17 NOVEMBER 2001

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M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said that the United

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Nations should rapidly take up a presence in Kabul to fill the vacuum left by the departure of the Taleban; he expected the Northern Alliance to share power in a new government....

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WCIN 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706: Fax 020-7242 0603 KEEP IT SIMPLE T is a famous victory, and irritating little Peterkins who dare to...

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M y kung fu teacher knocks on my door at 8 a.m. sharp. For the next two hours he kicks me all over my basement. Then he charges me fb0. I think that's quite reasonable. David...

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Why Gordon Brown hates Jack McConnell

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. . and it's got nothing to do with sex PETER OBORNE R egrettably there is no space this week to give more than passing treatment to the ailing career of Charlie Falconer....

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Revealed at last: why the G-spot doesn't work without the T-spot.

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Earlier this year a great wave of anxiety pulsed through the British media. Young women, it seems, are neglecting their relationships and their partners because they are...

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Probity and sincerity are admirable qualities, but they don't make for a good politician

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MATTHEW PAR RIS D oes it matter whether a politician is sincere? In the corner of my mind the question whispered itself with gentle insistence as, sitting round a kitchen...

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Julian Manyon sees the devastation wrought by the B-52s, but says that the fall of Kabul is not the end of the struggle Kabul THERE is a peculiar fascination in driving through...

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Ancient & modern A 15-YEAR-OLD is leading a 300 strong private

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army against the Taleban. But that's youth for you, Aristotle (384-322 BO would argue. In his Art of Rhetoric, he devotes considerable space to discussing the points one can...


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John Laughland on the left-wing Eurosceptic and traditionalist who is emerging as the third man in the French presidential election TO lose one ministerial post may be a...

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Mark Steyn says that, in spite of the latest horror, Americans are not scared of flying. But they do hate lousy service and endless delays New Hampshire ON the face of it, it...

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Mind your language

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A READER was kind enough to send me a postcard with a picture of the Venerable Bede on it saying how gruntied he (the reader) was to read my column discussing the overdone...

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Some Turks observe Ramadan, others do not: Norman Stone on a state that is a model for the Islamic world Ankara UNTIL the Seventies, the closest country to Afghanistan was...

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Bruce Anderson says Charles Guthrie knocked the pacifism out of the PM and turned him into a warrior for the West THE United Kingdom now has a new military doctrine, as will...

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Anne McElvoy tells an everyday story of ambition, betrayal, jealousy and failure in the Labour party FIRST there was Anji, who met Tony long ago at a posh Scots teenage party,...

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Tony Blair says he's a friend of the entrepreneur, but, says Neil Collins, the Labour party hates profits A PROFIT is not without honour, save in its own country. Tony Blair...

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There has been a failure of both analysis and reporting on the war in Afghanistan

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STEPHEN GLOVER T he war party is in full cry, and the Sun is at the head of it. Those who opposed the war, and those who simply expressed misgivings, are branded as traitors....

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Jam on the doughnuts the new dispensation has winners as well as losers

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CHRISTOPHER FII DES W hat do you buy in a recession? Doughnuts? Well, someone must. Since 11 September the shares of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have risen by 30 per cent, much to...

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A great scholar who understood the need for order in art

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PAUL JOHNSON E rnst Gombrich taught me more about art than any other writer I have read. He did not have Ruskin's astonishing descriptive power, or his philosophical...

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Not dead yet

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From Mr Victor Black Sir: Andrew Gimson (The Tories are finished', 10 November) is too hasty in writing off the Tories. I have watched British general elections closely since...

Holy mistaken

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From Mr John Pearce Sir: Equating the understanding of reasons for terrorism with finding excuses for the appalling deeds of terrorists is a primitive mistake, which invalidates...

Scripture lessons

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From Dr Clare Hornsby Sir: I was so happy to read Katie Grant's piece on martyrdom ('Would you die for your faith?', 10 November). As a Catholic, I share her admiration for the...

FMD facts From Lady Emma Tennant Sir: Ian Gardiner, deputy

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director-general of the NFU, says that the main reason the NFU opposed vaccination was that 'no one could give us the assurance that it would actually shorten the epidemic'...

Powell replies

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From Lord Powell of Bayswater Sir: Stephen Glover's article (Media studies. 10 November) makes unsubstantiated insinuations about me. May I put the record straight on some...

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Sour scent

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From Mr Arthur Burnham Sir: I was very disappointed by the sour note in Jo Johnson's piece (Nose to the grindstone', 10 November) in your otherwise pleasant and positive...


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From Mr John Laughland Sir: It is rather odd of C. Francis Warren (Letters, 10 November) to adduce the Elysee Treaty of 1963 in support of his view that the Franco-German axis...

Verifying Sir Laurens

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From Mr James Sanders Sir: As the person responsible for the factchecking and footnotes of J.D.F. Jones's Storyteller: The Many Lives of Laurens van der Post, I must respond to...

Vietnam not in vain

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From Mr John Colvin, CMG Sir: Matthew Parris (Another voice, 3 November) declared that Vietnam ended in palpable humiliation, presumably for the US. It did not. The American...


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From Mr Gerry Blake Sir: Sheep's eyeballs were never meant to be eaten (If it moves... ', 10 November), merely to be passed round the table to show the guests how fresh the...

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Parliamentarian of the Year: the winners

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THE 18th annual Parliamentarian of the Year awards, sponsored by The Spectator and, for the first time, by Zurich Financial Services, were presented by the Home Secretary, the...

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DIARY 2002 £15 Plain f16 Initialled The Spectator 2002 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available at the same price as last year. Laid out with a whole week...

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Anita Brookner

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The best and most overrated books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors Despite the best efforts of publicists, this was not a distinguished year. Truly...

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Rarely bored, never boring

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Philip Hensher THE COLLECTION by Peter Ackroyd, edited by Thomas Wright Chatto, 125, pp. 465, ISBN 0701173009 0 n the whole, one can't be doing with volumes of people's...

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Warning: laughter can cause wrinkles

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Katie Grant NIP 'N' TUCK by Kathy Lette Picador, .£14.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0330487396 MIDDLE AGE by Joyce Carol Oates Fourth Estate, £10.99, pp. 464, ISBN 1841156418 M iddle Age,...

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Fresh air in the hothouse

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Jane Ridley INVENTING THE VICTORIANS by Matthew Sweet Faber, £16.99, pp. 264, ISBN 0571206581 H ow prudish were the Victorians? Did they really cloak the legs of their pianos...

A choice of first novels

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Jack Wakefield h e Little Green Man by Simon Armitage (Viking, £12.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0670894427). Simon Armitage is a poet who, once upon a time, said that he would never write...

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First lady and her very errant knight

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Sarah Bradford MRS KENNEDY: THE MISSING HISTORY OF THE KENNEDY YEARS by Barbara Learning Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 389, ISBN 0297643339 B arbara Leaming is a respected biographer of...

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A hard balancing act

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Douglas Hurd THE PRIVATE OFFICE REVISITED by Nicholas Henderson Profile Books. £14. 99, pp. 206, ISBN 1861975007 F irst written 20 years ago, this work is mainly a gentle...

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Flying by the seat of her pants

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Simon Heifer NO, PRIME MINISTER! by Teresa Gorman John Blake, £16.99, pp. 364, ISBN 1904034004 I t is probably an arrestable offence, but I have to admit to a soft spot for...

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Still carrying an unquenchable torch for friendship

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Richard Shone UPS AND DOWNS: DIARIES, 1972-1975 by Frances Partridge Weidenfelcl, £18.99, pp. 350, ISBN 0297607170 I t is difficult to gauge the reactions of a newcomer to...

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From Marseilles to Ultima Thule

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Steve King THE EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGE OF PYTHEAS THE GREEK by Barry Cunliffe Allen Lane, U2.99, pp. 182, ISBN 0713995092 P ytheas the who? The name may not ring any bells, but it...

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Disagreement at the highest level

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Nick Seddon THE CLIMB by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt Macmillan, £16.99, pp. 372, ISBN 0333907159 A lthough the summit is 8,848m above sea-level, the conquest of Mount...

A graceful, almost flawless century

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William Rees-Mogg CRITICAL TIMES: THE HISTORY OF THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT by Derwent May HawerCollins, 125, pp. 603, ISBN 0007114494 T he Times Literary Supplement will...

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Too many shocks for comfort

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Patrick Skene Catling BANKS OF GREEN WILLOW by Kevin Myers Scribner, £12.99, pp. 276, ISBN 01903650127 T he best-written newspaper in the Republic of Ireland is the Irish Times...

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An abundance of the unnecessary

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Digby Anderson O ne of the welcome results of the current war, or at least of the atrocity which caused it, has been a slight increase in seriousness. In this new climate, the...

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Good eye, bad nose

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John McEwen PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: THE LIFE OF AN ART ADDICT by Anton Gill HarperCollins, .E25, pp. 505, ISBN 0002570785 A nton Gill's highly enjoyable biography respectfully...

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Nine murder suspects in the house of Big Brother

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Peter Bazalgette DEAD FAMOUS by Ben Elton Transworld, f16.99, pp. 339, ISBN 0593048040 F resh from extending his repertoire with a musical and a movie, Ben Elton has now tried...

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How to pick up a sponsor

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Laura Gascoigne looks at the relationship between galleries and their corporate backers W hen Burne-Jones was forced to withdraw his Phyllis and DemophoOn from the Old...

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Exhibitions 1

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Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836 (Courtauld Institute Gallery, till 20 January 2002) Hugger-mugger hang Martin Gayford P cople in...

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Exhibitions 2

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Exposed: The Victorian Nude (Tate Britain, till 27 January 2002) Coquetry and abandon Andrew Lambirth T he latest Tate blockbuster which launches the new galleries and...

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Glyndebourne Touring Opera (Theatre Royal, Norwich) Irresistible enjoyment Michael Tanner G lyndebourne Touring Opera is one of the most rewarding and least hymned of English...


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Slinky and slimy Ursula Buchan I cannot tell you what a relief it is that the days are short and cold. In other years, the putting-up of the bubble polythene insulation in the...

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Olden but golden

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Syd's genius Charles Spencer A t the age of 12 I was the youngest, happiest hippy in Surbiton. On days off school I'd potter around on my bike, which had very cool cowhorn...

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The Good Hope (Cottesloe) Gritty but grotty Toby Young he Good Hope is an odd choice of play to put on in the current climate. Written by a Dutch socialist called Herman...

Page 69

Kandahar (12, selected cinemas)

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Crusading message Mark Steyn K andahar — The Movie! Talk about a hit title, and just in time for liberation. A few months ago, this picture would have been Kandahoo? But now...


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Eidos:Telos (Ballett Frankfurt, Sadler's Wells) Thinking dancers Giannandrea Poesio I mmediacy might not be the first word that springs to mind when you think or talk about...

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Hostile reception Michael Vestey S ome of Britain's finest fruitcakes appeared in Love and Hate, Where Britain Meets America (Monday), a hugely enjoyable Radio Four...

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Painful parodies Simon Hoggart T elevision's stately progress up its own backside gathered pace this week, with a spoof of a spoof chat show, a spoof of a spoof horror film,...

The turf

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Real battlers Robin Oakley U ntil somebody succeeds in breeding a horse with the power of speech we will never actually know how much they care about being first past the...

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High life

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Crisp evisceration Taki T o Washington DC the nation's capital for a grand dinner honouring Barbara Olson, the feisty, blonde superstar television pundit, who died on 11...

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Low life

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Journey to eternity Jeremy Clarke E maho, in navy jacket and grey slacks, made us move our chairs closer together, then scrutinised us silently for a very long time, like...

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Singular life

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Forward with both forks PetroneIla Wyatt A nother diet has hit town. Whenever I see the word 'diet' I always think of the Frankfurt Diet. This sounds like a diet of...

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DEBORAH ROSS is not writing this. I am. I am

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her son and I am writing the artikel for her this week so that she doesn't get into trubble or Get the Sack, My mum cannot write it herself because she is in a Big Sulk and is...

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THIS is the second of our grand Christmas offers. It

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comes from a long-standing friend of Spectator readers, Robin Yapp, who lives and works in an idyllic group of buildings in Mere. Wiltshire. Robin is a reformed dentist, who let...

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Fascinating... enigmatic.... unique... That's Inspector Morse, the greatest TV detective of all time?

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W e have a superb Morse audio book, featuring three gripping stories read by Kevin Whately (Lewis!), free for every Spectator reader. Sit back and listen to the stories unfold,...

Page 83

Family fortunes

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Simon Barnes I KNOW just how Australians of the rugby-watching tendency will be feeling right now. That's because my father beat me at pingpong last time we played. Last...

Dear Mary. . .

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Q. Dining in Shepherd's last month, my dinner was ruined by a woman at the next table who spoke to her companion in a loud, braying voice. Though the tables were a decent...