on to two parties and finally ended up round at Trev’s playing Round the Clock darts on amphetamines with a part-time...

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S o, off to Le Gavroche, with my companion for the

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evening, Mr Dom, whom I shall call only that, as his surname (Joly) might give him away. Mr Dom has to be one of the funniest, coolest blokes ever, if you discount Les Dennis,...

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Untimely obits

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FRANK KEATING W ith a clamour of various cup finals due to close out the winter’s activities — and with anniversaryitis so fashionable — I am surprised to have read...


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Dear Mary Q. A man I cannot avoid at drinks parties is now sixtysomething and, after years of having been highly sought after by women, now lives without a woman and so has...

Q. I am deeply distressed that my artist friend, Richard

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Foster (whom I have known for nearly 50 years) and whose ancestor commanded the Charge of the Light Brigade, has seen fit to exclude me from a private view of his paintings at...

Q. I share with the cousin of your correspondent (I.T.,

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16 April) a liking for Kilner jars. In this part of the world, southern Spain, they provide a refuge from insects. If, once opened, rice, biscuits etc. were not safely stored in...