26 NOVEMBER 2005

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Produce the memo

The Spectator

A front-page exclusive in the Daily Mirror is normally something to be treated with great scepticism. Until, that is, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, offers his full stamp...

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK D owning Street let it be known

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that Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, was sympathetic to plans to build new nuclear power stations; but then government ministers announced he had not made up his mind after...

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A n actor’s life is either feast or famine. For 90

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per cent of us too often it’s famine, as our thespian business is vastly overpopulated and competition is fierce. In the past months I’ve had more than five jobs, including...

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Now Cameron is positioning himself as the heir to George W. Bush

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A t the heart of David Cameron’s project for the Tory party is admiration for Tony Blair: his techniques, style, language and personality cult. This reverence for the Prime...

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I t is generally agreed that David Cameron, this magazine’s candidate

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for the Conservative leadership, did a good job against Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight last week. His skill was to bring out something which is more and more striking about national...

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Brussels bites back

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Anthony Browne reports on the EU’s unabated lust for control of national policies, from law and order to universities, from biotechnology to tax Brussels I t was perhaps...

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Sometimes women share the blame

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Rape is wrong, says Rod Liddle , but it is right to believe — as 30 per cent of British people do — that some victims are partly responsible T here was a clever little...

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I back Black

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Mark Steyn says that Conrad Black will beat the rap — provided he gets a fair trial I n the Independent this week, Sir Peregrine Worsthorne was teetering on the brink of his...

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The American way of torture

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Alasdair Palmer on how the White House is trying to defeat Senator McCain’s anti-torture Bill A merica is starting to get anxious again about its use of ‘aggressive...

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Mind your language

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My husband had become cocooned in bedclothes to my chilly disadvantage last week during that cold snap. So I went in search of something warm to drink and turned on the World...

The unspeakable in pursuit of the unspeakable

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Lloyd Evans goes out with the hunt sabs and gets a terrible fright when he meets the hunt followers N othing much has changed. That’s the current wisdom on the ban. If...

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Asbo-lutely mad

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Trevor Grove on the risks of enforcing Asbos with jail sentences O ne way to imprison a suspected terrorist for 90 days or even longer, without any bother from Parliament,...

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Meet the Brownies

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Paul Routledge on the likely shape and colour of Gordon Brown’s government O ne afternoon in the late summer of 1997, I was called to the Treasury for an audience with Gordon...

Page 19

Don’t let the UN run the internet

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Martin Vander Weyer says that attempts to impose international control of the internet are inspired by anti-Americanism T he laptop on which I’m working tells me that it has...

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What goes up but won’t come raining down?

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The price of gold, and gold ingots New York N o helicopters are flying in the cold clear skies above Liberty Street, home of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, from which I...

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Take a tip from the shrieking barnacle-geese

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I t’s hard to shake off a guilty feeling that this is cheating. I’m about to tell you about my five sublime days in the Western Isles in late November about to recommend...

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Poor countries need tariffs

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From Paul Collins Sir: Contrary to your leading article (‘Full marks to Blair’, 19 November), ActionAid is absolutely correct to challenge Tony Blair’s commitment to...

To encourage the others

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From E. Derek Smith Sir: Bruce Anderson (‘Conduct unbecoming’, 19 November) might be interested to know that about ten years ago History Today magazine published a detailed...

Eirenic Islam

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From John Goodman Sir: I imagine many people, when confronted by the choice of Tory v . Labour, run into the same emotional conflict as I do. We have a basic and practical...

Why communism collapsed

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From Oleg Gordievsky Sir: Peregrine Worsthorne (Books, 19 November) claims that, ideologically, there were reduced dangers from post-Stalinist communism, ‘Yet under Reagan...

Lichfield lives on

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From Michael Moszynski Sir: Your readers may have wondered about the bizarre timing that, on the day that Patrick Lichfield died, The Spectator hit their doormats with a...

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Our improving railways

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From Adrian Lyons, CBE Sir: It is rather sad that the only journalism which Andrew Gilligan believes has any validity is that which is remorselessly negative (‘The silence of...

Dave and the dinosaurs

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From Sheila Donaldson Sir: I thought the whole essence of David Cameron’s leadership campaign was the idea of change. If, as Peter Oborne suggests (Politics, 19 November), he...

Big Bang is a fact

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From James O’Dwyer Sir: Paul Johnson (‘And another thing, 12 November) betrays a certain naivety in his understanding of theoretical physics and the scientific method. He...

No such Council

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From Paul Johnson Sir: In criticising my theology (‘Letters, 19 November) Michael Dummett cites as his authority ‘the Council of Constantinople of AD 543’. There were in...

Nicotine lovers

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From Jim Dunne Sir: I agree with the general thrust of Guy Adams’s argument (‘Bullying for charity’, 12 November) but he is wrong about smoking in pubs. The Republic of...

Waugh’s PC Christmas

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From Matthew Leeming Sir: ‘The Spectator’s Notes’ (12 November) finds a fictional parallel in Narnia to the suppression of the custom of Christmas under the Blair terror....

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Is the former ambassador a shit, a cad or a rat?

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T he bad behaviour of Sir Christopher Meyer, former ambassador in Washington, raises interesting questions of nomenclature. Should he be called a shit, a cad or a rat? I rather...

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Books of the Year

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A further selection of the best and worst books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors Robert Salisbury It is difficult to look beyond three biographies this...

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Recent gardening books

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Mary Keen T wenty years ago, gardening books never made it to the coffee table. The reader had to supply the glamorous illustrations. It was a bit like the difference between...

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Three star cooks

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Elfreda Pownall J AMIE ’ S I TALY by Jamie Oliver Penguin, £20, pp. 336, ISBN 0718147707 V £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ARABESQUE by Claudia Roden Penguin/Michael...

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Recent crime novels

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Harriet Waugh T he Stranger House by Reginald Hill (HarperCollins, £12.99) is not a Dalziel and Pascoe detective novel but a highly enjoyable gothic confection. Two strangers...

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Curiosity killed the cat

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Bevis Hillier S ome stocking-filler books are funny, or meant to be: those I shall cover at a later date. This week, I have been looking at an allied, but different group which...

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Two sorts of ending up

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Raymond Carr B LIND R IDER by Juan Goytisolo Serpent’s Tail, £8.99, pp. 112, ISBN 1852428635 ✆ £7.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 M EMORIES OF M Y M ELANCHOLY W HORES...

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The shadowy bounds of discretion

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Nicholas Henderson DC C ONFIDENTIAL by Christopher Meyer Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 301, ISBN 0297851144 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he first sentence of Christoper...

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Scarcely a matter of honour

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Jane Ridley DUEL by James Landale Canongate, £14.99, pp. 304 ISBN 1841956473 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 E arly one morning in August 1826 two men stood facing...

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All passion still not spent

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Francis King W HEN I G ROW U P by Bernice Rubens Little, Brown, £17.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0316731277 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 F rom her earliest years, one...

A dose of the verbals

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Dot Wordsworth A light moment in the preliminary stages of learning Turkish is to discover that the word in that tongue for ‘talking nonsense’ is fart . Later on one finds...

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Underneath the arches

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Andrew Roberts on Feliks Topolski’s dramatic work of art, which is in desperate need of repair A djacent to the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank under Hungerford Bridge...

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From horror to the sublime

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Andrew Lambirth Paul McCarthy: LaLa Land Parody Paradise Whitechapel Art Gallery, until 8 January 2006 From Vulcan’s Forge: Bronzes from the Rijksmuseum, 1450–1700 Daniel...

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Politics of patronage

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John Spurling China: The Three Emperors 1662–1795 Royal Academy, London, until 17 April 2006 ‘T he state is ruined, but mountains and rivers remain,’ wrote the Chinese...

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Regency revival?

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Alan Powers W .S. Gilbert’s parody of Oscar Wilde, Reginald Bunthorne, wanted to make a minor scandal with his belief that ‘art stopped short in the cultivated court of the...

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Two out of three

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Michael Tanner Tangier Tattoo; La Cenerentola Glyndebourne on Tour G lyndebourne on Tour has discovered outreach and access, etc. In an attempt, which I desperately hope will...

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Meet me in St Louis

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Robin Holloway L ast month I used the Boston Orchestra’s new season as a yardstick with which to beat the London orchestras’ effete and provincial programming. And Boston...

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Missing magic

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Mark Steyn Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 12A, selected cinemas F ormula gets a bum rap from critics, but I’m rather partial to it myself. In the Bond movies, it’s...

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Escapism at its best

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Giannandrea Poesio Sylvia The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House Rambert Dance Company Sadler’s Wells Theatre M ore than a year since its re-emergence from oblivion, Frederick...

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Ailing classic

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Toby Young The Hypochondriac Almeida I Am My Own Wife Duke of York Cyprus Trafalgar Studios A ccording to Patricia Hewitt, the people to blame for the depletion of the...

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Anything goes

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Michael Vestey C oncern for the English language is one thing but diehard pedantry is another. It seems that Stephen Fry has started shouting at the radio when Radio Four...

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Screen savers

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Simon Hoggart O ne of the most annoying lines you can hear is, ‘I don’t watch television myself.’ It’s usually said with a small, indulgent smile, as if to imply that,...

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Family fortunes

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Robin Oakley D own in his canal field on a damp November morning, Paul Webber’s horses were working in threes, hooves thudding into the resilient turf. This time it was Gift...

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Menace and danger

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Taki New York A letter to the mother of my children from the greatest living French writer, Michel Déon, one of the 40 immortals of the French Academy, shows me to be a...

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Ex factor

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Jeremy Clarke I ’ve gone round to Sharon’s and walked into a stand-up row between Sharon and her brother in their kitchen. They’re yelling at each other and the dog’s...

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Commando courage

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James Delingpole P atrick Hagen served as a wireless operator with 4 Commando Brigade signals troop. Here he describes the moment when, while guarding their exit route during a...

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I t’s a Sunday and as our son doesn’t have any

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sporting engagements for the first time in 657 years my partner proposes a Family Day Out, a simple enough phrase always promoted in newspapers — The Best Family Days Out;...

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A confrère faced a daunting task last week. As golfing correspondent

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of the Times , it fell to John Hopkins to do the honours with the speech of acclaim at the induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida of his fabled predecessor...

Q. I was rather hurt yesterday when I delivered my

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80-year-old mother to the Carlton Club at 3 p.m. to meet her friends and have tea and the porter would not allow me in. ‘Madam, are you wearing jeans!’ Too true — Armani...

Q. May I draw your attention to an error which

The Spectator

appeared last week? Lady Trowbridge should have been spelt Lady Troubridge. A.B., London W8 A. Thank you for drawing this misprint to my attention. The allusion might otherwise...

Q. Further to your suggestion that scrap suppers be served

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on site to ‘die-hards’ following private views in art galleries, is this not the solution to reversing the declining numbers of classical concertgoers? Would it not be...