20 AUGUST 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK B ritish Airways flights to and from

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London Heathrow were brought to a standstill for a day, and disrupted for days afterwards, by unofficial strikes by ground staff in sympathy with 700 staff sacked by a company...

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A necessary betrayal

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A riel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, deserves praise for forcing the settlers in Gaza off the land and out of the homes that he encouraged them to settle and to build...

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I ’ve taken to calling myself Lady Black of No Fixed

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Address while I spend the summer betwixt and between houses. Floating happily in a semi-weightless state, I stay in touch wherever I am by watching BBC World News. T he BBC...

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How Ken Clarke’s candidacy has changed the geography of the leadership contest

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K en Clarke is going to stand for the leadership of the Conservative party. That is the hard, hot, agenda-changing news here in Westminster as the third week in August stretches...

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CHARLES MOORE T here are certain political moves which have now become regular, almost ceremonial features of our national life. One is the IRA’s announcement that the conflict...

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The last days of the Tartan Raj

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Andrew Neil says the English should stop worrying about the invading Jocks: the northern grip on the nation’s politics, media and business is being irrevocably weakened by the...

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Hold your tears

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Mark Steyn on the narcissistic rage of the grieving mother who has camped outside the President’s ranch in Texas New Hampshire I s it only five years since the White House...

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Mind your language

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To Sir John Hall, Bt (not to be confused with the other Sir John Hall, Bt, the magician), I owe the most satisfying defining statement I have seen for a long time: ‘The chief...

Take away their votes

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Theodore Dalrymple says that bureaucracy is an increasingly poisonous menace, and must be curbed E veryone knows that it costs an immense sum to bring a new drug to market; and...

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United in hate

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Douglas Davis shows how secular Marxists and Islamic fundamentalists have buried their differences to wage war on the war against terror P olitics makes strange bedfellows....

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The sound of silence

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Roger Scruton describes a left-wing smear campaign that has persuaded the Anglican authorities to cancel a tour this autumn by the German conductor Volker Hartung T he musical...

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The protocols of the elders of the BBC

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Rod Liddle examines the paranoia of the Muslims who say that the Beeb is pro-Israeli S ometimes things are altogether more simple than we wish them to be. Sir Iqbal Sacranie,...

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Light and hope in Canberra; grudging pomp in Westminster

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‘W elcome,’ smiled the man at the security checkpoint. ‘Do you think my belt will set off the alarm?’ I asked. ‘It might. Walk though and give it a try. We’ll see soon enough,’...

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A plague on the new Puritans

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From Lawrence James Sir: Tories beware! Roundheads are infiltrating the party of the Cavaliers. The six new MPs (Letters, 13 August) who issued a tirade against contemporary...

From Revd Fraser K. Turner

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Sir: The letter penned by Messrs Binley, Bone, Burrowes, Davies, Goodwill and Harper concerning the abject liberal concepts that dominate this nation’s politicians with the...

From William Packer

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Sir: It is hard to know which is the more depressing: the woolliness of the thinking of John Hayes (‘Muslims are right about Britain’, 6 August) and his young acolyte MPs or the...

From Colin Howard

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Sir: Conservatives, and I number myself one, should be wary of endorsing any Muslim’s accusation of our society as decadent. It is hard to imagine ideas more decadent than those...

From Andrew Bryson

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Sir: As a small ‘c’ conservative, I submit that the kind of ‘freedom’ currently being exercised so gleefully by the powerful men and women who run the advertising, print and...

Regime change in Iran

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From Ilan Berman Sir: Bruce Anderson (‘Let them build nukes’, 13 August) writes that neither military force nor sanctions are feasible means of rolling back Iran’s nuclear...

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From Dov Midalia Sir: Yes, Bruce Anderson, it is dangerous

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to try to stop aggressive fundamentalist terrorexporting fascists obtaining nuclear arms. It was also dangerous trying to stop Hitler. Dov Midalia Perth, Australia

Death in Dresden

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From Professor Colin Leach Sir: Andrew Kenny (Letters, 13 August) repeats the long-held belief that the bombing of Dresden caused more deaths than the atomic bombs on Hiroshima...

How to grow democracy

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From Alan Williams Sir: In your leading article last week you highlight the problems when you say: ‘If the Shias, the Sunnis and the Kurds can resolve their differences ...’....

Luddism and the greens

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From Michael Hanlon Sir: George Monbiot (Letters, 13 August) misses the point of my article, which is that the rock of modern environmentalism is infused with a thick...

British isn’t always best

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From Dr Christoffel Schoneveld Sir: Mark Steyn (‘All men are not equal’, 13 August) is very entertaining indeed. But as a Dutchman I feel somewhat put down by his pro-British...

From Elisabeth O’Flynn Sir: Mark Steyn’s article reminded me of

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a Flanders and Swann song which was popular in the 1950s, the chorus of which went: The British, the British, the British are best; I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the...

Feasting on perch

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From Eric Cowell Sir: Simon Courtauld in his Food for Thought column (‘Perchance to eat’, 13 August) seems unaware that in the second world war, perch were caught and canned in...

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A land of puritans, snobs and socialists

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Martin Vander Weyer on the British idea that businessmen are by nature greedy, heartless, incompetent or dishonest — or all four O ur local arts festival this summer included a...

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Ancient & modern

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Given the fault-line between religion and politics in the Muslim world and the priority of Sharia over secular law, what can Muslims do to reassure us that they understand their...

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Wittgenstein and the fatal propensity of politicians to lie

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L ying is a terrible thing in any circumstances. When politicians and governments lie, it is a sin against society as a whole, against justice and civilisation. In Ray Monk’s...

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Prickles and thorns

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David Gilmour T HE T HISTLE AND THE R OSE by Allan Massie John Murray, £20, pp. 326, ISBN 0719559995 V £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 O ne of the oddest forms of...

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Beacons in a squat, dark sprawl

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Christopher Woodward L ONDON 5: E AST by Bridget Cherry, Charles O’Brien and Nikolaus Pevsner Yale, £29.95, pp. 864, ISBN 0300107013 I n the 1950s Nikolaus Pevsner published...

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Forgetting and forgiving

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Digby Anderson Y IDDISH C IVILISATION by Paul Kriwaczek Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 347, ISBN 0297829416 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 B y the middle of the first century Rome...

Tunes played by an enchantress

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Charlotte Moore H ETTY D ORVAL by Ethel Wilson Persephone, £12, pp. 136, ISBN 1903155479 F rankie Burnaby is 12. She lives on a remote farm in British Columbia, where ‘the...

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The sweet taste of revenge

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Digby Durrant M Y C LEANER by Maggie Gee Saqi, £12.99, pp. 352, ISBN 086356565441 ✆ 11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 L etting out a shriek at the sight of gloomy Justin,...

House-building and husbandry

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Anne Somerset B ESS OF H ARDWICK : F IRST L ADY OF C HATSWORTH by Mary S. Lovell Little, Brown, £20, pp. 555, ISBN 0316724823 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 B ess of...

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Cracking up in Beirut

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Anna Vaux G RANDMOTHER W OLF by Patricia Tyrrell Weidenfeld, £12.99, pp. 280, ISBN 0297848968 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 P atricia Tyrrell’s previous book told the...

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Not a bad neighbour, just difficult

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Jonathan Sumption L A V IE EN B LEU : F RANCE AND THE F RENCH S INCE 1900 by Rod Kedward Allen Lane, £30, pp. 740, ISBN 0713990414 T he French rarely read books by foreigners...

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On a wing and a prayer

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Montagu Curzon T HE S PECTACLE OF F LIGHT : A VIATION AND THE W ESTERN I MAGINATION , 1920–1950 by Robert Wohl Yale, £25, pp. 364, ISBN 0300106920 O nly the short-lived...

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The creative use of paranoia

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John Michell I A M A LIVE AND Y OU A RE D EAD : A J OURNEY INTO THE M IND OF P HILIP K. D ICK by Emmanuel Carrère Bloomsbury, £17.99, pp. 315, ISBN 0747569193 ✆ £15.99 (plus...

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The man who loved toast

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Byron Rogers T HE H UNGRY Y EARS by William Leith Bloomsbury, £10.99, pp. 296, ISBN 074757250X M r William Leith approaches a toaster. ‘Now I’m in a hurry. The bread is brown....

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Northern lights

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Mark Glazebrook on three exhibitions in Edinburgh that must be seen T he Edinburgh Festival started in 1947 as essentially a music festival, the brainchild of Glyndebourne’s...

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Great expectations

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Andrew Lambirth Cecily Brown: Paintings Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford, until 28 August T here has been a great deal of media coverage of this exhibition of new...

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Sunshine and storm

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Petroc Trelawny W hen questioned for the 1891 census, Betsy Lanyon, an 84-year-old widow from Newlyn, decided she had better register a late change of career. She told her...

Road to nowhere

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Michael Tanner Khovanshchina Royal Opera House I t was an odd oversight, or possibly it was ignorance, which led Auden not to include Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina in his list of...

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Every witch way

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Mark Steyn Bewitched PG, selected cinemas B ewitched The Movie isn’t a remake of Bewitched The Sitcom. It’s a movie about a remake of the sitcom. Who says bigscreen recycling...

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Sound effects

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Stuart Nicholson A couple of years ago I was invited to tour Compass Point Studios just outside Nassau in the Bahamas. Apart from its historical significance — this was once...

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Noh fun

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Lloyd Evans Kagyu (The Snail); Sumidagawa (The Madwoman at the Sumida River) The Hub Blackbird King’s Theatre A t last I know what the fuss is about. The Noh play, that...

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The state they’re in

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Michael Vestey I ’ve noticed that one of the more interesting aspects of obsessional British EUfanatics is their inability to face the reality around them, and one of their...

One to be trusted

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Alan Judd T wo thousand holiday miles encompassing Sussex and Sutherland with barely a mile, it seemed, free of ragwort. This pretty yellow weed — pleasing for bees, I’m told,...

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A feeling in your bones

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Robin Oakley R acing at Newbury on Stan James Day was more like yachting, once defined as standing in a gale tearing up £20 notes. Nor did it help when the heavens opened that...

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Sleazy does it

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Taki Gstaad U nsurprisingly, I was pipped last week by Paul Johnson on matters saponaceous, and I didn’t even need to look up the word. I refer to Paul as my mentor, but only...

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Good intent

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Jeremy Clarke A framed Biblical text hanging on the wall of our home during my growingup years said: ‘Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and...

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Trent warfare

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FRANK KEATING T he Ashes are burning bright all right. A lot of cricket still to play. Two Tests remaining — the fourth begins at Nottingham on Thursday, and how might things...

Q. My wife and I have had a number of

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people to stay at our seaside house this summer. We are writers and since most of our friends are what would be called ‘arty types’ we are usually a very relaxed party....

Q. At the theatre a few nights ago with a

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group of friends, I was seated directly behind one friend’s 19-year-old daughter. She had a plastic water bottle from which she proceeded to drink throughout the first act. I...

Q. The other night I went to dinner with a

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new friend. We stayed up talking until 6 a.m. at which point my friend showed me into a double-bedded guest room where I lay like a log between cool linen sheets for all of two...