28 JANUARY 2006

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Mother knows best

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‘A ll new rights,’ said Gordon Brown in one of his more memorable utterances, ‘will be matched by new responsibilities.’ It would come across as a more honourable...

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK M r Mark Oaten withdrew his candidacy

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for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats and then resigned as its Home Affairs spokesman after the News of the World publicised repeated visits to a 23-year-old rent boy. Mr...

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‘T o my knowledge, in my lifetime three prime ministers have

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been adulterers,’ Evelyn Waugh wrote in 1963, ‘and almost every Cabinet has had an addict of almost every sexual vice.’ Another pious Christian put it statistically...

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Cameron is wrong to suck up to Bush and ignore the issue of rendition

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D avid Cameron has ruthlessly dumped Tory baggage on almost every pressing issue: tax, the economy, the environment, health, education, welfare, the legacy of Margaret Thatcher....

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Invasion of the New Europeans

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Immigrants from the East are honest and hard-working, says Anthony Browne , but many more have arrived than the government predicted. Should there be a limit? E urope is one of...

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The misery of the Polish newcomers

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Everybody loves the Poles. Everybody loves reliable plumbers and natural-born nannies. Only Andrzej Tutkaj, of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, is sceptical about the...

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The enemy of liberal cant

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A.N. Wilson remembers the great conservative satirist Michael Wharton, who died this week W hen the Twin Towers collapsed, I read nothing sane upon the subject in any newspaper...

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Osama doesn’t matter any more

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Mark Steyn says that only Democrats and Europeans will be fooled by the offer of a truce from the ‘exiled Saudi dissident’ Y ou know this fellow David Cameron? Well,...

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Instrument of terror

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William Cash meets a Devon farmer who keeps the family’s gruesome family heirloom — Hitler’s red telephone — in his safe A week before Christmas the Grampian microphone...

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Mind your language

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A reader, whose name is beyond recall because my husband put his letter in a safe place, is unhappy at the general ignorance of the origin of the word dog , and wonders if I can...

Reefer madness

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Cannabis is not harmless, says Ross Clark , and libertarians are wrong to call for its legalisation A fter some consideration I am not sure that I can get excited about the...

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It could be him

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Sholto Byrnes talks to Chris Huhne, second favourite in the Lib Dem race, about coalitions, privacy and the Austro–Hungarian empire U ntil a couple of weeks ago, the name of...

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Sven’s seven deadly sins

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Rod Liddle on the truth about why the England football manager had to go H ere are a few reasons why the Football Association should have sacked the manager of England,...

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C ollect three coupons and answer some simple questions and you

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may be the lucky winner of a perfect weekend in London’s most elegant hotel — The Ritz. Fruit, flowers and champagne will be placed in your Junior Suite prior to your...

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Too much, too young

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From Judith Hereford Sir: I agree with Leo McKinstry (‘Hate, hypocrisy and hysteria’, 21 January). To read the newspapers, you’d think that Ruth Kelly was singlehandedly...

From Michael O’Shea

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Sir: In his excellent article on Ruth Kelly Leo McKinstry mentions her ‘religious’ opposition to abortion. Perhaps she opposes abortion not so much because her religion...

A countryside for all

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From Andrew Wood Sir: Mian Ridge (‘A question of ethnics’, 21 January) correctly outlines one of the aims of the Countryside Agency’s Diversity Review. However, the...

Exploiting Hyde Park

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From Nicholas Goodison Sir: It was refreshing to see Olivia Glazebrook’s beef about the misuse of Hyde Park (Diary, 21 January). It should be a park at all times and not a...

Paying for others’ education

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From Andrew Currie Sir: In his article on David Cameron’s approach to education (‘Why did he do it?’, 14 January) Ross Clark moans about having to pay twice for his...

Capitalism and communism

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From Michael Petek Sir: The vestigially Christian culture of the West took on communism in Europe and won the Cold War (‘The danger of China’, 21 January). But now that the...

Isis, Osiris and Jesus

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From Helen Style Sir: Bruce Anderson says that the religion of the ancient Egyptians was ‘barbarous’ (Travel, 21 January). Its features include a god who created the world...

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Oaten may have taken a ‘stupid’ risk, but that doesn’t mean he’s stupid

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M y friends would concur in describing me as someone in whom the precautionary instinct is not as strong as it ought to be. But even I, were I Mark Oaten, would have asked...

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A foxy Chancellor knows many things, but a hedgehog learns the hard way

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T utti possono sbagliare : we can all make mistakes, as the hedgehog observed, getting down from the hearth-brush. Whether our prickly Chancellor is a student of Italian...

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‘Should there be a retiring age for writers?’ Discuss

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‘Y ou writers never retire, do you?’ said the guest at the party condescendingly. ‘“Scribble, scribble, scribble, right to the end,” as Edward Gibbon said.’...

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Investing in a moral maze

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Can ethical investment change corporate behaviour for the better, asks Patrick Hosking, or is it merely a cynical marketing ploy by fund managers? ‘B eware the fund manager...

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A-Day to look forward to

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Ian Cowie says new pension rules will benefit high earners who should be glad the Chancellor changed his mind on property investment G ordon Brown did many savers a favour when...

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A slice of a shrinking pie

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Private equity firms are enjoying rich stock-market pickings, says Matthew Vincent , but small investors don’t have to be satisfied with scraps I magine, if you will, a pizza...

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To those original shareholders, the opportunity to re-invest must have

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seemed as appetising as salad-bar lettuce at the end of a hot day. And all of this encapsulates the problem for private investors: how do you avoid getting stuffed by cheap...

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Precious doorstops

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Merryn Somerset-Webb offers advice on how to invest your enormous City bonus for pleasure as well as profit I t’s going to be a happy month for H.R. Owen, the Ferrari...

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What should not be known

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Philip Hensher F OR L UST OF K NOWING : T HE O RIENTALISTS AND T HEIR ENEMIES by Robert Irwin Penguin/Allen Lane, £25, pp. 410, ISBN 0713994150 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870...

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Change and decay

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Kate Chisholm T HE N IGHT W ATCH by Sarah Waters Virago, £16.99, pp. 473, ISBN 1844082466 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he prizewinning novelist Sarah Waters...

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The Thirty Years Slaughter

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Ian Garrick Mason A W AR L IKE N O O THER : H OW THE A THENIANS AND S PARTANS F OUGHT THE P ELOPONNESIAN W AR by Victor Davis Hanson Methuen, £18.99, pp. 397, ISBN 0413775259...

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Coping with the Van Gogh syndrome

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David Ekserdjian S IR T HOMAS L AWRENCE by Michael Levey Yale, £45, pp. 256, ISBN 0300109989 ✆ £36 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n the context of the visual arts, the...

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Progressive up to a point

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Allan Massie L ORD C OCKBURN : T HE L ETTERS edited by Alan Bell John Donald, £25, pp. 282, ISBN 0859766306 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 H enry Cockburn...

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All roots and branches

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Oliver Rackham T HE S ECRET L IFE OF T REES by Colin Tudge Allen Lane, £20, pp. 452, ISBN 0713996986 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his book covers all the trees...

All gas and gaiters

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Diana Hendry K EPT : A V ICTORIAN M YSTERY by D. J. Taylor Chatto, £16.99, pp. 431, ISBN 0701178957 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t’s irrelevant, I know, but...

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After such knowledge, what forgiveness?

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M. R. D. Foot T HOSE W HO T RESPASS A GAINST U S by Countess Karolina Lanckoronska, translated by Noel Clark Pimlico, £14.99, pp. 341, ISBN 1844134172 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45...

The composer and his phoenix

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Nicholas Kenyon M OZART AND H IS O PERAS by David Cairns Penguin/Allen Lane, £22, pp. 290, ISBN 0713994916 ✆ £17.60 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE M AN W HO W ROTE...

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Intention and chance

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Andrew Lambirth visits shows in the West End by Edwina Leapman and Richard Long E dwina Leapman (born 1934) is an abstract painter and colourist of beguiling subtlety. Her...

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Bare necessities

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Michael Tanner La Traviata Royal Opera House T he revival of Richard Eyre’s production of La Traviata at the Royal Opera didn’t go quite as planned, because Elena...

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Heaven and earth

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Robin Holloway I don’t really like Radio Three’s recent venture into blockbuster one-man blowouts. It’s a bit sophomoric and anorakish, and the completism can reduce even...

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Devilish delight

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Lloyd Evans Sejanus, His Fall Trafalgar Studios The Late Henry Moss Almeida Factory Girls Arcola W hat was I thinking? A fortnight ago I berated the hammy, eggy, lardy,...

Beyond good and evil

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Mark Steyn Munich 15, selected cinemas T wenty years ago George Jonas wrote a book called Vengeance , about the targeted assassinations of various murky Arab figures that...

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Sobering thoughts

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Michael Vestey T he astonishing removal of Charles Kennedy for having been a heavy drinker confirmed my long-held belief that the Liberal Democrats are by far the nastiest and...

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Mock Tudor

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Simon Hoggart M y advance DVD from the BBC was marked ‘The Virgin Quenn’, which I thought was pleasing and evocative. Possibly the quenn was a mythical beast, condemned to...

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Mutual respect

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Robin Oakley R acing yards all have their own character, some pretty as picture books, some run like military camps. Down a muddy lane in deepest Hampshire Emma Lavelle’s...

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Bargain brace

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Simon Courtauld I t is one of life’s little mysteries that, outside the circle of those involved in game shooting, so few pheasants are bought and eaten, in a country where...

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Good enough for TT

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Taki T o Harrow, the most heroic of public schools, for a speech about the press, probably among the least defensible of professions. I say the most heroic because Harrow lost...

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Group therapy

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Jeremy Clarke I feel sorry for Gorgeous George. It was a terrific idea to go on Big Brother and turn himself into a popular icon and get his political ideas across to a young...

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SIMON HOGGART I think this is a wonderful offer, and it kicks off with a special treat. Spectator readers love Château Musar, and a year or so back cleared out all the stocks...

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Hitting the target

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FRANK KEATING T he club records of a couple of soccer’s fabled old goal-scorers were levelled this month. Two nice round numbers, too, as the silky and sometimes sulky...

Q. Two years ago I dispatched a spoof Christmas letter

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to a select handful of friends thinking this might amuse them. I committed all the standard crimes: blowby-blow accounts of (fictitious) holidays and activities; an insistence...

Q. I wonder if you or any of your readers

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could help with a slightly delicate problem which is faced by many people at this time of the year. I refer of course to the task of removing shotgun pellets from the loo — I...

Q. My Labrador has eaten my remote control to the

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digibox which I bought only two years ago. Now the shop where I bought the equipment tells me they cannot help with a replacement. We cannot operate the thing manually and I am...