26 MARCH 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK P rivate Johnson Beharry, 25, was awarded

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the Victoria Cross for valour on 1 May 2004 during an incident in Iraq. The government admitted that Camilla Parker Bowles would become Queen if she was married to the Prince of...

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Red alert on Brown

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I t is an iron rule of politics that the more ecstatic the immediate reviews of a Budget, the more disastrous it is likely to prove for the country over the long term. Last...

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W e have just moved back into the house I grew

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up in. It’s at Sissinghurst in Kent and my father lived there until his death last September, or at least in one part of it. The whole house and garden belongs to the National...

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At all levels of the Labour party, Gordon Brown is taking over

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T he signs of an imminent general election now abound. The government has started to churn out announcements as it clears the decks before Parliament rises. The most vicious of...

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T he Passion narrative, read in all churches this week, reminds

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one of exactly why Jesus was put to death. In Matthew’s account, it is based on the evidence of two false witnesses. They accuse Jesus of saying ‘I am able to destroy the...

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Church of martyrs

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Anthony Browne says that more than 300 million Christians are either threatened with violence or legally discriminated against because of their faith F or most citizens of Iraq,...

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Labour’s stolen votes

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Rod Liddle reports on widespread corruption in the system of postal ballots Birmingham A t one o’clock in the morning of 9 June last year, two days before the local council...

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What it means to be Jewish

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The fact that I am Jewish has always mystified me. It bears no relation to anything else in my life — not to the way I was brought up, not to religion since I am agnostic, nor...

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What makes a hero?

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Harry Mount asks George MacDonald Fraser whether Flashman is a coward as well as a cad ‘F lashman’s just a monster,’ says George MacDonald Fraser. ‘He’s extremely...

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Abortion humbug

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Stuart Reid says that reducing the time limit on abortion to 20 weeks will make termination more, not less, respectable A ll you need for an abortion, apart from a live foetus,...

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Smarter than the Italians

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Petronella Wyatt examines the new and convincing evidence that Britain is a more cultured place than Italy — and France A sk any European what he or she associates with the...

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THEODORE DALRYMPLE Medical students arrive for my tuition, fresh-faced and innocent, all eager for the treat. For the most part, they are still of conspicuously middle-class...

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Socialist engineering

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Simon Heffer on the arrogance and cruelty of Gordon Brown as he goes about his self-appointed task of destroying the English middle classes W e have yet to be given a thorough...

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Mind your language

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What is the difference between a cad and a bounder ? It depends on your dictionary. ‘A man who behaves dishonourably, especially towards women,’ says the New Oxford...

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Mr Blair’s celebrity status was once an asset to New Labour. Now it is a danger

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M iss Charlotte Church at last has a boyfriend of whom her mother approves. But perhaps I should answer the average High Court judge’s question: ‘Who is Miss Charlotte...

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Oh to be caught ’twixt love and duty at the world’s biggest boondoggle

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P aul Wolfowitz may have to choose between Shaha Ali Riza’s affections and his sense of duty. She is a gender specialist employed by the World Bank as an acting manager for...

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No such luck as Death of an Outsourcing Salesman

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‘H ello.’ ‘Am I addressing the esteemed Mrs Johnson?’ ‘No. You are manifestly not addressing her.’ ‘No problem. My schedule say your number is Mrs Johnson, recent...

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Rumours of death somewhat exaggerated

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Robert Salisbury T HE S TRANGE D EATH OF T ORY ENGLAND by Geoffrey Wheatcroft Penguin/Allen Lane, £20, pp. 317, ISBN 0713998016 G eoffrey Wheatcroft is rarely dull in print...

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Through a glass darkly

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Sebastian Smee T HE O PTIMISTS by Andrew Miller Sceptre, £16.99, pp. 313, ISBN 034082512X ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T he subject of Andrew Miller’s latest...

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Chekhov in the home counties

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Salley Vickers T HEY W ERE S ISTERS by Dorothy Whipple Persephone, £12, pp. 455 ISBN 1903155460 D orothy Whipple was once a highly regarded bestselling novelist and it is...

A season in Hell

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Hugh Cecil M ASSACRE OF THE I NNOCENTS : T HE C ROFTON D IARIES , Y PRES , 1914-1915 edited by Gavin Roynon, with a foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert Sutton, £19.99, pp. 286,...

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Jazzing up the Psalms

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Digby Anderson REVELATIONS introduced by Richard Holloway Canongate, £10, pp. 404, ISBN 1841955086 N ew editions and commentaries on the Bible are generally to be welcomed as...

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Showman and philosopher

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Rupert Christiansen P ETER B ROOK by Michael Kustow Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 352, ISBN 0747576467 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W hen I interviewed Peter Brook a couple...

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Hunting the French fox

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Patrick Skene Catling A N A CT OF COURAGE by Allan Mallinson Bantam, £16.99, pp. 366, ISBN 0593053400 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 W hich of the acts of courage...

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Royal taste in reading

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Nicolas Barker T HE B OOKS OF H ENRY VIII AND H IS W IVES by James P. Carley British Library, £20, pp. 161, ISBN 0712347917 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 H enry...

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Sunset over the Boulevard

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Philip French T HE M EMORY OF A LL T HAT by Betsy Blair Elliott & Thompson, £15.99, pp. 320, ISBN 190402730X ✆ £13.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 B etsy Blair was born...

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A monumental mediaeval muddle

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C. J. Tyerman T HE H OLLOW C ROWN : A H ISTORY OF B RITAIN IN THE L ATE M IDDLE A GES by Miri Rubin Allen Lane, £25, pp. 380, ISBN 071399066 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870...

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An ele g y

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for Yugoslavia Victor Sebestyen C HERNOBYL S TRAWBERRIES : A M EMOIR by Vesna Goldsworthy Atlantic Books, £14.99, pp. 290, ISBN 1843544148 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870...

The not so beautiful game

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Lloyd Evans T HOSE F EET : A S ENSUAL H ISTORY OF FOOTBALL by David Winner Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 274, ISBN 0747547386 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 S ame...

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The lower slopes of the magic mountain

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Jonathan Keates A N EW H ISTORY OF G ERMAN LITERATURE editor in chief David E. Wellbery The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, £29.95, pp. 1056, ISBN 0674015037 T he...

The King’s detective

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Alan Judd M: MI5’ S F IRST S PYMASTER by Andrew Cook Tempus, £20, pp. 287, ISBN 0752428969 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I n 1850 when William Melville was born...

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Going to the good

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Alexander Masters A NOTHER B ULLSHIT N IGHT IN S UCK C ITY by Nick Flynn Faber, £7.99, pp. 347, ISBN 0571214088 J onathan Flynn is a lying, cheating, incompetent,...

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Victory over death

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Richard Harries reflects on how Christ’s crucifixion has been depicted over the ages T he first depiction of Jesus on the cross, on a small ivory panel in the British Museum...

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Secret revealed

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Andrew Lambirth Dennis Creffield: A Retrospective Flowers East, 82 Kingsland Road, E2, until 3 April Nine Abstract Artists — Revisited Osborne Samuel, 23a Bruton Street, 1+1,...

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A hunter’s eye for nature

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John McEwen The Art of ‘BB’ Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, until 8 May F or pure delight you must away to Northampton and see this admirable celebration of the...

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Dazzling delight

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Giannandrea Poesio Phoenix Dance Theatre Sadler’s Wells Theatre Royal Ballet Royal Opera House L ugubrious pessimists who despair about the state of contemporary dance in the...

Labyrinthine complexities

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Michael Tanner English Touring Opera Cos!; Mary Queen of Scots F or its spring season, English Touring Opera has chosen an ambitious pair of operas, Mozart’s Cos! fan tutte...

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Stifled desire

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Lloyd Evans The House of Bernarda Alba Lyttelton Wilde Tales Southwark Playhouse Poor Beck Soho W hat a gorgeous place to live. That’s your first reaction to The House of...

Label to love

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Robin Holloway E very music-lover loves Hyperion Records; our debt to this company is difficult to quantify or to overestimate. From its pioneering days in the Eighties right...

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Morally detached

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Mark Steyn Maria Full of Grace 15, selected cinemas T he publicity poster for Maria Full of Grace shows the face of the eponymous Maria looking up at a hand that’s proffering...

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Return of the Daleks

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James Delingpole D octor Who is back (BBC1, Saturday) as a TV series for the first time in 16 years and I’m not sure which aspect of his latest incarnation, as written by...

High living

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Michael Vestey O ccasionally, one stumbles across something delightfully quirky on Radio Four that one knows would never be aired anywhere else; such was the case with The...

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Let them eat hake

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Simon Courtauld W hy, I wonder, is a fish revered in one European country yet largely ignored in the others? As a fish of the Atlantic, and other cold waters, hake is little...

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Broke and desperate

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Taki Gstaad T he murder of Edouard Stern, widely reported in the European press but less so in Britain — after all, what’s the loss of a ruthless banker or two? — has...

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Winning look

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Jeremy Clarke S haron’s got a dog. It’s a basenji, an African hunting dog descended directly from the jackal and domesticated by the pygmies of the Ituri forest in the...

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W hen I compiled this month’s offer — from the estimable

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Simon Wrightson, who conducts his business from a gorgeous manor house in North Yorkshire — I was slightly surprised to discover that we had an entirely French selection. This...

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Days of wine and oysters

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FRANK KEATING W hat with the frenzied finales of Six Nations rugby, Cheltenham’s four days’ hooley, and my own ruddy all-day asthma, I had to miss John Jackson’s 70th...

Q. I am 43. I am starting to develop terrible

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furrows on my forehead. I do not wish to go under the knife nor do I wish to have any more Botox because I do not like the ‘Botox delay’ effect. What do you recommend,...

Q. I have been brought up to write thankyou letters,

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but I feel increasingly out on a limb as so very few of my contemporaries ever seem to bother. In the circumstances, do you think it is priggish of me to continue sending out...

Q. My friend E’s son is about to have what

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she calls an ‘illegitimate’ baby — her son is not married to the mother of this child. Her problem is how to introduce this woman without using the word ‘partner’,...