25 AUGUST 2001

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M embers of the Conservative party began the postal election of

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a new leader; Mr lain Duncan Smith gained the support of the former leaders Lady Thatcher and Mr William Hague, and Mr Kenneth Clarke's was backed by Mr John Major. Mr Clarke...

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H aving provoked two episodes of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, first of the Albanians and then of the Serbs, without having thereby brought about any lasting settlement of the...

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Somewhere in North Wales, in the rain, feeling totally depressed, want to go home, now, if not sooner, or last week, before we even came I don't think it matters exactly where...

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New laid-back Labour goes on holiday while the Tories tear themselves apart

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PETER ()BORNE T his has been the quietest August anyone in Downing Street can remember. The first few summers of the Blair premiership were all filled with vigorous, though...

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The rhythm of the drum was satanic; the crowd danced higher as the fire rained down

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MATTHEW PARRIS I n Catalan the word esquirol means 'squirrel', but it also means 'blackleg' or 'scab'. Why, I do not know — any more than I know why those words in English are...

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John Major attacks the Eurosceptic far Right, and says that if the Tories are to win power again they must elect Kenneth Clarke AS THE CONTEST to lead the Conservative party...

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As the UN prepares to debate race and slavety, Andrew Kenny reflects on African obscurantism and European enlightenment Cape Town THE highest concerns of the South African...

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Who are they calling neo-Nazi?

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MANY government delegations to the Durban Conference are engaged in an unseemly scramble to be accredited with 'official victim' status. Arab states want Zionism equated with...

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David Lovibond spends £35 a month on a hairdresser: it's the price of a midlife urge to find true romance THERE is a recently deceased character in A14 , McBeal who, in a...

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Mark Steyn says that the liberal media see a plot in the President's choice of sweltering holiday venue New Hampshire ACCORDING to his tanned spokesman, George W. Bush will cut...

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Ancient & modern

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THE Pope has been asked to apologise officially on behalf of the thousands of male castrati that the Church created (evidently as late as the 1950s) for use in its choirs. One...

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The thunderstorms were great, and so was the donkey. Andrew Gimson on the joys of camping THE reasons for not going on a camping holiday in August in the south of France...

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Mind your language

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LORD! None of us are (recte 'is') safe! Those who live by pedantry must perhaps expect to perish by pedantry. Of the phrase where it's at, Mike Morrison writes (Letters, 18...


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Neil Clark says Left and Right should unite in a patriotic crusade against the liberals who rejoice in their nation's failures FOOT-and-mouth, Big Brother, inner-city riots —...

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In the English countryside the Kingdom of Heaven can still exist

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PAUL JOHNSON F or the best part of a month I have sunk deeper and deeper into the total peace of the Somerset countryside. For days on end I scarcely hear a human voice. Yet...

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Churchill and Europe

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From Professor Vernon Bogdanor Sir: Andrew Roberts says (Letters, 18 August) that Churchill was a Eurosceptic who 'did not envisage Britain joining the United Europe of which he...

From Mr John Crookshank Sir: Winston Churchill spoke about a

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United Europe much earlier than 1946, as Andrew Roberts writes, and with his typical fervour and convictions. On 21 March 1943, in a BBC broadcast, he said, 'I believe myself to...

From Sir Anthony Montague Browne KCMG, CBE, DFC Sir: I

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was private secretary to Winston Churchill from 1952 until his death in 1965, seconded from the Foreign Office. During this period his discussion and his speeches on United...

From Mr David Irving Sir: Among other complaints, your reviewer

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Professor Bogdanor writes (Books, 11 August) that my second volume of Churchill's War seeks to portray Churchill as 'a coward'. I sometimes wonder if reviewers actually read the...

From Mr Gregor Dallas Sir: Andrew Roberts proposes a dubious

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piece of architecture. He quotes Winston Churchill's well-known plan of 1947 for a 'Temple of Peace', resting on four pillars: the USA, the Soviet Union, the British empire and...

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Unfair to Tennessee

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From Mr James Hogan Sir: Frederick Raphael's review of the Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams, Volume I (Books, 11 August) is a crude exercise in character assassination...

Constitutional problems

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From Dr Stephen Cretney, QC Sir: Peter Oborne (`The next royal wedding'. 18 August) suggests that the Prince of Wales could opt for a civil wedding. But in fact the legislation...

From Mr Robert Davies Sir: Peter Oborne does not address

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the two real issues: 1) Is the constitutional monarchy worth preserving? and 2) Would it be endangered by a king married to Mrs Parker Bowles (whether queen or not)? The answer...

School politics

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From Mr Stephen Miller Sir: Two days into the new school term and I am in despair. My 14-year-old daughter was reading out a critical essay on a poem about a pigeon to the rest...

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Twilight robbery

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From Mr R.S. Squires Sir: I found `Middle-class welfare scroungers' (14 July) by Ross Clark extremely insulting and derogatory. In good faith I supplied him with full details of...

Powers of the ICC

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From Mr Graham Stewart Sir: Chris Harmer (Letters, 18 August) accuses me of 'misrepresenting' the powers of the permanent International Criminal Court in my article 'Above the...

Anti-Market forces

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From Mr Roger Broad Sir: Frederick Forsyth (Politics, 18 August) is wildly inaccurate in supposing that the June 1975 referendum on remaining in the European Community 'closed...


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From Mr Raymond P. Kalman Sir: Mr W.F. Deedes, a former chairman of the parliamentary select committee on race relations and immigration, is sadly mistaken if he believes that...

Whites in the red

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From Mr Nicholas Field Sir: It is dispiriting to see The Spectator guilty of making the same generalisations that it so roundly condemns in others, particularly in an otherwise...

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United Conservers need a chief executive and have to ask the shareholders

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES T hese are dire days at Blue Water House, head office of that long-established British company, United Conservers. The results were disastrous, the prospect...

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Brothers under the skin

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Jane Ridley NAPOLEON AND WELLINGTON by Andrew Roberts Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 350, ISBN 0297646079 T he sheer energy of Andrew Roberts is enough to make lesser historians weep. In...

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The two-edged razor of reason

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Caroline Moorehead THE SELECTED LETTERS OF BERTRAND RUSSELL: THE PUBLIC YEARS, 1914-1970 edited by Nicholas Griffin Routledge, 125. pp. 704 ISBN 0415249988 W hen the actress...

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When the worst is bound to happen

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Sandra Howard A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS BOOK ONE : THE BAD BEGINNING BOOK TWO: THE REPTILE ROOM by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist Egmont Children's Books,...

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A wickedly good read

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Beryl Bainbridge LA-BAS by J. K. Huysmans Dedalus Books, f7.95, pp. 287 ISBN 0486228371 T he French novelist J. K. Huysmans, born in 1848, is perhaps best known for Against...

Squeezing the sponge of memory

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Miranda Seymour A SMALL BOY AND OTHERS by Henry James Gibson Square Books, £9.99, pp. 224 ISBN 1903933005 W illiam James died in 1910. Henry, visiting his widowed...

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Kimberley comes a cropper

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Hugh Massingberd THE WHIM OF THE WHEEL by the Earl of Kimberley Merton Priory Press, £20, pp. 204 ISBN 1898937451 I was alerted to the publication of this book by a fellow...

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A month in the city

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Peter Porter 30 DAYS IN SYDNEY by Peter Carey Blooms/Nay, £9.99, pp. 160 ISBN 0747555001 L ove or hate Sydney; love and hate Sydney: love to hate Sydney — most Australians fit...

The Voices of Morebath

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REFORMATION AND REBELLION IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE Eamon Duffy In the fifty years between 1530 and 1580, England moved from being one of the most lavishly Catholic countries in...

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A triple alliance

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John de Falbe THE BROTHERS CARBURI by Petrie Harbouri Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 311 ISBN 0747553424 T his unusual book tells the story of three brothers, born in the 18th...

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Edinburgh's musical thrills

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Michael Tanner is exhilarated by what is on offer during the first week of the festival T he Edinburgh International Festival began this year exhilaratingly and tantalisingly...

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Roland Penrose (The Dean Gallery. Edinburgh, till 9 Sept) Lee

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Miller (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. till 9 Sept) A recipe for Surrealism Martin Gayford I n John Buchan's novel The Island of Sheep, one of the minor...

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Uneasy laughter

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Renat a Rubnikowicz T echnology took over the Fringe this year, as everybody who was anybody brought video into the act. Prime movers were Ross and Noble (Pleasance), whose...

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Spectator Reader Offer — A weekend of Serious Pleasures in Compiegne

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A magnificent weekend of mixed musical and gastronomic delights — 19-22 October 2001 Compiegne, 45 miles north of Paris on a direct train line to Gard du Nord is a magnificent...

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White Oak Dance Project (Playhouse, Edinburgh)

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San Francisco Ballet (Royal Opera House) Acclaimed creations thannandrea Pomo T hose who think that the experimental, iconoclastic, 'anti-everything' dance created in the...

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Quixotic endeavours

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Robin Holloway C harity or polity advise a sage silence on this year's new commissions so far at the Proms. But though it's disagreeable to deplore rather than praise, let's...

Josie and the Pussycats (PG, selected cinemas)

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The wrong tune Mark Steyn I f you don't remember Josie and the Pussycats, relax: there isn't anything to remember. In the Seventies, they had their own comic book and their...

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States of emergency

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Michael Vestey G reat events are rarely dull in the retelling, and the story of the attempted coup in the Soviet Union in August 1991 produced some absorbing radio in The...

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Memory challenge

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Simon Hoggart L Ike a snake, television is eating itself from the tail up, gobbling faster and faster. We now have a nostalgia programme which looks back at the 1990s, ending...

Loyalty rewarded

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Robin Oakley E ver had a gypsy offer to tarmacadam your drive for a bargain price that suddenly quintuples when the job is done? In the racing world, it seems, it is a fairly...

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Ruling the waves

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Taki A Cowes 2.5-knot wind, a 92ft Frers-designed black beauty, and a crew unequalled in talent, experience and strength, and what do you get? Easy. A sailer that planes like...

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Flight friction

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Jeremy Clarke W e've just been on one of those allinclusive, lie-by-the-pool-and-drink-as muchas-you-can-in-a-week-type holidays in the Dominican Republic. Which is just as well...

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by Robert Hardman CHANCING upon a gem of a restaurant always produces a certain thrill. I imagine that metal-detecting enthusiasts derive a similar buzz when the machine goes...

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The new Tuscanys

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Catherine Coley FOR all those Arcadians who imagined spending summers in an elderly Tuscan farmhouse surrounded by streams and olive groves, some bad news. Tuscany is running...

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Atherton out?

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Simon Barnes ENGLISH cricket's little boy is about to take his finger from the dyke. After a career of holding back the waters of destruction, it looks very much as if Michael...

Q. Problem: how to give money without causing offence to

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a poor, proud, but intellectually combative person? Solution: Deliver yourself of a flawed but challenging assertion like: big rivers in France are masculine so, le fleuve, le...

Q. I am preparing a translation into French of Sir

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Hubert Parry's majestic coronation anthem 'I Was Glad', so that my local choristers can sing it before Holy Mass on Sundays during term-time. The translation itself seems...

Q. I am 48 years old. I am nearly six

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foot and weigh about ten stone, and have done for 25 years. I do not diet and my husband is happy with my bones. My problem is that when I go out people often comment with...

Q. I share a large house in Islington with three

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friends, and, as most of us are very busy, we are not keeping up to date with our cleaning duties. The obvious solution is to hire a cleaner, but when I raised the issue at a...