19 OCTOBER 2002

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M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, told the House of Commons: 'Some say that we should fight terrorism alone and that issues to do with WMD [weapons of mass destruction] are a...

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T here has been much sniggering in the Western media over Tuesday's referendum in Iraq on re-electing Saddam Hussein, since it is obvious that the only permissible answer was...

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S unday: Ducked morning service in favour of gardening, but made it to a special evening service to celebrate the Jubilee year and the community of our parish. In the midst of a...

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Blair is now fighting the Tories on their own turf. Can they fight back?

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T he new season kicked off with an unwelcome pill for political reporters. As Parliament reassembled after its three months' recess, lobby correspondents hiked across St James's...

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Forget the 'root causes', says Mark Steyn. The massacre in Bali was part of the continuing Islam ofascist war against the West, and those who ignore it are sleepwalking to...

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Alex Spillius on how moderate Islam in Indonesia has been infiltrated by Arab-leaning extremists — with murderous consequences Denpaser SEVERAL DAYS after the bombs, the...

Mind your language

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I'VE just got round to reading Liza Picard's Dr Johnson's London, which I enjoyed very much. She says, 'As I read my way through contemporary writers, a few words caught my...

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Ancient & modern

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BRITISH youth has every right to be angry about the A-level grading fiasco, but their self-pitying sobs — 'What of the effect on our future careers, income, quality of life...


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Taki Theodoracopulos looks back on 25 glorious years — bar three months in the slammer — as High Life columnist SINCE man has been around for between half a million and a...

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Andrew Gimson remembers his encounters with Elisabeth Furse, whose remarkable and flamboyant life ended this week ELISABETH FURSE, who died on Monday at the age of 92, was one...

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Peregrine Worsthorne on the excitement and romance of being in Washington 40 years ago during the Cuban Missile Crisis FORTY years ago the Americans won what I hope will be...

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Michael Hanlon warns women they're being conned into believing they can have babies late in life SOMETIMES, the bigger the lie, and the more obvious the lie, the more...

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A young Labour adviser helped smear Jeremy Thoipe. That man is now Foreign Secretary, says Barrie Penrose JACK STRAW looked acutely uncomfortable. He was standing in the...

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Petronella Wyatt canvasses youthful opinion about Lady Thatcher; and finds it surprisingly favourable CONSIDER Thatcher. The word. Its associations. Its images. A woman who no...

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Our values may be flawed, but it would have been a mistake to stone Edwina Currie to death

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I t is time to talk about Edwina Currie, once again. Yes. I know, you've missed her, these last few days — but she's still out there, somewhere. She hasn't really gone away....

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You read it here first: the Daily Mirror will be sold within six months

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STEPHEN GLOVER I s the Daily Mirror for sale? It is. according to a well-placed City source. He says it is being offered around to 'the buy-out boys'. My instinct is that he is...

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Ask a focus group the wrong question, and what you get is a nice answer

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I have established a focus group in the Vatican. My sample, which extends from cardinals to altar-boys, has been asked a searching question: is the Pope a Catholic? First...

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Lessons from a mediaeval genius who drew as well as he wrote

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PAUL JOHNSON I no longer use a typewriter, as spare parts for the ones that I like are unobtainable. Computers inhibit me, as I like to see what I have written spread out. So I...

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It's about time the Conservative party heard about the nasty atrocities of long ago

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FRANK JOHNSON M Ts Theresa May, the Conservative chairman who told the Tory conference that the Tories were seen at the last election as 'the nasty party', probably did not...

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Magnum Opus

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From Margaret Emery Sir: Like Michael McMahon ('Why I left Opus Dei', 12 October), I first came across Opus Dei as a teenager. I went to their study camps, retreats and social...

Million-dollar draw

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From Mr Donald Dougherty Sir: Guy Walters's article (`Our shameful Nazi fetish', 12 October) was spot-on. However, the fetish he speaks of is hardly restricted to the UK. A...

How to win floating voters

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From Colonel A.D. Lewis Sir: Having been at or near the centre of the local Conservative Association for the last 14 years (agent, treasurer, chairman and president). I read...

Mr Major's silence

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From Mr Joseph Palley Sir: It is striking how many former Tory foreign secretaries, including Lords Caradon, Howe and Hurd and Sir Malcolm Rifkind (`The Opposition must oppose',...

Israeli tactics

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From Mr Emerson Roberts Sir: Emma Williams's article ('Why Sharon wants war', 5 October) sets out some important facts about the Palestinian issue as it now stands. However, it...

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Helping the dispossessed

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From Sir Albert Robinson Sir: The Commonwealth troika meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja to assess whether any progress had been made by Zimbabwe ended in failure. Both South...

Those strigine 'snores'

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From Colonel G.H. Peebles Sir: I much enjoyed Paul Johnson's article 'The castle of snoring owls and laughing ospreys' (And another thing, 28 September), but was surprised that...

Talent and its absence

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From Mr Allan Ronald Sir: Petronella Wyatt (Singular life, 12 October), musing on the Archer prison diaries and 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol', comments, 'If he [Wilde] could do...

Not so sinister

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From Mr Bruce Anderson Sir: My piece (`Don't call us nasty', 12 October) suffered from a glitch in transmission. It read, 'Mr Dyke also has to find an audience for his political...

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NATASHA MANN ust below us we could hear the chowkidar tut-tut-tutting his disapproval on the ground with his stick, pacing up and down, tut, tut, tut, while we two sat together...

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Here be dragons

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TALES FROM EARTHSEA by Ursula Le Guin Orion, £10.99, pp, 311, ISBN 1842552066 THE OTHER WIND by Ursula Le Gumn Orion, £10.99, pp. 246. ISBN 1842552058 I n his excellent book...

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Strangers to the reader too

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Robert Edric IGNORANCE by Milan Kundera Faber, £16.99, pp. 195, ISBN 0571215505 I t is an increasingly popular opening gambit among reviewers to ask at the outset of a...

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Lord of loony laughter

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Hugh Mass ingberd TRAGICALLY I WAS AN ONLY TWIN: THE COMPLETE PETER COOK edited by William Cook Century, E17.99, pp. 429, ISBN 13579108642 O f all my heroes whom I have been...

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Great helmsman or mad wrecker

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David Caute INTERESTING TIMES: A TWENTIETH-CENTURY LIFE by Eric Hobsbawm Allen Lane, £20, pp. 464, ISBN 0713995815 KOBA THE DREAD: LAUGHTER AND TWENTY MILLION by Martin Antis...

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Justice changing gear to keep up

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Michael Beloff THE ENGLISH JUDGES by Robert Stevens Han Publishing. £22.50, pp. 169, ISBN 1841132268 F ifty-one years ago no one would have written this book, and, if someone...

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Master and mistress of ambiguity

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Dot Wordsworth WHO WAS DR CHARLOTTE BACH? by Francis Wheen Short Books, £9.99, pp. 141, ISBN 1904095399 C harlotte Bach was unusual even in those who stood by her: Don Smith,...

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The spider spied 'er

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Timothy Mo FINGERSMITH by Sarah Waters Virago, £12.99, pp. 548, ISBN 1860498825 S arah Waters is a rarity — an up and coming writer in this age of hype who actually...

Dr Crippen

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He thought, as he boarded the ship, The vessel of his deliverance, The conduit of his elusion, that his wife Still lay where he left her, Certified dead. But that Was only the...

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Belonging and not belonging

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Caroline Moore ON MODERN BRITISH FICTION edited by Zachary Leader OUP, £14.99, pp. 318, ISBN 0199249326 T he front cover of On Modem British Fiction has a roll-call of...

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How the metre became master

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Douglas Johnson THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS by Ken Alder Little. Brown, .115.99, pp. 466, ISBN 0316859893 \When did the French Revolution begin? Many dates are suggested, but...

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Light from eastern windows

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Michael Wharton THE BUDDHA AND THE SAHIBS by Charles Allen John Murray, £25, pp. 322, ISBN 071955425X I f the popular idea of the men who founded the British Raj as a lot of...

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Round-the-world spending spree

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John de Falbe YOU SHALL KNOW OUR VELOCITY by Dave Eggers McSweeney's Books, $22, pp. 371, ISBN 0907335555 T his book, published on 20 September, has a cover price of $22. My...

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Nasty questions that need asking

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Alan Judd WHY TERRORISM WORKS by Alan M. Dershowitz Yale, 177.95, pp. 271, ISBN 0300097662 P rominent in any contemporary dictionary of received opinion should be the...

History from below

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Raymond Carr CAPTIVES by Linda Colley Cape, £20, pp. 438, ISBN 0224059254 P rofessor Linda Colley is a distinguished historian. In her Britons, published in 1992, she proved...

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Coming from the wars of words

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Alan Watkins EDITOR: AN INSIDE STORY OF NEWSPAPERS by Max Hastings Pan, £20, pp. 608, ISBN 0333908376 I t was 1971, at the Dudley Hotel, Hove, late at night during a Tory...

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Inspired madness of the artist

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Martin Gayford reflects on how novelty of sensibility is likely to go along with unusual behaviour T he average man sitting on the Tube, according to Gilbert of Gilbert &...

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That plinth dilemma

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Politicians tend to fall into traps when straying into visual arts territory, says Mark Glazeb rook t a theoretical level, the level of Plato and Aristotle, politics and...

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Outside the system

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Andrew Lambirth on three artists who decided not to sell their work the conventional way O ur society is so structured nowadays that artists are expected to conform to a career...

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Visual games

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Laura Gascoigne L ying about on the surface of Anthony Whishaw's Bethnal Green studio during his open day last month were some hand-tinted etchings from 1997. One showed an...

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As the trompe l'oeil in his Filofax print betrays, Anthony

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Whishaw is a contradiction: a cerebral artist whose means of expression is thoroughly physical. His paintings have always announced their existence as Objects, and underlined it...

Weighed down by silver

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Susan Moore I t is feast or famine in the salerooms these days. We may be well into the autumn auction season, but most days the big London rooms have the air of the banquet...

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Baggy hotchpotch

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Toby Young I wasn't surprised to learn that The Breath of Life has broken all records for advance ticket sales. Before it even opened, apparently, it had already taken £2...

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Postprandial nightmare

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Patrick Carnegy A though no one would pretend that youthful players could ever be a 'cast of choice' for Lear, the actors of the RSC's fledgling Academy have one advantage over...

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Slovenly despair

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P ersonally, I find a little quiet desperation goes a long way, but evidently Mike Leigh feels differently, so here he is, after the welcome diversion into Gilbert and Sullivan...

Ridiculous old rascals

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Charles Spencer B ack in the mid-Sixties, we had a cleaning lady called Mrs Parker. She must have been in her mid-sixties herself, and had spent her whole life, from the age of...

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At home

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Giannandrea Poesio F irst came the wall, then the Ferris wheel, and now it's time for a multi-purpose structure that, with its planes, panels, doors and windows, immediately...

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The past is better

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Stuart Nicholson I n The Last Empire, Gore Vidal's recent collection of essays, there's a moment when he touches on New York restaurants and in particular the long-vanished...

Palin surprises

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James Delingpole M ichael Palin pulls the legs off puppies for fun and next to all the awards for his round-the-world TV adventures he keeps jars of boiled babies. When he dies...

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Brief encounter

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Michael Vestey 0 dd things can happen when you enter an English country pub. There I was, having lunch in my local in the next village, the Benett Arms at Semley, when a friend...

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Ascot angst

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Robin Oakley G oing racing, you do meet them all. In front of me as we left Ascot station for the course last Saturday was a man carrying a full-size and fully inflated blow-up...

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Fit for a king

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Simon Courtauld M adame du Barry was not as famous a maitresse en titre of Louis XV as her predecessor, Madame de Pompadour (the subject of two current exhibitions in London),...

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Dump 'em in the ocean

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Neil Collins 0 rri Vigfusson is the salmon's messiah. If he has not come to save their souls exactly, he has certainly come to try to save the species, and his arrival is not a...

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Parky and the Jockstraps

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Michael Henderson THE postman brought a book last week, unsolicited but none the worse for that. Called simply Michael Parkinson on Cricket, it is just that, a book on the...

Q. At a party recently we reconnected with a couple

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we had not seen for a few years. We agreed to have dinner soon, and duly invited them. They then had us back, and we were happy to have re-established the relationship. When we...

Q. I have recently formed a strong attachment to an

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alluring lady, but am unable to tell whether her feelings are as strong as my own. Encouragingly, she has started to address me as 'darling', but I now discover that this is a...

Q. I have invited some new friends to stay over

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half-term. Now, neighbours have emailed saying that they know these new friends very well and can they come over, with their house-party, after dinner on the Saturday night. We...