15 NOVEMBER 2003

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The Spectator

M r David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, pressed for the issuing of identity cards, despite lack of enthusiasm in the Cabinet; 'An ID card is not a luxury or a whim — it is a...

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Don't burn Bush

The Spectator

T he Queen's state carriage has carried some pretty rum types over the years. Nicolae Ceauscescu took a break from murdering his countrymen to take a ride down the Mall in June...

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The Spectator

I n all the endless talk about school examinations I have never heard this important point made. It is that ever improving school exam results are the nearest thing yet to a...

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Blair is not guilty of mendacity but of weakness and poor judgment

The Spectator

_J_J) MATTHEW PARRIS S wimmers, scanning the sea for signs of danger, look beyond what breaks the surface. It is by the slight but unexpected troubling of the waters that...

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Like Churchill, Michael Howard understands that an opposition is a guerrilla force

The Spectator

p ompous, lobotomised-Lutyens details strive to rescue it from banality. They fail. Conservative Central Office looks like just another bog-standard 1950s office block. The...

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Hail to

The Spectator

the Chief George Bush needs to be pictured with the Queen to impress voters in the forthcoming presidential election, but, says Peter °borne, next week's state visit by the...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

The Americans want to bring 'democracy' to Iraq. But what if it is the sort of 'democracy' that flourishes in Mugabe's Zimbabwe? There is something even more fundamental than...

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Identity crisis

The Spectator

Bossy-boots Blunketes plans must be resisted, says Paul Robinson, who has acquired five new cards in recent months, and it's been a pain in the pocket for him I recently had my...

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Victim culture

The Spectator

began in 1880 Excessive sympathy for criminals is not as new as many people believe, says Angela Ellis - Jones. It goes back at least 120 years H ardly a week goes by without...


The Spectator

A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade The Food Standards Agency has decided that the nation is too fat, and has suggested several policies aimed at...

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Sympathy for the vicar

The Spectator

Christopher Sandford says that Keith Richards — 60 next month — is a secret conservative: he eats shepherd's pie, loves his mum and even goes to church H e doesn't exactly look...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

A Kentish man, Mr Spencer Jones, sends me a photograph of a street named 'The Forstal'. It is a cul-de-sac, or dead end, as we say in Oxfordshire. Why, asks Mr Jones, is this...

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The beastly British

The Spectator

In peddling royal scandals, says Roger Scruton, newspapers are appealing to the depraved imagination of the public. We are guilty of collective treason S hould we blame the...

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Scotland is sick

The Spectator

Scotland spends more per capita on the NHS than England does, but by next year it will have Europe's lowest life expectancy, says Fraser Nelson I magine a British National...

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Fisking means never having to get it right

The Spectator

David Pryce - Jones accuses the Independent journalist Robert Fisk of hysteria and distortion in his reporting on the Middle East 1 n the www arena where the world speaks...

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ow the US backs its old enemies

The Spectator

America left Somalia in 1993 when it lost 18 men while trying to snatch a warlord. Now, Aidan Hartley reveals, the US is back, this time siding with the warlords against...

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Strange as it may seem, the MoS believes the allegations about Charles are true

The Spectator

STEPHEN GLOVER E artier this week my dear friend the writer William Shawcross left a message on my answerphone. I am sure he will not mind if I repeat it. 'Hi, Stephen. it's...

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Hark who's talking, grumbles Sir Topham it's time the directors hit back

The Spectator

CHRISTOPHER FILZ:i; S ir Topham Hatt has got steam up. 'Look at this tomfool letter about our directors,' he says. 'They know too much about the business, so it's time they...

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Can good come of evil? Visit Gloucester Cathedral

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON I should be very surprised if Prince Charles turns out to be bisexual or even to have had a homosexual experience, though the fact that he neglected one of the...

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If you are not interested in the royal

The Spectator

scandal, you must be a smug Marxist ROD LIDDLE Nv- e are all of us agog to know what Prince Charles got up to that was so heinous as to demand a multitude of injunctions. Was...

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The Palestine problem

The Spectator

From J.M. Nash Sir: Your correspondent Mark Steyn ('Europeans are worse than cockroaches', 8 November) is a little too flippant and a little too superficial. We do not all have...

We cerebral Strines

The Spectator

From Clive James Sir: Rod Liddle writes: We think fondly of the Australians as a nation of informally attired Spring-heeled Jacks, bounding across their strange, arid, orange...

Useful inhibitions

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From Dr William von Hippel Sir: In his strident article (`The multicultural thought police', 1 November), Leo McKinstry declares that PC has run amok, and concludes that...


The Spectator

From Richard JM. Poulson Sir: We read with wonder Tracy Worcester's fanciful tales of Smithfield Foods, Inc., and its hog operations in Poland ('Pig business', 1 November). In...

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Reform is overdue

The Spectator

From Father David Sillince Sir: Adrian Hilton should be manning a beacon awaiting the return of the Spanish Armada (The price of liberty', 8 November). Roman Catholic canon law...

All disoriented

The Spectator

From Ray Hartley Sir: In Matthew Parris's article on his visit to South Africa (Another voice, 1 November), he observes that 'between dawn and dusk a fierce sun travelled (for...

Good hash

The Spectator

From Sydney L. Mayer Sir: I was amused by Paul Johnson's recollection of the excellent corned beef hash available in America during his youth. I can assure him that it is...

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Parliamentarian of the Year: the winners

The Spectator

T he 20th annual Parliamentarian of the Year awards, sponsored by The Spectator and by Zurich Financial Services, were presented by the Health Secretary. the Rt Hon. Dr John...

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Books of the Year

The Spectator

A selection of the best and most overrated books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors CLIVE JAMES Three books of non-fictional prose kept me awake like...

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Gallery crawl with a guiding star

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier GREAT SMALLER MUSEUMS OF EUROPE by James Stourton Scala, 129.95, pp. 272, ISBN 1857592840 I n the ancien regime of John Murray (before the publishing firm was...

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T • he theatre

The Spectator

of the globe Jane Ridley IMAGINED CORNERS by Paul Binding Review, £25, pp. 314, ISBN 0747230404 A tlases are things that one takes for granted, but they have an interesting...

A bland and baleful stoic

The Spectator

Helen Osborne NATIONAL SERVICE: A DIARY OF A DECADE by Richard Eyre Bloomsbury, £18.99, pp. 320, ISBN 000747565899 W ‘ 07 up this morning feeling fine. Notices for Lorca's...

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Always her own woman

The Spectator

Digby Durrant THE GRANDMOTHERS by Doris Lessing Flamingo, £15.99, pp. 311, ISBN 0007152795 he Grandmothers consists of four novellas, very different from The Golden Notebook,...

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It's being so cheerful that keeps me going

The Spectator

Hugh Massingberd NIV: THE AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF DAVID NIVEN by Graham Lord Orion, £18.99, pp. 356, ISBN 0752853066 \w hen asked why he was always so incredibly cheerful,...

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A continuation of empire by other means

The Spectator

Andrew Roberts THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH, 500 AD TO 2000: THE BIOGRAPHY OF A LANGUAGE by Melvyn Bragg Hodder & Stoughton, £20, pp. 400, ISBN 0340829915 M elvyn Bra gg 's superb...

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Gauguin and his gritty granny

The Spectator

Sebastian Smee THE WAY TO PARADISE by Mario Vargas Llosa Faber, £16.99, pp. 461, ISBN 0571220371 S ex has always been a stumbling block for Utopian-minded social reformers....

A charming toff of the turf

The Spectator

Stoker Hartington MINCE PIE FOR STARTERS by John Oaksey Headline, £18.99, pp. 278, ISBN 0755310667 J ohn Oaksey is the archetypal English gentleman. He is a sweetheart, a star,...

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Receipts and recipes

The Spectator

Elfreda Pownall THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE'S CHATSWORTH COOKERY BOOK by the Duchess of Devonshire Frances Lincoln,19.99, pp. 192. ISBN 0711222576 THE PEDANT IN THE KITCHEN by...

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Grumbling about crumbling

The Spectator

Nicholas Harman THE WAR ON WISDOM edited by Digby Anderson The Social Affairs Unit, £15.95, pp. 215, ISBN 0907631983 M oney, as the Beatles once tunefully remarked, can't buy...

A new breed of heroes

The Spectator

Caroline Moorehead ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE: FRONT LINE STORIES FROM INTERNATIONAL AID WORKERS by Carol Bergman, with a foreword by John le Carre Earthscan, £17.99, pp. 256,...

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The grand passion of a philosopher

The Spectator

Douglas Johnson HELOISE AND ABELARD: A TWELFTH-CENTURY LOVE STORY by James Burge Profile Books, £16.99, pp. 301, ISBN 1861974175 A . belard has been made to play many roles in...

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So nice and yet so Nazi

The Spectator

Brian Masters DIANA MOSLEY by Anne de Courcy Chatto,120, pp. 432, ISBN 1856192423 Iv e are none of us, thank heaven, one-dimensional creatures easily and succinctly defined by...

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Travelling far without finding home

The Spectator

Anita Brookner THE GREAT FIRE by Shirley Hazzard Virago, f15.99, pp. 314, ISBN 1860498906 T his unusual and nostalgic novel comes from a writer whose last work, The Transit of...

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Recent crime fiction

The Spectator

Harriet Waugh B are Bones (Heinemann, £16.99) is Kathy Reich's sixth novel featuring the forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan. Reichs herself is a forensic...

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Outbursts in operatic cyberspace

The Spectator

If you want information or to check out the latest rumour, just log on, says Henrietta Bredin T he worldwide web offers pretty much unlimited scope for the rampant opera fan,...

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A talent lost to war

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities Imperial War Museum, until 25 January 2004 T he tragically short career of Eric Ravilious (1903-42) inevitably poses the...

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Flights of imagination

The Spectator

Angela Summerfield Heath Robinson Dulwich Picture Gallety, until 18 January 2004 W hen the Tate Gallery opened in 1897, as Britain's first national public art gallery devoted...

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Independent mind

The Spectator

Alan Powers A r e chitects have always come in differnt shapes and sizes. Some enter public consciousness and remain there over centuries, but, for each of these, there is...

Potter mismatch

The Spectator

Mark Steyn The Singing Detective 15, selected cinemas The Singing Detective is a rare example of Dennis Potter coming up with a title of his own. For virtually every other...

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Coward's class

The Spectator

Charles Spencer T'm writing this in my dressing-gown. I lwish I could say it was an exquisite silk creation of the kind once worn by Noel Coward, but it is in fact a...

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Amneris to the rescue

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Aida Royal Opera House The Rape of Lucretia Barbican T he Royal Opera's new Aida is dominated to a quite exceptional extent by its director, Robert Wilson, who...

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Beware the pistol

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Of Mice and Men Savoy Americans Arcola Walt Until Dark Ganick I've witnessed several acts of brutality this week: an assassination, a knifing, half-a-dozen...

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Baffled but enthralled

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Merce Cunningham Dance Company Tate Modem I nmy 22 years of reviewing dance I have had my fair share of great surprises and memorable moments. The list is a...

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Tortured genius

The Spectator

Michael Vestey T istening to David Benson reading from .1-/Kenneth Williams's diaries in The Private World of Kenneth Williams on Radio Four this week (Tuesday) one had to...

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The squirm factor

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart lack in the Ordovician period, we learnt Lion Sea Monsters (BBC1), the earth spun so fast that days were only 21 hours long. What would you drop from your life if...

Rain drain

The Spectator

Robin Oakley I f one day soon you see the likes of Philip Hobbs, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Ferciy Murphy and Noel Chance on some circle of sacred turf, stripped to their...

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Death of a gentleman

The Spectator

Taki New York M y father-in-law Peter Schoenburg died last week. He was 88. I've often written about Peter in the past because I was very proud to be his son-in-law. No, not...

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A bad night

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke - Vou're so far into the closet, Uncle 1 Jack,' I told him, 'you're in Narnia.' We were standing in the hall at four in the morning trading insults. Every night...

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Obsessed with risk

The Spectator

Petronella Wyatt Ar opos of recent royal allegations, my ather was always offended that his many homosexual friends never made a pass at him. There were enough of them around,...

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The Spectator

H ERE we have an all-French offer from the celebrated Yapp Brothers of Mere, Wiltshire. It's specially designed for Christmas, including wonderful bottles to drink with turkey,...

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Bouquet or

The Spectator

raspberry Jaspistos In Competition No. 2315 you were invited to supply a poem either in praise of a loved teacher in your youth or in mockery of a loathed one. Portraits of...

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Aussies on top

The Spectator

MICHAEL HENDERSON y ou may not know it — indeed, if you live south of Lancashire and Yorkshire, you may be very surprised to find out — but there is another rugby contest going...

Dear Mary

The Spectator

Q. While at a party at which I knew only the host, I made the mistake of trying to enter a group by laughing at a joke that! had not heard. Although rather silly, this would...