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The right mission

The Spectator

TonyBlair — remember him? — was better at diagnosis than cure. 'I think most people would say that in virtually every aspect of their life things are better than they were 30 or...

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The Spectator

He who would read newspapers must expect to spend his days in the darkest despair, for they contain nothing but war, murder and medical advice. Popular wisdom, however, tells...

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The Spectator

DYLAN JONES My holiday reading list this year was both accidental and catholic. Usually I plan some months in advance, but this year I managed to wolf down my summer reading...

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Moral panic is the right reaction: we are afraid of our young

The Spectator

Let those who loved Rhys Jones grieve for him, says Theodore Dalrymple. But national outbursts of emotion are no substitute for impartial application of the law or a recognition...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

A company called Optimum has written drawing attention to a website it runs which analyses passages of writing and highlights the words that come from Old English in blue. Very...

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Meet the shadow minister for militant Islam

The Spectator

James Forsyth talks to Paul Goodman, the Conservative MP tasked to deal with Muslim separatism — and to balance the wayward views of his immediate boss Sayeeda Warsi The biggest...

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'Kill him, Jimmy!' A night at the cage fight

The Spectator

Steven Berkoff goes to the modem version of the Roman Colosseum: men going to war in a chicken-wire cage before hundreds of baying fans, with no holds barred So we went to...

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The supernatural is as British as fish and chips

The Spectator

Sarah Churchwell says that our love of spooky stories shows that the longing for supernatural solutions to natural problems is as strong as ever in our 'secular' society We're...

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Who really knows how much crime goes on at the Notting Hill Carnival?

The Spectator

Rod Liddle says that the verbal gymnastics employed to claim that the event has been peaceful are laughable. It's time for the organisers to foot the bill for the policing 1...

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Mark Birley: a man who was right in everything

The Spectator

David Tang We had arranged to see Mark Birley at noon on the day he died. But my wife Lucy and I were just too late. He had suffered a stroke that morning. We missed him by a...

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A menace of our making

The Spectator

Sir: What would Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington, the coolest of heads, have made of poor William Shawcross's overwrought emotional plea that we must stay on in Iraq as a...

The blame for Chindamo

The Spectator

Sir: It was not the Human Rights Act that was the primary reason for the ruling in the Chindamo case (Leading article, 25 August); rather it was the rights of EU citizens to...

Role play

The Spectator

Sir: Both Matthew d'Ancona and Patrick Jephson overlooked one excellent argument in favour of monarchy (How Diana changed the royal family', 18 August), which is that a...

Fair's fair

The Spectator

Sir: I read Anna Blundy's article ('We blondes face prejudice every day of our lives', 25 August) with increasing disbelief. She asserts that there is no other socially...

Carry on camping

The Spectator

Sir: It is encouraging that Samantha Weinberg and her fellow climate campers aim 'to persuade the wider population to listen to the science, and to make their decisions based...

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Dishonesty in television may arise from lofty principle: but it still bears the devil's fingerprint

The Spectator

MATTI-IFW D, PI Acolumnist should rejoice, I suppose, when an issue he has spotted early and returned to often suddenly catches Me, becoming the hot topic of the season. I...

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Whoever expected writers to be other than difficult people?

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON As someone who has spent nearly 60 years as a professional writer, I am inevitably set in my ways, though capable of changing them radically in a crisis. But I...

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Calling in the Geek Squad

The Spectator

Edie G. Lush tests a home-help service that can solve the biggest problem of modern life — how to connect your computer to all the other gizmos in your house Ivhy would anyone...

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Now America faces not-so-friendly fire from the rest of the financial world

The Spectator

MARTIN VANDER WEYER 1 'm back, as Arnold Schwarzenegger famously declared in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In fact I haven't really been away, just hovering in cyberspace...

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Waking up late at the Palace

The Spectator

Sam Leith THE UNCOMMON READER by Alan Bennett Profile, £10.99, pp. 128, ISBN 9781846680496 © 0.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Since The History Boys transferred first to...

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Movies and talkies

The Spectator

David Caute MORNINGS IN THE DARK: THE GRAHAM GREENE READER edited by David Parkinson Carcanet, £18.95, pp. 738, ISBN 9781857548556 £15.19 (plus £2.45 p+p) 0870 429 6655 Arriving...

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Long live the weeds and the wilderness

The Spectator

Oliver Rackham THE WILD PLACES by Robert Macfarlane Granta, £18.99, pp. 340, ISBN 9781862079410 cc) £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Robert Macfarlane is a Cambridge don,...

The politics of the plot

The Spectator

Ben Wilson THE ARCADIAN FRIENDS: INVENTING THE ENGLISH LANDSCAPE GARDEN by Tim Richardson Bantam, £25, pp. 562, ISBN 9780593052730 © £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The man...

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You have been warned

The Spectator

Jonathan Mirsky THE CONFIDENCE MAN: HIS MASQUERADE by Herman Melville Dalkey Archive Press, £8.99, pp. 354, ISBN 9781564784544 © £7.19 (plus £2.45 p+p) 0870 429 6655 Many years...

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Likely lads in their day

The Spectator

Simon Raven's first novel, The Feathers of Death, was published in 1959 when I was in my second year at Cambridge. We fell on it with glee, as I remarked, a few weeks after...

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The spirit of Almodovar

The Spectator

Daniel Sparrow on how he persuaded the Spanish director to let him stage All About My Mother 1 n the theatre programme notes for the new play based on Pedro Almodovar's film,...

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True colours

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Helio Oiticica: The Body of Colour Tate Modern, until 23 September Supported by Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne John Piper Room 20, Tate Britain, until 24 January...

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All that jazz

The Spectator

Charles Spencer I'm just back from Edinburgh, my 20th successive year at the festival for the Daily Telegraph, which makes me feel very old indeed. How times have changed. When...

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Mutual loathing

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans On Raglan Road Old Red Lion White Boy Soho Dublin. Terrific to write about, terrible to experience. This was the verdict of Patrick Kavanagh, poet, alcoholic and...

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World class

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm Next time you're bemoaning the TV licence fee, check out the BBC's World Service. A different quality appears to prevail in their making of radio documentaries —...

Shocking cheats

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart rr he most egregious example of cheating in wildlife photography was the 1958 Disney film Wild Wilderness. They wanted footage of lemmings throwing themselves off...

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Making the switch

The Spectator

Robin Oakley Rider Mick Fitzgerald was asked by his careers master when still at school what he wanted to be. 'I've half a mind to be a jump-jockey,' he declared. 'Good,'...

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Man of mystery

The Spectator

Taki OK. It is early 1964, the Profumo scandal has proved beyond reasonable doubt that English men can also be swingers (and with women, to boot), and my friend Yanni Zographos...

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Happy families

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke My boy's mother and Adolf Hitler share the same birthday, and, as an astrologer might expect, their personalities are in many ways similar. She can make a...

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Strained relationship

The Spectator

Roy Hattersley There was, the architect said, no hope of getting planning permission for an extension. So I had the ingenious idea of solving our bedroom shortage by building...

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The wonder of it all

The Spectator

Jonathan Ray samples Selfridges' newly opened Wonder Room Selfridges used to be my local. My wife and I have poured plenty of our hardearned scratch into its coffers over the...

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Having your cake and eating it

The Spectator

Belinda Archer finds Madeira is not just for the blue-rinse brigade Ihad certain misgivings. I mean, it's not quite rock 'n' roll, Madeira, is it? It's known more for...

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J, 1 TPT:07-7

The Spectator

Dear Maly Q. A very good and loyal friend of mine has just had two operations and recently she rang and asked if she could come and stay for the weekend. I immediately said yes....

Paris match

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING At any sporting junket involving pretentious national prestige, you can guarantee that the ritzy no-expense-spared 'resplendence' of a dire and irksome opening...