16 APRIL 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK I n the Conservative manifesto, six pledges

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designated as ‘the simple longings of the British people’ appeared in facsimile handwriting: ‘more police, cleaner hospitals, lower taxes, school discipline, controlled...

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Don’t be fooled by the Lib Denis

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T he nurses and midwives at St Thomas’s Hospital this week faced a rewarding task: to bring Donald James Kennedy into the world. They could have been as slapdash as they had...

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OLIVIA GLAZEBROOK L ast week was dedicated to boosting morale. Having had my novel rejected no fewer than eight times in a fortnight, I have screwed the lid back on my pen...

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The Labour manifesto paves the way for a Gordon Brown premiership

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I t is now clear that the most important event of the 2005 general election took place before campaigning formally started, when Downing Street aides travelled to Scotland to...

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CHARLES MOORE T his is the first general election campaign since 1983 in which I have not been the editor of a publication (or, in 1992, the deputy editor). And in all previous...

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Democracy in danger

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What with postal fraud and dodgy demographics, next month’s poll is loaded in favour of the government. Rod Liddle says it’s about time Robert Mugabe started to send election...

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The sovereign individual

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The people of the world are moving on, says Mark Steyn , and leaving Western Europeans — and Canadians — far behind New Hampshire I was stunned to hear they were closing the...

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Mind your language

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Usher, who is no relation of Poe’s unfortunate family, has, I hear, decreed that jeans and trainers are not enough. Usher is an African-American singer, with a new interest in...

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Cold, calculated bravery

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Max Hastings on an extraordinary act of courage that earned a Coldstream officer the Victoria Cross 60 years ago this month A memorable little event took place at the Imperial...

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‘I made this revolution’

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Julian Evans talks to the celebrity hypnotist who claims to have brought down the Akayev government in Kyrgyzstan I na white room in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a tattooed man from...

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Ancient & modern

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The death of the Pope has relit a number of arguments, few more contentious than the status of the foetus. Naturally, on a subject about which the Bible has almost nothing to...

The moral case against Labour

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Simon Heffer says that no decent person can vote for a government that uses lies, fraud and manipulation to stay in office T he transformation of the phrase ‘right-wing’ from a...

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Tony’s coppers

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There is a special relationship between New Labour and the police, says Andrew Gilligan . Why? Because both are bossy and both are bureaucratic T he battlebuses have pulled out...

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Anti-Semitic studies

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Douglas Davis on the university teachers who will discuss academic sanctions against Israel in Eastbourne next week P ay attention, Professor. If you support the proposed...

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Poor old dog — we’ve had to wait for a good day to bury Rover

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T o be watching the last days of poor old Rover is to intrude on canine grief. A wise vet would have put this dog down long ago. I was asking only last week when Rover would go...

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Shameless and loveless

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Roger Scruton launches a new Spectator series with an investigation into the consequencs of the sexual revolution S exual intercourse began, according to Philip Larkin’s famous...

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Blair and the Pope

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From Tim Holman Sir: Peter Oborne is on devastating form describing Tony Blair’s rudeness towards the monarchy (‘How Blair betrays the Crown’, 9 April). Jack Straw’s description...

From C.D.C. Armstrong Sir: Peter Oborne’s strictures on the Prime

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Minister’s decision to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II are quite remarkable. He seems to believe that Mr Blair’s presence at the Vatican was inappropriate because...

From Sheila Donaldson Sir: Good heavens — do we have

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in Peter Oborne a writer for The Spectator who is not a Roman Catholic? How exciting! Sheila Donaldson Bromley, Kent

Anything but simple

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From Chris Wright Sir: Dr Adrian Steele (Letters, 9 April) tells us that the Pope ‘could have been kept alive ... by the simple means of attaching him to an artificial...

Global perspectives

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From Tom Aitken Sir: Charles Moore, in a fit of boyish enthusiasm, proclaims that ‘there is no important organisation based in Western Europe, other than the Catholic Church,...

Scots in Parliament

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From David Shiels Sir: Boris Johnson (Diary, 9 April) and Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 2 April) are correct to continue to draw attention to the problems created by the...

From John Wallace Sir: As a Scot resident in Scotland,

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I am surprisingly in sympathy with Boris Johnson’s viewpoint. Mr Johnson may, however, wish to explain why so many safe parliamentary seats in England are held by Scots of all...

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Life begins at conception

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From Lama Jampa Thaye Sir: Your correspondent James Guest was correct about one thing in his letter concerning abortion (Letters, 9 April). God has certainly not spoken to us...

From Mary Kenny Sir: Some points of information for Mr

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James Guest: Abortion is not mentioned in the Bible because it could not then be done without risking the mother’s life. It only became a safe and simple medical procedure for...

Grating Dead

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From Scott Rasmussen Sir: Regarding Charles Spencer’s paean to the Grateful Dead (Arts, 2 April): he might be of a different opinion as to the merits of this band had he gone to...

Hot air Orson

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From Andrew McCullough Sir: Rupert Christiansen, in his review of Peter Brook (Books, 26 March), notes that Brook made a 75-minute television film of King Lear with Orson...

Suffrage approved by all

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From Andrew Roberts Sir: The Liberal party did not bring in female suffrage (Answers to Spectator/ YouGov poll, 9 April), but the wartime Coalition government which included the...

Toffs and heroes

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From Nicky Samengo-Turner Sir: Sam Leith has got the wrong end of the class-warrior stick rather than Max Hastings (Books, 9 April). Hastings’s analogous reference to hunting...

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The newspapers vastly overdid their coverage of the Pope, even if he was a celebrity

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M y fingers poised above the keyboard, I was about to start this column in the lazy way columnists sometimes do: ‘Am I alone in thinking... ?’ But the question is disingenuous....

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A personal report on mysterious noises from space

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R ecently I attended a lecture by Dr Lars Tristing of Clusium University, Kansas City, on ‘Achieving a Type IV civilisation’. Despite what the Greenpeace zealots say, what...

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That famous touch again

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Philip Hensher N ELSON : T HE N EW L ETTERS edited by Colin White Boydell & Brewer, £25, pp. 525, ISBN 1843831309 T he most famous social encounter in British military history...

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A dose of their own salts

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Ian Thomson W OLVES E AT D OGS by Martin Cruz Smith Macmillan, £17.99, pp. 337, ISBN 0333907507 ✆ £15.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I n the spring of 1986, radioactive dust...

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Rumours of life greatly exaggerated

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Philip Ziegler T HE Q UEST FOR THE A RK OF THE C OVENANT by Stuart Munro-Hay I.B. Tauris, £19.50, pp. 276, ISBN X1850436681 ✆ £17.50 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 C ertain...

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Master surveyor of many territories

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Peter Porter T HE P OWER OF D ELIGHT : A L IFETIME IN L ITERATURE : E SSAYS 1962-2002 by John Bayley, selected by Leo Carey Duckworth, £25, pp. 677, ISBN 0715633120 ✆ £23 (plus...

The Princess

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‘Princess of death! Princess of ice!’ — Turandot, Act III It was to be his last supreme success. Gozzi’s barbaric fairy-tale supplied The elements on which his art relied: A...

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From Tipperary to hell and back

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Olivia Glazebrook A L ONG L ONG W AY by Sebastian Barry Faber, £12.99, pp. 292, ISBN 0571218008 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T here are plenty of books about the...

The end of a noble masterpiece

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Francis King T HE E ARTH AND S KY OF J ACQUES D ORME by Andrei Makine Sceptre, £16.99, pp. 184, ISBN 0340831251 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T his is the concluding...

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The old Prussian firm

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Michael Howard T HE W AR L ORDS : H INDENBURG AND L UDENDORFF by John Lee Weidenfeld, £16.99, pp. 207, ISBN 0297846752 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 O ne consequence...

Darkness in the background

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Jane Gardam J ANE A USTEN AND C RIME by Susannah Fullerton The Jane Austen Society of Australia Inc, 26 Macdonald Street, Paddington, Sydney, NSW 2021, Australia, email:...

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A blot on the imperial escutcheon

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Tony Gould T HE B UTCHER OF A MRITSAR : G ENERAL R EGINALD DYER by Nigel Collett Hambledon & London, £25, pp. 575, ISBN 185285457X T he massacre of nearly 400 unarmed civilians...

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The end of the line

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Tom Rosenthal D EAR A USTEN by Nina Bawden Virago, £10, pp. 144, ISBN 1844081842 D ear Austen is a letter to a much loved husband, Austen Kark, former head of the BBC World...

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The ghosts that haunt Brick Lane

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Zenga Longmore A N A CRE OF B ARREN G ROUND by Jeremy Gavron Scribner, £14.99, pp. 342, ISBN 0743259718 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W hat an extraordinary book. It...

Looking back without anger

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Simon Baker GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson Virago, £14.99, pp. 282, ISBN 1844081478 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 M arilynne Robinson is an anomaly in modern American...

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The Shakespeare challenge

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Tom Stoppard is the latest recruit to a scheme for schools. Henrietta Bredin reports T he assumption continues to be made that Shakespeare pure and unadulterated is too...

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Exhibitions 1

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Hero of the counter-culture Andrew Lambirth Robert Crumb — A Chronicle of Modern Times Cummings and Lewandowska — Enthusiasm Whitechapel Art Gallery, until 22 May R obert...

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Exhibitions 2

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The Manx factor John Spurling Bryan Kneale: Idea and Realisation Cass Sculpture Foundation, 3 & 4 Percy Street, London W1, until 4 June B ryan Kneale comes from the Isle of...

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Child’s play

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Ruth Guilding Only Make-Believe: Ways of Playing Compton Verney, until 5 June C ompton Verney House has reopened for its second season, continuing its founder Sir Peter...

Losing the plot

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Toby Young Tristan & Yseult Cottesloe The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union Donmar Mammals Bush A larm bells were ringing even...

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Setting limits

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Michael Tanner Twilight of the Gods Coliseum W hile the ENO Ring was in preparation, and we were seeing semi-staged performances of the dramas at the old Coliseum and the...

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Chemistry desert

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Mark Steyn Sahara 12A, selected cinemas U ntil James Bond came along in the Sixties, the most successful movie series to date had been the Road pictures with Bing Crosby, Bob...

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Lost love

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Michael Vestey R adio Four News publicity asked me if I was interested in the 35th anniversary of PM and The World Tonight , which occurred last week, and I said I certainly...

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Tomorrow’s world

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Simon Hoggart T wo of the biggest stars on British television are Andrew Davies and Russell T. Davies (no relation), and I doubt you have any idea what either of them looks...

Perfect timing

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Robin Oakley F or the Beach Boys it was California Girls who were sans pareil. For Chas and Dave it was the Girls of London Town. But this column is dedicated to the girls of...

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Let them reign in peace

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Taki New York I t’s all over but the shouting, as they say in the Bagel, but bitchy British tabloids had nothing on the locals where Chuck and his bride were concerned. Call...

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At a loose end

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Jeremy Clarke B ored with pandering to the needs and appetites of a pair of acne-encrusted agrophobic nihilists, I left my boy and his half-brother in the caravan and went out...

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Poisoned chalice

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Aidan Hartley Laikipia E kiru is the teenage son of Lopiyok, who is the undisputed authority on livestock at the farm. The boy is bright, tall and gangly with a chorister’s...

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I am taking my mother’s cousin Norma and her husband Harry

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out to lunch and I want them to have a good time, not just because I love Norma to bits but also because... nope, that’s it actually. She used to babysit us when we were little...

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Stupor Mundi Raymond Keene

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(Continued from last week.) When Bobby Fischer did play, it was obvious that a remarkable talent had emerged. His sharp, clear and vigorous style, his breathtaking speed of play...

Enter the villain

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Jaspistos In Competition No. 2387 you were invited to provide a sketch of a villainous character on their first appearance in an imaginary novel. I turned at once to Dickens,...

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Unlucky XIII

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FRANK KEATING T he Windsor wedding at least, one trusts, signalled the end of some tiresome weeks for the royal family. So trying, in fact, that it would certainly not have...

Q. I was delighted to read your reference to my

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company with regard to wedding presents for mature couples. Unfortunately, the wrong telephone number was published. It is 01342 823123 and our website remains...

Q. Can you settle a dispute? My cousin and I

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share a flat. She likes to store rice, biscuits, cereals, flour, etcetera in Kilner jars and there are serried ranks of them in our shared kitchen. I instinctively feel that...

Q. I was thrilled when you mentioned that it is

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now possible to buy legitimate stamps bearing one’s own image from the Royal Mail. Yet I was unable to get any satisfaction from the Royal Mail’s website on the address you...


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Dear Mary Q. I am a picture framer. The other day I drove up to London to drop off a picture at the house of a client. While I was there, I asked if I could use the loo. Once...