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PORTRAIT TLI :=1 1 T , he Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told the

The Spectator

Hutton inquiry that there was 'not a shred of evidence' that he had sought to identify the Ministry of Defence weapons expert Dr David Kelly as the source of Andrew Gilligan's...

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Happy birthday to us

The Spectator

R eaders may feel they have had almost enough of The Spectator's 175th anniversary. Enormous and flattering articles have appeared in newspapers, including the Guardian....

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A ssembling The Spectator's 175th Anniversary Special Issue — which is on sale, alongside our weekly issues. for the next six weeks — has been an absorbing task. To make a...

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Scapegoating Hoon was a bit like solving a crime by arresting the village idiot

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or a long period in the late 1990s I worked for the Daily Express, a paper which vigorously supported the New Labour government. Once every six months or so Alastair Campbell,...

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The Questing' - Vole W ith Geoff Hoon's career still not yet

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cold in its grave, wrangling over the succession has already begun. Senior generals and officials in the MoD are keen to ensure that the next defence secretary is the right...

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Never glad confident morning again

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For a while, Blair and Bush marched together into battle. They were like Reagan and Thatcher, Roosevelt and Churchill. But now, says Martin Walker, the Prime Minister and the...

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Shot in the back

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Rod Liddle investigates the harrowing case of Toni-Ann Byfield I don't know if you've been following the case of little Toni-Ann Byfield. She's the seven-year-old girl who was...

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Ancient & modern

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So Gordon Brown's Treasury has overspent its budget by 40 per cent — all on itself! No wonder the officials didn't know where the money had gone. What fun if they had had to...

Honest Tony

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Melanie Phillips says that The Spectator has got it wrong: the Hutton inquiry does vindicate the government T ony Blair told us the truth. There, said it. Shocking, isn't it?...

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I was in coroner's court last week, giving evidence about what is known as a death in custody. Such deaths are always investigated with a thoroughness not always accorded to...

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First, weigh your nanny

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Damien McCrystal says that fat nannies are a threat to the health and happiness of the family T his being the time of year when people are hiring new nannies and au pairs, I...

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Code comfort

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Paul Robinson finds that West Point's strict, apparently cruel honour code — which compels cadets to sneak on their friends — produces upright leaders T he influential American...

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If Clark wins I'll quit!

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Mark Steyn says General Wesley Clark cannot beat Bush, not least because he sounds like a paranoid narcissist New Hampshire I t's the poll that's got 'em all hot: Wesley K....

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Mind your language

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There are some things I shall never say. I don't just mean toilet or cool. I mean things like train station and lifestyle. They are not part of my parole or idiolect. On...

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The tabloid Independent may work but it's not enough

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STEPHEN GLOVER N ext Tuesday the Independent is going tabloid. Or, at any rate, in some cases it will. The idea is to distribute 85,000 tabloid copies a day within the M25 area...

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Prudence asks what a girl has to do to keep body and soul together

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES 1 t's worrying, says Prudence. I'm just an ordinary working woman with a job and a flat in London and a second home in Dunfermline, but I can't think where...

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What a Welshman of genius saw from a hot roof in Emma's Naples

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PAUL JOHNSON I can, indeed do, spend many pensive moments gazing across rooftops, those unconscious reflections of the human personality. From my bedroom in Bayswater, I see a...

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Leftist bias of the Beeb

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From Bernard Cowley Sir: Peter Hitchens says the Beeb is biased (`Reform the BBC, don't kill it', 20 September). Rod Liddle says it isn't (`Thought for the day', 20 September)....

Blessings of US involvement

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From David Watkins Sir: I don't have the knowledge to dispute Taki's assertion that `FDR provoked a war with Japan because he needed to get involved in the European conflict'...

Cowboy or sheriff?

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From Dr Ti/man Fichter Sir: Fifty years after Hitler and Stalin, 'old Europe' — here Donald Rumsfeld is right — lives again CA sad case of schadenfreude', 13 September). Most of...

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Iraq is not a blunder

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From Bernard J. Kaminski, Jr Sir: I have only recently stumbled across The Spectator and I must admit to being a little puzzled at the perception of America, President Bush and...

Illogical omission

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From Anne Lawrence Sir: It is amazing that Roger Scruton in his review of the work of Donald Davidson of blessed memory (`The truth about meaning', 20 September) makes no...

No votes in farming

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From Frederick Forsyth Sir: Seeking the real rogue behind the failure of the Cancun talks, your leading article of 20 September settles not entirely unpredictably upon that...

From Richard Prosser Sir: Do not blame farmers for the

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subsidy regime — politicians put them in place; farmers are no different from any other businessmen if money is on offer. I refer you to the railways, aircraft fuel, new Jaguar...

A job that stinks

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From Ralph Cutting Sir: How about this for Job of the Year? Lothian and Edinburgh Environmental Partnership (LEEP) advertised the following vacancy (Opportunities — the Public...

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Islam and human rights

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From Bruce Henderson Sir: Charles Moore (Politics, 13 September) has chosen his subject well, although rather than fearing the religion in question, I think wariness, alertness...

Saints needed now

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From Apratim Ray Sir: Anne Sebba (`Go straight to Heaven', 20 September) calls Mother Teresa Calcutta's best brand without explaining why. In so far as brand is meant to create...

Kipling and the Bloornsbenies

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From Richard Shone Sir; I look at any mention of the word 'Bloomsbury' with suspicion, especially in The Spectator. Paul Johnson attributes the savaging of Kipling's reputation...

Young fogeys are flourishing

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From Peter Williams Sir: Harry Mount is wrong to mourn the passing of the young fogeys (`The Young Fogey: an elegy', 13 September). We are very much alive, but far too reserved...

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Whatever Hutton reports, the verdict of history is likely to dear Gilligan

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M any of us who have sat in on the Hutton inquiry must have concluded that, com pared with the alternatives, legal proceedings are the worst way of finding out the truth of what...

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Two homes are a home too many

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Ross Clark says the greedy middle classes are creating a housing shortage 1 'ye got a four-bedroom detached house, two cars and a pension, but there is still one thing...

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Brighton rocks

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Jonathan Ray I f we had had more money a couple of years ago, my wife and I would never have moved to Brighton; we would have stayed in Marylebone and simply traded up to a...

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Best of both worlds

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Sam Leith T ook! Look!' my brother Alex is shouting. d It's a four-legged dog!' It is a sunny Saturday afternoon, and we are sitting outside the Prince Regent on the Dulwich...

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The high priest of high camp

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Philip Hensher ROBERT BYRON: A BIOGRAPHY by James Knox John Murray, £25, pp. 400, ISBN 0719548411 T he peculiar quality of Robert Byron is brilliantly caught in a moment in...

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Home thoughts from abroad

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Olivia Glazebrook AZUR LIKE IT by Wendy Holden Headline, £12 99, pp. 473, ISBN 0755300653 W endy Holden sells a colossal number of books, so there's something she's doing very,...

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An epidemic of suspicion

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Teresa Waugh THE AFFAIR OF THE POISONS by Anne Somerset Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 377, ISBN 0297842161 m ention of the Sun King and his court must usually bring to mind Versailles...

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Nowhere to hide in dystopia

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Lloyd Evans Too BEAUTIFUL FOR YOU by Rod Liddle Century, £12.99, pp. 172, ISBN 1844133788 L ondon has never seemed so bleak as in this new collection of short stories. Rod...

A refusal to join the ghosts

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David Crane CALL ME THE BREEZE by Patrick McCabe Faber, £16.99, pp. 341, ISBN 0571217451 1 t can't be easy to find anything new to say about Ireland or any new way of saying...

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Spooked by a spoof

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Peter Porter MY LIFE AS A FAKE by Peter Carey Faber, £16.99, pp. 265, ISBN 0571216188 R eaders who have heard that Peter Carey's new novel is a 'roman a clef' should be warned...

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Rose by many other names

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Douglas Johnson THE ROSE OF MARTINIQUE: A LIFE OF NAPOLEON'S JOSEPHINE by Andrea Stuart Macmillan, £20, pp. 455, ISBN 0333739337 T he 9 March 1796 is not a well known date in...

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Revenge: a dish served with sex sauce

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Elfreda Pownall TOAST by Nigel Slater Fourth Estate, £16.99, pp. 288, ISBN 1841152897 N igel Slater is one of the world's most highly regarded food writers. He has won six...

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Prose to match the situation

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Stephen Abell THE GOOD DOCTOR by Damon Galgut Atlantic, £10.99, pp. 215, ISBN 1843542013 T he central character in the 1991 Booker-winning novel Disgrace written by J. M....

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The consequences of joining the club

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Jonathan Mirsky INVENTING JAPAN: FROM EMPIRE TO ECONOMIC MIRACLE, 1853-1964 by Ian Buruma Weidenfeld, £12.99, pp. 162, ISBN 1842126873 I t didn't last quite 40 years, but for...

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It's getting down to it that counts

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Mary Keen THE GARDENER'S YEAR by Karel Capek, illustrated by Josef Capek, translated by Geoffrey Newsome Claridge Press, £12.99, pp. 208, ISBN 1870626699 K arel Capek. the...

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The Spectator

The Spectator

at 175 Alexander Chancellor H ow time flies. It seems to me no time at all since The Spectator celebrated its 150th anniversary with a special issue of the magazine and a ball...

A selection of recent paperbacks

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Nonfiction: The Making of a Philosopher by Colin McGinn, Scribner, £6.99 Marianne in Chains by Robert Gildea, Pan, £8.99 Captives by Linda Colley, Pimlico, £8.99 Carnival in...

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An English composer in Ireland

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Petroc Trelawny on the poetry inspired by Arnold Box's fling with Irish Home Rule I n the basement of the Boole Library at University College Cork. I find myself face-to-face...

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Enduring passion

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Andrew Lambirth Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection Royal Academy, until 12 December W hen, in an attractive spirit of idealism. the...

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Rather Perverse

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Sebastian Smee Lucian Freud: Drawings Timothy Taylor Gallery, 24 Denng Sweet London WI. until 10 October T he temptation when looking at early work by great artists is to view...

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Orvieto's secret

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Alasdair Palmer on how a bureaucratic wrangle kept a town's treasures hidden S mall, but perfectly formed: for once, the cliché is apt. The museum of the Opera del Duomo in...

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Puzzled by Prkfv

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Robin Holloway T year, the 50th anniversary of his 1 death, has provided a perfect opportunity to try to unriddle Prokofiev, for me the most puzzling of 20th-century masters....

Dripping with cool

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Mark Steyn Once Upon A Time in Mexico 18, selected cinemas T week marks my tenth anniversary 1 as Spectator film critic, a momentous occasion that, unaccountably, seems to...

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Superior stuff

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Michael Tanner Cosi fan tutte ENO, Barbican Winterreise Barbican E NO's season has opened in the most 1..../exhilarating way possible, with a nearideal account of Cosi fan...

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Self-indulgent showcase

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Giannandrea Poesio Winterreise Barbican B ritish-born Antony Tudor was one of first 20th-century dance makers to turn to the classical song cycle for a new choreographic work....

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Playing politics

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Toby Young Democracy ottesloe The Price Apollo D emocracy. the new play by Michael Frayn, is an interesting but flawed piece of work. Like Copenhagen, it concerns the...

Winning hearts and minds

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James Delingpole W hen I was 11 my favourite book was one called Inside the SAS. It had some brilliant anecdotes in it, such as the one about the trooper who'd trained himself...

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Today's fate

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Michael Vestey I t is commendable that radio programmes such as Radio Four's Today should find their own scoops instead of merely following up those in the newspapers, as is...

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Simply de-lovely

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Taki I n his 1935 trip around the world, Cole Porter said he had heard so much about the glorious sunrise over the Rio harbour that he and his wife rose early to go on deck to...

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Soulless sex

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Jeremy Clarke W hile Sharon was upstairs getting ready I sat and read her Cosmopolitan, which lay open on the kitchen table. Cosmopolitan is Sharon's Bible. She reads it from...

September days

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Neil Collins S eptember is the cruellest month for trout-fishing addicts. We know that cold turkey is only days away, and that we'll be unable to cast a fly into a river for...

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Shaken and stirred

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Aldan Hartley New York N7 o u journalists,' exploded the 1 Sudanese cab driver as we headed down Broadway in Manhattan, are really just spies.' I had made the mistake of asking...

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Quite a dame

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Petronella Wyatt Charlottesville, Virginia Tscoffed at the hurricane. It seemed the 1British thing to do. I mean, we have our strong winds back home. There was that hurtler...

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Beastly boondocks

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Jaspistos In Competition No. 2308 you were invited to supply a letter from a 'townie' who has never before left the city to a metropolitan friend describing the horrors of his...

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The Spectator

T he latest Harden's London Restaurant Guide plops though my letterbox with a satisfying thud. Now, Harden's must be the best guide to London restaurants, because on the back it...

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Up on the Downs

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/ t was the most beautiful September day imaginable. The golden late-summer light illuminated the field, the school band from Christ's Hospital, Horsham, marched on during the...

Dear Mary

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Q. I am an Englishman living in France with very good connections in the French 'establishment'. This summer my ladyfriend and I spent four days in the Corsican villa of a...