19 NOVEMBER 2005

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Full marks to Blair

The Spectator

O ver the past fortnight it has been necessary for this magazine to side with those who would like to bury Tony Blair. This week it is our solemn duty to praise him. No amount...

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I ’d never have guessed that there was a connection between

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Joan Collins and the novelist Anthony Powell, the centenary of whose birth is being commemorated with an exhibition at the Wallace Collection. But there is, as I discovered...

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Time for David Cameron to reach beyond the media class

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W e have entered an equivocal and shiftless passage in British politics. Tony Blair is in the situation of a relegated football club towards the end of the season. He is going...

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O n the face of it, the government would seem to

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be hypocritical in its attacks on Sir Christopher Meyer’s memoirs. After all, it is said, the Cabinet Office saw the text of DC Confidential and approved it. How can ministers...

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Bring back the Baathists

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Peter Oborne was impressed by the courage and confidence of the soldiers in Iraq, but says that a settlement cannot be reached until the Baathists are back in mainstream...

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Mind your language

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In Michael Wharton’s novel Sheldrake , the hero, Major Sheldrake, finds himself in the northern town of Borewich where he is given unsought information about the local speech....

Tsunami of cash

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Too much money was given for tsunami relief, says Ross Clark , and the aid agencies are prevented from spending it on other disasters W hen, last Christmas, I whipped out my...

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Global failure

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Tony Blair will be judged on his foreign policy, says Douglas Davis , but he has made a mess of it in Iraq and in Syria and Iran I t took just 49 bloody-minded Labour...

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Ancient & modern

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Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, develops software that makes our home computers work with (on the whole) admirable efficiency, and commits billions of dollars arising...

International law is an ass

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John Laughland says that the trial of Slobodan Milosevic is a travesty of justice S lobodan Milosevic was ahead of his time. When he made his first appearance in the courtroom...

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Draw your own conclusion

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Rod Liddle defends a Danish newspaper under fire for printing a depiction of the Prophet I think the presence of the questionmark means I get away with it. The little depiction...

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Conduct unbecoming

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Bruce Anderson damns senior officers for not resisting moves to have British soldiers appear before the International Criminal Court A ctions are being taken in the British...

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T he 22nd annual Threadneedle/ Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year lunch

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took place last Thursday at Claridge’s and the prizes were presented by the Rt Hon. Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats. Welcoming Mr Kennedy, the editor of The...

Page 19

A new climax in the historic feud between two big fat rude Tory journalists

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M any people naturally assume that the final round of the Tory party leadership is between David Davis and Dave Cameron. They are seen together on the hustings, smiling at each...

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The rioters want liberté, égalité, fraternité; what they don’t want is an Islamic state

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A t the time of writing, after more than two weeks of it, the disturbances on the British editorial and opinion pages are still going on: ‘Failure of French model of...

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Spilling the beans on bankers, blondes, booze and boxers

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A funny thing happened to me on the way to The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year lunch. The early crowd in the foyer of Claridge’s ballroom was largely made up of City...

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Why children need us

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From Mary Marsh Sir: In attacking charities such as the NSPCC, the RSPCA and Cancer Research UK (‘Bullying for charity’, 12 November) Guy Adams also harms the beneficiaries....

Not yet the business

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From Geoffrey Sampson Sir: In his enthusiasm about the trend for students to choose business-studies courses, Leo McKinstry (‘Young people are the business’, 12 November) never...

Tyranny of ‘necessity’

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From Harold Adams Sir: As the Parliaments of Great Britain and Australia grapple with their anti-terrorism legislation (Leading article, 12 November), our respective political...

Shelley said it

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From Christopher Lush Sir: Mark Steyn (‘It’s the demography, stupid’, 12 November) attributes the quotation ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’ to Anatole...

Over-age drinking

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From C. J. Chilvers Sir: I thought you might be interested in this amusing instance of the increasing nannyism of our government. I visited my local supermarket this afternoon...

Body and soul

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From Professor Sir Michael Dummett Sir: Paul Johnson says, ‘Our souls have existed before space and time’ (And another thing, 12 November). Since Paul Johnson is known to be a...

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Are the handshake and cheek-peck on their way out?

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I have been taking flu jabs since my 70th birthday and have escaped the pest entirely; I have had many fewer colds, too, though the jabs are not designed to prevent them. Am I...

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The age of unreason

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Frank Furedi says that our loss of faith in conventional authority has led to an uncritical acceptance of the banal, morally illiterate pronouncements of lifestyle gurus,...

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A selection of the best and worst books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors

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Jonathan Sumption Niall Ferguson’s Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World (Allen Lane, £25) is a marvel of objective iconoclasm, much better than the associated TV series,...

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The very best of bad verse

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Sam Leith O GDEN N ASH : T HE L IFE AND W ORK OF A MERICA ’ S L AUREATE OF L IGHT V ERSE by Douglas M. Parker Ivan R. Dee/Rowman & Littlefield, £19.99, pp. 316 ISBN 156663637...

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The Times

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it is a-changin’ Stephen Glover T HE H ISTORY OF THE T IMES : T HE M URDOCH Y EARS by Graham Stewart HarperCollins, £30, pp. 727, ISBN 139780007184385 ✆ £24 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

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Blindfolds and mindmists

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Peregrine Worsthorne T HE D RAGONS OF E XPECTATION by Robert Conquest Duckworth, £18, pp. 256, ISBN 0715634267 ✆ £14.40 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W ithout the existence of...

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Facts and fables of the New World

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Felipe FernandezArmesto A NCIENT A MERICANS by Charles C. Mann Granta, £20, pp. 576, ISBN 1862076170 ✆ £16.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he Amazon can drive you mad. In...

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A wheelbarrow full of surprises

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D. J. Taylor T HE D ARKNESS OF W ALLIS S IMPSON AND O THER S TORIES by Rose Tremain Chatto, £14.99, pp. 215, ISBN 1860560326 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he people...

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East and West — when the twain meet

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Anthony Sattin M EETINGS WITH R EMARKABLE MUSLIMS edited by Rose Baring and Barnaby Rogerson Eland, £18.99, pp. 312, ISBN 090787164X ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A s...

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Good or bad timing

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Marcus Berkmann K ATE B USH by Rob Jovanovic Piatkus, £16.99, pp. 240, ISBN 0749950498 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘T here are no childhood pics,’ says my...

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The discreet charm of sewers

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Ian Thomson T HE T HIRD M AN ’ S V IENNA : C ELEBRATING A F ILM CLASSIC by Brigitte Timmermann Shippen Rock Publishing, Euros 49, pp. 416, ISBN 3950205004 P ublic visits to the...

Surprising literary ventures Gary Dexter

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T HE N ORMAL AND A DVENTITIOUS D ANGER P ERIODS FOR P ULMONARY D ISEASE IN C HILDREN (1913) by William Carlos Williams The great American modernist poet William Carlos...

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Embracing Western culture

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I t’s five o’clock on a November evening, and I’m leaning over a balcony watching a pipe band parading in the concourse below. But it’s not the chill of a Scottish autumn I’m...

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Shipwreck of a genius

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Tom Rosenthal Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, until 15 January 2006 S imeon Solomon ‘has his place, not far from...

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Master of reverie

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Andrew Lambirth Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris Tate Modern, until 5 February 2006 Sponsored by Aviva plc I f there’s one exhibition Tate Modern has mounted which needed the...

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Hunter gatherers

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Ursula Buchan T he natural curiosity of gardeners means that we want always to know something of where our garden plants came from, and how we came by them. We are endlessly...

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Raking over the same ground

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Mark Steyn The Constant Gardener 15, selected cinemas T he constant gardener is Ralph Fiennes, whose character — Justin Quayle, a minor diplomat at the British High Commission...

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Shaw thing

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Lloyd Evans You Never Can Tell Garrick Glorious! Duchess Paul Cottesloe G eorge Bernard Shaw is emerging from an undeserved dark age. Virtually from the moment of his death in...

Cardinal crimes

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Michael Tanner Madam Butterfly Coliseum Figaro Glyndebourne on Tour I n my view, and I think that of a fair proportion of opera goers, Madam Butterfly occupies a unique...

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More war

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James Delingpole N ow obviously in the light of last week’s column I did try to find a subject this week which had to do with something other than war. But then I looked in the...

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Identity crisis

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Michael Vestey I t’s always amusing to see people pretending to be a certain race when in fact they’re something else entirely. The Sunday Times journalist A.A. Gill was at it...

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Solid and dependable

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Alan Judd S ce its launch in 1989, Land-Rover’s in popular Discovery has demonstrated that critical issues for motoring correspondents, such as handling and reliability, count...

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Caviar crisis

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Simon Courtauld M any of us, not being regular purchasers of the sturgeon’s eggs, will be unaware of the gravity of the caviar crisis. I have only just learnt that the...

Wild and crazy

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Taki New York I thought Catherine Meyer made the week’s most intelligent remark: ‘If Cabinet ministers can sell their memoirs, why can’t civil servants?’ Or words to that...

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Match made in heaven

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Jeremy Clarke M y friend and I arranged to meet outside the Boleyn pub, which is on the corner of Green Street and the Barking Road, 15 minutes before kick-off. I was about...

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Fruit salad

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Aidan Hartley Laikipia S omebody should ask Tony and Bob how the Year of Africa is going. I know nobody wants to be reminded of the G8 thing any more. But they should be. Down...

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Red devils

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FRANK KEATING F rom the 1870s, soccer’s insular ‘home’ unions had simply played among each other. Incredibly, England did not invite a foreign nation over here for a game for...


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Dear Mary Q. As an elderly art-lover, I was thrilled to be invited to the private views of exhibitions by both Julian Barrow and his brother Andrew. Alas, I see these take...

Q. Apropos of your recent correspondence regarding men’s pyjama bottoms,

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I thought you might like to know that the unsightly gap to which you refer is known by educated Jewish people as a circumvent. B.A.F., London N6 A. Thank you for submitting...

Q. Why not sew pyjamas up and pull them down

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like knickers when necessary? If men sat down on the lavatory there would be less spillage. E.H., address withheld A. Thank you for your suggestion which I have shortened for...

Q. Much to my delight, two dear friends have invited

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me to attend, with a few others, the registration of their civil partnership on 21 December, the first date, I believe, on which this contract can be entered into. The...