22 NOVEMBER 2008

Page 5

A child of our time

The Spectator

F rom the economic and psychological bedlam of the global downturn has emerged a particularly dangerous false dichotomy: namely, that there is somehow a choice for ministers...

Page 9

T he daughter and I spent the last few days before

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the American election in Arizona. On our first morning in Tucson we went running. She, nearly eight months pregnant, annoyingly still able to beat me into the ground....

Page 10

This Pre-Budget Report may be the manifesto launch for a January election

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G iven that Gordon Brown spent his adult life plotting to get into 10 Downing Street, he has been understandably quiet about his decision to leave it. Tony Blair’s old office...

Page 11

‘A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s

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famous “helicopter drop” of money.’ So said Ben Bernanke, now the chairman of the Fed, in a speech about how to ward off the ‘extremely small’ chance of deflation, which he...

Page 12


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MONDAY Hooray! We are the party of spending cuts and proud of it — at last! It really was a stroke of genius by Dave to put Mr Letwin in charge of drawing them up because Mr...

Page 14

Thank goodness we can have a run on the pound when we need one

The Spectator

Martin Vander Weyer looks ahead to next week’s Pre-Budget Report and reflects on George Osborne’s contentious remarks about the devaluation of sterling. It looks like Gordon...

Page 16

I loved Oliver Stone’s Bush film — and I know why the critics hated it

The Spectator

The movie W. did not provide the crude anti-Bush agitprop that the reviewers craved, says Rod Liddle . This was precisely its strength: we need to get inside the minds even of...

Page 22

Where is our inspiration when we most need it?

The Spectator

Bryan Forbes remembers listening to Churchill as a 14-yearold evacuee and now looks with envy at Obama’s capacity to galvanise hope. Where are his UK counterparts? A ll across...

Page 24

For a bit of perspective, try thinking Jurassic

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The first takeaways originated about 150 million years ago, says Christopher Lloyd ; global travel is pretty ancient, too. And as for democracy... B ees do democracy best. They...

Page 26

Ancient & modern

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Barack Obama has risen to power on the back of an enviable oratorical ability. But it is a two-edged sword. Ancient Greeks, who had a word for it (rhetoric) and were the first...

Don’t confuse conversation with dialogue or quips

The Spectator

Catherine Blyth says that conversation is an art: its essence is the acrobatic business of reading and changing minds — talking with people, not at them H ow would you feel if...

Page 28

T he other day, the 9.56 bus to the nearest train

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station was late and the people at the stop — of whom I was by far the youngest — began to grumble a little. Then, looming out of the mist, appeared the driver. ‘I’m sorry, the...

Page 30

The problem with Pakistan

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Sir: It is preposterous that Elliot Wilson pleads for the bailing out of Pakistan (‘Britain can’t afford a failed Pakistan’, 15 November). The country is not facing a natural...

Sock horror

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Sir: Venetia Thompson’s shock at finding cocaine in a sock (‘Cocaine in my sock drawer’, 15 November) reminds me of a similar quandary faced some years ago by an acquaintance of...

Brown’s scorched earth

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Sir: Fraser Nelson (‘How to fund tax cuts’, 15 November) and your leading article both point out the desirability of tax cuts, but acknowledge that there is little scope for...

Radio days

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Sir: Kate Chisholm is wrong (Arts, 15 November) when she says the financing of the BBC World Service by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is a hangover from the days when it was...

Upmarket crudity

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Sir: Apologists for the BBC cite the current adaptation of Little Dorrit as showing the high quality of its production. Perhaps they missed the line, inserted by the...

Some rump

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Sir: James Forsyth (‘Tory lessons for the Republicans’, 15 November) refers to Barack Obama’s 365 electoral college votes compared with John McCain’s 173. In terms of the...

Wrong song

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Sir: Having reread my letter (Letters, 15 November) about Matthew Parris’s article on (among other things) Australian birds, something struck me as amiss. So I checked the...

Page 32

We need a new language to describe time, preferably without spatial metaphors

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V ery long flights — flights like mine, to and from Australia, for instance — offer such an opportunity to think that you can tease a thought almost to the point of madness....

Page 34

Books do furnish a room; overfurnish it too

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N ow that I am in my 81st year I have been wondering what to do about my art library, which has more or less taken over my country house in Over Stowey and occupies all the...

Page 36

‘These clouds will have a silver lining’

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Judi Bevan meets Sir John Parker, who chairs National Grid and the Court of the Bank of England — and takes an optimistic view of the deepening recession F ew people would have...

Page 38

Twelve steps to market meltdown

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Stephen Vines says stock markets may seem wildly volatile at times of crisis, but they always follow a pattern A t times of financial crisis there is often a feeling that all...

Page 40

My hopes for America lie less in Obama mania, more in Vaud and the Villains

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L ong before I became a journalist I taught myself to absorb the essence of an unfamiliar city by staying alert in the taxi from the airport: Los Angeles offers a particularly...

Page 42

Christmas Books 2

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Ferdinand Mount I ’m not sure quite what it is that captivated me about Tim Winton’s novel, Breath (Hamish Hamilton, £14.99). It’s a sort of Huck Finn goes surfing in...

Page 45

Love between the lines

The Spectator

Sam Leith W ORDS IN A IR : T HE C OMPLETE C ORRESPONDENCE B ETWEEN E LIZABETH B ISHOP AND R OBERT L OWELL edited by Thomas Travisano and Saskia Hamilton Faber, £40, pp. 875,...

Page 46

New light on a dark age

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Jonathan Sumption M ILLENNIUM : T HE E ND OF THE W ORLD AND THE F ORGING OF CHRISTENDOM by Tom Holland Little, Brown, £25, pp.476, ISBN 9780316732451 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

Page 48

Not always a saint

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Alan Strachan S YBIL T HoRNDIKE : A S TAR oF L IFE by Jonathan Croall Haus Books, £25, pp. 584, ISBN 9781905791927 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O n her sole experience...

Page 49

Three men and a singer

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Harriet Sergeant T HE C HINA L OVER by Ian Buruma Atlantic Books, £15.99, pp. 392, ISBN 9781843549048 V £12.79(plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I an Buruma’s latest book, The...

Extraordinarily ordinary

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James Delingpole W ARTIME C OURAGE : S TORIES OF E XTRAORDINARY C OURAGE BY O RDINARY P EOPLE IN W ORLD W AR T WO by Gordon Brown Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 256, ISBN...

Page 50

Myth-maker at work

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Hugh Brogan T HE I RREGULARS : R oALD D AHL AND THE B RITISH S PY R ING IN W ARTIME W ASHINGToN by Jennet Conant Simon & Schuster, £18.99, pp. 391, ISBN9780743294584 ✆ £15.19...

Page 52

Grandmother’s footsteps

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Jonathan Keates T HE I SLAND THAT D ARED by Dervla Murphy Eland, £16.99, pp. 416, ISBN 9781906011352 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 U p the airy mountain, down the...

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Top of the world

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Joanna Kavenna L ATE N IGHTS ON A IR by Elizabeth Hay Maclehose Press/ Quercus, £16.99, pp. 308, ISBN 9781847245496 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 L ate Nights on Air...

Page 54

Where did the joke end?

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Philip Hoare L ORD B ERNERS by Peter Dickinson Boydell & Brewer, £24.99, pp. 214, ISBN 9781843833925 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 L ord Berners spent his life with his...

Page 55

A scandalous woman

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Jane Ridley L ADY W ORSLEY ’ S W HIM by Hallie Rubenhold Chatto, £25, pp. 308, ISBN 9780701179809 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T here is a magnificent portrait by...


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‘September rain pours on this house ...’ ‘Sestina’, Elizabeth Bishop She hangs her tears at the front of the house cuts the rain in half and puts time in the hot black kettle....

Page 56

Recent audio books

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Robert Cooper T o some of us solitude may be sitting on a park bench amidst a bustling city. To Trond Sander, seclusion is a rickety forest cabin in the far east of Norway. For...

Alternative reading

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Surprising literary ventures Gary Dexter O N THE H ARMFUL E FFECTS OF T OBACCO (1886) by Anton Chekhov C hekhov originally wrote the dramatic monologue, On The Harmful...

Page 59

Mystery of the missing tapes

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Selina Mills on how some newly discovered tapes give us a glimpse into the life of Agatha Christie O ne hot summer’s afternoon in London, when I was five or six, I was sent to...

Page 60

Unlimited beauty

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Andrew Lambirth Paths to Fame: Turner Watercolours from the Courtauld Courtauld Institute, Somerset House, WC2, until 25 January 2009 Sponsored by the Bank of New York Mellon...

Page 62

Change of tack

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Lloyd Evans Gethsemane Cottesloe state of Emergency Gate T here’s a massive hole in the middle of David Hare’s new play. It’s called Iraq. What an issue that was. What a...

Page 64

Power struggle

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Michael Tanner Boris Godunov English National Opera La rencontre imprévue Guildhall School of Music and Drama T he new production of Musorgsky’s most important work Boris...

Page 65

Depth to the dynamics

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Giannandrea Poesio Triple Bill Royal Opera House A ccording to a tacitly shared, unwritten code of common professional practice, critics ought not to divulge their opinion...

Page 66

Could do better

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Deborah Ross Body of Lies 15, Nationwide B ody of Lies is the latest film from producer/director Ridley Scott and it is an espionage thriller set mostly in the Middle East —...

Page 67

Here’s an idea . . .

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Kate Chisholm I really, really wish I could change places this week and become a TV critic. Nothing on radio has quite matched the drama of that extraordinarily necessary BBC2...

Page 68

Winning formulas

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Simon Hoggart A ndy Hamilton was an exceedingly welcome panellist in the days when I did The News Quiz , so I’m biased. But I genuinely found his sitcom, Outnumbered (BBC 1,...

Glorious gadgets

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Ursula Buchan I s Christmas creeping up on you, unawares? Again? Have you found yourself, even at this late hour, facing a nil-all draw as far as presents bought, and presents...

Page 69

Due discretion

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Alan Judd D uring the two previous recessions it was not unknown for Rolls-Royce and Bentley owners to replace their cars covertly. Proprietors were reluctant to be seen to...

Page 70

Love story

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Taki A rletty was a great French star of the silver screen during the Thirties and Forties, but she was also known for a few outspoken apophthegms about having sex with a...

Page 71

Rogue quartet

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Jeremy Clarke I have three friends whom I’ve kept up with since we sat together, aged five, in Mrs Asplin’s class at the local county primary school. After Mrs Asplin, we were...

Page 72

Putting the boot in

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Melissa Kite T he boots I have been looking for all my life turned up the other day. They were in a little shop round the corner from my house, which goes to show that what we...

Page 74

The mad hatter

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Joseph Connolly reveals a life-long obsession with hats I kissed a girl called Elizabeth when I was seven years old, and here was the beginning of a passionate and everlasting...

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(THE ONE IT WAS CREATED IN.) P AUL Signac was first seduced by the Côte d’Azur when he moored his yacht in St Tropez during May 1892. His enthusiastic reports attracted other...

Page 76

Climb every mountain

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Jeremy Clarke tries the high life at the Carlton hotel, St Moritz W e slid the picture window of our mountain railway carriage right down to let great gusts of alpine air cool...

Page 78

Spain’s secret kingdoms

The Spectator

Few tourists see the buildings, birds and flowers of Leon and Burgos, says Simon Courtauld O ne of the joys of visiting Leon and Burgos, two of the principal cities of Spain,...

Page 86

I’m the celebrity who told ITV there was too much Ant and Dec — get me out of here!

The Spectator

E arlier this year I made a life-changing decision. I realised after I had made it that it had been simmering away, on the edge of my consciousness, for some months. But at the...

Mind your language

The Spectator

Queen Victoria complained of Gladstone: ‘He speaks to Me as if I was a public meeting.’ At least, she said so according to G.W.E. Russell (1853-1919), who wrote biographies not...

Page 87

Spectator Sport

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T his wisdom of crowds stuff has always seemed a bit double-edged: for every silent and courageous candlelit throng gathering outside the cathedral in Leipzig in the 1980s...

your problemS Solved

The Spectator

Dear Mary Q. At a packed piano recital the other night, we were the only ones who didn’t have white hair, so had every reason to expect good manners to prevail. Nevertheless,...

Q. It is my wife’s birthday in a few days,

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and due to the credit crunch, I have not a farthing to my name. Moreover, it’s a particularly important birthday, her first since we have been married. To make things even...

Q. While chatting on the telephone to a friend I

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mentioned a man I met recently and would like to know better. I was describing how fascinating, highly intelligent, talented and extraordinarily well-connected and powerful this...