20 JANUARY 2007

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United we stand

The Spectator

The 300th anniversary this week of the Act of Union between England and Scotland has been a depressingly defensive event rather than a festival of celebration. In the Daily...

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PIERS MORGAN 1 f you have started to fear that Tes

The Spectator

PIERS MORGAN 1 f you have started to fear that Tesco, that rampaging retail beast, is running the country, then you may be right. Let me explain. When Time magazine made...

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'Social responsibility' is a bad name for a good idea: Cameron is truly on to something

The Spectator

FRASER NELSON How much does a hamburger really cost? Within this question, as one of David Cameron's senior advisers explained to me, lies the Conservatives' new driving...

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NOTES CHARLES MOORE Are you a hedger or a ditcher?

The Spectator

NOTES CHARLES MOORE Are you a hedger or a ditcher? The distinction was invented to describe the opposition to Asquith's threat to the House of Lords in 1911, and it applies...

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Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody

The Spectator

01 I\ `T\7 '11 -101r1ITI "ILL By Tamzin Lightwater MONDAY Don't ask me why, but suddenly the buzzword is 'Thatcher'. Memo marked 'Urgent' says the T-word count for an average...

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Last hours of a monster let off the hook by his American foes

The Spectator

Amid fresh reports that Fidel Castro is at death's door, Daniel Hannan says that the Cuban dictator was the beneficiary of Western hypocrisy about left-wing tyrants, and of the...

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Memory of that terrible day will long survive Castro

The Spectator

Like the assassination of JFK, everybody alive then can remember where they were that Doomsday Week of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. That Saturday, 27 October, was,...

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'No one has the last word on climate change'

The Spectator

Fraser Nelson meets Sir Nicholas Stern, author of the government's report on climate change, and is struck by how much more equivocal he is than his political masters 1 n a...

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'To be with John Betjeman was to enter another world'

The Spectator

Andrew Geddes recounts the long affair between his mother Margie and the great poet, and the passion of his letters to her over many decades My mother first met John Betjeman in...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

Every now and then, I come across a way of using language that is so divergent from the norm that I wonder how anyone can have adopted it. This seems to have happened to...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

The joyful street parties, dazzling fireworks displays and sense of universal celebration that have greeted the 50th anniversary of the EU across the land make one wonder how...

Make or break for President Bush

The Spectator

James Forsyth says that the President will not seek to compromise on Iraq in his penultimate State of the Union address: he wants to be 'acquitted on all charges' president...

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Get rich and have fun with my new Unethical Investment Fund

The Spectator

Rod Liddle says that it is not only entertaining to put your money into companies that behave naughtily. It is also economically lucrative: so buy more stocks today Are you...

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Stop hounding us

The Spectator

From Simon Hart Sir: Ever since he was sacked by Radio 4's Today programme for his obsession with the Countryside Alliance, Rod Liddle has not been able to leave us alone (At...

The cost of class

The Spectator

From Andrew Nash Sir: Matthew Lynn's bafflement at the cost of school fees ('Why we need no-frills, lowcost private schools', 13 January) would soon be solved if he actually had...

Being Frank

The Spectator

From Rupert Hambro Sir: I read Charles Moore's charming tribute to Frank Johnson (The smart boy always thrilled by the story', 30 December). I remember our once finding Frank in...

Plaque birds

The Spectator

From Hugh Massingberd Sir: In, alas, the last of his delightful 'Food for thought' columns (13 January), Simon Courtauld mentions that Goya painted a heap of dead woodcock. For...

Competing Greens

The Spectator

From Paul Callan Sir: Charles Moore's punning comment 'How Green Is Your Valet?' (The Spectator's Notes, 13 January) on the race among Cameronite politicos for the poshest...

Dinar party

The Spectator

From William Shawcross Sir: Richard Snailham (Letters, 13 January) is quite right that I typed the value of the Iraqi dinar incorrectly — my apologies. But, as I wrote, the...

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How sad that Margaret Beckett will not end her Cabinet career with a burst of angry candour

The Spectator

MATTHEW PARRIS Ishould start with a correction and an apology. The apology is owed to Margaret Beckett. I asserted in this column two weeks ago that the Foreign Secretary had...

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Time raises Longfellow, like Lazarus, from the dead

The Spectator

1 t is good news that Longfellow is at last enjoying a revival, happily coinciding this year with the 200th anniversary of his birth. He is far and away America's greatest poet....

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The struggle to make Sainsbury's great again

The Spectator

Judi Bevan says Justin King has faced a tougher task at Sainsbury's than Stuart Rose at Marks & Spencer — and that King doesn't think the City gives him due credit for his...

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The parable of Battersea power station

The Spectator

Ross Clark While London homeowners crow about the profits they have made on their houses, it has largely escaped notice that all of them could have made even larger profits last...

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A slow dawn but not a false one

The Spectator

Merryn Somerset Webb says Japan is still a good bet for the medium term, despite the disappointments of 2006 For fund managers who specialised in Japan, 2005 was a fantastic...

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Who's new in 2007 — and how are things in Sakhalin, Comrade Lobachov?

The Spectator

MARTIN VANDER WEYER An entry in the new edition of Who's Who isn't quite like a knighthood — you can't buy one, for a start — but it is nevertheless a distinction. It's also...

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Fish fries in Half Moon Fort

The Spectator

John Laughland on how to find the real Barbados hen you think of Barbados, you think of celebrities. Tony Blair's annual holidays in Sir Cliff Richard's villa; high-profile...

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Holy orders

The Spectator

Michael McMahon ,N o flash! No flash! Mama mia, four times I tell-a you, ma you do it again!' The anger of the sacristan of the church of S. Agostino rolled past Caravaggio's...

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Barcelona Diary

The Spectator

Michael Heath Have you ever had steak tartare with ice cream on it? Well, I have! I had it in Barcelona just a few weeks ago, and very nice it was too, so eat your heart out,...

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Black Sea bubble

The Spectator

Justin Kerr-Smiley dessa was once as fashionable as Lausanne or Biarritz. The glitterati would take the waters in the summer and mingle on the pristine beaches of the Black Sea....

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Death, be not proud

The Spectator

William Leith How TO LIVE FOREVER OR DIE TRYING by Bryan Appleyard Simon & Schuster, £12.99, pp. 307, ISBN 9780743268684 £1039 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The title of...

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A martyr without a cause

The Spectator

Honor Clerk LOVE SONGS AND LIES by Libby Purves Hodder, £14.99, pp. 394, ISBN 034083739X £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 y es, you may well sigh and beat your head on...

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Singing in the mud

The Spectator

Hugh Cecil VOICES OF SILENCE: THE ALTERNATIVE BOOK OF FIRST WORLD WAR POETRY by Vivien Noakes Sutton, £18.99, pp. 454, ISBN 0750945214, © £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

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An innocent abroad

The Spectator

Digby Durrant SAFE HOUSES by David Pryce-Jones Sinclair-Stevenson, £12.99, pp. 186, ISBN 9780955383304 £1039 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Even as a boy Charles knew there...

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Pre-Raphaelite of the world

The Spectator

Ian Warrell WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT: A CATALOGUE RAISONNE by Judith Bronkhurst Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art! Yale University Press, 2 volumes, £175, ISBN...

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Nags versus cads

The Spectator

Olivia Glazebrook THE CLEFT by Doris Lessing 4th Estate, £16.99, pp. 260, ISBN 0007233434 £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The Cleft (as Lessing writes in a brief...

All too minor to matter

The Spectator

Robert Stewart EDWARD VI: THE LOST KING OF ENGLAND by Chris Skidmore Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 346, ISBN 9780297846499 © £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Monarchy, monarchy,...

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Formal feeling comes good

The Spectator

Sebastian Smee CARELESS by Deborah Robertson Sceptre, £12.99, pp. 293, ISBN 0340938234 £1039 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Contemporary Australian fiction, like Australian...

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More than a hint of cordite

The Spectator

James Delingpole A TANKIE'S TRAVELS by Jock Watt Woodfield Publishing, £9.95, pp. 200, ISBN 1846830214 wwwwoodfieldpublishing.corn The best personal account of tank warfare in...

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The rewards of crime

The Spectator

Raymond Chandler once praised Dashiell Hammett for having given murder back to the sort of people who committed it. One knows what he meant; away with murders at the vicarage or...

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A two-way deal

The Spectator

Henrietta Bredin on how Roger Quilter inspired a baritone and a composer The phrase 'English song' is often met with suspicion, bringing with it a whiff of the morris dance, the...

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Poetic spirit

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Picasso: La Californie Helly Nahmad Gallery, 2 Cork Street, London Wl, until 28 Febinaly Aubrey Williams: Major Works October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street,...

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Packing 'em in

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Wicked Apollo, Victoria Postcards from God Jemlyn Street What Would Judas Do?; Product: World Remix Bush Wicked is a musical based on the early life of the Wicked...

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Dessay delights

The Spectator

Michael Tanner La fille du regiment Royal Opera House Donizetti's La fille du regiment is one of his three comedies that retain a place in the repertoire. It is mainly...

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No time to hibernate

The Spectator

Ursula Buchan ttentive readers will recall that, in recent years, I have worried and wittered and wrung my hands in these pages about the increasing incidents of unusual weather...

Suffering together

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Babel 15, Nationwide In the remote sands of the Moroccan desert, a rifle shot — bang! — rings out, detonating a chain of events that will, after two-and-half...

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Noises off

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm LWords are all we have,' said one of the characters, a writer, on the Saturday-afternoon play on Radio Four. Not on radio, they're not. That's the great thing...

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Second best

The Spectator

Robin Oakley Apunting friend at Kempton Park told me about the school class last week who were asked to stand up and talk about what their fathers did for a living. The sons of...

Nightmare on Downing Street Simon Hoggart It's a c

The Spectator

Nightmare on Downing Street Simon Hoggart It's a commonplace that the Berlin satire boom of the 1930s did nothing to stop the rise of Hitler. But these days, in Britain, satire...

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Fond farewell

The Spectator

Taki To 56 Doughty Street for the last sup1 per, or the embalmers' lunch, as Gore Vidal once described a class reunion. Actually, it was very moving, at least for the poor...

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Grace and favour

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke The check-in queue was constrained by portable barriers into one of those snaking, pointless and unexpectedly intimate queues that are all the rage at British...

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Cries of outrage

The Spectator

Roy Hattersley It is not only Gordon Brown who has to make difficult choices between prudence and public expenditure. Our parish council has just announced a cut in services...

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Is it time for tea?

The Spectator

George Trefgarne reckons the coffee shop may have met its match As so often with a tale of fads and fashions, we must begin our journey in pursuit of the rebirth of the tea shop...

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My big fat Indian wedding

The Spectator

Bruce Palling gets invited to a pukka party Few letters — well, packages — can rival a pukka Indian wedding invitation. For a start, there were the 17 stamps on the...

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The way we live now

The Spectator

Simon Davis on the new vogue for specific-use rooms 1 n her recent book on the new American country house Mary Miers notes that increasing numbers of clients require architects...

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Your Problems Solved

The Spectator

Dear Maly Q. Is there a tactful way to invite certain favourite old friends to dinner but without their partners? I have no wish to exclude or be cruel to anyone, but I know...

Mud and money

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING Day and night, night and day . . . relentlessly the football season slurps on through the January mud — mud and money, slurp, slurp — transfer 'windows',...