18 FEBRUARY 2006

Page 5

A bit of a drag

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M uch though we value the liberty of the individual, it would be futile to mount a lastgasp defence of the right to smoke in public when a motion to ban the activity has just...

Page 9

PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of

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the Exchequer, began speaking about all sorts of things outside his ministerial responsibility: security, identity cards, patriotism, a proposed Veterans’ Day each 27 June....

Page 11

T he film-maker Michael Cockerell has a priceless ability to persuade

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politicians to make fools of themselves. His chosen technique is flattery. Cockerell manages to convince them that his gentle fly-on-the-wall documentaries will reveal the human...

Page 12

The honeymoon is over for Cameron and the whispering campaign against him has begun

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F or two months now the Conservative party has been an unusually tranquil ship. What was once the most mutinous vessel in Westminster has, under David Cameron, changed tack and...

Page 14

In power but not in office — yet

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Peter Oborne says that Gordon Brown’s utterances on terrorism and ID cards indicate that he now sees himself as prime minister in all but name I t has finally become accepted...

Page 16

Don’t blame the squaddies

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Andrew Gilligan says the British soldiers who beat up the Iraqi rioters have become surrogates for our deep moral worry about Iraq W atching the News of the World ’s video of...

Page 18

Mind your language

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My husband has discovered ‘organic’ dried apricots, which lack the traffic-light glow of their coloured cousins and the concomitant taste of sulphur. He chews them while...

Render unto Dubya

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Tom Walker is tailed by spooks as he goes hunting for evidence of US intelligence activity in Morocco T he first time I went to Morocco my friend Neil twisted his knee on top of...

Page 20

Trial by tabloid

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Ross Clark says we should leave Sion Jenkins alone: his acquittal was the mark of a civilised legal system I have no idea whether Sion Jenkins — the former Hastings deputy...

Page 22

Ancient & modern

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As the Blair reign draws to a close, how is the transfer of power to his successor to be organised so as to leave his achievements in place and his legacy intact? Mr Blair has...

Sinister mutations

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The Troubles may be officially over, says Michael Burleigh , but Belfast’s paramilitary groups continue to expand their criminal empires B elfast resembles many postindustrial...

Page 24

Boardroom girly-men

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European companies are buying up many of our best businesses, says Simon Nixon , but the British response has been surprisingly limp S omething remarkable is taking place in...

Page 25

This is the first in a new series by Theodore Dalrymple about the connection between medicine and literature.

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One of my character traits — somewhere between a habit and a vice — is an urge to go into a second-hand bookshop whenever I see, or even learn about, one. And in Adelaide...

Page 26

A ‘Rhineland moment’?

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From David Jones Owen Sir: You claim you will not publish the Danish cartoons because they are ‘juvenile’ and offensive (Leading article, 11 February). Does that mean that...

From Eric Lightfoot

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Sir: Thank you for a well-written, balanced and thought-provoking leading article. May I suggest copies are sent to all members of the Cabinet, to all the leaders of British...

Islam and the Cross

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From David Eddyshaw Sir: Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 11 February) says in passing that Muslims ‘oddly’ deny the crucifixion of Jesus. This is true but by no...

The limits of liberty

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From Dennis Morris Sir: Apropos Daniel Wolf’s article (‘Censorship wasn’t all bad’, 4 February) and the question of freedom becoming licence, there are two other...

Wet Stones

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From Rodney Garrood Sir: Rod Liddle’s confirmation that the Rolling Stones are less than bolshevik will come as a complete surprise to nobody, least of all, one suspects, the...

What drives Boris

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From Alex Moulton Sir: I was surprised to read that Boris Johnson, as a cyclist and historian, had not pondered on what had allowed the reduction of wheel size from the...

A Franco–Russian war

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From David J. Kidd Sir: I hope Jane Kelly is as unimpressed by the replies to her letter as I am (Letters, 11 February). Britain’s Liberal administration entered the 1914 war...

Page 28

Now they are even trying to take sin away from us

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G ood news from the world of international commerce. An American company has at last copyrighted sin, which means that it is no longer available to the rest of us. Unless we...

Page 30

Even Lassie gets to Yorkshire quicker than the Royal Mail these days

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W atching the charming remake of Lassie , I realised — stifling a sob — how easy it was to suspend my disbelief that a soulful collie could make a solo journey from the...

Page 32

The best guide to the behaviour of modern politicians is found in the plays of Pirandello

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B ritain’s stages have, since the fateful 9/11, been full of ‘political plays’. Even more so than usual, in a country which is thought, reasonably enough, not to be much...

Page 34

Not bad going, to do one imperishable thing in life

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T here are some people who do one distinct thing in their life only one — but it is enough, just, to confer immortality on them. Such a person was Arthur Hugh Clough...

Page 36

To Fairplay, via Dinosaur and Conifer

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Olivia Glazebrook takes a Chevy to explore America W e have driven from Los Angeles in a hired Chevy, and we’re halfway through our road trip. So far California, Nevada,...

Page 38

Luxury afloat

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Penny Junor B oats and I have history. My introduction to them was in 1959, aged nine, when my father decided it was time to branch out from north Cornwall for our summer...

Page 40

Dixième delights

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Tim Heald I first went to Paris with my father in the 1950s. My black and white box Brownie picture shows him standing in the Champs-Elysées staring ferociously at a map held...

Page 42

High on Holi day

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Lucy Beresford ‘W ill Madam be enjoying any cannabis?’ No, my jet-lagged ears are not deceiving me. The dignified waiter in my New Delhi hotel seems genuinely curious. I...

Page 43

A courtier of relentless curiosity

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Raymond Carr T HE D IARY OF J OHN E VELYN based on the edition by E. S. De Beer, selected and introduced by Roy Strong Everyman, £14.99, pp.1013, ISBN 1857152913 V £11.99...

Page 44

Rampaging through Georgia

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Alan Wall T HE M ARCH by E. L. Doctorow Little, Brown, £11.99, pp. 367, ISBN 0316731986 ✆ £9.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 E . L. Doctorow tackles mighty themes. He...

Page 46

The weasels in the wordpile

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Graham Stewart UNSPEAK by Steven Poole Little, Brown, £9.99, pp. 282, ISBN 0316731005 T he etymologists of the Oxford English Dictionary should be alerted that Steven Poole...

Page 48

Sweet and sour flavour of the Big Apple

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Alexander Chancellor G ONE TO N EW Y ORK by Ian Frazier Granta, £12.99, pp. 203, ISBN 1862078203 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he first thing that came into my...

Page 49

Stones of contention

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Ruth Guilding T HE E LGIN M ARBLES : T HE S TORY OF A RCHAEOLOGY ’ S G REATEST C ONTROVERSY by Dorothy King Hutchinson, £18.99, pp. 340, ISBN 0091800137 ✆ £15.19 (plus...

Ancient trails and quests

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Andrew Taylor T HE G RAVE T ATTOO by Val McDermid HarperCollins, £17.99, pp. 467, ISBN 0007142854 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE C ONJURER ’ S B IRD by...

Page 50

Paddling through Canada

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Joanna Kavenna VOYAGEUR: A CROSS THE R OCKY M OUNTAINS IN A B IRCHBARK CANOE by Robert Twigger Weidenfeld, £14.99, pp. 390, ISBN 9780297829812 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

Page 51

Marcel the Magnificent

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Jonathan Keates A N IGHT AT THE M AJESTIC by Richard Davenport-Hines Faber, £14.99, pp. 358, ISBN 0571220088 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 P roust is rapidly...

Page 52

Brothers and sisters in revolt

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Ben Wilson A R OYAL A FFAIR by Stella Tillyard Chatto, £20, pp. 386, ISBN 0701173068 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A fter a family quarrel in 1717, George I ordered...

Page 54

Visual tapas

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Laura Gascoigne Spanish Masters York Art Gallery, until 26 March L ast spring, in honour of the reopening of the refurbished York Art Gallery, the statue of local artist...

Page 56

Impresario or artist?

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Andrew Lambirth Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997) Tate Modern, until 7 May R ight from the start of this retrospective exhibition, the complications set in. In Room 1 are four...

Page 58

Newsroom camaraderie

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Olivia Glazebrook Good Night, and Good Luck PG, selected cinemas F rom playing bedside dish Dr Ross in the TV series ER to directing, co-writing and starring in Good Night,...

Miller’s antiques

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Michael Tanner The Mikado; Rigoletto English National Opera Salome Opera North, Nottingham H aving had no operatic performances at all in January, English National Opera is...

Page 60

False note

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Toby Young Blackbird Albery Honour Wyndham’s B lackbird is the kind of play critics absolutely adore. Indeed, the reason it has managed to secure a berth in the West End —...

Page 61

Tribute to a legend

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Giannandrea Poesio Maya Plisetskaya 80th Birthday Tribute Royal Opera House L iving ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya might be 80, but she does not look it. Her first entrance on...

As time goes by

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James Delingpole U ntil I had a daughter I used to think the problem with me and girls was me. But when you’re given the chance to observe the female of the species up close...

Page 62

No laughing matter

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Michael Vestey R adio News moved smartly last week to mount a special programme about Denmark and the carefully planned Muslim protests against cartoons depicting Mohammed that...

Page 63

Sobering process

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Alan Judd M otoring correspondents are generally assumed to be free of the burden of buying their own cars. For a lucky few this is true. If you regularly test drive for a...

What a carve up

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Taki Ancona I am here on a pilgrimage, honouring the descendants of this greatest of Italian towns, men like Galileo, Michelangelo, Dante and, of course, Matthew d’Ancona,...

Page 64

Shedding light

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Jeremy Clarke T here’s a stone-built shed in our garden. The floor is cobbled with smooth pebbles collected from the beach 150 years ago when the shed was built. Likewise,...

Page 65

Hope in hell

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Aidan Hartley Nairobi T he finest view of what Kenya’s corrupt political leaders have done to this beautiful nation may be observed from the summit of Africa’s largest...

Page 66

T he Somers Town Coffee House is on Chalton Street in

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NW1, just off the Euston Road, on the edge of Somers Town. It should be easy to get to but somehow isn’t. I think it might be my two companions, who navigate while I drive and...

Page 69

I am excited about this offer, from the admirable Hertfordshire firm

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Hedley Wright. All the wines are packed with flavour and character and that special heady, perfumed quality you normally find in bottles at much higher prices. It may have...

Page 79

Des back in res

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FRANK KEATING O n the face of it, Manchester United at Liverpool is the irresistible FA Cup tie of the weekend, with needle all the sharper for the rancorous matches the two...


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Dear Mary Q. Some friends and I have been discussing the vexed question of vegetarians, and opinions are divided as to whether they should announce this (or any other dietary...

Q. A.E.’s husband’s desire to spotlight his Maserati ownership may

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backfire. I recall attending a Sunday League game at Lord’s one afternoon in about l980. A Tannoy announcement asked, ‘Would the owner of the silver Jensen registration XYZ...

Q. I live in a (comparatively) grand house in Kensington.

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Every so often there is a knock at the door and I will find someone standing there collecting money for charity, or saying they are selling something in order to raise their...