16 FEBRUARY 2008

Page 5

Just leave them alone, Darling

The Spectator

I f there is a posture that will be indelibly associated with the Chancellorship of Alistair Darling — brief though it may turn out to be — it is that of a man forced into...

Page 9

T his week I have been prey to a prolonged bout

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of insomnia induced, I suspect, by the fact that I stay up to watch the BBC’s Ten O’Clock News followed by Newsnight and, invariably, one or the other contains an item which...

Page 10

Trying to work out what David Cameron really thinks, I had a strange sense of déjà vu

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H e is the longest serving of our major party leaders. He could be Prime Minister next year. He has had publicity that many a politician would kill for. Yet how many voters can...

Page 11

E ntering my name in the visitors’ book at the British

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Embassy in Paris last week, I saw, a couple of lines above, the signature ‘Tony Blair’. The ex-leader is in France a lot just now. Tony is very fond of President Nicolas...

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MONDAY Do I have to do everything around here? Silly Suzie from Dave’s office is too frightened to ask Lord A to move a load of packing boxes he’s left outside his office so...

Page 14

Pakistan needs more than elections.

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Only a new political class will do Stephen Schwartz says that, in this failing state, the ballot box is also a tinderbox. Even if Monday’s election goes ahead, Pakistan might...

Page 16

Meet the minister for selling the unsellable

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Fraser Nelson warms to Jim Murphy, the Minister for Europe, who is steering the Lisbon Treaty through parliament — and now promises that he would help Blair become EU...

Page 18

A morning cigar and a glass of wine with Sir John

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At 84, John Mortimer is still thrilled by his latest theatrical success, appalled by the cult of ‘health and fitness’ and sorry that the Labour party he loved has vanished....

Page 19

The first of an occasional column on the perils of

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trying to be green, run a family and live a pleasurable life. M y chocolate chip cookies have arrived at the farm shop. Caroline apologises as I walk in: ‘I’m afraid...

Page 20

Britain just got Weller: meet the Jam Generation

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Anne McElvoy talks to the politicians reared on the 1980s music of the Jam: post-Cold War, disenchanted with state monopolies, and cagey about Class A drugs W hat do David...

Page 21

T hank goodness I retired in time from the National Health

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Service: it has cut down enormously the number of forms I have to fill in. The latest proto-genocidal form sent out to employees by my erstwhile employers was called ‘a data...

Page 22

The Archbishop is little more than a

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posh John Prescott in a black dress Rod Liddle is infuriated by a church leader who refuses to confront the inhumanity perpetrated in the name of Islam or the consequences —...

Page 24

Pause for tort

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Sir: Reading Sir David Tang’s diary last week, in which he recounts the story of me ‘Googling’ him on a train, made me reflect on how recollections of events can differ...

Terrorism in the raw

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Sir: Since your correspondent R.L. O’Shaughnessy (Letters, 9 February) directly challenges me to say whether I have ‘ever experienced terrorism in the raw’, I hope you...

Golden fleece

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Sir: Allister Heath’s piece entitled ‘Fleecing non-doms’ (26 January) was excellent. In particular his point that ‘no taxpayer should be treated better than others...

Dishonourable exception

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Sir: Following Rod Liddle’s comments on smoking ( ‘ Still fuming’, 2 February), there is an additional point to make. The palace of Westminster is the only private club...

English delicacy

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Sir: In his splendid, appetite-inducing piece on food (And another thing, 9 February), Paul Johnson forgets one great English delicacy — the truly magnificent chip butty. As a...

Page 26

If the Archbishop were really an intellectual, he’d answer the questions he wordily posed

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‘H ow was it,’ asks George Eliot in Middlemarch , ‘that in the weeks since her marriage, Dorothea had not distinctly observed but felt with a stifling depression, that the...

Page 28

How one extraordinary talent may be the key to genius

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W hat is a genius? We use the word frequently but surely, to guard its meaning, we should bestow it seldom. To me, a genius is a person whose gift contains an element of the...

Page 30

The wisdom of selling ahead of the crowd

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Dominic Prince says that some of the world’s canniest investors have consolidated their fortunes by moving into cash as soon as economic storm clouds started to gather S ix...

Page 31

You wouldn’t buy Britain in this state, so why hold your cash in pounds?

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Merryn Somerset Webb A few minutes reading the Daily Mail and you might think that there wasn’t a person left in Britain with a penny to their name. But it isn’t so. Half...

Page 32

Members only: the sociable way to invest

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Edie G. Lush discovers how a wealthy elite are clubbing together to buy into high-growth private companies A re you a serial investor, but with more money than time? You like...

Page 34

The East powers ahead while America stumbles

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Ian Cowie asks whether high-growth economies such as China’s are a safer bet than those of the debt-laden West E merging markets have been the most profitable game in town for...

Page 36

The timeless beauty of a Stradivari

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Joanna Pitman says owning a valuable Italian violin is doubly rewarding if it is played by a great musician H ow many investments can bring you joy as well as financial gain?...

Page 38

Congratulations on your prosperity, but go cautiously in the Year of the Rat

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H ong Kong’s underperforming Disneyland theme park has high hopes for the Chinese Year of the Rat, which arrived in boisterous style last week. As one of the few businesses...

Page 41

Set charities free

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Greg Clark, the shadow minister for charities, explains how the government is stifling the voluntary sector F or the first time in our history, Britain’s charities receive...

Page 42

A new ‘age of giving’?

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Ross Clark says a new class of philanthropist has emerged in Britain, inspired not by our European neighbours but by America I ’m not quite sure what the French is for...

Page 44

How to give

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Robert Gore-Langton offers a practical guide to the nuts and bolts of being a philanthropist A sk any management guru, apostle, or Greek philosopher. The world’s main...

Page 46

A priceless experience

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Jeremy Clarke says volunteering broadened his horizons and gave him his first introduction to genuine intellectuals A fter I left school I was first an under-aged barman, then...

Page 49


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The strange experience of England A. N. Wilson P OWYS AND E MMA G OLDMAN : T HE L ETTERS OF J OHN C OWPER P OWYS AND E MMA G OLDMAN edited by David Goodway Cecil Woolf,...

Page 51

The slave in the next room

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Charlotte Moore C oUNTING THE S TARS by Helen Dunmore Fig Tree, £16.99, pp. 274, ISBN 9780670917068 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Roman,’ declares Catullus,...

All at sea in Shanghai

The Spectator

Olivia Cole M Y F AvoURITE W IFE by Tony Parsons HarperCollins, £17.99, pp. 374, ISBN 9780007226481 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he conquering white male,...

Page 52

Not under the volcano

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Ian Thomson T HE V OYAGE THAT N EVER E NDS edited by Michael Hoffmann New York Review of Books, £16.99, pp. 514, ISBN 9781590172353 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

A Soft-edged Reed of Light

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That was the house where you asked me to remain on the eve of my planned departure. Do you remember? The house remembers it — the deal table with the late September sun...

Page 53

Winner by a nose

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Blair Worden CYRANO by Ishbel Addyman Simon & Schuster, £16.99, pp. 307, ISBN 9780743286190 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen, after his exertions on behalf of...

Page 54

Triumph of the little ships

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Michael Rose G UNBOAT C OMMAND : T HE B IOGRAPHY OF L IEUTENANT C OMMANDER R OBERT H ICHENS DSO, DSC, RNVR by Antony Hichens Pen & Sword, £25, pp. 341, ISBN 9781844156566 ✆...

Grace under pressure

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Richard Briand T HE R ACE by Richard North Patterson Macmillan, £26, pp. 339, ISBN 978140505389 ✆ £20.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 C an a straight-talking Republican...

Page 55

A slice off the top

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D. R. Thorpe T HE C ARLTON C LUB , 1832-2007 by Sir Charles Petrie and Alistair Cooke obtainable from The Carlton Club, 69 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1PJ, £30, pp. 264...

Dial M for mother

The Spectator

Caroline Moore H IS I LLEGAL S ELF by Peter Carey Faber, £16.99, pp. 272, ISBN 9780571231515 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 P eter Carey’s fictions are like a...

Page 56

The son of Mann

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K laus Mann’s Journals don’t pretend to be a work of literature; they are jottings, records of day-today existence, full of names many of which will mean nothing to readers...

Page 57

Roman souvenir

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Laura Gascoigne follows in the footsteps of the 18th-century Grand Tourist ‘I was much disappointed in seeing Rome,’ complained the English traveller Sarah Bentham in the...

Page 58

Back to nature

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Andrew Lambirth By Leafy Ways: Early Work by Ivor Abrahams Against Nature: The hybrid forms of modern sculpture Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, until 4 May T he Henry Moore...

Page 59

Count me out

The Spectator

Deborah Ross The Bucket List 12A, Nationwide A s Rob Reiner should know better and Jack Nicholson should know better and Morgan Freeman should know better, what you have here...

Page 60

Dissent in Sydney

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Peter Phillips N ever have my asseverations in this column attracted so much attention as those about the Dean and Archbishop of Sydney. If anyone were to think that...

Page 61

Bleak house

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Lloyd Evans Uncle Vanya Rose Theatre, Kingston The Death of Margaret Thatcher Courtyard A t last the Rose has burst into bloom in Kingston. Luckily I allowed myself twice...

Page 62

Winning Beast

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Giannandrea Poesio James son of James Barbican Three Short Works Royal Opera House I t is a pity that the definition ‘theatre dance’ is commonly used to indicate any...

Thrilled by Strauss

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Michael Tanner Salome Bridgewater Hall Peter Grimes Nottingham Die Zauberflöte Royal Opera House D oes Richard Strauss’s Salome still have the power to shock, as the...

Page 63

Great inspirations

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Charles Spencer ‘I think continually of those who were truly great,’ wrote Stephen Spender, which must have been awkward when he was trying to read a map, cook the lunch,...

Page 64

Beware the Hun

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Simon Hoggart I n the past, television battle scenes consisted of half a dozen men in armour knocking seven bells out of each other. Then the camera angle switched and the same...

Page 65

Uncomfortable truths

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Kate Chisholm T here was something ironic about a play entitled The Trial and Death of Socrates being broadcast on the weekend that our own great thinker, Rowan Williams, was...

Back to the soil

The Spectator

Ursula Buchan I have waited several years for this moment — in fact, ever since the late 1990s upsurge in interest in gardening began to fade, the press stopped talking about...

Page 66

Western folly

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Taki Gstaad ‘ L et me put it in, just a little bit’ was known as the second biggest lie after ‘the cheque is in the mail’ and it comes to mind when the Archbishop of...

Page 67

Flying circles

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Jeremy Clarke T hinkers living in the nearest market town are anxious about something called ‘Peak Oil’. Last week they held a public meeting on the subject: To Fly Or Not...

Page 68

Delaying tactics

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Melissa Kite W hy can’t anyone agree to the smallest thing any more without asking you to put it in an email? I rang a friend and asked him to have lunch with me this week...

Page 70


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In the blink of an eye Alistair Scott uses his baby-blues to fast-track his way into the UK I am fortunate to have had quite a few casual compliments about my blue eyes over...

Page 78

Where is the next generation of Toby Youngs? It’s my turn to dismiss their drivel

The Spectator

I n 1988, Weidenfeld and Nicolson published a book called The Oxford Myth . Edited by Rachel Johnson and containing essays by a variety of precocious undergraduates, it was the...

Mind your language

The Spectator

In my husband’s coat pocket when I took it to the cleaner’s I found a piece of paper that he had brought home from the dentist’s. It contained remarks about the word...

Page 79

Spectator Sport

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M y friend Simon has a lovely bench in his garden made up of the blue-painted wooden seats he sat in with his dad when they went to Rugby League decades ago. He bought them when...

your problemS Solved

The Spectator

Dear Mary Q. I am currently living, with two others, in a ‘high end’ house in an elegant garden square in Chelsea. We are all friends of, and pay rent in some form to, our...

Q. I am a relatively junior member of a large

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publishing company and some of my colleagues have deputed me to write to you. We work in a busy but tranquil open-plan office where a handful of senior figures work in the...