1 MARCH 2003

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706: Fax 020-7242 0603 THE POINT OF THE TORIES T he Tory party is like some particularly gloomy man...

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M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said, in an emergency

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statement to the House of Commons on Iraq, that 100 per cent co-operation by Saddam Hussein was necessary. and 'anything less will not do'. A day's debate followed in the Lords...

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I have written a novel about Middle England's love affair with female newsreaders. I was struck by a survey which showed that viewers of these grave messengers of world events...

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It's sad in a way, but Michael Portillo is no longer a serious figure

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PETER OBORNE T he prospect of war now eclipses everything at Westminster. To use the narrow, though reassuring, boundaries of the English racing calendar, hostilities are...

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Rod Liddle reports on the frustrations that can accompany a simple rail journey or a visit to a playground, and wonders how much we are paying for petty regulations and public...

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Mind your language

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THE sharp-eared Mr Keith Norman writes from Oxford with an observation that at first made me think our command of hypothetical constructions was breaking down. For Mr Norman...

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Ross Clark says that the government is making Conservative councils in the South pay for pet projects in the North WHEN it became clear that the public were no longer going to...

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Ancient & modern

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THE debate grinds on about whether to bid for the Olympic Games to be staged in London. It is time to apply a little ancient wisdom. Alcibiades, darling of the Bright Young...

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D.J.M. Muffett on how Britain brought peace and justice to Nigeria, and how independence brought turmoil and terror ON the Ides of March 100 years ago, a column of troops...

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Tim Luckhurst warns that London and Washington should not take it for granted that pro-war Poland will join the EU IN Warsaw last Tuesday the French defence minister, Michelle...

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Andrew Girnson says that German newspapers are at last feeling the economic pinch: some are merging, some are shrinking HARDLY anyone on this side of the North Sea seems to...

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Norman Tebbit is sick of the dogmatism that drives the modernisers and Eurofana tics in the Tory party NOT all my collection of political cartoons is hung in the downstairs...

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There are a lot of myths about why Aids is widespread in Africa. But the facts, says Hugh Russell, are more bizarre Lusaka THE funeral processions trundle past my garden gates...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade NEWSPAPER readers will have seen a recent advertisement placed by Christian Aid in the form of a spoof boxing...

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The armchair historians are wrong: this isn't Munich or Suez; it's Sarajevo

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FRANK JOHNSON W e are either at Munich, 1938, or Suez. 1956. Depending on whether we are for or against this coming war, one or the other is the favoured comparison. President...

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The Telegraph made fain Duncan Smith.

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Will it break him? STEPHEN GLOVER T o say that the Daily Telegraph has the same relationship to the Tory party as Pravda once did to the Soviet Communist party would be a bit...

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Why states fail

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From R.L. O'Shaughnessy Sir: Bravo to Conrad Black on his piece (Britain is right to stick by America', 15 February)! Many readers must have been struck by the clarity of his...

This demi-paradise

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From Dr John Akeroyd Sir: Tom Palmer (Hothouse of hate'. 22 February) is too hard on the Eden Project. If some facts and figures presented there are a tad distorted or...

Moving stationery

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From Valerie Grove Sir: How many staplers, exactly, did George Orwell possess? Alastair Campbell (Diary, 22 February) is pleased that Mark Seddon, editor of Tribune, is...

Terror's grim reality

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From Mr David Todd Sir: I agree with Mark Steyn's view (Death wish', 22 February) that there appears to be an Islamic involvement in most current conflicts and attacks. While...

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Tank think

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From Mr Kevin Dobson Sir: Michael Vestey (Arts, 22 February) suggests that the government was right to station tanks at airports, and that this was not a 'stunt'. He feels that...

A dangerous diversion

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From Mr Ian Wylie Sir: By comparing Tony Blair with his distinguished predecessors, Paul Johnson (And another thing, 22 February) exhibits a confusion of thought about the...

Disgruntled of Durban

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From Mr Jonathan Caldow Sir: Michael Henderson's slanted and cynical article (Sport, 15 February) on the opening match of the cricket World Cup cannot go unchallenged. Lara's...

Giant-killing midgets

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From Mr Peter Jay Sir: I am one of the many conservatives (with a small 'c') who believe that the present lamentable state of the Tory party is the result of, and a judgment on,...

Slight, unmeritable men. . .

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From Mrs Julia Mount Sir: 'All gong and no dinner'? Rachel Johnson CA land unfit for heroes', 22 February) may not have heard of a quarter of the present OMs, but a list of past...

Favourite withdrawn

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From Mr Paul Evans Sir: I suspect that I will be one of many mourning the departure of Robin Oakley's 'The turf' column; he will be sorely missed. His stint in Spectator silks...

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A question of inches, facial hair and screaming babies

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PAUL JOHNSON I n reading history, which I do incessantly, what I like most is to come across those details which instantly bring the character to life, as if standing in the...

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Where no birds sing

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Matthew Leeming traces the source of the mysterious River Oxus VERY few white people have seen the source of the Oxus in the Great Pamir. This vast Central Asian river that...

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Profonde no longer Ivor Herbert TWO good things emerge from the cheap, frill-less airlines like Ryanair and Buzz, as their webs fling further across Europe: they open great...

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Scottish borders

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The great in-between Tim Luckhurst IN THE summer of 1934 Edwin Muir set out to explore Scotland in a 1921 Standard car he had borrowed from the director of the National...

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Balkan beauties Edward Glass THE Miss Dalmatia Beauty Pageant was a serious matter. Whoever became Miss Dalmatia could go on to be Miss Croatia. Miss Croatia could become Miss...

United States

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Boondocks to Brooklyn Walter Ellis New England AS I write, snow is piling up against the sides of our Connecticut home. It is already above the sills of the door: soon it will...

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Ski resorts

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Pieds-a-terre on piste Sebastian Deckker I HAVE just returned from a trip to the Alpine village of Megeve, situated in the heart of the Haute-Savoie, in the shadow of Mont...

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Terror-free zones

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Patagonia, here we come! Ross Clark THE London property market is in decline partly because large numbers of American citizens, who two years ago accounted for 60 per cent of...

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The most interesting of monarchs

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Douglas Johnson THE CRADLE KING: A LIFE OF JAMES VI & I by Alan Stewart Chatto & Windus, £20, pp. 438. ISBN 0701169842 h en an honest citizen was shown into King James I's...

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A marriage of true minds

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David Nokes TRANSFORMATIONS OF LOVE: THE FRIENDSHIP OF JOHN EVELYN AND MARGARET GODOLPHIN by Frances Harris OUP, £25, pp. 330. ISBN 0199252572 H ow often John Evelyn appears as...

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Challenge and response

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Francis King THE FALL by Simon Mawer Little, Brown, £12.99, pp. 442, ISBN 0316725242 T he first four pages of this novel arouse the highest expectations. Some walkers in the...

Down to the last detail

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Michael Carlson THE LOCK by Frank Egerton Smaller Sky Books, Bryn Maen, Maentwrog, Gwynedd L 41 4H1V, tel: 07050 632277, 18.99, pp. 283, ISBN 1903100097 0 ne might assume that...

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Heart of darkness and silence

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Jonathan Mirsky THE GATE by Francois Bizot, translated by Euan Cameron Harrill, £16.99, pp. 286, ISBN 1843430010 J oseph Conrad is famous for having chilled our blood with...

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Rich, regal and kosher

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Charlotte Moore CHARLOTTE & LIONEL by Stanley Weintraub Simon dE Schuster, f17.99, pp. 316, ISBN 0743219910 C harlotte dc Lionel is billed as a 'Rothschild Love Story'. This...

Oppenheimer: fact and fiction

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Ray Monk AMERICA'S CHILDREN by James Thackara The Overlook Press $26.95, pp. 330, ISBN 1585671118 T ruth of fact and truth of fiction are incompatible,' Virginia Woolf once...

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A two-pipe case not solved

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Duff Hart-Davis THE HITLER/HESS DECEPTION by Martin Allen HarperCollins, £19.99, pp. 324, ISBN 0007141181 W here was Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess heading when he took off in his...

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Tale of a survivor

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Anita Brookner DIARY OF AN ORDINARY WOMAN by Margaret Forster Chatto, 116.99, pp. 403, ISBN 070174129 W omen were always feminists. Their rebellion, or protest — against their...

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Living under the volcano

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Jonathan Keates WHAT I SAW: REPORTS FROM BERLIN, 1920-33 by Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann Granta, £14.99, pp. 227, ISBN 1862975786 R egrettably history is not...

Six Degrees of Separation from Shelley

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In the last year of her life I dined with Diana Cooper Who told me she thought the best thing to do with the poor Was to kill them. [think her tongue was in her cheek But with...

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The next best thing

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John McEwen WINSLOW HOMER: ARTIST AND ANGLER by Patricia Junker and Sarah Burns Thames & Hudson, £32, pp. 200, ISBN 0500093075 T his handsome book should be given to all those...

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Nothing new on display

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Anne Chisholm LIFE IN A COLD CLIMATE by Laura Thompson Review, £20, pp. 426. ISBN 0747245746 A ssuming that a biography is worth writing in the first place, it is often...

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Titian's touch of genius

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Andrew Lambirth on the National Gallery's magnificent show of this Renaissance giant W alking around this exhibition is a humbling experience. We are privileged to have a...

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Painting Not Painting; Terry Frost (Tate St Ives, till 11 May) Clash of talent Laura Gascoigne A mong the four Tates, St Ives has always been the exception in having a local...

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A life among music's greats

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Michael Henderson remembers his friend Peter Steiner, who died recently A remarkable man died a few weeks ago. At the age of 74 Peter Steiner was not old by modern expectations...

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The Cunning Little Vixen (Royal Opera House) Tristan und Isolde (Barbican) Ravishing spectacle Michael Tanner T he revival of Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen at the Royal...

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Forever young

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Giannandrea Poem() M aguy Mann's Cinderella was created in 1985 but unlike other and equally important examples of dance theatre from the same period it has not aged at all....

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Artistic licence

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Mark Steyn I t seems like only the other day that young Nelson Rockefeller was up on the big screen ordering the destruction of Diego Rivera's mural for the new Rockefeller...

Acid-laced banter

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Toby Young B y my own rather conventional standards of what constitutes a good play, I should have hated The Green Man. Set in a non-descript pub somewhere in south-west...

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Two's company

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Marcus Berkmann U p to the moment as ever, I suddenly find myself listening a great deal to Radio Two. Would anyone have admitted to this ten years ago? Certainly not. Radio...

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A lot to learn

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James Delingpole I was reading an interview with hippy multi-millionaire Felix Dennis the other day in which he claimed that watching television is a massive waste of life. 'My...

Speaking out

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Michael Vestey D espite its mistakes over the years I've always had a soft spot for the CIA. I was glad it was there through the Cold War and, after 11 September, even more...

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The end of the line?

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Charles Moore W c were sliding slowly downhill out of a Welsh cloud towards the end of the day. We had begun as a mounted field of 21 (`Sorry we're so big today,' said the...

Marrying money

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Taki I Gstaad n 1903 the following resolution was introduced in Texas on 20 February: Whereas there are many dukes, lords, and counts touring the US, seeking matrimonial...

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Mind games

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Jeremy Clarke T imes have changed. At the party I passed out at last week someone had gone to the trouble of putting the magic mushrooms in an orange-flavoured vodka jelly. The...

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Personality factions

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PetroneIla Wyatt I hardly spend my life attending dinner parties given by the chattering classes. But I will admit to attending dinners given by people who chatter — though not...

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Cape boredom

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Michael Henderson Durban EVERYBODY has a black spot, some subject or interest dear to others that they can't crack. Andrew Marr doesn't care for Wordsworth or for English beer,...

Q. I rather prefer the use, however dated, of the

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English version of foreign place names, such as Leghorn, Peking and Bombay. I recently had occasion, in conversation, to refer to Majorca, whereupon my interlocutor pointedly...

Q. While mostly agreeing with your problem solutions, the answer

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to the unaccustomed Tube traveller (8 February) I thought a tad unhelpful. Anyway, if his acquaintances are travelling by Tube — touché! I live in outer London, which happens to...

Q. Is the letter by the incontinent subaltern (Your problems

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solved, 25 January - ) for real? The correspondent in the next issue is quite right to query how pukka his regiment is. Pretending to be a waiter? I learnt my lesson on bladder...