19 MAY 2001

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T he main political parties published their manifestos for the general

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election on 7 June, but public interest remained focused on oddities such as the appearance of Miss Geri Halliwell in a Labour election broadcast, and the disappearance of Mr...

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he root cause of crime is the decision to commit it; and the decision to commit it is profoundly influenced first by the chances of being caught, and second by the consequences...

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A couple of weeks ago I had lunch in the boardroom of the New Statesman, at the invitation of Cristina Odone. Despite the chairman, Geoffrey Robinson, having stated at the...

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Mr Blair is offering us a significantly more expensive version of the same

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BRUCE ANDERSON S ooner or later, all governments and all prime ministers grow oppressed by the intractability of events, When he takes office, every PM must feel heady with...

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If you want to vote for the forces of moderation, forget the Lib Dems

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MATTHEW PAR RIS A 1 ideological confidence trick looks like being successfully pulled off on 7 June. The Liberal Democrats should make a substantial showing, and on a false...

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Peter Hitehens says the middle classes are abandoning their principles:

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they got used to wealth during the Thatcher years and now believe that Tony Blair is the best man to keep them in gold cards MIDDLE-CLASS treason threatens to sink the Tories....

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Mind your language

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'IN Barcelona or New York,' said the commercial director of Mega Profile, `this kind of advertising is used to very innovative effect.' The kind of advertising he was talking...


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William Ward says there is more to Berlusconi than naff suits and monster yachts IN awarding the coalition headed by the media magnate Silvio Berlusconi with a comfortable...

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Norman Lamont says the Europhiles are right in calling for both unity and representative government, but they won't get either LIKE the poor, the weak euro is with us always....

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Ancient & modern

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THE People's Peers have been appointed and there is not a People to be seen anywhere: knights and professors almost to a person, without even the slightest suggestion of a...


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Lloyd Evans thanks readers for their poems — even the ones about electrocuting child-seducers and saving the pound WE cried out in the desert and lo! the call was answered....

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Robert Baker on how he outwitted the law in a high-speed chase through south London's Nappy Valley — on a bicycle THE windows have lately been opened for summer, and in come...

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David Gardner on how Hindu mullahs are attacking Islam, Christianity and science to promote a new 'Golden Age' New Delhi AS professional star-gazers will doubtless have...

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What makes a poem, and what all poets must know

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PAUL JOHNSON W c were discussing poetry and one of my grandchildren asked, 'What exactly is a poem?' I could not provide a satisfactory answer on the spot, and I have been...

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The £20bn Tory tax-cut sensation proved one thing: the tactical superiority of New Labour

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STEPHEN GLOVER I t couldn't last, of course. Sooner or later the Tories were bound to come crashing to earth. The whole world now believes the party has a secret tax-cutting...

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Why I raided the bank

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From Mr Wolfgang Petritsch Sir: John Laughland's factual errors (UN tyranny in Bosnia', 5 May) wouldn't be so bad if he had put the raid I ordered on Hercegovacka Banka in its...

A threat to democracy

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From Dr Charles Tannock, MEP Sir: Nigel Farage certainly had some fun in his article (`The Tory wimps of Strasbourg', 21 April), but, as one of the MEPs targeted by him, I hope...

Selective morality

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From Mr Roger Scruton Sir: I complained (Letters, 14 April) that the RSPCA is selective in its targets, and Peter Davies (Letters, 12 May) refers me to the fact that the RSPCA...

A Vintner's tale

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From Mr John Charles Townend Sir: I was appalled that Bruce Anderson saw fit to bring my company's reputation into disrepute in his article about my father (Politics, 5 May). He...

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Liddle justice

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From Lord Pearson of Rannoch Sir: Rod Liddle's beguiling article (The truth about BBC bias', 5 May) tells a few half-truths, but not much truth. For instance, he admits 'we...

Turkish carpeting

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From Mr Korkmaz Haktamr Sir: It seems there are writers who cannot resist a poisonous sideswipe at Turkish people, even when purportedly reviewing a picture book. Philip...

The importance of sex

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From Mr Sheridan Morley Sir: I of course apologise to Alistair B. Cooke (Letters, 12 May) and indeed to all other readers for the shameful schoolboy howler of attributing to...

Unheard melodies

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From Mr Nicholas Kenyon Sir: Peter Phillips (Arts, 5 May), who is a performer at this year's BBC Proms, is certainly as entitled as any other licence-fee-payer to his opinions...

Not that wacko From Professor Richard Dawkins Sir: Does Mary

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Wakefield (Bog standard degrees', 12 May) seriously imagine that Oxford University would ever give an honorary degree to Michael Jackson? A New York rabbi hired the Union...

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Must I get out of bed? Oh, yes, Sir Peter, just think of all your incentives

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES I am often surprised to see how much it takes to get businessmen out of bed in the mornings. Sir Peter Bonfield, for one: without his daily cocktail of...

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Destiny rides again

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Philip Hen sher REAPING THE WHIRLWIND: THE TALIBAN MOVEMENT IN AFGHANISTAN by Michael Griffin Pluto Press, 179.99, pp. 312, ISBN 0745312748 AFGHANISTAN by Chris Steele-Perkins...

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A portrait talks back

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Robert S. C. Gordon SPEAK YOU ALSO by Paul Steinberg, translated by Linda Coverdale with Bill Ford Allen Lane' Penguin, £9.99, pp. 176, ISBN 0713995408 L ike Philip Roth in...

Not a very merry monarch

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Jonathan Sumption IN THE LION'S COURT: POWER, AMBITION AND SUDDEN DEATH IN THE COURT OF HENRY VIII by Derek Wilson Hutchinson, £20, pp. 590, ISBN 0091801184590 I t is hard to...

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Yo-ho-ho and a social revolution

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Justin Marozzi HUNTING PIRATE HEAVEN by Kevin Rushby Constable, £16.99, pp. 304, ISBN 0094800103 P irates evoke a handful of enduring images: Errol Flynn in tights and...

Grief and grievance

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Juliet Townsend THE HATED WIFE: CARRIE KIPLING 1862-1939 by Adam Nicolson Short Books, £4.99, pp. 94, ISBN 0571208355 P oor Carrie Kipling has not been kindly treated by...

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Dutch decency and dignity

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Anita Brookner SOME DAY TOMORROW by Nicholas Freeling Arcadia Books, £11.99, pp. 204, ISBN1900850354 h e mantle of Simenon seems to have been inherited by Nicolas Freeling,...

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Heroes at their best and worst

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David Crane THE FLAME OF FREEDOM by David Brewer John Murray, £25, pp. 393, ISBN 0719554470 h ere can be few more dispiriting conflicts than the Greek war of independence. I...

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A precious collection of debris

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Patrick Skene Caning 7 REECE MEWS: FRANCIS BACON'S STUDIO Photographs by Perry Ogden, Foreword by John Edwards Thames ci Hudson, £14.95, pp. 120, ISBN 0500510342 ir ohn...

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Danger just round the corner

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Miranda France LONDON BONE by Michael Moorcock Scribner, £9,99, pp. 246, ISBN 0684861429 M ichael Moorcock's new collection of short stories shows that you should never trust...

An honest reactionary

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David Pryce-Jones CONFESSIONS OF AN ORIGINAL SINNER by John Lukacs Saint Augustine's Press Inc, £19, pp. 344, ISBN 1890318124 J ohn Lukacs expresses a hope that purchasers of...

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The song which had everything

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David Hughes STRANGE FRUIT by David Margolick Payback Press, £9.99, pp. 162, ISBN 1841951137 T ucked into the back flap of this lightweight paperback is a single of Billie...

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A parody of justice

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Conrad Black THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER by Christopher Hitchens Verso, £13, pp. 170, ISBN 1859846319 h is is not really a book at all. It is a malicious polemic from a...

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Festival of film and fantasy

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Selina Mills, a Cannes debutante, revels in the excitement The festival is an apolitical no-man's land, a microcosm of what the world would be like if people could contact each...

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Theatre 1

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Art (Wyndhams) Blue/Orange (Duchess) Snob hits Sheridan Morley I t was the screenwriter William Goldman who 30 or so years ago first identified, in what is still far and away...

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Theatre 2

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Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford) The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Other Place, Stratford) Lost in space Patrick Carnegy Af ter the past year's run of nine...

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Paradise Moscow (Opera North) From Morning to Midnight (English National Opera) Exuberantly inventive Michael Tanner A , satire is a failure, if its point is to make the...

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Amores Perros (18, selected cinemas) Love and loss Mary Wakefield S ettling my popcorn onto my lap a few nights ago, I assumed that Amores Perros (Love's a Bitch) would be a...

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Chelsea's small guys Ursula Buchan C helsea Flower Show is not completely and utterly unlike a General Election campaign. (No, I mean it.) In at least two significant...


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What a dish Simon Hoggart N igella Bites II (Channel 4) isn't a cookery programme; it's a hymn of love to Nigella Lawson disguised as a cookery programme. It is also one of...

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Half-truths and evasions Michael Vestey O nce they'd mastered it politicians congratulated themselves on their skills at evading questions in interviews; perhaps they still...

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Cheeky bidding Alan Judd T wo or three years ago (actually, in 1975 — but time is what it feels) Dartford District Council advertised its mayoral limousine, a 1967 Daimler...

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The turf

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Keeping the faith Robin Oakley L ooking for a long-odds shot, my racing friends kept asking me at Lingfield: 'Have the Tories got any chance?' An American colleague, sometime...

High life

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Sorry state of affairs Taki B New York ack in the Bagel again, facing the petty indignities and unspeakable griefs of modern-day travel with graceful aplomb and devil-may-care...

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No life

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Question time Jeremy Clarke I f you're going to sit in the sun again, Uncle Jack, make sure you put a hat on,' says Alison the care assistant. 'Bugger hats,' says Uncle Jack...

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Singular life

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Tory trials Petronella Wyatt T here is only one real issue in this General Election. That is: is William Hague the most unattractive Tory leader ever? This is the matter that...

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Boy wonder

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Simon Barnes THE world, it seemed, had despaired of Michael Owen. At the age of 20, he was an old man, past his prime, his gilded youth a distant memory. He was hag-ridden by...

Q. I'm planning to publish my first book this October,

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and a friend of mine has offered to give me a blurb for the dust-jacket. However, she's not well-known enough for this to be a worthwhile exercise. How can I tell her that I'm...

Q. My wife has recently completed a course of genetic

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modification which has dramatically increased the size of her previously rather nondescript bosoms. The revolutionary treatment, my gift to her for her 56th birthday, involves...

Q. We live in North America, and not long ago

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took our three young adult children out to a small, rather crowded local restaurant for a meal. Adjacent to us was a party of some dozen or so loudly spoken people, who, we...