22 MARCH 2008

Page 5

No end of a lesson

The Spectator

F ive years after the invasion of Iraq, Gordon Brown is right to concede the need for a full-scale inquiry into the war. He is wrong, however, to postpone the investigation on...

Page 9

O ver the last 20 years, gentlemen’s clubs have had to

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pay at least a token deference to modernity — equal rights, health and safety, inclusiveness. And then there is St Moritz Tobogganing Club, a British club with its own rules....

Page 10

The Tories should not let their caution on tax conceal the radicalism of their other policies

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W hat a difference a poll lead makes. If Philip Hammond, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, had given an interview appearing to rule out tax cuts in a Conservative...

Page 13


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MONDAY Everyone on a major poll high! Ginseng tea and bran muffins all round this morning and not much work done. In the end Jed had to call in Mr Maude to calm us all down. FM...

Page 14

Al-Qa’eda’s secret UK gangs: terror as a ‘playground dare’

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As Brown unveils his National Security Strategy, Fraser Nelson talks to those in the front line against Islamic extremism. MI5 has expanded successfully, but faces in...

Page 16

Pullman gives God a break for Easter

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The author of His Dark Materials talks to A.S.H. Smyth about the latest episode in the saga in which he turns towards politics — with a nod to The Magnificent Seven along the...

Page 18

Mind your language

The Spectator

A musician, Alexander Faris, writes with a list of words beginning with hissing S and nasal N: snarl, snatch, sneak, sneer, sneeze, snicker, snigger, snip, snob, snore, snort,...

The miners’ strike and the fight against Islamism

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Extremism dies when its lack of legitimacy is revealed, Charles Moore says. Muslim fundamentalism is as brittle as union militancy was in the Eighties T he huge defeat of the...

Page 22

A holy man tipped to lead the nation’s Catholics

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Mary Wakefield meets Dom Hugh Gilbert, the Benedictine Abbot of Pluscarden — said to be the Pope’s ‘dark horse’ candidate to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor W...

Page 24

Mugabe is the Mobutu of our time

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Marian L. Thpy wishes that Zimbabwe would follow the lead of Botswana, a market democracy. For now, it swelters under the oppressive rule of a tyrant who is wrecking his country...

Page 26

Pity the monks of Tibet who dare to hope that anyone will come to their aid

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Rod Liddle is appalled by the appeasement of China, a country that now combines the most oppressive aspects of state Marxism with the most brutally rapacious aspects of...

Page 28

Key question

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Sir: Debt, debt everywhere. Britain really is in trouble if — as Fraser Nelson suggests (Politics, 15 March) — the Conservative opposition is shying away from the ‘obvious...

Simple remedy

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Sir: I am glad Craig Goldsack, chairman of the Department of Anaesthesia, University College Hospital, has such faith in the complaints system of the Healthcare Commission...

Rough trade

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Sir: Even for a self-described ‘posh bird’, Venetia Thompson (‘A Sloane in gangsta land’, 15 March) seems to be drawn to rough trade(rs) like a moth to the flame. Now...

Atheist ramblings

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Sir: So Gus Teljer (Letters, 15 March) thinks Martin Rowson’s ‘atheist ramblings’ show him, not only to have a ‘lost soul’ to be impertinently prayed for, but to be...

Tin ear

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Sir: Sir John Weston (Letters, 15 March) deplores Westminster Abbey’s refusal to allow the use of the King James Bible at a memorial service, and asks if it is now officially...

Dubious procedure

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Sir: In contrasting her Chinese medical treatment favourably with that received back in England, I suspect that Tessa Keswick (‘If you need a doctor, go to China’, 15 March)...

Distinguished lineage

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Sir: Taki wonders (High life, 15 March) ‘what’s wrong with keeping it in the family?’ The answer surely is that every family, no matter how distinguished its lineage, will...

Page 30

Giving the Olympics to the Chinese was an act of cynical genius: a stick to beat them with

The Spectator

I t is probably blasphemy, or sacrilege, or at least very rude, but whenever I see the Dalai Lama, I think of him as speaking in the voice of the late Mike Reid, who played...

Page 32

Quality for dinner. Pass the Fairy Liquid, Old Boy

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I have no objection to washing up. I prefer it to most other chores. When I was very small my mother allowed me to ‘help’ with the washing up. This meant doing the drying. I...

Page 34

Has the Celtic tiger lost its roar?

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Matthew Lynn says the explosive growth of Ireland’s wealth is coming to a sticky end, but that this highly competitive, low-tax economy can still prosper in the long term A...

Page 35

Bernanke’s war against recession

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Guy Monson and Subitha Subramaniam U S policymakers are at war against recession. Since January, the Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke has cut interest rates by 1.25 per cent;...

Page 38

Tesco, I hate you — and you need to know why

The Spectator

Ross Clark says the decline and fall of retail empires begins when customer sentiment suddenly turns negative F or the vociferous band of Tescohaters, waiting for the...

Page 40

A Scottish master of caricature

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Bevis Hillier J OHN K AY : A S ERIES OF O RIGINAL P ORTRAITS AND ETCHINGS introduced by Alan Bell Birlinn, Edinburgh, two volumes in slipcase, £200, pp. 976, ISBN...

Page 41

A world without frontiers

The Spectator

William Skidelsky T HE C ITY OF W ORDS by Alberto Manguel Continuum, £14.99, pp. 166, ISBN 9781847062703 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A lberto Manguel, the dust...

Page 42

Putting the Boot in

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Peregrine Worsthorne T HE R EMARKABLE L IvES OF B ILL D EEDES by Stephen Robinson Little Brown, £20, pp.480, ISBN 9780316730334 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 S o...

Page 44

Scripture was composed by believers

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Edward Norman T HE R ESURRECTION by Geza Vermes Penguin, £7.99, pp. 168, ISBN 9780141030050 ✆ £6.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t is difficult enough to evaluate the...

Page 46

A new way of seeing

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Honor Clerk F AR N ORTH AND O THER D ARK T ALES by Sara Maitland Maia Press, £8.99, pp. 252, ISBN 9781904559276 ✆ £7.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n one of his more...

Echoes of the invisible world

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Matthew Dennison DAPHNE by Justine Picardie Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 405, ISBN 9780747587026 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n 1958, Daphne du Maurier published a...

Page 47

Not going to London to visit the Queen

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Anita Brookner R EMEMBERING THE B ONES by Frances Itani Sceptre, £17.99, pp. 283, ISBN 9780340953990 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t is a pleasure to encounter...

Having the last laugh

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Lloyd Evans T RICKSTER M AKES T HIS W ORLD : M ISCHIEF , M YTH AND A RT by Lewis Hyde Canongate, £16.99, pp. 417, ISBN 9781847672247 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 48

Scribble, scribble, scribble

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W hy do we write? Dr Johnson had no doubts, or pretended to have none: ‘no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money’. This is manifestly false, unless you make...

Page 49

The ideally expensive thing

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Susan Moore on how the Americans have become net sellers of works of art J unius Spencer Morgan caused a sensation in 1876 when he paid the staggering sum of £10,100 — more...

Page 50

Canter through Dada

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Andrew Lambirth Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia Tate Modern, until 26 May Juan Muñoz Tate Modern, until 27 April T he recent Tate habit of serving up in threes major figures from...

Page 52

Ready for retirement

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Michael Tanner Eugene Onegin Royal Opera House Fiesque Bloomsbury Theatre W hen the late Steven Pimlott’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was first staged at the...

Page 53

Courting humour

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Lloyd Evans Legal Fictions Savoy Baby Girl; The Miracle Cottesloe E dward Fox is having the time of his life. The creepy but compelling Jackal has evolved, late in his career,...

Page 54

Living doll

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Deborah Ross Lars and the Real Girl 12A, Nationwide L ars and the Real Girl is a comedy which tells the story of an introverted, emotionally backward loner (Ryan Gosling, in...

Unsung hero

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Giannandrea Poesio New York City Ballet London Coliseum D espite being one of the greatest dancemakers ever, Jerome Robbins remains, outside the United States, an unsung hero...

Page 55

Death of television

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm I t all began with a short story by Peter Ackroyd, telling of an extraordinary visitation by the Virgin Mary that was promised to occur sometime soon at St...

Page 56

’Arold’s tragedy

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James Delingpole R ather deftly, I managed to avoid all but ten minutes of the 3,742 hours of programming dedicated this week to the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. I’ve...

Breeze well; sell well

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Robin Oakley O n hearing that I was off to a horse sale Mrs Oakley’s goodbye lacked the usual wifely warmth. Something a touch minatory about priorities and the need to keep...

Page 57

Clematis heaven

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Ursula Buchan I f you are an assiduous buyer of plants, you will know that there are quite a number of foreign-bred plants for sale in our nurseries. This has become more...

Page 58

Never on Sunday

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Taki I t would take the greatest bloodhound reporter of all time to discover a person with a good word to say about Eliot Spitzer, the first man ever to bully Congress for an...

Nightmare in casualty

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Jeremy Clarke I t’s half-past four in the morning and I’ve been sitting in the casualty department since two. I’m alone in the waiting room. Behind the glass partition...

Page 60

Forget the eggs

The Spectator

Alex James I ’m a celebrity for hire. I do good causes for free — makes me feel good, dunnit? That’s the deal. ‘Of course,’ I said. ‘Be delighted to open a...

Page 61


The Spectator

SIMON HOGGART L ast week’s budget has been something of a blow to winedrinkers, though a 14p rise in duty is not quite as bad as the £1 predicted by some pessimists in the...

Page 62

Nice new jumper

The Spectator

Michael Kallenbach sets out to buy a horse H is name is Magic and I must admit, I’ve fallen in love with him. He’s much younger than I am, has lovely legs, and is very...

Page 64

The first resort

The Spectator

Verbier is the trendiest place in the Alps, says Alistair Scott W alking into the Fer à Cheval, Verbier, Switzerland, on a sunny spring day recently (Verbier is at its very...

Page 66

Ten days in Indo-China

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Stanley Johnson packs in the sites on a whirlwind tour of south-east Asia T en days were all we had if we were to meet up with our son, Max, currently studying in Beijing, and...

Page 67

Pacific heights

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Alasdair Palmer ‘G od created the world in seven days... San Francisco took a little longer.’ You can forgive San Franciscans a little blasphemy — well, you sort of have...

Page 68

Old-world charm

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James Campbell A ny former communist town which likens itself to France in its efforts to distinguish itself must be desperate for a new tourist board. So it is with the...

Page 78

My cycling accident proves my point that road users rely on their ears. We need to be noisier

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W ell, it finally happened. After 25 years of cycling in London, I had an accident. Bizarrely, it occurred right outside Action Bikes, the shop in Shepherd’s Bush where I...

Ancient & modern

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According to Mohamed Al Fayed, the Princess of Wales was murdered on the orders of Prince Philip working in cahoots with some 30 named individuals, the Home Office, the CIA, the...

Page 79

A fortnightly column on technology and the web

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L ast summer we picked up a hire car at Inverness. As I was dumping the rental paperwork inside the glove compartment I unearthed a forgotten pair of sunglasses so hideous in...

Q. I am dreading Easter as my children are always

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given so many eggs by their various godparents and grandparents. This is to say nothing of those they bring home from hunts. I consider it terribly bad for them to eat so much...

Q. As a man in my mid-forties I still look

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remarkably youthful, though I say it myself. The one area which is a problem is my forehead where the frown lines are becoming somewhat embedded. I would have Botox like a shot,...

Q. I am shortly to attend a lunch where lots

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of my friends will be. However, I am rather dreading sitting next to one particular old codger who has become a bit repetitive in his old age. I gather there will be no places...

Q. I have often wondered whether tablecloths are U or non-U. What do you say, Mary?

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A.N.W., London NW1 A. There is no strict rule on tablecloths although where valuable tables are concerned it may be better to protect the table from damage to make your guests...