25 MARCH 2006

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Big Brother would be proud

The Spectator

I n Nineteen Eighty-Four , when the Party said ‘peace’ it meant ‘war’, and when it said ‘freedom’ it meant ‘slavery’. Listening to Gordon Brown’s tenth and...

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I t’s been a quite a week for mistaken identity. It

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began with my partner sounding very excited on the telephone. ‘At last a chance to make some money,’ she said. ‘The Independent has a story about dodgy dealings by...

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It was bitter, brutal politics: a Budget that launched the election

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I n the last month Gordon Brown has made two personal gestures to David Cameron. The first was to send flowers to congratulate the Conservative leader on the birth of his son,...

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‘T here is such a thing as society — but it’s

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not the same as the state’ is the best of the David Cameron soundbites. The row about the funding of political parties offered the Tories an opportunity to put this belief...

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MONDAY Panic and frenzy. Nigel is calling it Dave v. Goliath. Sebastian says if the first draft of Dave’s budget response is anything to go by it will be more like the...

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The Labour sleaze scandal has only one victor: Saint Gordon

The Spectator

Budget week was a presentational triumph for the Chancellor, says Peter Oborne . Blair is mired in the ermine-for-loans scandal and Cameron has spectacularly failed to rise to...

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An unpickable knot in Brown’s tortured being

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Martin Vander Weyer says that this Budget did not resolve the fundamental conflicts in the Chancellor’s approach to business I have never met a red-blooded businessperson who...

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Either Gordon goes, or I do

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Christopher Fildes says that the Chancellor has done nothing to solve the problems he has created, and will regret his stubborn refusal to try another Cabinet job O h, please,...

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Someone tell me — what is the Home Office for?

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Rod Liddle says that the case of Mary Ann Leneghan is just the latest instance of a disastrous collapse in the criminal justice system Y ou may, by now, be losing track. The...

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My dinner with the Da Vinci Code duo

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Matthew d’Ancona recalls a very odd meeting with the two men who have dared to take Dan Brown to court — and their spooky theory about the European Community M uch the...

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The Palestinians’ real problem is the aid we send

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As Israel goes to the polls, Irwin Stelzer says that we should have learnt the lessons of Africa: unconditional aid destroys economic growth and infantilises its recipients M...

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In unhistoric acts does true history lie

The Spectator

Frances Osborne says that the death of a dictator and a terrorist atrocity do not speak as powerfully to the human heart as a single image L ast week my four-year-old son...

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Peter Mandelson’s plan for ‘my member states’

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The EU trade commissioner tells David Rennie that life in Brussels is more fun than a Cabinet job and broods on his possible fate under Prime Minister Cameron Brussels A lmost...

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Mr Duncan will not speculate on whether Mr Mandelson would

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receive formal endorsement from a Conservative government. But he says, ‘His commitment is to fair trade. I wouldn’t say there is any great clamour among Conservatives to...

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A quarter hour in the Alpine heavens that lived up to my dreams

The Spectator

A ll my life I have wanted to fly. Fly, not be flown. I’ve been flown in aeroplanes since boyhood but that isn’t flying, any more than travelling in a ship is swimming....

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The neocons’ Iraqi ‘vision’

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From Correlli Barnett Sir: Surely Con Coughlin (‘A bittersweet birthday’, 18 March) is in error when he states that it was only after the fall of Saddam that Washington...

The joys of democracy

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From William Shawcross Sir: Rod Liddle may blithely assert that ‘of course, for the vast majority of Iraqis life was much better’ under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein...

Undercover reporter

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From Lindsey Hilsum Sir: No, I was not just having a bad hair week. Charles Moore asks (The Spectator’s Notes, 18 March) why I wore a headscarf while reporting from Tehran...

No time to buy time

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From Nick Hurd MP Sir: Lord Lawson (‘Climate of superstition’, 11 March) tells us that the threat from climate change is ‘less certain and less urgent that is commonly...

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Mind your language

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My husband lives almost entirely in the past, generally finding it a more agreeable place to make his habitation as, often, do we. To sustain him, the television has recently...

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‘Anathema’ of Lib Dems

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From Cllr Ron Forrest Sir: Kenneth Clarke’s belief (‘We must turn to the Liberals’, 18 March) that the Tories should prepare for coalition with the Liberal Democrats will...

Doing well without the EU

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From Douglas Carswell MP Sir: David Rennie supposes that Britain has had to ‘sign away great slices of national sovereignty in the hope of prising open other nations’...

Height of majesty

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From Pamela Hill Sir: I wonder where Paul Johnson got his measurements for Mary Queen of Scots of only 5ft 10in (And another thing, 18 March)? She may possibly have lost height...

Memories of Morley

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From Richard Hills Sir: I think it worth pointing out that Michael Tippett was carrying on a tradition of enterprise and innovation begun by Gustav Holst on his appointment as...

Strings attached

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From Michael Henderson Sir: Perhaps your guest pop critic (‘Dark Side of the Hoon’, 18 March) should return to those red boxes. Phil Manzanera is not, nor has ever been, a...

Absence of laughter

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From John McDermott Sir: Even scarier than the Virgin Birth, Resurrection, Ascension and all that stuff is the lack of evidence that Jesus (Books, 11 March) ever laughed. John...

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Don’t put your daughter on the train, Mrs Worthington

The Spectator

T his month I spent a weekend in Bruges, travelling most of the way by Eurostar, which for this kind of trip easily beats air travel for speed and is, of course, incomparably...

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A good book and

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the Good Book Philip Hensher T HE S ELFISH G ENE (A NNIVERSARY E DITION ) by Richard Dawkins OUP, £14.99, pp. 360 ISBN 0199291144 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

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Not a pig or a punch in sight

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Clive Aslet R ETURN TO A KENFIELD by Craig Taylor Granta, £14.99, pp. 228, ISBN 1862078874 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen Ronald Blyth’s Akenfield was...

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The horrors of the Upper East Side

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D. J. Taylor T HE G OOD L IFE by Jay McInerney Bloomsbury, £17.99, pp. 354, ISBN 0747580901 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 L ooking back at the reviews of his...

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Bright light at the end of the tunnel

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Lee Langley L IFE , E ND O F by Christine Brooke-Rose Carcanet, £12.95, pp. 119, ISBN 1857548469 ✆ £10.36 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE C HRISTINE B ROOKE -R OSE O...

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The Goddams and the snail-eaters

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Judith Flanders T HAT S WEET E NEMY by Robert and Isabelle Tombs Heinemann, £25, pp. 624, ISBN 0434008672 A French journalist writing in 1999 was succinct: ‘The English hate...

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A quiet revolution in the studios

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Olivia Glazebrook T HE S UNDANCE K IDS : H OW THE M AVERICKS T OOK B ACK H OLLYWOOD by James Mottram Faber, £16.99, pp. 480, ISBN 0571222676 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870...

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Sages of the world, unite!

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Jonathan Sumption T HE G REAT T RANSFORMATION : T HE W ORLD IN THE T IME OF B UDDHA , S OCRATES , C ONFUCIUS AND J EREMIAH by Karen Armstrong Atlantic Books, £19.99, pp. 444,...

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Warning: visibility poor

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Byron Rogers MENCKEN: T HE A MERICAN I CONOCLAST by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers OUP, £19.99, pp. 672, ISBN 0195072383 ✆ £15.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I once received...

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Abodes of misery and despair

The Spectator

Peter J. M. Wayne NEWGATE: L ONDON ’ S P ROTOTYPE OF H ELL by Stephen Halliday Sutton Publishing, £20, pp. 234, ISBN 0750938951 T ucked away behind the concrete fretwork of...

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In the end the ayes have it

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier R UDYARD K IPLING : T HE C OMPLETE P OEMS with a foreword by M. M. Kaye Kyle Cathie, £12.99, pp. 702, ISBN 1856266699 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

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Dirty linen washed in public

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Brian Masters S TATELY P ASSIONS : T HE S CANDALS OF B RITAIN ’ S G REAT H OUSES by Jamie Douglas-Home Michael O’Mara, £20, pp. 264, ISBN 1843171546 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45...

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Posh versus popular

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Christopher Woodward C ANDIDATES FOR F AME by Matthew Hargreaves Yale, £40, pp. 244, ISBN 0300110049 ✆ £32 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O n 12 November 1759 London’s...

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And so the years passed . . .

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Sara Wheeler expresses the frustrations and joys of tackling a biographical subject without any material ‘B iographies,’ wrote John Updike, ‘are just novels with...

Sleeping with the Alphabet

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You glorious twenty-six, not equal In purport, short straws of words, Come with me to the night-time squall, My hurricane of verbs. My chiefest pegs to hang fear on — Don’t...

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Had a rough night?

The Spectator

Josie Appleton deplores the use of advertising gimmicks to promote museums and galleries I t took me a few seconds to realise that the two adverts on Holborn Tube station were...

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Bath time

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Andrew Lambirth Sickert’s Bath Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Bath, until 2 April Paula Rego: Prints (Part Two) Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Bath, until 4 May...

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Perfect balance

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Giannandrea Poesio Cinderella; Triple Bill Scottish Ballet S ce 1945, Prokofiev’s music for the in ballet Cinderella has seduced many dance-makers. Not surprisingly, for the...

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An ideal woman

The Spectator

Olivia Glazebrook Transamerica 15, selected cinemas I n the movies, when men dress as women, they never behave like women in the real world. They become terribly prim and...

Painful listening

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Robin Holloway B ack yet again in the dentist’s chair last week, where time compresses, yet elongates, into infinite present as if there were no events or memories in-between...

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Business proposition

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Resurrection Blues Old Vic The Leningrad Siege Wilton’s Music Hall Period of Adjustment Almeida R esurrection Blues is one of the silliest things ever written by...

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House proud

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Michael Vestey S ce I first became aware of it, I’ve in always loved Broadcasting House in Portland Place. The first time I started work there I had to sit in a café down...

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Noel appeal

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Simon Hoggart D eal or No Deal (Channel 4, weekday afternoons and Saturday) is the quintessence of television, in that it is remarkably boring, mildly hypnotic, and stars Noel...

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Quail order

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Simon Courtauld I wonder whether the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, will eat quail again after the shooting incident in south Texas last month, when he ignored the most basic...

Profit and loss

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Robin Oakley D ean Close, the old sourpuss, declared of Cheltenham Races in 1827: ‘It is scarcely possible to turn our steps in any direction without hearing the voice of the...

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Perfect peace

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Taki Gstaad T he end of another perfect season where skiing is concerned. Wonderful powder snow, beautiful sunshine, plunging temperatures at night and empty slopes once the...

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Out of it

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Jeremy Clarke I think I’ve got that Seasonal Affective Syndrome business, or SAD, otherwise known as Winter Blues. The symptoms, says my medical encyclopedia, are despair,...

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On the bridge

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James Delingpole Captain J.R. Gower joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1926 and served for 36 years, ending up as captain of the boys’ training academy HMS Ganges. He served...

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The Spectator

FRANK KEATING A nthem is as anthem does. What with the rugby internationals last weekend and the ongoing Commonwealth Games, a mad medley of various national anthems has been...

Q. The most recent dog to arrive uninvited at our

The Spectator

house, a little terrier, happened to behave impeccably, but in the past I have opened the doors to a variety of hounds from hell who have climbed on furniture, left messes and...

Q. One Saturday, a fellow pupil of my daughter’s was

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taken home for the weekend by a helicopter which landed on the school’s playing fields. Totally unfazed by this unusual transport, the girl explained that Mummy had taken the...

Q. But why does A.C. of W8 (18 February) ever

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answer the door of her (comparatively) grand house in Kensington? It is safe to say that in most Western capitals anyone who, unannounced and unwelcome, knocks on your door or...