24 AUGUST 2002

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M r John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, on being asked about British support for American action against Iraq, said: 'There is no serious division inside the Cabinet and...

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H ard cases make bad law, and cases do not come much harder than that of the two young girls recently abducted and murdered. The temptation must be considerable for the...

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D espite feeling ghoulish, my wife and I found ourselves drawn to the television set whenever an important development took place during the grim vigil at Soham. By the very...

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Who inspired Thatcher's most damaging remark? Tony Blair's favourite guru PETER ()BORNE F ew phrases in modern political history have done more damage than Margaret...

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Griffin Stone shows how British justice tramples on the rights of fathers and brutally deprives them of access to their offspring I AM a member of a club I never wanted to...

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Mind your language

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A 14-year-old man, as I learn I should call a Wykehamist, Benjamin Nicholls, has written to me about a suggestion by his 12-year-old sister. She thought that, as the word...


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Eve-Ann Prentice says German commercial expansion is provoking Serb paranoia Belgrade THE Serbian traveller was incandescent at the communist-style red tape which ensnared him...

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Ancient & modern

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'ANGER-management consultants' have been appearing all over the papers in the past few weeks discussing how the footballer Roy Keane might learn to control his foul temper. The...


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His wife kills foxes, he kills Caribbeans. Rachel Johnson meets a British practitioner of the death penalty THE country boils over with grief and rage over the murder of two...

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Second opinion

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ANYONE planning to break his leg in such a way as to require a wheelchair afterwards had better — at least if he lives in my hospital's catchment area — give plenty of notice of...

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Simon Carr believes Martin Amis has turned from brilliant stylist to ludicrous moral poseur THERE are very few novelists of our generation (I'm assuming you're 50) whom we can...

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Mark Steyn on America's abject surrender to multi-cultural madness THE other day, the National Education Association — i.e., the teachers' union — announced their plans for...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit ONE might have thought that the case of Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed — recently awarded £200,000 each in libel...

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Michael Yardley on the BBC's lamentable coverage of a persecuted sport THOSE who shoot for sport — several million nationwide — are a significant, but increasingly persecuted,...

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Why the Norman conquest works for me every time

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FRANK JOHNSON U sually, at this time of the year. I am wandering, or renting, in Western Europe. But, for various reasons too uninteresting to recount here, I am spending this...

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Dangers of war-mongering

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From Mr Tam Dalyell, MP Sir: Gerald Kaufman ('Why I oppose an attack on Iraq', 17 August) rebukes me for being against military action in the Falklands, Kosovo and Afghanistan....

The not-so-ill NHS

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From Mr Nigel Crisp Sir: Your leading article (17 August) comparing UK healthcare with that in Europe ignored the many excellent NHS services, staff and healthcare facilities we...

Airing a grievance

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From Diana Ripley Sir: Rachel Johnson's piece (The cost of dying', 17 August) about the ridiculous inheritance-tax situation in the UK was excellent. Why should Middle...

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Job offer to Glover

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From Mr Roger Mosey Sir: Stephen Glover (Media, 17 August) seems to be having a funny turn. We would not have invited Andrew Neil to present Newsmght if we didn't agree that he...

We're backing ENO

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From Mr Peter Hewitt Sir: Tom Sutcliffe's piece on English National Opera (Arts, 10 August) paints an absurdly pessimistic picture of ENO's future and the future of opera...

Rand undervalued

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From Mr Graham Asher Sir: Michael Harrington's attack by innuendo (Politics, 17 August) and — to quote Mary Archer — 'inaccurate précis' of Ayn Rand and her philosophy will...

Monkey business

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From Mr Jonathan Mirsky Sir: Having read Dot Wordsworth on the Three Monkeys (17 August), I Googled away and found more than 100 entries, most of them offering to sell me the...

Slightly out of tune

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From Mr Chris White Sir: So Joan Collins (Diary, 17 August) enjoys 'Havana Gila' at a Jewish wedding in Las Vegas. `Hava Nagila', surely, or is Ms Collins trying to tell us that...

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Sad truth about Daily Mirror readers:

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they like it dumb STEPHEN GLOVER I n April the Daily Mirror relaunched itself as a more serious newspaper. Its editor, Piers Morgan, got rid of its red masthead. He hired...

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Top spots come up at the Bank, but the Queen and the Prime Minister take their time

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES D own the Bank of England's stony corridors the secretaries tiptoe: 'Have you signed David's card? Would you like to chip in for his present?' His five-year...

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Renaissance man revived

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Philip Hensher THE WORKS OF THOMAS DE QUINCEY, VOLUMES 8,9, 12,13, 14, 17 and 18 edited by Grevel Lindop Pickering & Chatto, £550, pp. 3,024, ISBN 185196519X ibly simple if...

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A multitude of shapes but a single aim

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Sarah Bradford THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON: MASTER OF THE SENATE by Robert A. Caro Cape, £30, pp. 1166, ISBN 0224062875 L yndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United...

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Doing the decent thing

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Bruce Anderson BLUE REMEMBERED YEARS by Ian Lang Politico's, £20, pp. 328, ISBN 1842750097 I n early 1995, a number of senior Conservatives were close to despair. Nothing...

Fiddler on the run

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Digby Durrant THE SONG OF NAMES by Norman Lebrecht Review, £12.99, pp. 311, ISBN 0755300947 T his is the story of a strange and intense friendship between two orthodox Jews,...

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Of rats and men

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Tony Gould THE PLAGUE RACE: A TALE OF FEAR, SCIENCE AND HEROISM by Edward Marriott Picador, L14.99. pp. 288, ISBN 0330483188 T his racy tale of plague in the modern era focuses...

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From agony to ecstasy

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Jane Gardam LETTERS TO HENRIETTA by Isabella Bird, edited by Kay Chubbuck John Murray, £25, pp. 356, ISBN 0719560470 T his is a selection of the original letters written in...

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Obsessive, compulsive behaviour

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David Hughes TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Philipp Blom Allen Lane, £18.99, pp. 274, ISBN 0713994762 T he young author of this survey of our childlike passion for grabbing a thing and...

All the world wondered

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Anthony Mockler AMEDEO by Sebastian O'Kelly HarperCollin.v, £18.99, pp. 333, ISBN 0002572192 E very cavalryman must envy the hero of this book. Between 1936 and 1941 he led no...

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Witness to the end of an era

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Raymond Asquith ACROSS THE MOSCOW RIVER: THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN by Rodric Braithwaite Yale, £19.65, pp. 371, ISBN 0300094965 S everal British envoys to St Petersburg or...

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Making Summer Pudding

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Crouched on an upturned bucket, fingers stained, I weigh the rival claims of summer fruit: blackcurrants smell of old tom cat, but gleam glossy as toe-caps on a soldier's boot;...

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From Festival to Fringe

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Toby Young suffers from festivalitis: seeing 15 plays in just five days T he big play at Edinburgh this year — the one with Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon in it — was The Guys,...

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Room for improvement Martin Gaylord R ain fell over Edinburgh in unseasonable torrents while I was there. 'It's been like this all summer,' my taxi driver remarked sombrely....

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Gags to go Renata Rubnikowicz Ar ound the corner from Edinburgh's new Harvey Nichols a small crowd watches two men with metal pails on their heads play harmonica in the rain....

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Random selection

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Michael Tanner I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for a music festival to be `themed' in one way or another, if only because, for those attending a large number of...

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Simon Hoggart ONE of our most successful recent minibars was the offer of fine wines at discount prices. This month we go to Corney & Barrow, who are perenially popular with...

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The King and I

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Charles Spencer ble in their role, he is in the first place far too old, and sounds it. Worse than that, he is as dramatically null as it is possible to be. While Violeta...

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Alchemy in Umbria

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John Spurting T ate Britain may feel that it is doing its best for British art by exhibiting a retrospective of Lucian Freud and a group of large Sixties' sculptures by Anthony...

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The Black Knight (PG, selected cinemas)

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Wasted opportunity Mark Steyn W hatever the merits of Mark Twain's original (from 1889), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is mainly useful to movie studios as a...

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Religious conviction

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Michael Vestey A lthough I am an atheist I will happily attend church weddings, funerals and baptisms without any qualms at all, joining in the hymn singing and appreciating...

Pointless rituals

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James Delingpole T he other day my boy Ivo did something incredibly brilliant, but none of you will think so unless you're my wife or one of his grandparents because a) the...

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Sweet and red

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Simon Courtauld I n France they call them piments dour, in Spain pimientos and in Italy peperoni. In this country they are known as sweet peppers, or bell peppers, or...

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Grand old troupers

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Robin Oakley I f you've got it, flaunt it' is a reasonable maxim for ladies on the racecourse. The gallantry of the racing community and the concentration on four-legged...

The ultimate challenge

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Taki Gstaad Bi smarck famously said that the Balkans were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Nor is Iraq. We had Saddam cold back in 1991 but stopped the war...

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Talking points

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Jeremy Clarke N anny is a full-time 'scrubber' as she puts it. She scrubs for a Mrs P and a Mrs R. She's not used to being on holiday. The inactivity is profoundly disturbing...

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Stock answer

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Neil Collins I can never understand why trout fishing in August is considered to be second-rate. The fishy fashionistas go to their chalk streams in May and June, when the...

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The death of Ingerlish

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Michael Henderson THE most remarkable thing happened the other day. An Aston Villa supporter rang up Radio Mate's phone-in and talked fluently for five minutes about the game...

Dear Mary. . .

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Q. I am recovering in hospital from a serious car accident in which — among other things — I cracked my spine. I have been overwhelmed by the messages of sympathy and concern...