19 APRIL 2008

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Welcome back, England

The Spectator

O n 19 February 2005 The Spectator ’s cover bore the arresting headline: ‘Goodbye England’, and the sombre silhouette of a lone huntsman. The issue attracted much attention,...

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L ast week several people — well, two to be exact

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— asked me if I was looking forward to St George’s Day. One of them was a road-sweeper. Apparently it falls this year on 23 April, although in 1861 its date appears to be two...

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Alex Salmond is nudging the English towards independence without them realising it

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B efore the campaign for an English parliament has time to gather critical mass, its goal may already be achieved. The first vote David Cameron’s government holds on health will...

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W hen informed that this was to be The Spectator ’s English

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Special Issue, I happened to be reading a novel by John Buchan called Midwinter . It concerns an unsuccessful attempt by a young Highland laird, Alastair Maclean, to raise...

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MONDAY Big panic. Some of our candidates in marginal seats have been ringing up asking why they can’t find any nice piccies of Dave standing next to a flag which they can use in...

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Here in Transylvania, it feels okay to be proudly English

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As nationalities proliferate, the English want their turn, says Rod Liddle — who considers himself British first. St George’s Day and ‘Englishness’ have been partially...

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Hands off Jerusalem, my family heirloom

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George Bridges on the part played by his great-grandfather, Robert Bridges, in the composition of Parry’s music to Blake’s lyric: too precious, he says, to be hijacked by...

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‘It’s the most English thing you could imagine!’

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Robert Gore-Langton talks to Sir Donald Sinden about his part in the celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday, chocolates with Gielgud, and making friends with Bosie S hakespeare’s...

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Mind your language

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When I read that the Queen has cancelled a deferred party at the Ritz intended to mark her diamond wedding anniversary, I wondered who had first come up with the name diamond...

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We need the English music that the Arts Council hates

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Roger Scruton hails the glorious achievements of the English composers, and their role in idealising the gentleness of the English arcadia — so loathed by our liberal elite T he...

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So what is England?

The Spectator

To celebrate St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, The Spectator asked some leading public figures for their answers to this vexing question. Here are their sometimes...

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The French Left has much to learn from the English

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Blairism may have had its day on this side of the Channel, but Bernard-Henri Lévy says that the English Third Way should be a model to his Gallic comrades F rench Socialists are...

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Ad libs

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Sir: Rory Sutherland provides at least one reason why admen shouldn’t be allowed to run the show (‘Mad Men are taking over the world’, 12 April): they believe too strongly that...

Nothing sacred

The Spectator

Sir: How depressing — an attempt by the BBC to give sacred choral music a significant airing on television, torn to shreds by one of the country’s leading choral directors...

Justice for Mosley

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Sir: Taki is undoubtedly the master at throwing, metaphorically, one bone to a number of dogs and then seemingly unconcerned at the outcome, moving on. I refer to the little...

T5 fiasco

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Sir: I read with disbelief the profile by Judi Bevan of BAA chairman Sir Nigel Rudd (‘Facing the flak at Terminal 5’, 12 April). How can he say of Willie Walsh, chief executive...

Life as we know it

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Sir: I read The Spectator from cover to cover and enjoy it very much. However, the only thing I identify with is the Low Life column. So what on earth are you doing sending...

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Britain has lost an empire and found a role: to faff on about pirates and biofuels

The Spectator

P olitical wisdom coming from Robert Mugabe is hard to swallow. Nonetheless, I think the leathery old butcher might be on to something. ‘Gordon Brown,’ he said last week, ‘is a...

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When fine art jostles fashion art off the stage

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T he Cranach show at the Royal Academy is splendid and great fun. Lucas Cranach was perhaps the fastest painter who ever lived, working with astonishing speed and dexterity,...

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How to rescue a bank: be firm, be quick, be quiet

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Ian Hay Davison draws lessons for the handling of the Northern Rock crisis from his experience as chairman of National Mortgage Bank after its collapse in 1992 T o judge from...

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Lessons for less: affordable excellence

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Neil Collins commends the business plan, and the educational ethos, of the New Model School Company S croll through the Multimap website to Bosworth Road, London W10, and it...

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The Spectator

A radical, pantheistic nationalist Patrick Marnham D IEGO R IvERA : T HE C OMPLETE M URALS edited by Luis-Martin Lozano and Juan Rafael Coronel Rivera Taschen, £120, pp. 672,...

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A boy’s own world

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Simon Baker PILCROW by Adam Mars-Jones Faber, £18.99, pp. 525, ISBN 9780571217038 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Tb e pilcrow is a typographical symol which looks like...

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The dying of the light

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Clare Asquith T HE L AST O FFICE by Geoffrey Moorhouse Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 283, ISBN 9780297850892 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘T enebrae’ is the last office, the...

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House of horrors

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Andrew Taylor T HE S USPiCiONS OF M R W HiCHER OR THE M URDER AT R OAD H iLL H OUSE by Kate Summerscale Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 384, ISBN 9780747582151 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45...

A choice of first novels

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Archie Bland O liver Tate, the hero of Submarine (Hamish Hamilton, £16.99), is a monologophobic parthenologist. Roughly translated, this means he is interested in finding new...

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Best of British?

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Lloyd Evans M IKE L EIGH ON M IKE L EIGH edited by Amy Raphael Faber, £16.99, pp. 438, ISBN 978-0571204694 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 M ike Leigh. Ground-breaking...

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Firing the youthful imagination

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Nicolas Barker B RITISH C HILDREN ’ S F ICTION IN THE S ECOND W ORLD W AR by Owen Dudley Edwards Edinburgh University Press, £150, pp. 744, ISBN 9780748616510 I must first...

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Open to the world?

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O ne may make a distinction between two types of novel: the self-enclosed and the open. The distinction is not absolute. Such things never are. Genre fiction may merge with what...

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Under cover of absurdity

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Igor Toronyi-Lalic on the power of animation to subvert and propagate ideas T he day after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the American army, on one of its first...

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Sculptor of vision

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Andrew Lambirth Nigel Hall: Sculpture + Drawing 1965–2008 Yorkshire Sculpture Park, until 8 June A s you drive into the 500 acres of 18th-century parkland which provide the...

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Honest observer

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Laura Gascoigne Laura Knight at the Theatre Lowry Galleries, until 6 July A scot racegoers whose binoculars wandered from the track in 1936 might have spotted something...

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Feet of endurance

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Giannandrea Poesio Entity Random Dance, Sadler’s Wells P aradoxical as it might sound, ballet’s rebirth is happening thanks to (and within) modern and postmodern choreography....

Won over by Golijov

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Michael Tanner Ainadamar Birmingham Symphony Hall Der Rosenkavalier Royal Festival Hall I n a series of concerts in Symphony Hall with the perhaps unlikely title Passion from...

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Foreign folly

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Lloyd Evans Wedding Day at the Cro-Magnons Soho The Internationalist Gate The Black and White Ball King’s Head Y ou can tell when a culture has lost its way because it starts...

Blame Quentin

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Deborah Ross In Bruges 18, Nationwide T his film is about two Irish hitmen, Ken and Ray, who are forced to take a sort of minibreak in Bruges (hence the title; hence why this...

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Jet set

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Kate Chisholm Y ou might think that the revival of the 1950s radio classic Journey into Space was a desperate move by Radio Four to cash in on the success of the new Dr Who ....

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Doctor’s dilemma

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James Delingpole I n those distant days when I used to hang out on Facebook one of my favourite user groups was ‘I hate Catherine Tate and she shouldn’t be in the new series of...

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Bentley beauty

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Alan Judd L ucinda Lambton said that driving it was like slicing naked through cream. I’ve never done that (she may have) but when she floored the throttle on the track leading...

Racing demons

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Robin Oakley I n Bucharest recently I encountered some Romanian proverbs. ‘Always eat the end of the bread: your mother-in-law will love you,’ said one. And, more to my liking:...

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Remembering two great men

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Taki New York T heir memorials were held five days apart, each in one of Manhattan’s most hallowed venues, each one attended by more than 2,000 worshipping fans, both...

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Looking for Kate

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Jeremy Clarke K ate Moss was due to walk out of the door and into the arrivals lounge at Terminal 5 at any moment, the photographer said. He was ready with his camera and...

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Forever England

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Alex James L eaving the continental land mass behind at Cap de la Hague on a clear day, it’s as if you could throw your voice across the Channel. An off-the-shelf,...

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I ’m just back from the United States where the local

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wine is ridiculously expensive, apart from the ridiculously cheap, and you wouldn’t want to drink an awful lot of that, since Diet Coke may be more subtle. The best Californian...

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On the beach

The Spectator

Jonathan Ray returns to the holiday haunt of his youth — Camber Sands M rs Ray had decided on a whim to go and sun herself in Morocco with her mate, Mrs Smith. I was left at...

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End of an era

The Spectator

William Cashmore recalls his family’s annual trip to the Lincolnshire coast T he end of an era this year for the Cashmore family. My mother sold her holiday house in Sutton on...

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Where Bond was born

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Lucy Fleming visits the Jamaican home of her uncle, Ian Fleming I t was 1943. The BOAC Stratocruiser was on its way from Jamaica back to London, probably via Nassau, Bermuda and...

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The Spectator

Tea and 9 tranquillity Liz Anderson -9 ‘Y ou are going where?’ was the first #-9 question. Closely followed by an incredulous: ‘Madeira? What on earth for? I suppose you...

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A hint of heroism

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Thomas Leveritt T he cheap flight boom of the last decade, among its many blessings, has given Europe the gift of the British stag night. Barcelona, Prague, Ljubljana — the...

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Saving Siena

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Fred Lambton F or me, Siena and its surrounding countryside are as close to paradise as this earth gets. The Tuscan hills are full of timeless magic — whichever way you look,...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

The sight of Chinese thugs invading the streets of our capital in the name of the Olympic Holy Flame Protection Unit (OHFPU — most people’s thoughts exactly) should banish once...

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M y article last week (‘Mad Men are taking over the

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world’) led me to be accused of elitism by one of the magazine’s online readers. What riled him was my suggestion that, rather than spending £6 billion on speeding up the...

your problEMs solvEd

The Spectator

Dear Mary Q. Whenever I have my friends round for dinner, someone’s mobile phone will always ring and they will always answer it at the table. When I extend my next invitation,...

Q. Loads of people we know from school all went

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to a cool public party which was arranged through Facebook during the Easter holidays. My friend and I were not allowed to go because we are not 14 yet and our mums said we were...

Q. May I pass on an additional idea to that

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of sending a copy of the address given at the funeral or memorial service when responding to a letter of condolence. A friend of mine recently responded by sending a...