27 OCTOBER 2001

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The Spectator

'Don't panic' B ritish special forces supported the American forces active in Afghanistan. Mr Paul Marsden, a Labour MP, said that he had been bullied by Miss Hilary Armstrong,...

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The Spectator

I t may prove to be an historic step, for it is certainly an unprecedented one. No previous IRA leadership has ever decommissioned weaponry. So it is just possible that the...

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The Spectator

D are I take a day away? The Society of Editors is meeting in Belfast and, with BBC colleague Jeff Randall, I'm addressing a session on the shift from newspaper journalism to...

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Hilary Armstrong is the worst chief whip in memory.

The Spectator

That may not matter now but it will PETER OBORNE D ull, commonplace slightly stupid, wholly lacking in wit or imagination, Hilary Armstrong is beyond a shadow of a doubt the...

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The Spectator

British tolerance of Muslim culture should not include condoning the savage treatment of young girls, says Theodore Dalrymple IF IT is not exactly a truth, it is at least a...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

THE business of philology is not all plain sailing (or do I mean plane sailing?). I was looking up the word tarwhine in the dictionary, when I was distracted by the phrase tare...

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The Spectator

Jasper Griffin examines the ebb and flow of an ancient conflict AND, as Kipling memorably declared, never the twain shall meet. But in fact, of course, they have met...

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The Spectator

Terrorism can only be defeated by intelligence on the ground — as Northern Ireland shows, says Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton COLIN POWELL once responded to a question about...

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The Spectator

A French father who chastised his son did not reckon on the PC zealotg of Edinburgh's police and public, says Tim Luckhurst ONS en Bray's 1.297 inhabitants rarely have much to...

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The Spectator

John Laughland says the Tories are mad to believe there is a choice between European integration and alliance with America LAST Friday afternoon an event occurred which proves...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

THE Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is planning a crackdown on jokes about religion that may offend sensibilities. Ancient Greeks might have thought he had the wrong target....

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The Spectator

Daniel Hannan says that our vocabulary is being hijacked. We must reclaim true meaning before it is too late LAST week I heard a BBC correspondent refer en passant to...

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Second opinion

The Spectator

FREEDOM is a precious thing, as we all know. Blood has been spilled to procure it, though from my personal observation I should say that we are generally more attached to our...

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The Spectator

Histog shows that General Musharraf trusts the West at his own peril, says Andrew Roberts IN serving the West, no good deed goes unpunished, for as the old Arab adage goes,...

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Why the Tory generals are hunting down the mad mullahs of the Monday Club

The Spectator

FRANK JOHNSON M r Duncan Smith and his party chairman, Mr David Davis, have been told, and seem to believe, that they are in need of an enemy whom they must humble, For that...

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Young Stephen pulls out the load-bearing beam and showers Gordon with bricks

The Spectator

CHRISTOPHER FILDES T hat creaking sound from the public finances, those tell-tale symptoms of shifting and settling — can it be subsidence? Please, not again. Think how much...

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What Richard Wagner required of his Viennese dress designer

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON P resident Bush and the Chinese dictator dressed up in fancy silk tunics to do business this week. And why not? Wearing a different outfit tends to make the mind...

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Embattled biographers

The Spectator

From Mr J.D.F. Jones Sir: Christopher Booker's hilariously personal abuse of me for my recent biography of Sir Laurens van der Post (Books, 20 October) would be more...

Moore or less liberal

The Spectator

From Mr John Maples, MP Sir: How fascinating to read Charles Moore's Diary (20 October), and particularly the selfcongratulatory tone of his tolerant and broadminded reaction to...

Bookworms are us

The Spectator

From Alexandra Lee Sir: Not all booksellers are party to the racketeering that Chris Lewis describes ('Cooking the books', 20 October). We have a 'Staff Recommends' section at...

Borrowed from Turkey

The Spectator

From Duncan Blake, OBE Sir: On reading the report from Blackpool by Bruce Anderson (Politics, 13 October), I was delighted to note that the `soundbite' of the Tory conference...

Holiday non-reading

The Spectator

From Mr Andrew Macdonald Sir: As someone who shares Stephen Glover's views about the conflict in Afghanistan, I must take issue with his analysis of the newspaper circulation...

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More sinned against than sinning?

The Spectator

Ray Monk PAINTED SHADOWS by Carole Seymour - Jones Constable, £20, pp. 682, ISBN 0094792704 V ivienne! Was there ever such torture since life began! — to bear her on one's...

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This ain't no cure for the summertime blues

The Spectator

Norman Lamont A BLUE TOMORROW edited by Edward Vaizey, Nicholas Boles and Michael Gove Politico's £9.99, pp. 227, ISBN 1842750275 I have to confess that I opened A Blue...

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People of the footnotes

The Spectator

Byron Rogers THE CELEBRATED CAPTAIN BARCLAY by Peter Radford Headline, £15.99, pp. 342, ISBN 0747272220 BASTARD PRINCE by Beverley Murphy Sutton, £20, pp. 282, ISBN...

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The horror that was Humbert

The Spectator

Francis King LO'S DIARY by Pia Pera Foxrock, £14.99, £9.99, pp. 292, ISBN 0964374013 L iterary works derived from other literary works, an increasingly popular genre, usually...

The bad luck of the Irish

The Spectator

Peter J. M. Wayne PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE IN IRELAND, 1680-1760 by Edward McParland Yale, .1.35, pp. 241, ISBN 0300090641 h e nearest Sir Christopher Wren came to building...

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Gentle spirit of resistance

The Spectator

Peter de la Billiere GENTLEMAN JIM: THE WARTIME STORY OF THE FOUNDER OF THE SAS by Lorna Almonds Windmill Constable, .118.99, pp. 296, ISBN 1841193402 T his book is an...

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Betting heavily on yourself

The Spectator

William Feaver FREUD EGO by Clement Freud BBC, £16.99, pp. 224, ISBN 0563534516 G iven his wry way with words, his gourmand reputation and lugubrious demeanour, aired on many...

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Got the opposition on toast

The Spectator

Jeremy Paxman CAMPAIGN 2001 by Nicholas Jones Politico's, £9.99, pp. 340, ISBN 1902301781 FRIENDS, VOTERS, COUNTRYMEN by Boris Johnson HatperCollins, £14.99, pp. 288, ISBN...

Wife in double quotes

The Spectator

Sarah Bradford MARIA FITZHERBERT: THE SECRET WIFE OF GEORGE IV by James Munson Constable, £20, pp. 372, ISBN 0094782202 O n the evening of 15 December 1785 George Augustus...

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Enjoying life the hard way

The Spectator

Juliet Townsend THE CHILDREN WHO LIVED IN A BARN by Eleanor Graham Persephone Books, £10, pp. 248, ISBN 1903155193 A iyone who was a keen reader as a child and who grew up in...

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Sunlight at midnight

The Spectator

Duncan Fallowell ST PETERSBURG AND THE RISE OF MODERN RUSSIA by W. Bruce Lincoln The Perseus Press, £19.99, pp. 419, ISBN 0330487949 I t is not easy to write a bad book about...

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Concord of sweet sounds

The Spectator

At last, says Stephen Pettitt, London has a concert hall with decent acoustics B efore the 18th century, the places in which concert music was publicly played were usually...

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Exhibitions 1

The Spectator

The Golden Age of Watercolours: The Hickman Bacon Collection (Dulwich Picture Gallery, London SE21, till 6 January 2002) Serious delights Andrew Lambirth T he Hickman Bacon...

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Exhibitions 2

The Spectator

Doug Aitken: new ocean (Serpentine Gallery, till 25 November) Mike Nelson: Nothing is true. Everything is permitted (ICA, till 11 November) Playing around John Spurling I n...

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Exhibitions 3

The Spectator

Frederick Sandys and the Pre-Raphaelites (Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, till 6 January 2002) Brooding and soulful Christopher Wood T he name of Frederick Sandys may...

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The Spectator

Samson et Dalila; Die Meistersinger (San Francisco Opera) Great expectations Michael Tanner O n 1 August, San Francisco Opera's new director took over, but as is the way with...

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Lack of the Irish

The Spectator

Tom Sutcliffe on the pitfalls and pleasures of the Wexford Festival W exford, currently celebrating its 50th opera festival, is radically different from the hysterical night at...

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The Spectator

Mark Morris Dance Group (Sadler's Wells) Celestial qualities Giannandrea Poesio M ark Morris's visits to London are always a panacea for the disillusioned dancegoer craving...

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The Spectator

Legally Blonde (12, selected cinemas) No surprises Mark Steyn L egally Blonde is the old fish-out-ofwater caper — think Robert Taylor in the groves of Brit academe (A Yank...


The Spectator

Jitney (National) PWA: The Diaries of Oscar Moore (Drill Hall) The Vagina Monologues (Arts) Playing by the rules Toby Young ucceeding Sheridan Morley as The Spectator's...

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The Spectator

Wimpy white mice Robin Holloway I had intended this month to write solely about the Masterprize composing competition, whose much-trumpeted final concert took place at the...

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Know your enemy

The Spectator

Michael Vestey D o you think Osama bin Laden is afraid of vampires? Probably not, but it would be helpful to know if he were. As I heard on Professional Strangers: a History of...

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Poor me

The Spectator

James Delingpole B limey, this is scary. The other day I was drifting idly through my computer files when I noticed the date on the first TV piece I did for The Spectator....

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Ten for the jumps

The Spectator

Robin Oakley H oading to Cheltenham on a Saturday but not for racing felt a little strange. It was a case of natural purpose frustrated, like visiting the Folies Bergere to...

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Staying away

The Spectator

Taki T New York his is a city that describes itself as 'adapting to terror'. There is nervous laughter about anthrax, some crankiness, lotsa anxiety, but also outrage and...

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Nice try

The Spectator

Petronella Wyatt T here is some debate going on at the moment as to whether 'niceness' is back in vogue. Consider this French film called Amelie — apparently the most...

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Room with a fresco

The Spectator

Michael Vestey IT seemed to be going smoothly at the apartment until Antonio said to our estate agent, Giuseppe. 'The Americans are buying it.' His face clouded. 'I did not...

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Devizes and desires

The Spectator

David Lovibond PEERING up at the 'little tent of blue' to be glimpsed through the thick window embrasures of my converted lunatic's cell in the old Wiltshire County Asylum, I...

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Crimes and punishments

The Spectator

Simon Barnes THE England rugby team's last-stride collapse in the face of Celtic opposition was every bit as surprising as the fact that the sun rose in the east that same...


The Spectator

Deaf Mar. Q. How should a man respond when women — including the wives of his oldest friends — suddenly start openly flirting with him at parties? I know they cannot mean...