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T he House of Commons was recalled for a day's debate

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on 24 September on the approaching war against Iraq, but no substantive vote will be allowed. Dr George Carey, in his last address as Archbishop of Canterbury to the Anglican...

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M illions of people are yearning for the Tory party to get its act together and provide a more audible opposition. It almost brings tears to the eyes of some supporters,...

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I shall call him the Unknown Afghan Hero. The BBC footage of the assassination attempt on Hamid Karzai showed a civilian greeting the Afghan president through the window of his...

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As the Tories prepare to fight each other, New Labour braces itself for war

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PETER OBORNE P olitical reporters always overstate the power of personality in politics. Meanwhile, we understate or entirely overlook other factors. We are gripped by surface...

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John Laughland reports from Iraq on the determination of ordinary people to fight any attempt by the British and Americans to impose regime change Mosul, northern Iraq THE...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit THE generation now in power is the first to have been raised on a twice-weekly diet of Blue Peter. And doesn't it show?...

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Mark Steyn says the Democrats are making a hash of the election campaign, but Bush is squandering his opportunities New Hampshire ASIDE from the anniversary and the big UN...

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Ancient & modern

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THE USA and the Middle East are quite content to engage in commercial exchange, but seem incapable of using such transactions to realise any deeper cultural understanding, let...


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Twenty years ago Roger Seruton established the Salisbury Review — and almost at once he became a pariah IT is 20 years since the Salisbury Group (a small gathering of...

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Peter Oborne talks to Charles Kennedy about his plans to put the Lib Dems ahead of the Tories NO politician has the opportunity that Charles Kennedy has today: he just might...

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Michael Crick says that Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson is not a crook, but he is a liar and a bully IF he'd dithered for another day or two last winter, then Sir Alex...

Mind your language

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I DON'T like this, I thought, I wonder why. What I didn't like was a government minister called Alexander talking on the wireless about growing something. Not radishes or hair...

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Emma Tennant says lain Anderson's report on foot-and-mouth is a feeble whitewash IN JULY, Professor David King, the government's chief scientific adviser, gave a lecture in...

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Michael Hanlon says it is time to abolish the towering evil of farm subsidy AGRICULTURE is the one Western industry that seems to get away with a preThatcher, pre-Reagan...

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If you want to rid your back garden of foxes, says Robert Gore - Langton, buy a lurcher WHATEVER it was that won Crufts earlier this year, it wasn't a dog. It was, more like,...

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In the heart of the hidden countryside, there are secrets and fears

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PAUL JOHNSON I n theory, the British countryside, unlike many parts of the world, is not frightening. No one need feel threatened by it. It was not always so. Lord Burghley, in...

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r r r r { Fr i \ Ktr i C ome with us and enjoy

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some of the most beautiful Italian gardens at their springtime best as we explore Lake Como and Maggiore from our delightful lake-side base at the Grand Hotel Menaggio. During...

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Do the Macc Lads have a better grasp of desert warfare than Field Marshal Lord Bramall?

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FRANK JOHNSON I t has come down, it seems, to two related but separate issues: there is a 'should' issue, and a 'would' issue. Should the Americans attack Iraq? Would they win...

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We must stop Saddam now

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From Mr Michael Fabricant MP Sir: Peter Ainsworth CI dare to dissent', 14 September) is not unpatriotic in opposing a war with Iraq. Nor is he an apologist for the vile Saddam...

No way to save hunting

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From Dr Chris Nancollas Sir: When is a democracy not a democracy? When it passes a law you don't agree with, according to Simon Heffer (`Good people are ready to break the law',...

Winston and the women

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From Mr Paul Courtenay Sir: Where on earth did the Saudi ambassador get the idea that Winston Churchill ordered troops to fire on suffragettes in 1917 Mush is leading us to...

ERM was a diversion

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From Mr Mike Faulkes Sir: Britain's foray into the ERM 1990-92 has been badly misunderstood. For a considerable period up to 1990 Margaret Thatcher had been repeating the mantra...

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I was never a candidate

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From Mr Jeremy Paxman Newsnight's walking filing cabinet. Michael Crick, has just drawn my attention to a piece by Stephen Glover last month (Media studies, 17 August). Mr...

Of faith and fairies

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From Mr D.M.C. Elwes Sir: Further to Paul Johnson on O.K. Chesterton (And another thing, 14 September), C.S. Lewis may have called GKC a 'problem', yet in Surprised by Joy he...

Don't blame us footie fans

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From Mr Charlie Corbett Sir: I think Michael Henderson (Media studies. 14 September) slightly misses the point. It is true to say that football tends to attract sortie fairly...

List 99 is for fraudsters

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From Mr Roger Clague Sir: You are right to point out the danger of placing trust in written records (Leading article, 14 September) but you have yourself become part of the...

The lessons of Munich

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From Mr Ralf Goergens Sir: Simon Reeve (`The German way with terror', 14 September) neglects to mention some important aspects of terrorism. At the time no European government,...

When Audrey met Jack

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From Mrs Audrey Whiting-Nener Sir: Stephen Glover (Media studies, 7 September) apologised for describing Hugh Cudlipp as editor of the Daily Mirror when he was editorial...

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The press is only doing its job in trying to get witnesses to talk about Mr Barrymore's party

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ST EPHEN GLOVER M any people have been following the case of Michael Barrymore with some bewilderment. Who exactly is he? Several million of us haven't the faintest idea. We...

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In the steps of the master

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Philip Hensher PICASSO: STYLE AND MEANING by Elizabeth Cowling Phaidon, £75, pp. 703, ISBN 0714829501 T his is quite a good book, but perhaps not a very necessary one. For over...

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The game of the name

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Zenga Longmore THE AUTOGRAPH MAN by Zadie Smith Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp.419, ISBN 0241139988 h e weight of Zadie Smith's literary reputation is so hefty that her latest...

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Nature versus Nurture: the state of play

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Susan Greenfield THE BLANK SLATE by Steven Pinker Penguin, £25, pp. 561, ISBN 0713992565 T he Blank Slate, more readily recognised in its original Latin as tabula rasa, is...

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I don't like to be beside the sea

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Paul Willetts OF LOVE AND HUNGER by Julian Maclaren-Ross Penguin, £8.99, pp, 224, ISBN 0141187115 T he once celebrated writer and Soho dandy Julian Maclaren-Ross (1912-64) is...

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A world of drivers and passengers

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Robert Edric ROSCOE by William Kennedy Simon & Schuster, £15.99, pp. 375, ISBN 0743220730 V J night, the war in the Pacific is finally over, and in William Kennedy's Albany the...

The way to the tomb

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Andrew Barrow THE NECROPOLIS RAILWAY by Andrew Martin Faber, .£10.99, pp. 231, ISBN 0571209610 T his queer, black novel is mainly concerned with the special funeral train...

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Out of the bottom drawer?

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Jonathan Mirsky THE CRAZED by Ha Jin Heinemann, 1:12.99, pp. 323, ISBN 0434883913 T wo years ago in The Spectator I praised Ha Jin's earlier novel, Waiting. It was about a...

Singing for your supper

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Paul Binding UNCLE RUDOLF by Paul Bailey 4th Estate, 1:12.99, pp.I84, ISBN1841157589 0 a 23 February 1937 a small boy of seven arrives at Victoria station, London. Here he is...

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Sad prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme

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Juliet Townsend THE INDIAN MUTINY, 1857 by Saul David Penguin/Viking, £20, pp. 504, ISBN 06770911372 N early 40 years ago I was staying with my father in Hyderabad in what had,...

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A new spin on an old story

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Penelope Lively THE SONGS OF THE KINGS by Barry Unsworth Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp. 207, ISBN 0241137012 T he setting: Aulis, where the Greek army waits to set sail for Troy,...

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Bankrupt in all but talent

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Jonathan Sumption PUSHKIN by T. J. Binyon HarperCollins, £30, pp. 688, ISBN 0002150840 A lexander Pushkin occupies the same place in the Russian canon as Shakespeare does in...

Boots, boots, boots, boots

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D. J. Taylor JACK AND BOBBY: A STORY OF BROTHERS IN CONFLICT by Leo McInstry HarperCollins, £18.99, pp. 452, ISBN 0007118767 KEANE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Roy Keane...

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Not a dry eye in the house

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Nicholas Coleridge MAN AND WIFE by Tony Parsons HarperCollins ; 116,99, pp. 297, ISBN 0002261839 I s there anybody left in the country who doesn't know that Tony Parsons's Man...

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Not one to be stared down

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P. J. Kavanagh OPENING UP by Mike Atherton Hodder, .E18.99, pp. 330, ISBN 0340822325 N o ghostwriter haunts this account of a cricketing life, so obviously written by the man...

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Pedalling into politics

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Graham Stewart THROUGH THE EMBERS OF CHAOS: BALKAN JOURNEYS by Deryla Murphy John Murray, £20. pp. 388, ISBN 0719562325 P erhaps it is not a good idea to call Dervla Murphy...

Should lain Duncan Smith turn to a twenty-year-old for inspiration?

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It might be a better idea than listening to some in his party, especially those who would reduce conservatism to a libertarianism without objective standards (if anything goes,...

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A time for living dangerously

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Laura Gascoigne applauds the new cutting edge of watercolour W hen the National Gallery ran its eye-tracking experiment last year into how we look at pictures, the works...

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Star of the stripes

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Martin Gayford H ere are two anecdotes about the American painter Barnett Newman. Bryan Robertson, the critic and curator, was both a great admirer and a good friend of New...

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On the edge of space

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Andrew Lambirth N ot all sculptors have an easy relationship with drawing. Some prefer to explore their ideas three-dimensionally right from the start, modelling in wax or clay...

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Game of contrasts

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Giannandrea Poesio T here are dance styles that age and dance styles that remain vibrantly fresh. Merce Cunningham's choreography belongs to the latter category, as last week's...

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Chekhov double

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Toby Young I t's unfortunate that the new production of Ivanov at the National Theatre should appear at exactly the same time as the new production of Uncle Vanya at the Donmar...

Unalloyed gold

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Charles Spencer B , honest. How many albums, even great albums with a cherished place in your own personal pantheon, do you listen to often, all the way through? It may be...

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The dead and the quick

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Michael Tanner I n Mozart's five great operas, music, text and action combine with astonishing effect to create dramas which chart new territory — musical, psychological and...

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Marriage lines

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Mark Steyn y Big Fat Greek Wedding is a Greek comedy. I don't mean Aristophanes. but rather a comedy about being Greek. In America, it opened very low-key in April and it's...

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Family feelings

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Michael Vestey S eptember 11 was marked extensively by the BBC last week, reminding us, as if we could forget, of the horrors of that day and our sense of dread at a new kind...

Knockabout fun

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James Delingpole W henever I hear of a younger writer's massive success, a little part of me dies. Which is my excuse for being possibly the only person in Christendom and...

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Comfort eating

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Simon Courtauld W hy, oh why, at this time of year, as we enter upon the season of mellow fruitfulness and think of picking apples in English orchards, are the supermarkets...

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Something special

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Robin Oakley I love Doncaster on St Leger day. There are plenty of good racecourses in Britain, and making them work isn't exactly rocket science. You need good viewing...

The day after

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Taki A New York though understandable, it was nevertheless dispiriting to have read so much about 11 September in American newspapers. Television, too, outdid itself with...

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Love thy neighbour

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Jeremy Clarke T hree of us are in my brother's new outdoor hot-tub listening to the football on the radio, drinking some beer. There's me, my boy (Mark, aged 12) and my...

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Just deserts

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Petronella Wyatt h is month marks the birthday, in 1880, of the great American polemicist H.L. Mencken. Mencken was born in Baltimore, and in the 1920s and 1930s was the most...

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The man himself

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Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2256 you were invited to write a rhymed nine-line single acrostic, mingling tribute, criticism and fantasy as you pleased, celebrating the name of...

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Promise unfulfilled

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Michael Henderson SOME sportsmen are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. Many more, however, are denied greatness when they seem well...

Q. A neighbour — an eminent retired politician, philanthropist and

The Spectator

keen ornithologist — has just acquired an owl whistle, beautifully crafted from wood. When blown, it makes a most realistic toow000. He related to me, a few days ago, that the...

Q. I shall be attending a service at the Guards'

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Chapel in the near future. What is the fashionable amount to be seen to be placing in the collection purse? R.P., Sr Saviour, Guernsey, Channel Islands A. Five pounds. Q. I...

A. Do not make the mistake of thinking it compulsory

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to wear Barbours, Norfolk jackets, breeches, etcetera, since it is important to stress to the government that country people from all walks of life are being represented in this...