27 MAY 2006

Page 5

Competence is nice, too

The Spectator

I t was once enough for the Conservative party to be seen, in Maurice Saatchi’s phrase, as ‘cruel but competent’. Lord Saatchi was among the first to warn, however, that...

Page 9

T urning 41, an anonymous age if ever there was one,

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I found myself back at the school I went to three centuries ago — or so it seems. The occasion was a memorial to a favourite teacher. Neil Laing taught English and died young,...

Page 10

The Hinduja file is reopened over lunch in New Delhi

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T he Hinduja scandal is the closest the Labour party has to radioactive waste. Though officially buried five years ago, it remains lethal: the Indian billionaires had involved...

Page 11

H ere, in full, is the current newspaper advertisement for the

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coming programmes on ITV1: ‘THIS SUMMER Ant and Dec will give away £1,000,000. Famous faces will face the music (and Simon Cowell). David Beckham will bare his soul to the...

Page 13


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MONDAY I do want to believe there’s more to life than money but it does seem a bit — well — impractical. Mummy is furious . Says if Dave would care to pay our vet’s...

Page 14

Farewell to the Young Ones: it’s time for universities to grow up

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The lecturers’ strike is proof that higher education needs thorough reform, says Boris Johnson . There must be competition all round, universities must raise their game and...

Page 16

Believe it or not, Rifkind could be deselected

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Dean Godson says that the pitiless Conservatives of Kensington and Chelsea are stirring once more and plotting to oust the former foreign secretary I s Kensington and Chelsea,...

Page 18

If Amnesty declares the ‘right to kill’, it will kill itself

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Simon Caldwell on how Amnesty can destroy its 45-year-old campaign on behalf of the oppressed by declaring abortion to be a ‘human right’ T here was never any mention of a...

Page 20

I want to be Ukraine’s Margaret Thatcher

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Allister Heath meets Yulia Tymoshenko, superstar of the Orange Revolution, and is impressed by her plans to bring market reform and energy independence to her country T o her...

Page 22

Literature was Chekhov’s mistress and medicine was his lawful wedded

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wife. Of course, if he’d stuck to the latter, no one would now have heard of him: rather like certain British politicians, more notable for their love life than for their...

Page 24

It is the profusion of choice that has made us unhappy

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David Cameron cannot turn Britain into a serene and contented country like Bhutan, says Rod Liddle . We have grown too used to dissatisfaction H as the David Cameron dog sled...

Page 26

In Iraq, timetables are completely meaningless

The Spectator

As Bush and Blair plan withdrawal, Stryker McGuire talks to senior British officers on the ground engaged in the long, hard job of training Iraqi soldiers Baghdad T he sun has...

Page 28

Mind your language

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Are we now more ignorant than Bertie Wooster? Orwell, in his essay defending P.G. Wodehouse, noted that when ‘he describes somebody as heaving “the kind of sigh that...

Page 30

Why I, as an American, love the French

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Christopher Caldwell takes issue with the Francophobia of his countrymen and declares the so-called ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ to be Europe’s finest people...

Page 32

Europeans made the USA

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From Ronald Fletcher Sir: David Mayger (Letters, 20 May) seems to be unaware that the history of his country has been written many times, and that the salient fact to emerge is...

Greedy Gordon

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From Clive Cowen Sir: Your leading article of 13 May (‘Sorry, you’re no Mrs Thatcher’) hit the spot when you wrote, ‘He [Mr Brown] and Mr Blair have tussled as if the...

Cashing in

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From Frank Robinson Sir: David Meikle (Letters, 13 May) is naive in thinking that European countries are clamouring to join the EU because they share its values. It is because...

Kissing men

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From Oliver Mason Sir: In ‘The Spectator’s Notes’ (20 May) Charles Moore writes, ‘Merely 30 years ago, films of men kissing would have been banned in most European...

Theatrical canard

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From Michael Grosvenor Myer Sir: Michael Vestey (Arts, 20 May) retails yet again the canard that ‘ Look Back in Anger , attacked by most reviewers, was saved by Kenneth Tynan...

Roman contraception

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From Suzan Smith Sir: Sir Cliff Richard (‘It seemed to me that Tony was suffering’, 13 May) states that Jesus ‘obviously never got into contraception, because it did not...

Mad, bad and hard to say

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From John Kiely Sir: Actually, the Iranian President originally had a quite uncomplicated name: Inejad (Shared opinion, 13 May). But after he had been in public life for a few...

Page 34

How did an immigrant to England get into the Home Secretary’s office?

The Spectator

N ews that various Nigerian cleaners, working on Home Office premises dealing with immigration, were themselves illegal immigrants was amusing enough. But people are always...

Page 36

The message of a great European cathedral

The Spectator

O n 12 May I sat down at a café on the square, ordered coffee and Perrier, and began to sketch the west front of Strasbourg Cathedral. This was presumptuous: the complexity of...

Page 38

The real case

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a g ainst Tesco Ross Clark argues that ‘fair trade’ and health campaigns against big supermarkets are largely spurious, but that the stores should be taken to task for...

Page 40

Why bother to save for your baby?

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Merryn Somerset-Webb There is a popular book for new parents called What to Expect the First Year by Arlene Eisenberg. In the chapter on what to expect during the third month...

Page 42

Is political correctness good for business?

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Dominic Midgley says that the profit motive rather than altruism is behind the City’s ‘diversity’ drive H erbert Smith, a firm of City solicitors, last month announced...

Page 44

A recipe for guaranteed delivery: post a ripe cheese with every letter

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T he Rosewall affair signifies everything that is wrong with Royal Mail. The two-and-a-half ton Rosewall sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth was acquired by the Ministry of Works...

Page 46

Creature comforts

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Jonathan Ray goes on a safari tailor-made for softies I was in the middle of planning a trip to the Western Cape wine-lands of South Africa when I ran into my friend and...

Page 47

Younger in 90 minutes

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Lucy Vickery T he price is jaw-dropping — a whopping £188 for a massage. But once I’ve re-arranged my flustered features to resemble those of one who is perfectly at home...

Page 50

Frocks around the clock

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Sophia Hesselgren I had imagined the vintage clothing industry to be full of eccentric characters — all spectacularly dressed, smoking furiously (perhaps through ivory...

Page 54

A m I mad? I’m two stone overweight and somehow I’ve

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agreed to eat 14 four-course menus and then half the menus all over again. All this on telly as a judge on Great British Menu , a competition in which top chefs compete to cook...

Page 57

Why didn’t we give peace a chance?

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Sam Leith T HE W AR OF THE W ORLD by Niall Ferguson Penguin, £25, pp. 717, ISBN 9780713997088 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Now comes a war and shows that we still...

Page 58

Grand Guignol grotesquery

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Carole Angier T HE W ORMS C AN C ARRY M E T O H EAVEN by Alan Warner Cape, £11.99, pp. 389, ISBN 0224051105 ✆ £9.59(plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A lan Warner’s first...

Page 60

Under the shadow of the Minster

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Andrew Barrow T HE L OST L UGGAGE P ORTER by Andrew Martin Faber, £10.99, pp. 296, ISBN 0571219039 ✆ £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his heavy, clanking, finely...

From a death to a view

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Andrew Taylor T HE P OE S HADOW by Matthew Pearl Harvill Secker, £12.99, pp. 370, ISBN 9780436205459 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 P oe’s life, like his...

Page 62

Working into the night

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Anthony Daniels O N L ATE S TYLE by Edward Said Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 176, ISBN 074758365X V £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he influence of an intellectual is not...

Sons and discoveries

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Lucy Hughes-Hallett M OTHER C OUNTRY by Jeremy Harding Faber, £15.99, pp. 189, ISBN 9780571212897 V £2.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 H OW TO S URVIVE YOUR MOTHER by...

Page 63

The Drang nach Osten

The Spectator

M. R. D. Foot J UNE 1941: H ITLER AND S TALIN by John Lukacs Yale, £16.99, pp. 169, ISBN 9780300114379 V £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 M OSCOW 1941: A C ITY AND ITS...

Page 64

A question of meaning

The Spectator

Anna Vaux A BIDE WITH M E by Elizabeth Strout Simon & Schuster, £12.99, pp. 294, ISBN 074323930X ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A s its title indicates, Elizabeth...

Page 65

Geography is destiny

The Spectator

James Buchan T HE T RIBES T RIUMPHANT : R ETURN J OURNEY TO THE M IDDLE E AST by Charles Glass HarperCollins, £25, pp. 472, ISBN 0007131623 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 66

The sunlight on the garden parties

The Spectator

Hugh Cecil T HE P ERFECT S UMMER : D ANCING INTO S HADOW IN 1911 by Juliet Nicolson John Murray, £20, pp. 290, ISBN 9780719562426 V £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A s a...

Page 67

Flocking to the standard

The Spectator

Graham Stewart T HE B RITISH E MPIRE AND THE S ECOND W ORLD W AR by Ashley Jackson Hambleden/Continuum, £25, pp. 604 ISBN 1852854170 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

Page 68

Send her victorious

The Spectator

Jane Ridley V ICTORIA ’ S W ARS : T HE R ISE OF E MPIRE by Saul David Viking, £25, pp. 503, ISBN 9780670911387 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he Iraq war has...

Page 69

Master of the picturesque

The Spectator

Hugh Massingberd W ILLIAM K ENT : A RCHITECT , D ESIGNER , O PPORTUNIST by Timothy Mowl Cape, £25, pp. 298, ISBN 0224073508 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W illiam...

Page 70

Those rich little Greeks

The Spectator

Jonathan Keates S OME T ALK OF A LEXANDER by Frederic Raphael Thames & Hudson, £24.95, pp. 336, ISBN 0500512884 ✆ £19.95 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 P lutarch, in his...


The Spectator

Our needs are really very mild, so please don’t be too critical, if we just crave a little seal, to decorate our winter coat. Don’t show those bloody, mashed up cubs, it...

Page 71

The murder of Bamber Gascoigne

The Spectator

P. J. Kavanagh S TRANGERLAND : A F AMILY AT W AR by Helena Drysdale Picador, £14.99, pp. 396, ISBN 9780330411691 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his book, about...

Page 72

Tales of the unexpected

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Lloyd Evans R OY K ERRIDGE ’ S B RITAIN by Roy Kerridge BTM Life Light, P.O. Box 43892, Kilburn, London NW6 5WX, £15 (includes UK postage only), pp. 166, ISBN 0954681622 A s...

Page 73

Trusting to instinct

The Spectator

Opera Holland Park inspires a loyal following. Henrietta Bredin investigates T his year is Opera Holland Park’s tenth anniversary season, and to my great shame I have never...

Page 74

Destabilising forces

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Andrew Lambirth Undercover Surrealism Hayward Gallery, until 30 July Max Ernst Helly Nahmad Gallery, 2 Cork Street, W1, until 28 July ‘ icasso, Miró, Masson and the vision...

Page 76

Special relationship

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Russell Chamberlin I n 1990 I published a lengthy article on Sicily — and was astonished by the response from English readers who had connections with the island, in some...

Page 78

No messing with redheads

The Spectator

Olivia Glazebrook X-Men: The Last Stand 12A, selected cinemas Friends with Money 15, selected cinemas T he X-Men trilogy has been a superior translation of comic book to big...

Page 80

Indestructible Janacek

The Spectator

Michael Tanner The Makropulos Case ENO Cosi fan tutte Glyndebourne J anacek’s The Makropulos Case remains a bewildering work, as in fact almost all his operas after Jenufa ,...

German gems

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Robin Holloway I t is hard to embrace Max Reger. For a start, he is surely the physically ugliest of all composers, surpassing even Prokofiev, or Zemlinsky, whose repulsiveness...

Page 81

Double identity

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Toby Young Jane Eyre Trafalgar Studios The Overwhelming Cottesloe I can’t make up my mind about Shared Experience. Since 1988, this company has been adapting classic works of...

Page 82

Company celebrations

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Giannandrea Poesio The Sleeping Beauty Royal Opera House S taging the 1890 classic The Sleeping Beauty in the 21st century is not an easy task. Recent studies, discoveries and...

Page 83

Too much information

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James Delingpole W hen I was younger and prettier and looked more like a girl, I used to have a prominent gay section on my bookshelves ( The Swimming Pool Library ; A Boy’s...

Page 84

The good things in life

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Michael Vestey L istening to The Archive Hour: Down Your Way Revisited on Radio Four (Saturday) made me wonder why the network got rid of the programme in 1995. It had been...

No Cannes do

The Spectator

Taki Cannes I f the truth, space and good taste allowed it, the heading of this column would be ‘My Cannes night of lust with Halle Berry’. Before her agent reaches the...

Page 85

All right for some

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Jeremy Clarke T he only cinema within a 30-mile radius of my home is an Art cinema in a 400year-old barn. A thatched 400-year-old barn. If the nonsense being shown is the...

Page 86

Kenya’s trials

The Spectator

Aidan Hartley Nairobi T om Cholmondeley has done it again. The scion of Kenya’s Delameres has shot dead another black African trespasser on his Rift Valley farm. This is his...

Page 88

Bottling it up is good for you

The Spectator

Simon Davis toasts the delights of prolonged anticipation S taring from the windows of the 18.22 Paddington to Moreton-inMarsh, it occurs to me that the best things in my life...

Page 89

Lifestyle by the hour

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Nick Foulkes does his fractions L uxury is no longer just a business; it is a commodity to be parcelled up and sold in whatever way its suppliers deem most effective — there...

Page 90

Clocking up the decades

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Nicholas Coleridge renews his vow to celebrate anniversaries abroad W here would you recommend going for a 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th wedding anniversary holiday? That was the...

Page 91

T he Michelin-starred French restaurant Roussillon has just launched a ‘Mini-Gastronome’

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programme. This means that on the first and third Wednesday lunchtime of every month children aged 11 and under get to eat a free seven-course menu designed to introduce them to...

Page 93

O ffers from Corney & Barrow are always extremely popular with

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Spectator readers. They may be one of the poshest of all wine merchants — two very wealthy writers whose books you have seen piled high in Terminal 4 were tasting for their...

Page 103

The coming of Viv

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FRANK KEATING H osepipe bans? Standpipes in the streets? Ah, yes, I remember them well. Prepare for a host of anniversary paeans from us old sweats of 30 summers ago....

Q. Returning from a trade fair held at a neighbouring

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stately home I was reminded of the apophthegm ‘a fool and his money are soon parted’. Before my visit I thought a trade fair was full of dusty men with brawny arms selling...

Q. What can we do about a dear old friend

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who is possessed of a socially unacceptable sneeze? She recently visited us in the country and we took her to our favourite local restaurant, an intimate log-fire kind of place....