16 FEBRUARY 2002

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P rincess Margaret died in King Edward VII's hospital after a

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stroke, aged 71. Her body was taken to Kensington Palace and then to the Queen's Chapel at St James's before her funeral at Windsor, on the 50th anniversary of the funeral of...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 LESS IS MORE N obody was allowed to miss the arrival of the Islamic season of...

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a chance with such cars as display it. There must be an entrepreneur out there who is equal to this task. E ven before dear old Princess Margaret died my mind had turned to...

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Tony Blair has undermined the civil service to make it easier to lie

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PETER °BORNE T he Blair government has been timorous on most matters. On public services, welfare reform or the euro it has been hesitant, and at times has given the appearance...

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The US has been in the right for much of

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the past 50 years. That does not mean that she is right now MATTHEW PARRIS E dward Smith is a professional cricketer who plays for Kent, writes occasionally for intelligent...

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Melanie Phillips says the Archbishop of Wales is among Churchmen worried that opposition to Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism rooted deep in Christian theology IT was one...

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Paul Gottfried rejects Daniel Goldhagen's latest outburst, in which he identifies Christianity as the world's greatest source of anti-Semitism IN 1997 Daniel Goldhagen, a...

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Princess Margaret was not a People's Princess, says Theo Aronson, but she set the tone for the royal generation that followed 'I WOULDN'T like to live as long as my mother,'...

Mind your language

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WHY do we say `Go to hell in a handcart'? Alastair Laing, the art historian, asked himself the question, and he writes confessing that the trail of his investigations has gone...

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Colin Bostock - Smith remembers a time when men were men and rockers were wreckers — not like the wimps in the recent TV series I FEAR for our grandchildren. How on earth are...

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Ancient & modern

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AS the rail system disintegrates before our very eyes, it is some comfort to know that the Romans had the same problem. With them, it was the roads. Vegetius, a civil servant,...

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Bruce Anderson says that American fear of casualties almost certainly stopped the SAS from killing Osama bin Laden EARLY last month, a distinguished American went to see a...

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Roger Scruton reflects on the fury of the Guardian at his consultancy work for a tobacco company Naturally, Henry Kissinger was only prepared to explain the American generals'...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit THE role of the state, through the eyes of a new breed of liberal-left politician, is to free the individual from...

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Time for America to remember she is 'The City on the Hill'

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PAUL JOHNSON T he Sunday before Lent, which began on Wednesday, is marked by a famous passage from St Matthew, giving his version of the Sermon on the Mount, and adding Our...

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Greg Dyke's latest venture into scatology marked a significant cultural decline in the nation

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STEPHEN GLOV ER I t seems to be dawning on one or two members of the government that in making Greg Dyke director-general of the BBC they may have hastened the Corporation's...

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'Cowards' fight back

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From Mr Fred Butzen Sir: With regard to Simon Heffer's complaint (`Cowardy custards in the home of the brave', 9 February) that Americans are not travelling to Great Britain, it...

From Mr Scott Gonyea Sir: What reason do Americans have

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to travel to Europe? Lately, our airport security has been rampant with breaches and malfunctioning equipment. Not only that, but the chattering halfwits of Europe's upper class...

From Mr Howard Veit

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Sir: F you and the entire anti-Semitic EU. I'm not going there or buying from there. No French wines, no French perfume for my girlfriend, and instead of a BMW I've just bought...

From Mr Ronald Cansler Sir: Excellent article on nervous and

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nontravelling Americans. As an American tour operator, I am used to sending groups of 30 or 40 to England, but now am lucky to have 12 at a time. Americans, individually, seem...

Decadent Albion

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From Mr ILW Crocker III Sir: Matthew Parris (Another voice, 2 February) asks, 'What has happened to Conservative England's distrust of America?' Perhaps this distrust has...

Arrogant America

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From Lissa Demetdou Sir: Mark Steyn's diatribes against anyone critical of America's present stance have reminded me all too depressingly of the lines of Ogden Nash: The...

Nato's war crimes

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From Kate Thomas Sir: My congratulations to John Eaughland for such an excellent article (`Victors' justice', 9 February) which manages to condense so much background to the...

Example beats edict

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From Mr Ian Maitland Sir: Your leading article (9 February) is compelling but omits a key factor — public distrust of government 'experts'. who, we suspect, will write whatever...

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Cantnar's credo

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From Mr Jeremy Harris Sir: Mr Hobson ('Losing our religion', 2 February) asserts that the article by the Archbishop of Canterbury on Afghanistan and Iraq made no mention of the...

Why Islam must dominate

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From Mr Randhir Singh Bains Sir: Theodore Dalrymple (Creatures of the cultural cringe', 2 February) rightly blames multiculturalism for leading young Muslims to terrorism....

No dignity, no deference

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From Mr George L. Black Sir: Bruce Anderson ('The threat to the monarchy', 9 February) regrets the decline in esteem of the royal family and blames the media for this unhappy...

The justice of inequality

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From Mr Henry Cohen Sir: Alasdair Palmer's synopsis of the late Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia ('The price of freedom', 9 February) was enjoyable enough to make me...

Young and foolish

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From Sir Tim Rice Sir: Your promising new theatre critic, Toby Young, is showing worrying signs of a serious affliction that affects many of his kind, viz.. slagging off a...

'Punch' plea

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From Professor Peter Mellini Sir: Would your readers have any anecdotes or suggestions to help me write a history/biography of Punch, 1841-1992, another national institution...

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I'm applying to the Bank of England for a licence to print money

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES T his is the opportunity of a lifetime. I am going to buy the Bank of England's printing works at leafy Debden, in Essex. It will be a licence to print...

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Not quite the man you thought

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Philip Hensher THE LONG RECESSIONAL: THE IMPERIAL LIFE OF RUDYARD KIPLING by David Gilmour John Murray, 122.50, pp. 368, ISBN 07195553% Gracious heavens, are there no taboos at...

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Attempting to change the male

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Nicola McAllister THE HORNED MAN by James Lasdun Cape, £10.99, pp. 194, ISBN 0224062174 L awrence Miller, the narrator of and almost entirely lone voice in The Horned Man,...

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The way we live now — fast and furious

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Andrew Barrow GODCHILDREN by Nicholas Coleridge Orion, £12.99, pp. 595, ISBN 0752811630 h is novel is about a mysterious tycoon called Marcus Brand — reputedly the 27th richest...

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Taking pains to seem spontaneous

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Jonathan Keates THE LETTERS OF GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, VOLUMES I AND II, 1830-1880 selected, edited and translated by Francis Steegmuller Picador, £20, pp. 720, ISBN 0330488473 F...

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The engaged artist

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Robert Edric OF MEN AND THEIR MAKING: THE SELECTED NON-FICTION OF JOHN STEINBECK edited by Susan Shillinglaw and Jackson J. Benson Allen Lane! Penguin, 125. pp. 429, ISBN...

Thin, uninterrupted thread

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P. J. Kavanagh A PELICAN IN THE WILDERNESS: HERMITS, SOLITARIES AND RECLUSES by Isabel Colegate HarperCollins. £16.99, pp. 284, ISBN 0002571420 W hat one might call the hermit...

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Competing with a ghost

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Philip Glazebrook THE TROUSER PEOPLE by Andrew Marshall Penguin, £14.99, pp. 307. ISBN 0670892378 I t is not easy to infuse the objective of a journey with sufficient romance...

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The paradox of the chase

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Jane Ridley THE INVENTION OF THE COUNTRYSIDE by Donna Landry Pa/grave, £42.50, pp. 306, ISBN 0333961544 THE WILD HOST by Rupert Isaacson Cassell, £25, pp. 296, ISBN 0304359246...

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It beggars belief

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Byron Rogers THE BEGGAR'S BENISON by David Stevenson Tuckwell. £18.99, pp. 276, ISBN 1862321345 h is book should be the most heroic work on the shelves of any historical...

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A man of letters but not books

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David Hughes JAMES STERN: A LIFE IN LETTERS, 1904-1993 by Miles Huddleston Michael Russell, £25, pp, 322, ISBN 0859552721 I n 1971 James Stern was asked to write an article on...

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Where are the Snows of yesteryear?

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Francis King THE UNSPEAKABLE SKIPTON by Pamela Hansford Johnson Prion. £8.99, pp. 192, ISBN 1853754714 A t the time of their deaths — his in 1980, hers a year later — C. P....

Deeply unfashionable, hugely popular

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Simon Ward I t's been on for ages and everyone says it's wonderful,' said my mother as she took me to a proper theatre for the first time. The play was The Mousetrap, I was 13...

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When two giants lived together

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Martin Gayford on Amsterdam's fascinating exhibition of work by Van Gogh and Gauguin I n Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen, a single wartime meeting between the physicists Werner...

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Transition: The London Art Scene in the Fifties (Barbican Gallery, till 14 April)

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Each man for himself Laura Gascoigne P eriods of austerity tend to be nostalgic only for those who haven't lived through them: if you remember the Fifties fondly, you probably...

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Attila (Royal Opera House) Albert Herring (Opera North)

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Verdi's clichés Michael Tanner T he Royal Opera's production of Verdi's Attila, dating from 1990, and now revived for the third time (pace the press handout), is a rare and...

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Royal Ballet (Clore Studio Upstairs)

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Creative chances Giannandrea Pomo A i eminent scholar once defined choreography as an 'intimate act', implying that there was more to it than just matching steps to music. The...

Humble Boy (Gielgud) The Island (Old Vic)

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Dazzling delight Toby Young H umble Boy, which has just transferred to the Gielgud from the Cottesloe, is breathtakingly good. The winner of the Critics Circle Theatre Award...

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Ali (15, selected cinemas)

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Man and myth Marcus Berkmann L ike its subject, Ali is a big noise: it dares you to treat it with disrespect. For months now this film has been looming over the release...

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Remembering the Princess

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Michael Vestey I hadn't intended to return to royalty this week but when I heard the announcement of Princess Margaret's death on Today on Radio Four last Saturday morning I...

Surrealist air

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Simon Hoggart C rime and Punishment (BBC 2) may not have been the roost watched programme of the past week, but I bet it proves to be the most influential. (It was up against...

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Sparkling form

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Robin Oakley T he Thames Trains driver on the way back from Newbury Racecourse last Saturday thoughtfully warned us shortly before Hayes and Harlington to watch out for...

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Global appeal

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Simon Court auld I remember it was in February, most gloomy of months, three or four years ago, that I decided to make life gloomier by trying the cabbage-soup diet. But I gave...

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Sheer pleasure

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Alan Judd D o people go for drives any more, with nowhere in mind and no point to the journey beyond the making of it? Many used to, at least until the 1960s. Some, such as a...

Teenage rats

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Taki IRougemont was going to write about the 25-yearold female teacher whom a jury judged not guilty of raping teenage boys, but then the sainted editor took the words right...

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Just listening

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Jeremy Clarke 0 n my 45th birthday I rang up the Samaritans. I wanted to become a volunteer, I said, and the lady on the other end of the phone arranged for me to attend an...

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Wise words

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PetroneIla Wyatt W hen I was a child I remember some song from the radio called 'Nobody Loves A Fairy When She's Forty'. It was supposed to be funny but every time I heard it I...

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Narcolepts' nirvana

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Simon Barnes THE most boring thing about the Winter Olympics — and there is a fair old choice — is the way people keep telling you they are boring. Of course they're boring;...

Q. Recently, at a grand weekend house party, a smoked

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salmon that was undoubtedly of farmed origin was served at supper. I know exactly what goes into creating this product, and for ethical (not to mention health) reasons I won't...

Q. I have a very good local butcher. My problem

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is that, although he claims not to charge extra for delivery, he always seems to send a bigger cut of meat than I asked for when I placed the telephone order, perhaps as a way...

Q. Following the death of his sister, with whom he had always lived, an elderly neigh

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bour has suddenly emerged as a remarkably unconvincing transvestite. I've habitually greeted him on the street but feel discouraged from doing so now on the grounds that if he...