21 JUNE 2003

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m rTony Blair, the Prime Minister, tried to abolish the Lord

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Chancellor overnight by ukase, and to reassign his powers. But Lord Irvine of Lairg disagreed and was sacked. Lord Falconer of Thoroton was made Secretary of State for...

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Fetish for fatherhood

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I , .t is now a week since Alan Milburn seriously inconvenienced his patron, Tony Blair, and threw the reshuffle into chaos by announcing that he was quitting the Cabinet to...

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T o Gateshead to appear on Question Time last Thursday with

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Nick Brown, Tom Strathclyde, David Steel and Janet StreetPorter. Until the show is filmed at 8.30 p.m., Nick Brown, the Minister for Work, hasn't been told that he is being...

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There are echoes everywhere of the final days of John Major's government

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I was unable to cope when I joined the parliamentary lobby as a reporter for the London Evening Standard more than ten years ago. I faced two problems, both of them disastrous....

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Eurosceptic newspapers are too competitive to work together on a referendum

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p oily Toynbee of the Guardian believes that the Daily Mail is responsible for most of what is wrong with this country. When she learnt that the paper was intending to hold its...

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Osama bides his time

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Sanjay Anand says that Osama bin Laden is living in north-west Pakistan and is planning mass murder on an ever larger scale Nv e have al-Qa'eda on the run, President Bush was...

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Mind your language

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A kind-hearted reader wondered whether Chinaman might not be a derogatory term. I used it the other week. If you believe the Encarta dictionary, it is not just derogatory —...

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It's not the oil, stupid

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Conspiracy theorists should lighten up, says Simon Nixon. The US is not about to use Iraq's fuel reserves to dominate the world T hese are tough times to be a Middle Eastern...

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Within the German pale

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Andrew Gimson on why increasing numbers of Jews are returning to Germany M ore Jews are moving to Germany than to any other country in the world, including Israel. This...

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Crippling burden

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Rod Liddle says small businesses fear they won't be able to afford to install facilities for the disabled T , here is something a little reckless about having a go at the...

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Blunkett the authoritarian

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Matt Kelly QC, the chairman of the Bar Council, tells Boris Johnson that the Home Secretary is eroding judicial independence T hat Lord Woolf, he has a bit of a cheek, doesn't...

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I n any discussion about the justifications for the war in

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Iraq, there comes the Zimbabwe point. Yeah, says the sceptic, but what about Zimbabwe, eh? If we go to war to liberate the Iraqis from the tyranny of Saddam, why won't we lift a...

His people may be murdered, their farms stolen, their children

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facing starvation, but the Western powers content themselves with the wittering banalities of summit communiques. The same apathy is detectable in our entire policy towards...

do to make amends? We can lobby for reform of

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the Common Agricultural Policy. We can call for investment in Africa, and action against Mugabe and other tyrants. And then we can send Africa copies of The Spectator, in the...

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Proles apart

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In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Kentish Town escaped the gaze of Big Brother. Not any more, says Harry Mount I have found it — the land that Nineteen Eighty-Four forgot. When the...

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Ancient & modern

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A spate of books is being published to explain the many useful lessons that businessmen can learn from the great figures of the past. One of the figures is Alexander the Great....


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T HIS is a particularly exciting mini-bar: fine Italian wines from the admirable John Armit company of Notting Hill. They'll be holding a tasting of these and other wines from...

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Dumb and dumber

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Simon Heifer says utilitarian education is destroying hearts and minds A t the end of January the Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, declared that 'Education for its own...

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How shellfish is that?

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Tim Butcher says that abalone poachers are bringing terror to sleepy seaside towns in South Africa Hermanus y ou can forget car-jacking, mugging and necklacing. In South...

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Others can do the caring

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Mark Steyn says that the scare stories are wrong: there is no humanitarian disaster in Iraq New Hampshire O n Monday the Daily Telegraph gave a big chunk of its comment-page...

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Banned wagon: global

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In China over the past fortnight, the waters have been rising in what will eventually be a 350-mile-long reservoir created by the Three Gorges Dam. When finished, the dam's...

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Piano-player in a brothel

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Christopher Howse says that Malcolm Muggeridge, born 100 years ago, was very much a man of the 20th-century world — but rebelled against it T . wenty years ago Malcolm...

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The year aliens became alien

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Angela Ellis - Jones on the report issued in 1903 that resulted in Britain's first attempt to control immigration ncontrolled immigration? A burden on the taxpayer? Terrorists...


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Needless to say, the full beauty of the human personality could not possibly emerge until man had freed himself from the sheer economic necessity that previously so deformed his...

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When silentiaries whacked their pillar in ancient Byzantium

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F or someone who loves silence as much as I do, it is frustrating to find there is no book on the subject. Thousands of books on sound, naturally; but not a squeak on silence....

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Don't mention that Mussolini saved Jews: it is Politically Inconvenient to do so

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Nv eidenfeld and Nicolson is about to publish a big biography of Mussolini by my friend Nicholas Farrell, which contains the following passage: 'Just as none of the victorious...

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The colour of caring

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From Mr Thomas Cooke Sir: As a mixed-race (as I often have to define myself) man who has worked in the so-called 'care-sector' in London, I am able to add an observation to...

More deserving than Archer

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From Valerie Passey Sir: I must express my unease at the campaign to free Jeffrey Archer (Leading article, 7 June; Rod Liddle, 'Some are more guilty than others', 14 June). I...

Jones and cojones

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From The Rt Hon. Lord Tebbit Sir: I find it hard to express the depth of my disappointment on reading your taurine correspondent's contributions. The Spectator's fox-hunting...

Feuds follow war

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From Mr David Buttetfield Sir: I congratulate Matthew Parris (Another voice, 14 June) for once again defending the rationale of those who opposed war on Iraq with the utmost...

Kosovo's terror

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From Dr Michael Pravica Sir: Thank you for publishing Neil Clark's article ('How the battle lies were drawn', 14 June), a rare piece of truth amid the incessant lies and...

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From Mr Tom Carter Sir: The reason why so few

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dead bodies have been found in Kosovo is that Milosevic killed Albanians, took them to Serbia and buried them there. Or they were disposed of in some other way. One refrigerated...

In defence of Canada

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From Mr Alan Whiteley Sir: The attitude of the British press to Canada is usually one of neglect and condescension. The few articles that do appear are usually headed 'Great...

Green nightmare

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From Mr Adrian Garai Sir: Zac Goldsmith's article (`Time for Tories to turn Green', 14 June) contains the usual diatribe against multinationals, world trade and the WTO. What I...

Earlier bird

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From Mr David Wolfson Sir: While not detracting from the wonderful work of Elijah the Tishbite's raven (Paul Johnson, And Another Thing, 14 June), the winner of the raven 'first...

White and wrong

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From Mr Robert P White Dear Sir: Were I Mommsen, or Gibbon, or Lecky, I'd still yield the palm to the sage of the Speccie. His writing's as fine as a choice Mazawatee Or...

Christopher Fildes writes:

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Of course I meant to write In praise of Robert White. My slipping pen wrote 'Smith'. Apologies herewith. If you would like to email ktters for publication, please send them to...

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Standing by herself

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Sarah Bradford LIVING HISTORY by Hillary Rodham Clinton Hodder Headline. £20. pp. 528, ISBN 0747255156 T his book is as bland as the author photograph on its cover. Only the...

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Where variety was the spice

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Sibylla Jane Flower BULWER LYTTON: THE RISE AND FALL OF A VICTORIAN MAN OF LETTERS by Leslie Mitchell Hambledon & London, £19.95, pp. 292, ISBN 1852854235 W hen Edward Bulwer...

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One good man and true

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Alberto Manguel THE BENEFITS OF DOUBT: ESSAYS by Frederic Raphael Carcanet, £14.95, pp. 220, ISBN 1857546350 W e forget sometimes what a pleasure it is to read a reviewer who...

reluctant critic

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Fiona Maddocks BRITTEN ON MUSIC edited by Paul Kildea OUP, £30, pp. 456, ISBN 0198167148 W ere this book a piece of music, it would have one of those mysterious non-specific...

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Down Mexico way

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Harry Eyres BORDER LIFE by Simon Courtauld Elliott & Thompson, £12.99, pp. 223, ISBN 1904027083 C rossing a footbridge from El Paso, Texas to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Simon...

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Prelude to Hiroshima

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Ray Monk RACING FOR THE BOMB: GENERAL LESLIE R. GROVES, THE MANHATTAN PROJECT'S INDISPENSABLE MAN by Robert S. Norris Steerforth Press, £17.99, pp. 722. ISBN 1586420399 0 ur...

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Life begins at fifty

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Diana Hendry ON BECOMING A FAIRY GODMOTHER by Sara Maitland Maia, f7.99, pp, 236, ISBN 190455900X ]arming old women' could have been the subtitle of this collection of 15...

The unsuitable suitor in the lake

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Antonia Fraser THE BLANK WALL by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding Persephone, £10, pp. 231, ISBN 1903155320 W hen I told him to leave the premises, he refused. But I dealt with him....

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The innocent, unblinking eye

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Julian Mitchell DAVID JONES by Keith Alldritt Constable, 1:20, pp. 208, ISBN 1841193798 D avid Jones still wore short trousers when he went to Camberwell School of Art, aged...

Trouble at the mill

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Harriet Waugh THE MURDER Room by P. D. James Faber, £1799, pp. 352, ISBN 0571218210 t the end of P. D. James's last novel. Death in Holy Orders, Commander Dalgliesh, her...

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Life with a hole in it

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Lewis Wolpert COLLECTED POEMS by Philip Larkin Faber, £10.99, pp. 218, ISBN 00571216544 L arkin had episodes of quite severe depression as is clear from Andrew Motion's...

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Glimpses of a dragonfly

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Juliet Townsend BOYS AND GIRLS FOREVER: REFLECTIONS ON CHILDREN'S CLASSICS by Alison Lurie Chatto. £12.99, pp. 219, ISBN 0701175192 T here is always something faintly...

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Muddling through his tears

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Hugh Cecil PUTTING POETRY FIRST: A LIFE OF ROBERT NICHOLS, 1893-1944 by Anne and William Charlton Michael Russell, £25, pp. 291, ISBN 0859552799 W lien Robert Nichols died...

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A world of his own

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Alexander Waugh PETER SIMPLE'S DOMAIN by Michael Wharton New European Publications, 412.99, pp. 250, ISBN 1872410294 m y father, Auberon, never read a book to me in all his...

The artful dodger

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Caroline Moorehead TRUST NO ONE: THE SECRET WORLD OF SIDNEY REILLY by Richard B. Spence Feral House, £19.99, pp. 527, ISBN 0922915792 I t is no easy task to write well about a...

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Believing and seeing

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Andrew Lambirth HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON: THE MAN, THE IMAGE AND THE WORLD by Robert Delp ire, Peter Galassi et at Thames & Hudson, 1.48, pp. 432, ISBN 0500542678 his weighty...

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Two bites at the cherry

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Claudia FitzHerbert LUCKY by Alice Sebold Picador, 0.99. pp. 254, ISBN 033041836X THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold Picador, £6.99, pp. 328. ISBN 0330485385 A lice Sebold was a...

Calder Valley, June 2002

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Shattered tooth majesty of a derelict mill. Flash of sunlight through broken cloud. A bus disgorges Asian girls, slender in shalwaar-kameez. Streamers trailing, a flight of...

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Essentially an amateur

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Peter Porter SIEGFRIED SASSOON: THE JOURNEY FROM THE TRENCHES by Jean Moorcroft Wilson Duckworth, £30, pp. 526, ISBN 0715629719 I lived for many years with someone who had all...

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The old man and the new order

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Alan Wall THE KAISER'S LAST KISS by Alan Judd HatperCollins, £16.99, pp. 184, ISBN 00007124465 0 ne might call it the Gulliver effect. Lemuel in Brobdingnag is tiny and...

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The freedom of the past

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Alan Judd T he late Patrick O'Brian, author of the Aubrey/Maturin novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars, became distinctly peppery if anyone suggested he was...

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Chaos in Venice

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Mark Glazebrook goes in search of visual delights at the Biennale art extravaganza At couple of vaporetto stops in he direction of the Lido, from near Piazza San Marco —...

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Mind-boggling banality

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Andrew Lambirth Wolfgang Tillmans: if one thing matters, everything matters Tate Britain until 14 September W olfgang Tillmans won the Turner Prize in 2000. He takes...

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Visual Pleasure

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Giannandrea Poesio Sankaj Juku Sadler's Wells Theatre (Aver the years the works presented by V the Japanese company Sankaj Juku and, in particular, those by its founder and...

Lack of conviction

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Michael Tanner Idomeneo Glyndebourne Tdomeneo is a masterpiece, but a fairly / fragile one: serious miscalculations, scenic or musical, can leave it seeming to be no more than...

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Cezanne appeal

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Susan Moore E ven after the genius of Paul Cezanne was almost universally acknowledged, a few years before his death in 1906, it was received opinion that the great man could...

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PC casting

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Toby Young His Girl Friday OliLier A Midsummer Night's Dream Open Air Theatre The Cherry Orchard Riverside Studios Q ne of the more irritating symptoms of the left-wing bias...

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Twitching with jealousy

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Charles Spencer T he other day my friend Caspar, shortly off to the enviable job of editing a monthly pop magazine, proudly produced a small box from his pocket. It was a...

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Gregory Peck remembered

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Mark Steyn I think of Gregory Peck as walking on and walking off, with a little speech-giving in between. In Other People's Money (1991), he plays the head of New England Wire...

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Entranced by Orwell

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Michael Vestey U tening to Book of the Week: George rwell Essays and Journalism on Radio Four each morning this week I began to wonder why radio hasn't appeared to have...

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Faking it

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James Delingpole T he most important TV news this week, of course, is that the Big Brother cameras caught one of the housemates having a furtive Jodrell. I didn't see it...

Party peak

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Taki H ow quickly one forgets! The sweetness of life in London, come June, that is. Let's start with the good news: Fort Belvedere. It was built as a folly in Windsor Great...

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The Prince and me

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Jeremy Clarke I hope Prince William enjoys studying Kiswahili. I certainly did. In my mid-thirties I jacked in a job as a binman, did two A levels in a year, passed both, then...

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Home thoughts

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Aidan Hartley Laikipia C laire came face to face with a leopard last night. She was walking between our office, a thatched mud hut at the bottom of the garden, and the house....

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Y awn Petronella Wyatt please excuse my returning to the sub1 ject of teeth, but I've had molars on my mind. Since my trip to America where my British teeth were looked upon...

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How Gordon keeps us firmly in our place

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B efore settling down to enjoy the pleasures of middle age, most of us have passed through a time when we lived with a special, even desperate intensity. We knew in those...

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A Classified View From Foix to Banyuls-sur-Mer Nick Parmee writes: M y Personal Life Counsellor, who trained at the College of Negative Thinking, has warned that a pleasure...

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Sanity and inanity

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MICHAEL HENDERSON A remarkable man passed away last week. I knew Guy Willatt for 20 years, bumping into him three or four times every summer, but it is what he did in the first...

Q. My new wife, I have discovered, has a disturbingly

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communal disposition. From a large, somewhat boisterous family, boarding-school bred and a once committed Girl Guide, she thinks nothing of barging into the bathroom during my...

Q. At a luncheon recently, I indulged myself by taking

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a generous chunk of expensive cheese from the cheese board. Before I could eat it, my neighbour, turning towards me to make a point, sprayed my cheese with spittle, rendering it...

Q. What vegetables are currently fashionable?

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K.F-G., Wilcot, Wiltshire A. The flowerbuds of salsify and scorzonera, picked just before opening, are tender and delicious when steamed like asparagus and served with butter....