23 AUGUST 2008

Page 3

The Benetton candidate

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W hen R.A. Butler, quoting Bismarck, described politics as the ‘art of the possible’, he was spelling out the pragmatist’s creed. Yet, if nothing else, Barack Obama’s...

Page 7

T he fifth week of continuous downpour. Mouldiest summer ever. The

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children stay abed until lunchtime. I yell upstairs, Who wants to go for a massive walk? Who wants to come to Tesco in Minehead? Who wants to go to the Exmoor pony centre? There...

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After Beijing, the four wars Gordon Brown must win if he is to survive

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I t is dangerous, almost reckless, for a British Prime Minister to leave the country while in a jam at home. Had Margaret Thatcher not gone to Paris during the Tory leadership...

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MONDAY Hooray! It’s official — Dave is no longer the Heir to Blair, he’s the Heir to Thatcher!! This makes all our hard rebranding work worthwhile. As Nigel says, it’s a...

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Economic recovery plan?

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Forget it, Gordon The Prime Minister’s survival is pinned on a September ‘relaunch’ to ease the voters’ economic woes. But, says Martin Vander Weyer , each door through...

Page 12

Georgia sheds light on the mind of Cameron

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James Forsyth says that the Tory leader is more immersed in foreign policy than first seemed probable. Unlike Brown, he has ambitions as an international leader T he final phase...

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Mind your language

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‘What are all these letters?’ asked my husband, unhelpfully stirring the pile on the doormat with his foot, looking without success for any addressed to him. They were about...

Poles are the fall guys of the immigration debate

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The taboo on discussing migration has only been partly lifted, says Dennis Sewell . We pretend that all migrants are the same, whereas the statistics reveal some uncomfortable...

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Behind closed doors with the maestro

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As a Proms presenter, Clemency Burton-Hill had unique access to Daniel Barenboim last week: she reports on his private remarks about music and his rage for excellence ‘I t has...

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After Jade’s cancer, what next?

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‘I’m a tumour, get me out of here’? Rod Liddle says that the stunningly tasteless announcement of Jade Goody’s cervical cancer on Indian Big Brother marks a new low....

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R ecently while travelling on the London Underground, the opening words

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of Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte ran through my mind like a refrain: ‘Hegel remarks somewhere that all great worldhistoric events and personages appear,...

Page 20

Bombast in Beijing

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Sir: David Tang is right (Diary, 16 August) that Zhang Yimou, the choreographer of the Olympic ceremony, produced ‘maniacal... bombast...’. Mr Tang suggested Pyongyang as a...

Compensation culture

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Sir: The award of £4.5 million to the footballer Ben Collett mostly consists of lost potential earnings. Rod Liddle (Liddle Britain, 16 August) is worried not by the amount but...

Confrontation the only way

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Sir: I deeply admire Philip Bobbitt’s writings on constitutional orders and counter-terrorism, but his essay (‘A portent of perils to come’, 16 August) was off the mark in...

Missing words

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Sir: I have no doubt that Matthew Parris (Another Voice, 16 August) will be delighted to hear that the word smirr , meaning drizzle, is a Scots word which has by no means fallen...

Carbs vs cars

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Sir: I enjoy Rod Liddle but my 13-year-old grandson points out a flaw in his recent piece (‘Green taxes are witless nods to fashions’, 9 August). He notes that, pace Liddle,...

Friendly bombs?

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Sir: While I respect the right of John Mustoe (Letters, 9 August) to call my article on Vientiane ignorant and offensive, I suspect I am not alone in thinking that those two...

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It didn’t occur to Cameron that White Van Man might be trying to pat him on the back

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A h, the chaos there must have been on Planet Cameron every time that Dylan Jones was due for another chat. The editor of GQ writing a book about their man. Which anecdotes to...

Page 24

Roasted on a gridiron for the sake of Green pseudo-conscience

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I t is an indictment of our society that, despite huge scientific advances in the last century, particularly in the production of food, millions of people, perhaps hundreds of...

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New Deal economics: lessons from Herbert Hoover

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Bill Jamieson says calls for a Rooseveltian New Deal to stave off US recession are misinformed; it was FDR’s much-maligned predecessor who set the course for recovery A year...

Page 27

A primary banking crisis

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Richard Northedge When Britain had a secondary banking crisis in the 1970s the big banks launched a lifeboat to rescue the sinking smaller lenders. Today we have a primary...

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Our modest contribution

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Raymond Carr S T P ETERSBURG AND THE B RITISH : T HE C ITY T HROUGH THE E YES OF B RITISH V ISITORS AND R ESIDENTS by Anthony Cross Frances Lincoln, £25, pp. 337, ISBN...

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His finest hour

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Michael Howard B LOOD , T OIL , T EARS AND S WEAT : T HE D IRE W ARNING by John Lukacs Perseus/ Basic Books, £13.99, pp. 147, ISBN 9780465002870 N ine years ago the American...

Muddying the waters

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Sebastian Smee D REAMS OF R IVERS AND S EAS by Tim Parks Harvill Secker, £16.99, pp. 431, ISBN 9781846551130 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his fitfully...

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Really not happy at all

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Marcus Berkmann B ITS OF M E ARE F ALLING A PART by William Leith Bloomsbury, £10.99, pp. 202, ISBN 9780747591726 ✆ £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 S ome years ago, a...

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In his own words

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Bryan Forbes E VER D IRK : T HE B OGARDE LETTERS edited by John Coldstream Weidenfeld, £25, pp.529, ISBN 9780297852414 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he art of...

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The great deception continues

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Jonathan Mirsky O UT OF M AO ’ S S HADOW : T HE S TRUGGLE FOR THE S OUL OF N EW C HINA by Philip Pan Simon & Schuster, £14.99, pp. 349, ISBN 9780330451031 ✆ £11.99 (plus...

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Simon Gray 1936-2008

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T en, eleven weeks ago I had an email from Simon Gray to say that the tumour on his lung hadn’t grown; so he was all right till his next scan in four months time. Now he is...

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Perennial Cézanne

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Andrew Lambirth on the artist’s profound and far-reaching influence F or a certain generation of English artists, there have been enough Cézanne exhibitions to last more...

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Fighting the bulldozer

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Harry Mount F ifty years ago, when the Irish Georgian Society was founded, the bulldozer was a familiar sight in Ireland, trundling along elegant urban terraces and drawing up...

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Bracing Bernstein

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Michael Tanner West Side Story Sadler’s Wells Tête à Tête Riverside Studios, Hammersmith W est Side Story is just over half a century old, and unlike most famous musicals...

Festival frugalities

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Lloyd Evans Deep Cut Traverse Jidariyya Royal Lyceum 4.48 Psychosis King’s Theatre Eco-Friendly Jihad Underbelly Please Don’t Feed The Models Underbelly Scaramouche Jones...

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Flaunting corruption

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Barbara Day Leaving Archa Theatre, Prague W ith the theatre playing such a large role in the social and political history of the Czechs, it is no wonder that former president...

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Poverty of the soul

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Kate Chisholm I t’s not so bad being awake at three in the morning, with an unseasonably chilly wind blowing and the rain lashing at the window, when it gives you the chance...

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Too much information

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James Delingpole O ne of my ambitions this summer is to try not to see even the tiniest glimpse of Olympics coverage on TV. This isn’t mainly a protest about how boring...

Attention to detail

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Robin Oakley W ho would ever have thought that two wheels could prove as exciting as four legs? Watching the triumphs of Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Ross Edgar and Rebecca...

Page 42

Garden shorts

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It is not unknown for expert chefs to write unsubstantiated tosh or indulge in airy generalisations about kitchen garden cultivation, organic produce and edible plants, but it...

Hopeless romantic

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Alan Judd S ome at least of the 71 vehicles I’ve owned (68 if tractors don’t count) are probably best excused by a weakness for romantic impracticality. It was never...

Page 43

Way of the warrior

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Taki On board S/Y Bushido F inally a gold medal for Greece, for cheating. Fifteen of our men and women have joined the pantheon of cheaters, the latest our 400-metres hurdles...

Was he drunk?

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Jeremy Clarke I ’m in the pub before the first match of the new Premiership season, a pint of lager in each hand, and I’m thinking here we go again, another nine months of...

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Putting down roots

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Alex James T he giant sequoia is the largest living thing on the planet: a tree. There’s quite a well-known photo of one with a road going through the middle. They’re...

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Sitting on a rocket

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Henry Sands goes powerboating in Malta T here is a big divide in the boating world between sails and engines. Sails are romantic and green and require ancient skills. They are...

Page 54

New York’s Eurotrash exude a preening self regard that makes me sick to my stomach

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I n New York, the big story of the summer is that the Eurotrash are back. Thanks to the weak dollar, rich Europeans have been descending on the city by the jet-load, irritating...

Ancient & modern

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The debate between creationists and anticreationists is nothing new. As David Sedley shows in his extraordinarily interesting Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity...

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M ost ceilings are painted white. This means that, when repainting

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a ceiling, you put white paint on an already white surface, making it hard to see where you’ve been. Glancing up admiringly the next day, you then find you’ve just missed...

your problEMs solvEd

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Dear Mary Q. I have just moved into a sizeable townhouse which also comprises a separately owned basement flat (occupied by a young family). The entrance to the flat is set...

Q. The first week our new cleaning lady came she

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brought some eggs from her own free-range hens which we all agreed were delicious and we thanked her very sincerely. Our problem is that, eight weeks in, she is still bringing...

Q. At the not particularly old age of 52 I

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am suddenly feeling rather clapped out and past it. I am not bald or fat or ill but I have realised I am becoming demoralised by the lack of anyone, other than Paxman, on the...