24 NOVEMBER 2001

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T he government pushed ahead with the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security

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Bill, which does away with habeas corpus for detained foreigners suspected of terrorism and allows different government departments to send round confidential information about...

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The Spectator. 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 21_,E Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 WAR ON FREEDOM A trite phrase holds that the first casualty in war is truth. It...

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I n August I was fortunate enough to front an Arena documentary on the subject of Dr Johnson, dwelling in particular on his friendship with the Thrales of Streatham Park. Henry...

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Tony Blair's guru spells out his terrifying vision for the future of democracy

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PETER OBORNE T he result of the Ipswich by-election was unknown when The Spectator went to press. One part of the result was, however, entirely predictable: disastrously low...

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Are you sitting comfortably?

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You are not a child. If someone were to read you a bedtime story, we suspect you would prefer something more grown-up than Mother Goose. Perhaps a little pillow book, the uses...

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Simon Heifer says that angry demonstrations by British Muslims against the war on terror suggest that the 'Rivers of Blood' speech should have been heeded: Powell's chief...

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Frank Field exposes the government's failure to reform the welfare state 'THE Prime Minister believes you have solved welfare.' These were the words with which Sir Richard...

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Peter °borne says that the shadow home secretag is a man to be reckoned with: he is clevel; charming and a friend of Charles Moore THE appointment of Oliver Letwin as shadow...

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Second opinion

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BRITISH parents hate their children, and they are quite right to do so. Needless to say, their hatred is thoroughly reciprocated, with equal justification. One glance at British...

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Mind your language

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WHILE looking for something else (as while looking for the corkscrew one finds a book of stamps that would have been very useful before the last post went), I came across this...


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Colin R. Nicho11 reveals that Christian broadcasting is being persecuted by a special-interest pressure group PREMIER Radio, London's Christian radio station, has been given a...

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They take 'stress' so seriously in Holland, says Fraser Bailey, that if you feel a bit unhappy you can get a year off work on full pay HAVING lived and worked in the...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly swvey of the things our rulers want to prohibit THE government, it is asserted, has long since turned its back on the confiscation of private property. The Department...

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The new Republican mayor of New York has some conservatives gagging, says Philip Delves Broughton New York AT the end of May, about a week before Mike Bloomberg declared he...

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Ancient & modern

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GEOLOGISTS claim to have explained the frenzied rantings of the priestess (the Pythia) at the ancient Greek oracle at Delphi. They argue that ethane, methane and ethylene issued...


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Francis Ford Coppola 's masterpiece has just been reissued. It is not an anti-war movie, says Matthew d'Ancona; it is an anti-lies movie CHARLIE don't surf — and neither does...

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Why do people hate the Tories? Bevis Hillier says the answer is simple: it is because they are hateful 'WHY do people still hate Tories?' The Spectator asked on its front...

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When literary types and politicians enjoyed a rousing singsong

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PAUL JOHNSON g E 'eryone suddenly burst out singing.' But they don't, do they? What is wrong with the world (among many other things) is that people do not sing any more. I...

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Lord Powell's links with Syria show that business and diplomacy should not be mixed

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STEPHEN GLOVER O h dear. I am not sure I really want to do this. I don't think I have ever met Charles Powell but everyone says what an absolutely charming chap he is. Probity...

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Gallery Preview

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Pip Todd Warmoth Timeless paintings that evoke the sacred atmosphere of India by Elizabeth Kenny Pip Todd Warmoth was born in Lincolnshire into an artistic family. His father...

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With enemies like these we need wicked friends

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FRANK JOHNSON P lenty of interesting things are said about this war by both its supporters and its opponents, by both Right and Left. Not that all on the Right are its...

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No houris in heaven

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From The Revd Anthony Symondson, Si Sir: Katie Grant writes with feeling about her Catholic recusant ancestors (Would you die for your faith?', 10 November), but there is a...

Pacifists in wartime

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From Professor John Spencer Sir: Peter Mullen seems to know little about free speech or episcopal dissent during the second world war (`Holy fools', 10 November). Has he never...

The other Mr Mirsky

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From Mr Joseph Askew Sir: I was interested to read Jonathan Mirsky's article On bed with the Reds', 10 November) on Rupert Murdoch and the Chinese communists. A long time ago I...

Fact check

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From Mr Andrew Gilligan Sir: Stephen Glover's famously exhaustive fact-checking procedures have unfortunately failed him in my case. He claims (Media studies, 17 November) that...

From Dr Nigel Legg Sir: Stephen Glover (Media studies, 3

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November) says the attack on the 11 September was the worst single act of terrorism ever committed, but he has forgotten an earlier and strangely similar event with even more...

Frozen Cafe

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From Mr James Gladstone Sir: Conservatives Against a Federal Europe (Cafe) has not been suspended by the leadership of the Conservative party (Letters, 10 November). lain...

Forced marriages

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From Mina Godi Sir: I am a British Iranian Muslim woman who is allowed to keep her own passport. I am also a college lecturer, and I feel a responsibility to write in response...

From Sandra Power Sir: Naeem Ali (Letters, 10 November) has

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never come across a case of enforced marriage and therefore it doesn't exist. Gosh — proof of true assimilation into the chattering classes! As a social worker specialising in...

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An isle too far

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From Mr James Young Sir: Pace Steve King (Books, 17 November) we cannot say for certain that the island(s) known to the ancients as Ultima Thule is/are today's Iceland. Indeed,...

'Empty' isn't 'dead'

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From Natasha McEnroe Sir: I was surprised to read in Charles Saumarez Smith's review of 18 Folgate Street (Books, 10 November) that he considers Dr Johnson's house 'dead'...

Deep Waters

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From Mr Rory Knight Bruce Sir: Charles Spencer should not be allowed to get away with serving up the old fish that Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett was a psychedelic genius and Roger...

Napoleon solo

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From Major P. de V. Patey Sir: Napoleon did explain why he was against war councils (Shared opinion, 10 November). I quote three of his maxims: Nothing is so important in war...

Clarity of compression

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From Godfrey Carey, QC Sir; Does not the succinct clarity of the article by Oxford's professor of classical literature (`East is East and West is West', 27 October) emphasise...

Period phrases

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From Mr Tony Inglis Sir: Simon Hoggart, writing on television (Arts, 17 November), condemns Andrew Davies's 'weird habit of using modern phrases and slang' in his period...

Tailored insults

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From Mr Frank Scott Sir: Jonathan Ray ('Measuring up', 10 November) described tailoring abbreviations. It reminded me of many years ago when I was one of several hundred...

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BOOKS OF THE YEAR A further selection of the best

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and worst books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors Jane Gardam The most extraordinary and important biography I have read this year is Gaudi by Gijs van...

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Writing beyond his means

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Philip Hensher THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen Fourth Estate, £17 99, pp. 566, ISBN 1841156728 J onathan Franzen, if you haven't heard by now, is the new big thing in...

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Cracking the mosquito code

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Andrew Barrow THE FEVER TRAIL: THE HUNT FOR THE CURE FOR MALARIA by Mark Honigsbaum Macmillan, £18.99, pp. 338, ISBN 0333901851 T his strange, dark forest of a book, the...

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Fifteen who didn't fit in

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John Michell ECCENTRICS by John Jolliffe Duckworth, £18, pp. 184, ISBN 0715630504 F ifteen main characters are exhibited in this gallery of eccentrics. Two of them (Lady...


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High on my windswept hill I live beneath a flight path. Each year I thrill to hear the whispering wings and haunting fog-horn cry before I see ship's anchors tossed across the...

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Rekindling lost memories of national tradition

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Douglas Johnson RETHINKING FRANCE: LES LIEUX DE MEMOIRE: VOLUME I. THE STATE under the direction of Pierre Nora, translated by Mary Trouille, translation directed by David P....

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Pilgrim's lurching progress

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Paul Routledge INNOCENT IN THE HOUSE by Andy McSmith Verso, £13, pp. 311, ISBN 1859846932 T here used to be only one way to achieve fame in political journalism: provide your...

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They don't like it up 'em

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Roger Lewis DAD'S ARMY: THE COMPLETE SCRIPTS OF SERIES 1-4 by Jimmy Perry and David Croft Orion, 120, pp. 456, ISBN 075284153X DAD'S ARMY: THE STORY OF A CLASSIC TELEVISION...

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Made famous by soppiness

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David Hughes THE REAL MRS MINIVER by Ysenda Maxtone Graham John Murray, £17.99, pp, 314, ISBN 0719555418 Y senda is the clever and capable grand-daughter of the woman who wrote...

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Landscape of the heart

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Philip Manse' JOURNEY INTO THE MIND'S EYE by Lesley Blanch Sickle Moon Books, £9.99, pp. 340, ISBN 1900209128 O ne of the finest English hooks about Russia is Lesley Blanch's...

A publishing terrorist

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Joseph Farrell SENIOR SERVICE by Carlo Feltrinelli, translated by Alistair McEwan Granta. 120, pp 464, ISBN 1862074569 T he names employed in this book are themselves a...

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Pauses and silences

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William Feaver INTERVIEWS WITH AMERICAN ARTISTS by David Sylvester Chano,125, pp. 387. ISBN 070116266X T he first rule when conducting recorded interviews is to say as little...

Glimpses of a happy life

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Jonathan Keates PERSONAL TERMS: NOTEBOOKS, 1951-1969 by Frederic Raphael Carcanet, £16.95. pp. 219, ISBN 1857545354 O ught writers to publish their notebooks? From one aspect...

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Mad, moving, mythical Minnesota

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Jonathan Mirsky LAKE WOBEGON SUMMER 1956 by Garrison Keillor Faber, £16.99, pp. 291, ISBN 0.571 210147 V isitors to America who tune to National Public Radio sometimes stumble...

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Having fun with the famous

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Brian Masters SACRED MONSTERS, SACRED MASTERS by John Richardson Cape, £20, pp. 363, ISBN 0224062557 H ere is a book which gloriously deserves its title, for I do not remember...

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A fortunate man

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P. J. Kavanagh GOODBYE, TWENTIETH CENTURY by Dannie Abse Pimlico, £12.50, pp. 323, ISBN 0712668292 A t a poetry reading in South Wales the author of this charming autobiography...

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Warm and tender obsessions

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Andrew Wordsworth on the themes that characterise Monet's and Balthus's work I n the summer of 1903 Monet closed the door of his studio on the outside world and began the long...

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Modern Chinese Art: The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, till early spring 2002)

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The Paintings of Tong Yang - tze (Goedhuis Contemporary, Mount Street, London Wl, till 30 November) Reborn in a purer form John Spurling T he Khoan and Michael Sullivan...

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Paintings and Drawings from the Studio Collection of Sir Matthew Smith (Guildhall Art Gallery, till 27 January 2002)

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Seductive world Laura Gascoigne T he pomp and circumstance of the City of London are not normally associated with Mediterranean colour, exotic fruit and reclining nudes in the...

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Shifting emphasis

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Robin Holloway B enjamin Britten has been much in concert and on the air this month, to coincide with what would have been his 88th birthday (shared with the nameday of...

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Rambert Dance Company (Sadler's Wells)

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Hypnotic qualities Giannandrea Poesio Few modern dance companies can boast Rambert Dance Company's artistic and stylistic eclecticism. And there is little doubt that Rambert's...

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (PG, selected cinemas)

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Fantastically English Mark Steyn I m writing this at three in the morning. The nearest movie theatre prepared even to concede the possibility of an unsold ticket told me my...

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Cosi fan tulle (Royal Opera) Figaro (English National Opera)

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Savour the moment Michael Tanner T he Royal Opera's Cosi fan tutte, originally directed by Jonathan Miller, now revived under Daniel Dooner, must count as one of its most...

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The Play What I Wrote (Wyndham's)

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Brilliantly original Toby Young I didn't know what to expect when I sat down to watch The Play What I Wrote. On one level, that was the state of mind I was supposed to be in...

Girls just don't get it

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James Delingpole 0 ne of the big mistakes many of us have been making since the Sixties — obviously there are exceptions, e.g. the Taleban — is to take chicks as seriously as...

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Symbols of the unknown

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Michael Vestey T here is something about a whale that makes even hard-headed people pause for thought. Few seem to mind the prospect of sharks being killed but the whale is a...

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Groans and grins

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Robin Oakley L ucky, lucky Cheltenham. By the time I reached the course on Saturday I was fuming and promising myself 'never again', at least not without the offer of a seat in...

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Class warfare

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Taki A New York . Alfred Taubman, or Big Al, as his buddies call him, is among the very few very rich men who also happen to be very, very nice, Big Al, former chairman of...

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Missing: eccentrics

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Petronella Wyatt A bright old thing called Lady Dorothy Heber Percy died last week. The Daily Telegraph ran her obituary. Born in 1912, Lady Dorothy, known to her friends as...

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Brave new world in Cheshire

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Catherine Coley IF you happen to have made a large pile of cash. and, like a 19th-century industrialist, want to set yourself up in style by creating a vast country house in a...

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Sour smell of success

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Simon Barnes IT seems now like a dispatch from the Dark Ages of sport, but in fact it was only six years ago that Will Carling, the England rugby union captain, was a fag-paper...

Q. My husband has become very curmudgeonly in his late

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middle age. I still go out, but he usually says he can't face coming out to dinner, and behaves grumpily if I have people to dinner at home, Since I have my own money, I have...

Q. I live opposite a well-known media personality. Several times

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a week, when I am in my kitchen, I see her having a shower in her bathroom, which appears to be without curtains. Since her window is only a few feet away from mine, directly...

Q. I have begun a relationship with a man who

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is very well known in certain sectors of society. We want to go away together for a short holiday but, at this stage, want to keep our relationship private without too many...