20 OCTOBER 2001

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M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, flew to Oman and

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Egypt in an attempt to strengthen support for the American-led coalition against terrorists, notably Mr Osama bin Laden. Saudi Arabia refused to receive Mr Blair. He then...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 WHAT IS A RELIGION? M r Blair is having a good war. Compared with the...

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forces has not persuaded Gordon Brown to disgorge an extra farthing. T he Onion, an outstanding American Internet publication, ran a challenging interview following the events...

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The creation of a Palestinian state is essential for the war against terrorism

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BRUCE ANDERSON T here has never been a greater contrast between the superficial coverage of a war and its true nature. Much of the press would like to see this conflict as a...

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Sometimes it takes a foreign war to solve a domestic crisis like the NHS

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MATTHEW PARR IS P eople of my father's generation tell me that after the second world war the world looked different for more than the obvious reason. Abroad, of course, a...

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Ross Clark says that propaganda is what matters in this war — and bin Laden, so far, has the upper hand BESIDES the orange fireball sprouting from the 80th floor of the south...

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit

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ANYONE who doubts that the government is against people enjoying themselves should take a look at European directive number 1999/22/EC. This British-inspired move requires all...


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Chris Lewis exposes the scandalous financial liaison between publishers and bookshops THERE is a universal assumption that people who work in the book trade are learned,...

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A thirsty Robert Hardman discovers a distillery in a Pakistani town Quetta THE streets are full of talk of jihad. The mullahs' men scour the bazaars for those who have missed...

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Emma Tennant blames the government for a catastrophic epidemic, and says that the agony goes on IT is now five months since the Prime Minister announced that we were on the...

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Bring back colonialism, says Mark Steyn. The hands-off approach never works New Hampshire BEFORE the White House decided to lean on the networks and get him off air, Osama bin...

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Mind your language

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'WELL, is it Moslem or Muslim?' asked my husband, drawing breath to lever himself from his chair to go and replenish his unIslamic whisky glass. I didn't know, so I rooted...


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Simon Nixon says that the life-insurance industg is nothing but a rip-off NOW that the war on terrorism has begun, it may seem trivial to talk about the looming crisis in...

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Julian Manyon hears the bombs, but remains unconvinced by the Pentagon's plan Java! Saraj, near Kabul THINGS have gone badly wrong. By now I should have been in the...

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Ancient & modern

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THE supermodel Elle Macpherson has evidently stuck up neatly typed notes round her kitchen reminding her how to treat her child — presumably in case she forgets. One of them...

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David Gilmour recalls Afghanistan in the good old days of King Zahir WE were arrested at midnight by a patrol of the Shah's army. 'You crazy mens.' the lieutenant told us,...

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The star-spangled banner yet waves over Wall Street but west of Broadway, the badlands begin

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES 0New York ne month on, the sky is clear and the boiling cloud over Lower Manhattan has drifted away, but what remains is the smell. Acrid, invasive, tinged...

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Terrorism and the eschatological moment

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PAUL JOHNSON T he events of the last month, and especially scares about biological warfare, have made many people think about the possible end of the world. Such speculations...

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On the wrong track

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From Mr Michael Bailey Sir: Peter °borne CA malevolent act of theft'. 13 October), in his headlong dash to defend Railtrack at all costs, shows himself to be as ill-informed as...

Artistic gestures

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From Mr Robert Crozier Sir: Does Richard Dorment ('Here's looking at us', 13 October) really believe that the reason that Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, et al. are recognised by...

From Mr Michael Jackson

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Sir: Richard Dorment claims that releasing modern conceptual art from traditional constraints is like telling a writer that he doesn't have to write poetry, but is free to cover...

Growing power of police

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From Mr John Parfitt Sir: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (Police state', 6 October) omits one important piece of the legal jigsaw being assembled by David Blunkett and the EU. Under a...

Palestine regained

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From Mr Frederic Lamond Sir: Mark Steyn (People who hate people', 6 October) is wrong to equate an intelligent search for the root causes of the virulent hatred that so many...

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Second-rate speechifying

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From The Revd David Mason, OBE Sir: You claim in your leading article (13 October) that Tony Blair is good with words. Yet, for me, it is precisely his oratory that puts me...

Tina, Harry and Stephen

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From Judy Bachrach Sir: It was with some incredulity that I read Stephen Glover's review (Media studies, 6 October) of my book, Tina and Ilany Come to America, particularly the...

If my book isn't being published in Britain (and as

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of this writing it is not), it is because of the sorry British habit of threatening libel writs — a penchant Harry Evans has acquired, as The Spectator must know. Nonetheless,...

For Emperor and country

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From Mr Jonathan Mirsky Sir: John Keegan (Diary, 6 October) implies that Muslim terrorists are unique in 'killing themselves so as to kill others'. Not even the Mongols did...


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From Dr Ian Verner Sir: I am afraid that Michael Vestey (Arts, 6 October) will be disappointed if he attempts to experience the perilous pleasures of opium by dissolving poppy...

Our friends in Iberia

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From Alexandre Bunnester Sir: For some reason, in your introduction to lain Duncan Smith's article ('Why we must stick by America', 29 September) you refer to America as 'our...

Terrorist get-together

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From Mr Peter Fullerton Sir: Peter Hitchens brother, where art thou?', 13 October) is right to point out that the 'war' on terrorism does not include the IRA on the list of...

Search for Pipers

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From Mr Ian A. C. Dejardin Sir: In 2003 Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Ashmolean Museum are celebrating the centenary of John Piper's birth with an exhibition of the best of...

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Despite the government's attempts to muzzle them, the media must not be cowed

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STEPHEN GLOVER T he press has got very steamed up over Jo Moore, the spin doctor who suggested shortly after the attacks on 11 September that it was a good time to 'bury' the...

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A perfectly targeted prize

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Philip Hensher h e best aspect of V. S. Naipaul's Nobel Prize is that, for once, the prize has not been influenced by any political considerations, and can only be taken as an...

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The last trumpeters

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Aidan Hartley AFRICA'S ELEPHANT: A BIOGRAPHY by Martin Meredith Hodder, £14.99, pp. 245, ISBN 0340770813 WILDLIFE WARS: MY BATTLE TO SAVE KENYA'S ELEPHANTS by Richard Leakey...

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A selection of recent paperbacks

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Fiction: The Constant Gardener by John le Carre Coronet, £6.99 Gardener to the King by Frederic Richaud, Harvill, £6.99 The School of Night by Alan Wall, Vintage, £6.99...

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Funny peculiar and ha-ha

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Francis King THREE QUEER LIVES by Paul Bailey Hamish Hamilton, £14.99, pp. 242, ISBN 0241134552 D espite its title, this book is about not three but four queer lives. The...

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Rewards of fairies

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Elisa Segrave ONCE by James Herbert Macmillan, f16.99, pp. 470, ISBN 0333761375 J ames Herbert's 19 novels have sold more than 48,000,000 copies worldwide, but this is the...

Natural forces at work

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D. J. Taylor AFTER THE PLAGUE by T. C. Boyle Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 303, ISBN 0747553270 L ove of Life', perhaps the best short story Jack London ever wrote, is set in the...

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Past masters of camerawork

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Mark Glazebrook SECRET KNOWLEDGE by David Hockney Thames & Hudson, .E35, pp. 296, ISBN 0500237858 A lthough Vasari, who died in 1574, was a painter as well as being an art...

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Small lies and the greater truth

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Christopher Booker STORYTELLER: THE MANY LIVES OF LAURENS VAN DER POST by J. D. F. Jones John Murray, .£25, pp. 505, ISBN 0719555809 T he key to what makes this biography of...

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Creating a strong brand image

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Nicholas Harman THE IRISH STORY by R. F. Foster Allen Lane, 1'20, pp. 282, ISBN 0713994975 I f you want to understand how Ireland has got to where it is — and many don't — then...

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Adam had it made

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Nicky Haslam THE GENIUS OF ROBERT ADAM by Eileen Harris Yale, £65, pp. 384, ISBN 0300081294 T here can be few more rewarding pleasures than a magical, mysterious tour with the...

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It can seriously improve wealth

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Zenga Longmore LA DIVA NICOTINA: THE STORY OF HOW TOBACCO SEDUCED THE WORLD by lain Gately Simon & Schuster, £14.99, pp. 403, ISBN 074308129 L ike a great detective writer,...

Ghosts and sharp outlines

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Gab riele Annan THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES by Muriel Spark Penguin Viking, £20, pp. 416, ISBN 0670911720 I nheritance, faith, suppressed passion; irony, simplicity, black...

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A quick flick through that colourful old album

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William Feaver THE BOHEMIANS: THE BIRTH OF MODERN ART, PARIS, 1900-1930 by Dan Franck, translated from the French by Cynthia Hope Liebow Weidenfeld, 120, pp. 430, ISBN...

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The intolerable wrestle with words

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Anita Brookner FLAUBERT: A LIFE by Geoffrey Wall Faber, £25, pp. 413, ISBN 0571195210 T he question of how reflexive, or, alternatively, how transparent a writer can or...

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Diary of a disappointed man

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Bill Gaskill THE DIARIES OF KENNETH TYNAN edited by John Lahr Bloornsbuty, £25, pp. 352, ISBN 0747554188 A fter the biography of Tynan by his wife, Kathleen. and the letters...

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John Pendlebury and the Battle of Crete

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Patrick Leigh Fermor The following is the text of a speech given at Knossos, Crete, on 21 May as part of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Crete J ohn...

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Eyeball to eyeball with reality

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Mary Wakefield quails at Shackleton's adventures on the giant Imax screen V ast swells of green-black sea-water rolled around us, solid-seeming and bevelled like beaten metal....

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Eccentric snippets

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Annabel Ricketts T hree colossal feet confront the visitor at the beginning of this exhibition, and the startling difference in their condition highlights the changing...

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Manic quirks

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Nicholas Powell A rt should 'make you laugh a bit and cry a bit: everything but bore you'. The son of a wine merchant from Le Havre and one himself until he was 41, Jean...

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Vanity fare

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Mark Steyn A readers may know, I'm a big fan of Billy Crystal. He jokes, he sings, he dances, he's the last working guy in Hollywood who believes in pre-ironic showbiz. But...

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Sacred monsters

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Sheridan Morley A lmost 20 years after her death, Lillian Hellman remains one of those rare playwrights (Joe Orton is another) who is still more famous for her life than her...

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Roots of addiction

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Charles Spencer Charles Spencer I 'II never forget that glorious moment of revelation. I had just turned eight and was on the swings at the rec in Ripley, Surrey. There was a...

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Secret gardens

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Ursula Buchan I t was 75 years ago this year that a Miss Elsie Wagg suggested to a committee meeting of the Queen's Nursing Institute that owners of gardens be encouraged to...

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Hats off

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Michael Vestey I was surprised, if not astonished, to hear that the Michael Flanders and Donald Swann show At the Drop of Another Hat was last performed in New York as long ago...

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Blurred lines

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Simon Hoggart D avid Hockney — Secret Knowledge (BBC 1) sounded like an item in a gossip column, but was a rare extant example of a disappearing beast, the BBC arts...

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Horses with egos

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Robin Oakley I f I had oodles of the folding stuff and owned a few really good flat performers, guess I would be tempted to send them to Barry Hills or Michael Stoute or Henry...

The right stuff

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Taki E New York xactly one month before 11 September, Arnaud de Borehgrave, big chief of UPI and known as the last of the great foreign correspondents, came and addressed the...

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Strange place

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Jeremy Clarke T hree years ago I walked around the Land's End peninsula, starting at Newquay on the north coast and finishing up at Falmouth on the south. It was January. The...

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Seven out of ten

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Petronella Wyatt A pparently, that is according to one of the Magyar girls who live in my house, there was a question on 147w Wants to be a Millionaire? about politics. Of...

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Passion victims

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Simon Barnes 'HEALTH comes first,' said the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. 'But we usually make passion come first.' He said this in the aftermath of the collapse of Gerard...

Q. One of my dearest friends has suffered a strange

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mutation. He has become half-manhalf-mobile-telephone. The wretched thing seems to be attached to his hand. At lunch with him the other day, whenever I enquired after any mutual...

Q. My husband has become a trustee of a prominent

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charity (or NGO, as I believe charities must now be known to avoid patronising the beneficiaries of funds raised). Last week he and I were invited to dine and spend the night at...

Q. In solving a problem presented to one of your

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correspondents by a deaf, retired psychologist (A.F., Your problems solved, 22 September), you have created another for me: what to do when one is pilloried — and crassly...