19 FEBRUARY 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK T he Labour party made six socalled

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pledges: ‘Your family better off. Your child achieving more. Your children with the best start. Your family treated better and faster. Your community safer. Your country’s...

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Stand up to America

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T he war on terror will be concluded, George W. Bush has suggested, when citizens of the free world no longer live in fear. Everyone, that is, except Britons accused of crimes...

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A s I approach a worrying age (don’t ask!) where everyone

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— as in this morning’s obituary page of the New York Times — is younger than me, a terrible thing has happened. An American fan has told me that she went to Madame Tussauds in...

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It is a constitutional absurdity that Camilla should not be Queen

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I wonder whether our Prime Minister is historically minded enough to have compared himself lately with Stanley Baldwin? When Mr Blair was told that the Prince of Wales intended...

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T ony Blair (who has introduced the most divisive law in

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modern times) thinks that George Bush ‘owes him one’ for his support over the Iraq war. But what form could the payment of the debt take? Bush’s backing, after all, might make...

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The end of part of England

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Boris Johnson goes out with the last legal meeting of the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Foxhounds, and welcomes the coming campaign by honest people to preserve their tradition...

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The dogs have had their day

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There were tears and cheers at the 158th — and final — Waterloo Cup. Peter Oborne was there T he scene in the ballroom at the Prince of Wales hotel at Southport last Sunday...

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Why Labour does not need the Jews

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Rod Liddle says that the government is prepared to alienate Jewish voters in order to win Muslim support T here is no ‘Jewish’ vote in Great Britain any more. There used to be,...

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Death of a salesman

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Arthur Miller was a poor playwright, says Mark Steyn , but he knew how to flog anti-Americanism New Hampshire A ttention must be paid. That’s the line. And if you missed it...

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Ancient & modern

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All lovers of elective oligarchy will applaud last month’s ballot in Iraq, but that will not stop debates about America’s role there. Athenians of the 5th century BC , committed...

There’s no place like home

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The world is becoming less multiracial and less multicultural, says Anthony Browne . People like to live among their own kind I s Hackney the future of the world? You may find...

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Mind your language

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I have been reading with great pleasure a book by someone who ought to be in the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography but isn’t, Peter Anson. It is Fashions in Church...

Why Bush won’t back Howard

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Fraser Nelson discovers that the White House has no time for the Tory leader, but is in love with Margaret Thatcher W hen George W. Bush arrives for his European visit next...

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Safer in the States

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From Jeremy Moodey Sir: James Bartholomew’s article (‘Die in Britain, survive in America’, 12 February) brought back painful memories for me. Four years ago my otherwise...

Medical mumbo-jumbo

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From Dr Daniel Kellett Sir: Petronella Wyatt’s theorising on the causes of cancer (Singular life, 12 February) is yet another litany of pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo. This is an...

Brussels owes us

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From Bill Woodhouse Sir: The surprise in his excellent article is that Daniel Hannan has not pointed out that our payments to Brussels are illegal (‘Give us our money back’, 12...

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Last bastions

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From David Allan Sir: I fear the time to rescue BBC English (cf. Michael Henderson’s article, 12 February) may well be long gone. In 1994, after working as a BBC television...

Debts to jets

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From Christopher James Sir: Rod Liddle is surely right to question whether debt relief can deliver an end to poverty in the world, especially in Africa (‘Make naivety history’,...

Despair for rural England

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From Nancy Penn Smith Hannum Sir: On 26 December last year, Wayne Pacelle, who is president of the Humane Society of the United States, made a broadcast to the American public,...

Enough about Gstaad

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From Frederick Forsyth Sir: Every winter those of us dedicated to The Spectator and thus to the column of Master Taki are forced to grin and bear it as we are treated to yet...

Avoid spills

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From Nicola FitzGerald Sir: Might I suggest that instead of upsetting his kind friends, Jonathan Dimbleby (Diary, 12 February) could take to bed with him a bottle of water, a...

Not up to politicians

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From Antony Dew Sir: Thank you for printing the letter from Matthew Richards (5 February). I was beginning to think that I was the only person who, having voted Conservative in...

Nurses in the desert

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From Mark Menhinick Sir: I have not read the book Max Hastings writes about in his article ‘Forgotten Heroes’ (5 February), though I shall, but I would be surprised if ‘E.M....

Goats destroyed Cyprus

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From David Critchley Sir: In Devonshire a goat may be a man’s best friend (Letters, 5 February), but in Cyprus matters are different. Sir Ronald Storrs, governor of the island...

Existential angst

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From Andrew Gilligan Sir: As a result of a transcription error, a sentence in my piece last week (‘Leave it to Hollywood’) stated wrongly that Britain and America faced no...

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The misery and malevolence of bad Bishop Galzaran Sacosta

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Manresa, Catalonia G alzaran. The very name has a Gothic sound. It could have been dreamed up by some latter-day Tolkien for a malevolent goblin-in-chief. Here in Manresa, in...

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A word in favour of 7,000 persecuted Chinese bears

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B ears are assumed to be bad tempered. Hence we call a man ‘bearish’. Dr Johnson was often described as such. Boswell objected: ‘He has nothing of the bear but his skin.’ I am...

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The Stock Exchange sells the family silver, so I may have to step in and buy it

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I t may not be too late for me to bid for the Stock Exchange. Open season has now been declared, Deutsche Borse (Frankfurt) and Euronext (Paris and Amsterdam) are manoeuvring...

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Defeat and betrayal

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft T HE V OTE : H OW IT W AS W ON AND H OW IT W AS U NDERMINED by Paul Foot Viking, £25, pp. 505, ISBN 067091536X the Civil War (or ‘English Revolution’) as...

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Micawber with a touch of Skimpole

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Raymond Carr T HE W IT IN THE D UNGEON by Anthony Holden Little, Brown, £20, pp. 448, ISBN 0316859273 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 F IERY H EART by Nicholas Roe...

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Baby, it’s cold outside

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Caroline Moore L EAVING H OME by Anita Brookner Viking, £12.99, pp. 168, ISBN 0670915688 V £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T he very title of Leaving Home announces a...

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The limits of post-mortem knowledge

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Anne Chisholm B ODY P ARTS : E SSAYS ON L IFE -W RITING by Hermione Lee Chatto, £20, pp. 224, ISBN 0701177594 V £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 N ot many collections of old...

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Pigtails among the haystacks

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Kate Grimond T HE D ANGEROUS E DGE OF THINGS by Candida Lycett Green Doubleday, £18.99, pp. 336, ISBN 038560677X ✆ £16.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 D uring the bitter...

The English Woods

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The English woods are naked. Trees stand lifeless; once blazing hair Rots scab brown and weeping at their feet. Yet dead leaves, like embers, glow And inside hide a phoenix....

You can’t go home again

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Daniel Neill M AXIMUM C ITY : B OMBAY L OST AND F OUND by Suketu Mehta Review, £20, pp. 498, ISBN0747221596 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 B ombay, the biggest city on...

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There shone one woman

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Douglas Johnson M ADAME DE S TAËL by Maria Fairweather Constable & Robinson, £25, pp. 522, ISBN 1841198161 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I n January 1798 Talleyrand gave...

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The decline of the West?

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Johann Hari T HE W HOLE E QUATION : A H ISTORY OF H OLLYWOOD by David Thomson Little, Brown, £22.50, pp. 433, ISBN 0316848603 ✆ £20.50 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 D avid...

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Visitations of delight

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Michael Henderson on what we can learn from Neville Cardus’s writings on music and cricket N eville Cardus died on 28 February 1975 at the age of 85. He was famous throughout...

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Visual poetry Andrew Lambirth Turner Whistler Monet Tate Britain until 15 May Sponsored by Ernst & Young I t could so easily not have worked, this bold (some might say...

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Missing the boat

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Mark Steyn The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 15, selected cinemas W es Anderson is the critics’ darling, and in America they wanted to love this movie. Instead, they only...

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Take the yellow brick road

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Alan Powers E ver since W.S. Gilbert’s Lady Jane lamented, ‘Oh, South Kensington!’ in Patience , 1881, the place has carried a regretful quality. Owing to the extraordinary...

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Uneasy questions

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Giannandrea Poesio Nelken: Tanztheater Wuppertal Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ne lken (Carnations) is rightly considered to be one of the most significant works both in the history...

Respectful boredom

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Michael Tanner La Clemenza di Tito Coliseum Candide Royal Festival Hall T he new production of Mozart’s penultimate opera La Clemenza di Tito (why is the title not translated?)...

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Shapeless story

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Lloyd Evans A Life in the Theatre Shaftesbury Apollo National Anthems Old Vic A unique evening at the Apollo. A Life in the Theatre is full of pleasures and virtues and it left...

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Speaking out

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Michael Vestey N ow that the law lords appear to care more about the rights of alleged terrorists than they do about protecting the public I suppose we’ll just have to hang...

Dull but odd

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Simon Hoggart W e tend to import American television as seen — comedies and cop shows, mainly — whereas they create their own versions of ours: The Weakest Link , The Office...

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To the rescue

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Alan Judd M G Rover almost committed industrial suicide late last year by prematurely trumpeting its anticipated joint venture with the Shanghai Automotive Industry...

Back in business

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Robin Oakley G ingembre, former winner of both the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Scottish Grand National, is a natural show-off. He is a quality act and he knows it. Had he needed...

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Just say no

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Taki F ar be it from me to give advice to the Queen — last I heard she is one wise and experienced lady — but she’s dining this week with the 13-member IOC evaluation...

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Birthday treat

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Jeremy Clarke F our o’clock on the morning after my birthday and I was lying under an evergreen bush in somebody’s front garden with my face buried in crisp leaf litter. I...

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Save us from charity

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Aidan Hartley Laikipia W hile out and about I encountered several groups of excited people walking through the bush near the farm. There were old men in blankets, women in...

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DEBORAH ROSS I go abroad for a week and what do I find when I get home? That Ikea has been stormed by large chunks of Edmonton! I was absolutely livid, not least because I’m...

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Champions Chelsea? FRANK KEATING N ot that soccer’s ubiquitous hurlyburly has remotely gone away, but its yawping volumes are even increased next week with the resumption of...


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Dear Mary Q. I like to attend parties if I am invited but, despite the fact that most of my friends are in their forties, they seem to have an unfortunate tendency to want loud...

Q. My daughter has a boyfriend — she is 23,

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he is 27. They have been going out for six months or so and he comes to stay in the country with us quite a lot. He is very casual and laid-back, but his hair is really matted...

Q. I have a dear friend who suffers from needless

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bouts of self-pity. How can I cure her of this problem? A.B., London W8 A. Why not encourage your friend to pick up pen and paper and put her problem in writing and address it...