23 APRIL 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK K amel Bourgass was sentenced to 17

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years in prison for conspiring, with one named fellow terrorist and others unnamed, to cause a ‘public nuisance’, a common law offence said by the Crown in this case to have...

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The Rover scandal

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W hen Tony Blair made Stephen Byers Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, it is now clear that he was entrusting that office to the most incompetent, the most cynical and...

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N o job quite prepares you for life as a parliamentary

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candidate. But I suspect that a period as a monk would equip you pretty well. We are not actually obliged to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but observance of the...

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We should all feel ashamed of this dull, passionless, hole-in-the-corner election

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T he 2005 general election has been, by a very great distance, the dullest in recent British history. It is far duller than 2001, and that was very dull indeed. It is so...

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I sometimes wonder if the British media know anything at all

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about the Catholic Church, except that it disapproves of condoms. Every discussion of the late Pope’s reputation and of his successor, Cardinal Ratzinger, is brought back to...

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The man who made England

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Germaine Greer on how William Shakespeare, whose birthday falls today, created a coherent view of an autonomous England M y father was about as English as they come. Though he...

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I watch as nuns stampede

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Alexander Chancellor on the excitement in Rome following the election of Pope Benedict XVI Rome I sense a certain triumphalism in the offices of The Spectator . ‘ Habemus...

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THEODORE DALRYMPLE There’s only one thing worse than slavery, of course, and that’s freedom. I don’t mean, I hasten to add, my own freedom, to which I am really rather...

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iRcin certainties

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Andrew Gilligan says that the press abandoned healthy scepticism when reporting the Bourgass story, and by doing so endangered us all I n TV, they call it the ‘guilty...

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Ancient & modern

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No election manifesto has anything to say about an issue vital to the British understanding of government — the relationship between Prime Minister, Cabinet and Parliament...

Non sense

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Daniel Hannan says that a French vote against the EU constitution will be inspired by healthy nationalism C hoc! Horreur! The French are reviling their own creation. Having used...

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Where Blair has gone wrong

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Frank Field tells Theo Hobson about Christianity, socialism — and the Prime Minister’s failure of leadership I am expecting to meet Edmund Blackadder’s Puritan uncle, who...

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The Germans have ways of making you walk

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The moment after I stepped on the treacherously transparent black ice on the Newcastle garden path, my buttocks were on the ground and my heels in the air. I needed an...

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Mind your language

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‘He has just had a lunch of eels and is in good spirits,’ wrote Mr Alistair McKay of Mr George Melly, in the Scotsman . ‘If he finds it tiresome to talk about himself, he...

The age of unreason

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Leo MdKinstry on how the ideology of race has blinded us to the dangers of immigration A t the entrance to my local library there is a large glossy poster which carries the...

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A game of two pay packets

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Rod Liddle says that obscene salaries — together with foreign players — are ruining British football R ecently, the champions of English football, Arsenal, took on...

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There’s plenty of room beside Rover in the Happier Hunting Ground

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R over has now been removed to the Happier Hunting Ground. In a brief obsequy broadcast from Birmingham, Tony Blair sympathised with the dependants. The economy was strong, he...

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China is still a tyranny

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From Jonathan Mirsky Sir: As usual Mark Steyn makes some good points, this time in his piece on globalisation (‘The sovereign individual’, 16 April). But he is mistaken in...

From Claire Melamed

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Sir: Mark Steyn accuses Christian Aid of being comprised of ‘condescending neoimperialists’ on the basis of some vague assertions, a bit of anecdotal evidence and some...

A truly liberal party

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From Dr Chris Scanlan Sir: Your claim that the Liberal Democrats are a bunch of ‘confused bossyboots’ whose only ambition is ‘to bleed the rich’ is extraordinarily...

Titian: art or porn?

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From Rory Mulchrone Sir: Roger Scruton draws a distinction between ‘the naked and the nude’, implies one between pornography and art, and illustrates these subtleties by...

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From Peter Inson

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Sir: Roger Scruton calls for the safeguarding of the projects of love and of raising children. These projects are necessarily linked. Increasingly, adults whose own...

From Samuel Green

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Sir: A thought-provoking piece by Roger Scruton on the consequences of the sexual revolution. Young women today are under immense pressure to ‘get physical’ in order to...

Pope against the zeitgeist

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From Dr Sheridan Gilley Sir: Matthew Parris’s attack on the British media (Another voice, 16 April) for lavishing its attention on Pope John Paul II’s death and funeral...

The agnostic Church

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From Anthony H. Bradborn Sir: I loved the article by Matthew Parris ‘Why the Church of England is our best defence against religious enthusiasm’ (Another voice, 2 April)....

My coinage

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From Anthony Barnett Sir: In his praise for Peter Oborne’s dissection of the Blair court (‘How Blair betrays the Crown’, 9 April), Tim Holman writes, ‘Mr Oborne has...

Pigs who fly

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From John Grey Sir: Ordinary policemen share Andrew Gilligan’s concern (‘Tony’s coppers’, 16 April). They are dismayed at what has happened and they have little regard...

Overdue loan

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From Hugh Candler Sir: I read with interest Sam Leith’s review of Max Hastings’s Warriors (Books, 9 April) and in particular the acknowledgment by Max that as a schoolboy...

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Where the Darwinian fundamentalists are leading us

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T he decisive culture war of the 21st century is likely to be between the Darwinian fundamentalists and those who believe in God and the significance of human life. It will be...

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In Rome this week conservatism triumphed over authoritarianism

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I rrespective of whether it is right or wrong, or will be good or bad, the cardinals’ choice of pope is an act of defiance unique in our time. We are encouraged to believe...

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Going with the flow

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Ferdinand Mount V IRGINIA W OOLF : A N I NNER L IFE by Julia Briggs Penguin/Allen Lane, £30, pp. 528, ISBN 0713996633 ✆ £26 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W hat if a...

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Meltdown in a glittering world

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Anna Vaux EXPOSURE by Talitha Stevenson Virago, £14.99, pp. 512, ISBN 1860499864 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 ‘E xposure’ well describes the progress of...

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A typical specimen

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Anthony Daniels A LL OF T HESE P EOPLE : A M EMOIR by Fergal Keane HarperCollins, £18.99, pp. 396, ISBN 0007176929 ✆ £16.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 A woman on a...

A herdsman’s lot is not a happy one

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Anna Reid R EINDEER P EOPLE : L IVING WITH A NIMALS AND S PIRITS IN S IBERIA by Piers Vitebsky HarperCollins, £20, pp. 464, ISBN 0007133626 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800...

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Scanning the far horizon

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Robert Edric T HE T URNING by Tim Winton Picador, £16.99, pp. 200, ISBN 0330438301 V £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 F ollowing his previous three novels — the work...

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Memoirs of a workaholic Scot

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Nicholas Harman D EPTFORD , T ORONTO AND KINGSTON: T HE E ARLY L IFE OF C HARLES A IRD , V ICTORIAN E NGINEER edited by Lorna Hone The Grimsay Press, £29.95, pp. 434, ISBN...

Masters of the chain gangs

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Martin Vander Weyer T ROLLEY W ARS : T HE B ATTLE OF THE S UPERMARKETS by Judi Bevan Profile Books, £17.99, pp. 258, ISBN 1861976615 ✆ £15.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800...

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Coming to a bad end

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Jonathan Keates T HE L AST D AYS OF H ENRY VIII by Robert Hutchinson Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 367, ISBN 0297846116 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 S omething very...

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Double vision

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Michael Henderson defends Kenneth Clark’s patrician style against the ‘democratic’ approach T HIS month, and not before time, the BBC has issued on DVD the single...

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Literary connections

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Andrew Lambirth John Everett Millais: Illustrator and Narrator Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, W14, until 1 May F ate has not dealt kindly with Sir John Everett...

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Puppetry of the fairy band

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Patrick Carnegy A Midsummer Night’s Dream Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon A chill spring day in Stratford for the RSC’s launch of its summer comedies season...

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Gruelling ordeal

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Lloyd Evans Hecuba Albery A Night at the Dogs Soho The Orpheus Complex Pleasance V anessa Redgrave’s Hecuba grapples with many ghosts. The Trojan queen has lost her crown,...

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Basic bonding

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Mark Steyn Around the Bend 12A, selected cinemas S omebody’s obviously selling MakeYour-Own-Film-School-Type-Movie kits. If you made a western or cop caper or musical comedy...

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Falling flat

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Michael Tanner Un Ballo in Maschera Royal Opera House E veryone agrees that Un Ballo in Maschera occupies a unique and uniquely distinguished place in Verdi’s oeuvre. It has...

Look and learn

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James Delingpole M uch as I love the nostalgic idea of the original Ask the Family , the reality was rather different. The questions were way too hard and made you feel thick...

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Voter apathy

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Michael Vestey W hen I was asked last week who I thought would win the general election, I didn’t have a clue. This is such a peculiar election that few are prepared to...

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Off the menu

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Simon Courtauld A n Indian friend with whom I have been staying in the Nilgiri Hills was asking what had happened to the whitebait which he used to enjoy years ago in England,...

Seduced by Bentley

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Alan Judd W hile Rover sank (it was warned, twice, in this column), another car was launched, in Venice. An amphibian? No, a Bentley. Perhaps because it rarely advertises,...

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Only the best

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Daniel Hannan I f you were to watch El Juli without ever having seen a bullfight before, you might well wonder what all the fuss was about. Where was the drama that you had...

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Friendly, vulgar and nice

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Taki New York T he founder of the Dorothy Parker society, Kevin Fitzpatrick, recently wrote to the F. Scott Fitzgerald society inviting its members to an Algonquin hotel...

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Speed freak

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Jeremy Clarke C louds Hill, Colonel T.E. Lawrence’s former Dorset pied-à-terre, comprises four cramped rooms — two up, two down — and you have to mind your head as you...

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SIMON HOGGART O nce again we return to our old friends at Corney & Barrow, home of the fabled Brett-Smith Indulgence. The wines are already discounted, delivery is already...

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Spiking the Gunners

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FRANK KEATING ‘T he Real General Election’ trumpeted a cynically astute headline in the Daily Mirror last week over a large blue campaign rosette bearing the picture of...

Q. My sister-in-law, whom I am fond of and who

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is very generous, has an annoying habit of inviting herself to the house whenever she likes, usually at very short notice. Each summer there is a music festival in a village...

Q. I have neighbours who are very close friends and

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I go often to their house, occasionally dropping in but usually by invitation. They are always wonderfully hospitable but, being foreigners, they have very odd telephone...