22 JANUARY 2005

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PORTRAIT OW THE WEEK T he Conservatives published plans for spending

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if they were to win the next election. Presuming savings proposed by Sir Peter Gershon’s report for the Treasury, and incorporating new savings devised for them by Mr David...

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Desperate Tory wives

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R obert Jackson, the MP for Wantage, has come in for a good deal of abuse, though if anything not enough. Put yourself in the position of those who have worked for a quarter of...

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I t is an odd feeling to be the target of

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the Mayor’s hostility. Could it possibly be that Ken Livingstone, former London Evening Standard magazine restaurant critic, is still riled by my refusing, three years ago and...

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The Tories’ greatest liability is the belief that they are against public spending

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T he battle of the slogans will now be joined and could still have a significant effect on the election result. We already know what Labour will say about the Tories’ new...

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H aving been brought up in a family of active Liberals, I am well acquainted with the category of ‘civilised Tory’. He was easily recognised. He was anti-hanging,...

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Animals don’t have human rights

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Jeremy Clarke says that the Animal Welfare Bill is ignorant of the needs of country folk — and damaging to the interests of animals ‘W hat happened to him?’ I said,...

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A doctor’s farewell

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Theodore Dalrymple is happy to report that he retired from the NHS last week — and escaped the intellectual and moral corruption of modern hospitals R etired at last! Retired...

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Mind your language

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I’ve just come back from the Army and Navy Stores, only it is not the Army and Navy Stores any more. They have changed the name, which was about the only thing that wasn’t...

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Kick them out!

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John Bercow says that the increasingly discredited UN must expel members who deny human rights L ast week the United Nations still had no staff at Banda Aceh airport, which is...

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Ancient & modern

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The Pentagon has apparently examined the possibility of developing an ‘aphrodisiac bomb’ which would cause enemy troops to find one another sexually irresistible. But what...

How I became a Jew

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Anthony Lipmann did not know he was Jewish until he was 16 — and then gradually learnt about his mother’s time in Auschwitz I t is a long way from the barbed wire of...

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They stood me up

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Charles Glass discovers that women are now cancelling dinner dates by text. What’s the world coming to? F or the sixth time in as many months, a woman has cancelled our...

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Get off the programme

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Bookstores are crammed with self-help books, says Paul Stokes . But the only one worth reading was written 150 years ago — and it is hard to find L ast week I found myself in...

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Slobs and snobs

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From David Reade Sir: Simon Heffer’s article (‘The slob culture’, 15 January) identifies a long-standing decline. I live in Bangkok, Thailand, and on Christmas Eve I was...

From C.W. Prentice

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Sir: Simon Heffer caused me to reflect that, during 35 years attending the Royal Opera House, I have observed that the standard of a man’s behaviour is in inverse proportion...

From Antony Sharples

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Sir: I am a little surprised at Simon Heffer citing Evelyn Waugh. Mr Waugh has not hitherto been seen as a reliable guide either to matters sartorial (his lurid and...

Theatrical history

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From Anthony Mott Sir: R.C. Sherriff published an autobiography, No Leading Lady , in 1968, but perhaps it is not so surprising that Robert Gore-Langton omitted to acknowledge...

From Ian Mertling-Blake

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Sir: How good at last to see an article paying tribute to R.C. Sherriff. At Charterhouse, in 1968, I introduced Journey’s End as part of my 20th-century drama course. It...

Pol Roger’s Wit of the Week

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“I don't want to miss out on heaven due to a technicality”

when just read in the hash-room.

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A revival of his fine play The Long Sunset is long overdue. Written in 1955, clearly nostalgic about the evening of empire, it would, today, provide an epitaph on a Britain...

Ease out the mullahs

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From Mehrdad Khonsari Sir: Douglas Davis is right in his assessment (‘Deadly threat of a nuclear Iran’, 15 January) that if the mullahs get a nuclear weapon they will be...

From Valerie Scott

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Sir: I heartily agree with Mary Kenny (‘My grubby secret’, 1 January) that after a certain age when one ceases to perspire a daily bath or shower is not essential. What...

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Kill a goat if you want to save the planet

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N ot every problem the world faces is intractable. Big questions may suggest simple answers. Here is one. It is time to exterminate the common goat. It is time to wipe Capra...

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Can the Guardian be a newspaper both of the Left and of the establishment?

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J ohn Lloyd has become a much lauded guru of serious journalism. A former member of a fascinating group called the British Irish Communist party, he is now a loyal Blairite, and...

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All Lombard Street to a china orange as the last bank moves out

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L ast exit from Lombard Street. This week Barclays begins to pack up and move out. The bank’s founder set up shop there as a goldsmith 315 years ago, and Barclays has been...

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Why not stop abusing Prince Harry and start thinking?

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‘W e know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.’ Macaulay’s famous castigation of humbug, apropos of Moore’s Life...

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A long journey on a tightrope

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Lee Langley R EMEMBERING M R S HAWN ’ S N EW Y ORKER by Ved Mehta Sinclair-Stevenson, £19.99, pp. 414, ISBN 095435205X T HE R ED L ETTERS by Ved Mehta Sinclair-Stevenson,...

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The dangerous edge of things

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Sebastian Smee RUNAWAY by Alice Munro Chatto, £15.99, pp. 333, ISBN 000701177500 ✆ £13.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 F or the best part of a decade now, many of Alice...

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The year of the rat

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Sara Wheeler RATS by Robert Sullivan Granta, £12, pp. 256, ISBN 1862077614 ✆ £11 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 ‘A h,’ Robert Sullivan exclaims in this artful book,...

To battle with Sir Baldwin

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Alexander Waugh B EARING U P : T HE L ONG V IEW by Francis Fulford Timewell, 63 Kensington Gardens Square, London W2 4 DG, £16.99, pp. 270, ISBN 1857252039 W ith a little...

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A poodle amongst wolves

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Francis King T HE T OWER OF L ONDON by Natsume Soseki, translated by Damian Flanagan Peter Owen, £14.95, pp. 240, ISBN 0720612349, O n one floor of a not easily found house in...

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The advantages of sweet disorder

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Rodney Leach T HE M ISSING H EART OF EUROPE by Thomas Kremer June Press, £11.99, pp. 254, ISBN 0953469735 T his is a distinguished addition to the select company of books that...

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Famous for being famous

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Sarah Burton T HE P RINCE ’ S M ISTRESS : A L IFE OF M ARY R OBINSON by Hester Davenport Sutton, £20, pp. 274, ISBN 0750932279 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 P...

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Sporting in the spa

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Miranda France T HE W IVES OF B ATH by Wendy Holden Hodder, £12.99, pp. 470, ISBN 075530067X ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 G eorge Orwell painted an unappetising...

By plane, boat, train, foot — and mind

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Sandy Balfour S UN A FTER D ARK by Pico Iyer Bloomsbury Paperback, £7.99, pp. 223, ISBN 074757670X F or the epigraph to this collection of occasional prose Pico Iyer rather...

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Per ardua ad . . . ?

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Allan Mallinson T HE B ATTLE OF B RITAIN : V ICTORY AND D EFEAT by J. E. G. Dixon Woodfield Publishing, £15, pp. 285, ISBN 1903953405 S eeing from my window the other day a...

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Revolving-door policy

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Tiffany Jenkins on the benefits and dangers of the British Museum’s global lending ‘W e have been funded to show. We need to be funded to share,’ declared Neil McGregor,...

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Fierce vision

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Andrew Lambirth David Tress: Paintings & Drawings of London Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, EC2, until 6 March David Tress: Paintings & Drawings of Landscape Boundary...

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Disney attraction

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Patrick Smith L os Angeles’ Walt Disney concert hall has been open for something more than a year, and it still has a magnetic dynamism for those in the area and elsewhere...

Lonely insights

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Michael Tanner Don Giovanni Opera North, Leeds I n his introductory note to the programme of Opera North’s new production of Don Giovanni, Richard Farnes, who has recently...

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Mocking cripples

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Lloyd Evans Head/Case Soho Theatre Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood King’s Head F unny business at the Soho Theatre. Here’s the title page of Head/Case . ‘The action takes...

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Romantic quest

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Mark Steyn A Very Long Engagement 15, selected cinemas I n John Buchan’s The Three Hostages , Dr Greenslade explains his theory of successful thriller writing to Richard...

Brain power

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Simon Hoggart I t has been Einstein week on television — the 50th anniversary of his death, and the centenary of the theory of relativity. This has handed producers a problem...

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Youthful exuberance

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Michael Vestey I watched with growing incredulity as the furore over Prince Harry’s Nazi fancydress costume escalated towards the end of last week until, egged on by...

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Old dears

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Alan Judd A nd so to my 70th car. I’ve restricted myself to eight these past ten years, having had only the present two — Golf and Discovery — for the past three. But the...

Forgotten man

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Robin Oakley G enes, it seems, can survive a period of hell-raising. ‘I know that name. What else has he got?’ I heard a racegoer inquire of his companion at Kempton on...

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Outrageous outrage

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Taki Gstaad O h please, pretty please, spare me the bull! A friend reports from Washington that those preening, vainglorious blowhards who pose as pundits on American TV have...

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Mission accomplished

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Aidan Hartley L ast year we decided to have both the children christened together in a double-whammy service on the farm. Days before I was to go to pick up Father Paolo...

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Name dropping

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Petronella Wyatt T he last time I encountered Leonardo DiCaprio (as one does) was when the Telegraph sent me to interview him a few years ago at the Dorchester in London. He...

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I seem to have been away for a very long time, which has been hard for you all, I’m sure. I put it down to the Jumbo Crossword which, at Christmas, took over my page and...

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Valley boys

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FRANK KEATING A friend organised a blithely bonny evening of boxing nostalgia last week in Herefordshire’s little Welsh border town of Leominster to honour one-time British...

Dear Mary

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Q. I design clothes and have rented a small shop in west London from which to purvey my wares while maintaining my primary residence on the Welsh borders. I am in London for...