15 JANUARY 2005

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PORTRAIT OW THE WEEK M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of

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the Exchequer, was jolly annoyed when Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, decided not to step down in his favour last year after all, according to a new book by Mr Robert Peston;...

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Britain’s own Guantanamo

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O ne of the less worthy reasons cited for going to war in Iraq is that it would increase Britain’s influence in the White House. If this was on the Prime Minister’s mind...

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New York A merica is supposed to be the can-do society, where you can order up pizza at three o’clock in the morning and refinance your mortgage with one click of a mouse....

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Blair is right about one thing — Brown would make an impossible prime minister

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G ordon Brown’s defects are under scrutiny. His critics identify petulance, vanity and vaulting ambition. Much of Westminster, including many Labour MPs, several Cabinet...

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W hen Tony told Gordon, while they were having dinner with

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John on 6 November 2003, that he (Tony) was going to relinquish the Labour leadership in 2004, he (Tony) said, ‘I know I must leave, but I need your help to get through the...

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The deadly threat of a nuclear Iran

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Douglas Davis reveals new evidence that Tehran intends to use nuclear weapons against Israel, and argues that the mullahs’ nuclear facilities must be destroyed T he Middle...

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Let Letwin learn from Reagan

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Irwin Stelzer says that by adopting neocon economic principles, the Tories could give Labour a fight at the election W hen my comments on tax policy appeared among the essays in...

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The slob culture

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Simon Heffer deplores the fashion for dressing down. It’s ugly and disrespectful and leaves men looking like idiots W e all know that life under the Blair Terror can be pretty...

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Osama bin Laden is ... not dead

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Mark Steyn admits he was wrong to say that al-Qa’eda’s commander-in-chief was dead, but not very wrong. Osama has been rendered powerless by America New Hampshire J ust...

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Truth from the trenches

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Robert Gore-Langton on R.C. Sherriff, the deeply untrendy author of Journey’s End, whose run finishes next month O ne of the more bizarre sights of last year must have been at...

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Mind your language

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It might seem a little early to say so, but if there’s one word this year can do without, it is edgy . It has become a cliché and people seem to use it without any...

A cut-price death penalty

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Ross Clark says that the existing law allows us to defend ourselves robustly against burglars. We don’t need a licence to murder them T his week sees an event about as common...

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THEODORE DALRYMPLE Is there, or could there be, anything more sacred than human life? How precious is our brief flowering or interlude between two eternities of oblivion. That...

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Why the Irish Times decided its star columnist was not fit to print

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O n 20 December bank robbers stole £26.5 million from the Northern Bank in Belfast. They kidnapped two employees in the process. Most people who know anything about Northern...

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Keeping them busy at North Colonnade — it’s time for a Trouser Authority

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O h, look. In response to widespread lack of public request, the people at North Colonnade have found something new to regulate. A sequence of count-down advertisements — only...

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Can you really believe in an archbishop who permits such incomprehensibility?

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‘T he photographs that stay with us, haunt us, are always those of particular faces.... ’ Thus the Archbishop of Canterbury on the pictures of the Asian disaster’s...

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Why the giant waves were acts of a benevolent God

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T hings are stirring on the God front. A leading atheist recants his disbelief, provoking cries of anguish from the Darwinian fundamentalists crowded on to their isolated...

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Don’t blame Davis

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From Robin Harris Sir: My old friend Bruce Anderson doubtless wishes to do his friends in the Notting Hill set some good by blaming the continued poor Conservative showing upon...

From Alistair Cooke Sir: It is a pity that Bruce

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Anderson’s final flourish did not embody accurately the chilling image of ‘the feathers of death’. An anonymous seaman writing to tell Queen Elizabeth I of his eagerness...

Towards a new Europe

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From Denis MacShane MP Sir: I read with interest Peter Jones’s argument that as ‘tribalism finished Rome it will finish Brussels too’ (Ancient & modern, 1 January). As an...

Tsunami silence

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From Ian Barber Sir: Stephen Glover’s glib dismissal of the three-minute silence for victims of the Asian tsunami was a study in Eurosceptic inaccuracy (Media studies, 8...

Made in China

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From Marguerite Maddox Sir: By chance I read Martin Vander Weyer’s article on the impotence of China as a putative superpower (‘China won’t be a superpower’, 8 January)...

Blunkett’s parenting advice

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From Carol Cooper Sir: Victor Black’s letter (1 January) referring to David Blunkett’s disgraceful manipulation of his so-called parental rights over William reminded me of...

Bringing Lindsay to book

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From Tom Sutcliffe Sir: Paul Sutton, editor of Lindsay Anderson’s Diaries , replied to my review by suggesting I had invented a letter from Lindsay to him (Letters, 18/25...

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Beautiful, peaceful Northern Ireland

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A s a child, Northern Ireland was for me a place of magic and legend. I was born in Belfast and even after my family moved to London when I was three years old, we returned...

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Opus Deià

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Sophia Hesselgren E arly last year — in February, if we’re going to be precise — I moved to a sunny mountainous village on the Balearic island of Mallorca. It was going...

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Head for the hills

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Ben Sheppard A fter its Olympic success, new improved Athens is still one of Europe’s most chaotic capitals and anyone in town for more than a few days will soon crave some...

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Sacred space

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Teresa Howard I sraeli teenagers race around draped with flags, middle-aged Americans discuss house extensions, smartly dressed Italians shout and gesticulate wildly and...

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It’s the same the whole world over

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Zenga Longmore L OVE FOR S ALE : A G LOBAL H ISTORY OF P ROSTITUTION by Nils Ringdal Atlantic, £17.99, pp. 435, ISBN 1843543141 ✆ £15.99(plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T HE...

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The invisible compost heap

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Robert Macfarlane T HE W AYWARD M IND : A N I NTIMATE H ISTORY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS by Guy Claxton LittleBrown, £20, pp. 401, ISBN 0316724513 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800...

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Decline and ascent

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Piers Paul Read F ATHER J OE : T HE M AN WHO S AVED MY S OUL by Tony Hendra Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp. 288, ISBN 0241143144 V £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 A s a...

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Outcasts of the world

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Anthony Daniels D ON ’ T F ENCE M E I N by Tony Gould Bloomsbury, £20, pp. 420, ISBN 074757510X ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T he leprosarium of the Pacific...

The melancholy seven

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Matthew Dennison I S T HERE A NYTHING Y OU W ANT ? by Margaret Forster Chatto, £16.99, pp. 244, ISBN 0701177454 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T he ordinariness...

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Lands beyond the sunset

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Alberto Manguel T HE E NCYCLOPEDIA OF EXPLORATION, V OLUME I: T O 1800, V OLUME II: 1800-1850 by Raymond John Howgego Hordern House Rare Books PTY Ltd, Potts Point, Australia,...

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Sleuthing among the Bashi-Bazouks

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Andrew Taylor T HE T URKISH G AMBIT by Boris Akunin, translated by Andrew Bromfield Weidenfeld, £12.99, pp. 230, ISBN 029764551X ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 A...

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Talking Haiti triumphantly

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Byron Rogers 25 Y EARS OF V I z by William Cook Boxtree, £20, pp. 220, ISBN 0752225251 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 R UDE K IDS by Chris Donald HarperCollins,...

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T he presentation of this year’s Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize — an annual literary award given, in alternate years, to a volume of poetry and a novel — was an occasion...

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Below the belt

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T he psychopathology of Wagnerism is a well-explored area, launched in a major way by Nietzsche in 1888 with The Case of Wagner and Nietzsche contra Wagner , and rereading those...

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Alternative history

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Andrew Lambirth Faces in the Crowd — Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today Whitechapel Art Gallery, until 6 March T he first part of the title of the Whitechapel’s...

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Essential truths

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Angela Summerfield Seeing is Believing: Faith in the Tate Collection Tate Liverpool, until 2 May T his is a brave and thoughtful exhibition, for it addresses the needs both of...

Under wraps

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Roger Kimball A ndy Warhol once remarked that ‘art is what you can get away with’. And how. Just ask Christo, the Bulgarian-born entrepreneur who wraps things in cloth,...

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Winning Lane

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Toby Young The Producers Drury Lane Mary Poppins Prince Edward Sex Addict The Royal Court S ince 25 October, I’ve been appearing seven times a week on stage, so getting to...

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Young blood

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Michael Henderson I t isn’t often that an artist can celebrate a personal triumph when the audience is mystified, and the critics hostile, but that was the measure of Daniel...

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Yes man

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Marcus Berkmann ‘ hy do you buy so many CDs?’ asked W my girlfriend. It was not an unreasonable question, although obviously I wasn’t going to admit that. There are all...

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Impeccable breeding

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Ursula Buchan V Fen gardeners don’t believe that there le is a closed season for gardening and plants. For plant enthusiasts, the ‘Lenten Rose’, Helleborus orientalis ,...

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Wishful thinking

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Mark Steyn Team America: World Police 15, selected cinemas T he first thing to be said is that, if you object to swearing, copious fecal matter and vigorously inventive...

Hard times

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Michael Vestey F or many, the workhouse, particularly the Victorian variety, still conjures up in the popular imagination an image of dread and fear. I remember being taught...

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Artistic cowardice

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James Delingpole I can’t quite decide which scene from the opening episode of Rescue Me (Sky One, Thursday) — the supposedly controversial, gritty and authentic new drama...

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Health check

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Taki Gstaad N othing like the flu to remind one of life’s priorities. It’s health, stupid, with everything else a very distant second. No woman, not even Ashley Judd or...

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All in the stars

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Jeremy Clarke M y date from the Heavenly Bodies agency certainly looks all right. The combination of protuberances and concavities isn’t half bad, in fact. But when I go up...

Lies and more lies

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Petronella Wyatt S pending any length of time in South Africa is both an uplifting and sobering experience. Uplifting because for an English visitor the days are an unbroken...

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One step back FRANK KEATING E ngland’s cricketers are up on the High Veldt, not only taking on South Africa in the fourth Test match, but also their own demons as they...

Q. We have a new daily lady but despite our

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having made it absolutely clear that she should never unplug my son’s computer, she keeps doing it, even when she has not used the Hoover in the room in question. I do not...


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Q. What should a host do when two sets of guests are at daggers drawn? It was supposed to be a jolly house party last weekend but my sister plus family of four got on very badly...