15 APRIL 2006

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Our own Cuban missile crisis

The Spectator

I ran’s leaders may be crazed and dangerous fanatics, but they are not stupid. That is why President Bush is right to show the Iranian regime that he is serious about...

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The Spectator

CAROLINE MICHEL W hen I told my husband I had been asked to write the Spectator diary by the editor he retorted, ‘Nepotism.’ ‘No darling,’ I explained, ‘not Boris’...

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The Spectator

MATTHEW D’ANCONA Milburn is mad to think of challenging Brown: but there is method in his madness W hen Alan Milburn returned to the Cabinet in September 2004, explicitly...

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The Spectator

CHARLES MOORE O n Good Friday 1613, John Donne found the direction of his journey on horseback in conflict with the duty of his soul. In his poem ‘Good Friday, 1613. Riding...

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The Spectator

MONDAY A strange post-Manchester memo has arrived with a list of approved adjectives. I don’t know what was wrong with all the old adjectives but apparently we have to use new...

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Beware: the voters Blair neglected

The Spectator

are angry — and looking elsewhere Next month’s local elections will be a grave test of the Prime Minister’s authority. Peter Oborne goes on the stump with BNP campaigners...

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Paralysis is now Europe’s default setting

The Spectator

Electoral confusion in Italy, political cowardice in France: David Rennie surveys a continent mired in neuralgia, irrationality and paranoia Luxembourg A sleeping sickness is...

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Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

The Spectator

At Easter, Christians bear witness to the Resurrection. But, as The Spectator has discovered, some are more robust than others in their belief — and some prefer not talk about...

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Is rape a legal term or is it just a matter of opinion?

The Spectator

Rod Liddle asks why such a small percentage of people accused of this terrible crime are convicted — and why the police issue so many cautions O f all the people in the...

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Why I am becoming an American

The Spectator

Michael Moorcock writes in praise of the Texan preference for bolshie individualism over social conformity, and hails the true ‘fundamentalism’ of the US Constitution Lost...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

‘Veronica,’ I said when she was taking her Wellingtons off outside the back door and couldn’t run away, ‘what does cotching mean?’ ‘Haven’t the foggiest. I thought...

The man who would

The Spectator

be Gordon’s g uru Fraser Nelson talks to Charles Murray, the American thinker who is calling for the abolition of all benefit payments. The Chancellor has met Murray: but will...

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I’ve seen the future and it’s grey

The Spectator

Allister Heath reports on the remarkable number of pensioners starting work again, and celebrates the fading of an artificial finishing line W hen Benjamin Franklin remarked...

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The facts down under

The Spectator

From Richard Alston Sir: It is unfortunate that in his desperation to denigrate Tony Blair, Matthew Norman regurgitated oft-repeated mythology about the Australian 2001...

A man for all parties

The Spectator

From Mira Bar-Hillel Sir: Before saying that I agree with every word in Roger Scruton’s article about Quinlan Terry and his Modernist enemies (‘Hail Quinlan Terry’, 8...

No contest

The Spectator

From Hugh Davies Sir: What an absurd demographic comparison Irwin Stelzer makes between Blackburn and Birmingham, Alabama (‘The road from Alabama to Blackburn’, 1 April)!...

Newman on women

The Spectator

From Ian Ker Sir: I think Paul Johnson (And another thing, 1 April) has confused Cardinal Newman with someone else. The view of the Last Judgment he attributes to Newman is...

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The legacy of Versailles

The Spectator

From Michael W. Stone Sir: I might well agree with Christopher Hitchens (Books, 8 April) that wanting state boundaries to coincide with ethnic divisions is ‘madness’, but...

Flag up

The Spectator

From Malcolm Farrow Sir: As every schoolboy, sadly, does not know, the Union Jack, our de facto (but not de jure ) national flag, is 400 years old this week. On 12 April 1606...

A not-so-sweet chariot

The Spectator

From Tony Kench Sir: I, too, was surprised that Frank Keating (Sport, 25 March) was unfamiliar with rugby’s long-standing affection for ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’. It...

Bird talk

The Spectator

From Mark Attwater Sir: Charles Moore’s analysis of a sparrowhawk’s motives for killing a jay (The Spectator’s Notes, 8 April) possessed the type of ill-considered...

Blair record

The Spectator

From Iain Catto Sir: Your leading article (8 April) speculating on when Tony Blair intends finally to resign misses out one important consideration. Blair intends to stay in...

Praise for Howse

The Spectator

From Neil Ashley Sir: May I say what an absolute joy it was to read Christopher Howse on Spain (Travel, 1 April). I was just about to give up on print journalism — every...

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The Spectator

FRANK JOHNSON It was a great week for Judas: which shows that spin works F or a week now the newspapers have been full of how Judas’s newly published gospel proves that he...

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The Spectator

MARTIN VANDER WEYER Weep not for Britain’s stake in Airbus, but watch what happens to BAE L et’s not come over all emotional about the sale of BAE Systems’s one fifth...

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The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON The age of stout hearts, sharp swords — and fun I t is exactly 100 years since F.E. Smith made the most famous maiden speech in history. Do MPs still make...

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Tales and truths of the Troubles

The Spectator

Paul Bew T HE GPO AND THE E ASTER RISING by Keith Jeffery Irish Academic Press, £50, £19.95, pp. 227, ISBN X0716528282 M YTHS AND M EMORIES OF THE E ASTER R ISING by Jonathan...

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The murky side of Murano

The Spectator

Michael Vestey T HROUGH A G LASS , DARKLY by Donna Leon Heinemann, £15.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0434014524 ✆ £12.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his is Donna Leon’s 15th...

Time out in Cuba

The Spectator

Richard Beeston E NEMY C OMBATANT : A B RITISH M USLIM ’ S J OURNEY TO G UANTANAMO AND B ACK by Moazzam Begg Free Press, £18.99, pp. 395, ISBN 0743285670 ✆ £15.19 (plus...

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Zero tolerance in Florence

The Spectator

Jonathan Keates S COURGE AND F IRE by Lauro Martines Cape, £20, pp. 336, ISBN 0224072528 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE B URNING OF THE V ANITIES by Desmond...

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Rescued by reindeer

The Spectator

Zenga Longmore O N T RYING TO K EEP S TILL by Jenny Diski Little, Brown, £15.99, pp. 307, ISBN 0316725250 ✆ £12.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘S omething about the...

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Surprised and doomed by joy

The Spectator

Matthew Dennison O NE S UMMER by Rachel Billington Orion, £17.99, pp. 311, ISBN 9780571230830 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A t the centre of Rachel...

Housemates from Hell

The Spectator

Sebastian Smee T HE Y ELLOW H OUSE : V AN G OGH , G AUGUIN AND N INE T URBULENT W EEKS IN A RLES by Martin Gayford Fig Tree/ Penguin, £18.99, pp. 356, ISBN 9780670914975 ✆...

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Talking about the birds and the bees

The Spectator

James Fleming Parrot by Paul Carter, pp. 224, ISBN 1861892373 Bee by Claire Preston, pp. 224, ISBN 186189256X Falcon by Helen Macdonald, pp. 208 1861892381 Rat by Jonathan...

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One of Vichy’s vilest

The Spectator

M. R. D. Foot B AD F AITH : A F ORGOTTEN H ISTORY OF F AMILY AND F ATHERLAND by Carmen Callil Cape, £20, pp. 614, ISBN 0224078100 V £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his...

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The heart and stomach of a king

The Spectator

Charlotte Hobson C ATHERINE THE G REAT : L OVE , S EX AND P OWER by Virginia Rounding Hutchinson, £20, pp.592, ISBN 0091799929 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen...

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The march of folly

The Spectator

Saïd Aburish T HE S ECRET H ISTORY OF AL -Q AIDA by Abdel Bari Atwan Saqi, £16.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0863567606 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his wonderful small...

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The Spectator

Utter madness or good fortune Ariane Bankes on an ambitious project to make a handwritten and illuminated Bible I work at the V&A and walk every day through galleries packed...

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The Spectator

Breath of the Mediterranean Andrew Lambirth Van Gogh and Britain: Pioneer Collectors Compton Verney, until 18 June T he slightly warmer blustery weather of late March found me...

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Pop music

The Spectator

Seeds of joy Marcus Berkmann T he perfect pop song is a rare and beautiful thing. It’s probably the reason I wanted to call this column ‘pop music’ rather than ‘rock...

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The Spectator

World of fear Toby Young The Crucible Gielgud A Whistle in the Dark Tricycle Smaller Lyric A ccording to theatrical lore, no play can be considered an out-and-out masterpiece...

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The Spectator

Pastel-shaded surprise Michael Tanner Eugene Onegin Royal Opera House T chaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is an argument in favour of ordinary life, as opposed to a life ruled by...

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The Spectator

Mission impossible Olivia Glazebrook Paradise Now 15, general release T he leading characters in Paradise Now are two young Palestinian men, Said and Khaled, who work dead-end...


The Spectator

Quality control James Delingpole R eally, it isn’t me who decides what TV programmes to review. It’s my wife. Like, the other night I’d started watching Ricky J....

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The Spectator

Lend me your ear Michael Vestey T his year’s Reith Lectures on Radio Four (Fridays), by the musical genius Daniel Barenboim, are the most stimulating and entertaining that I...

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The Spectator

Complacency virus Alan Judd I wrote in The Spectator 18 February of a friend who ordered a new Mercedes 320CDI E-class estate through an online supplier,...

High life

The Spectator

Club ties Taki Palm Beach T his place is good news for senior citizens everywhere. It is the Mecca for the rich where even my old friend David Metcalfe is considered...

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Low life

The Spectator

Nature ramble Jeremy Clarke T he fracture in my pelvis is almost knitted and last week I started going for walks to rebuild my strength. On Wednesday, walking along the top of...

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Viktor the terrible Raymond Keene

The Spectator

Viktor Korchnoi is one of the giants of 20th-century chess, contesting two matches that determined the destination of the world title, and winning games against no fewer than...

Beastly behaviour

The Spectator

Jaspistos In Competition No. 2438 you were invited to write, in the spirit of Aesop or La Fontaine, a rhymed fable involving animals. Last week I doubted my qualifications to...

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Wit and Wisden

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING T wo white-coated codgers bent over some sticks in north London yesterday morning. One cleared his throat and, in ritual tone of relief and contentment refound,...