28 JUNE 2003

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PORTRAIT () 1 1 M r Alastair Campbell, the director of communications

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at the Prime Minister's office, agreed to give evidence about statements on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction before the televised Commons foreign affairs committee. Earlier...

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The defence of liberty

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T he overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime remains a triumph of British and American arms. Casualties have been . _ much lower than might have been expected in such extensive...

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T he word 'traitor' seems to be bandied about a good deal at present. 'So you're a traitor, then,' said the complacently smiling lady sitting next to my husband Harold Pinter at...

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Small wobble in Labour party: no one killed

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PETE"R MANDELSON D on't be taken in by the media's hyperbole; by comparison with summers past, this government is not having a particularly rough time. Of course, depending on...

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The Questing Vole

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0 n Saturday, the RSPCA will announce the results of the elections to its governing council. With efforts being made to involve the society in some sort of compromise on...

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Back to basic instincts

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Dougie Smith is not remotely embarrassed about his sex parties, says Rod Liddle, and there's no reason why he or the Tories should be Few people are entitled to more compassion...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade The opportunity to applaud French farmers comes along once a century at most, so an overpriced, oversubsidised...

Public scandal

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Ross Clark says that if you want job security plus good pay and conditions, forget the private sector and take up public service T o get elected in 1997 Tony Blair championed...

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Putin's not for trusting

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Andrew Gilligan on how the iron man of the KGB — the latest state visitor to London — is taking Tony Blair for a ride 1 f Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian...

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Self abuse

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Sean Thomas confesses that his addiction to Internet porn landed him in hospital I never used to like pornography — not really. Yes, in my teens in the Seventies I used to have...

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Mind your language

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Mr John Ross, a reader from Derbyshire, was struck by the strange juxtaposition of two phrases of different flavours in the second chapter of Scott's Kenilworth. On the same...

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The first casualty

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of Pilger.. . John Sweeney says that John Pilger blames the Americans alone for birth defects in Iraq, and overlooks evidence that implicates Saddam Hussein T _ he Americans...

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It could be you

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Richard Comber on how the crisis in nursing care is adding to the horrors of senile dementia D o you suspect you soon may be going to lose your marbles? And are you over 65? Or...

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Come fly with me

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Richard Branson reveals his plan to save Concorde for the nation M ost Spectator readers no doubt know that this is the 100th anniversary of aviation and that the patriotic...

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French farce

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Jo Johnson on how, once again, France has failed to become the financial 'champion of the universe' I t is Hollywood's most predictable script. 'Dazzle foreign investors, force...

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What does it mean when a man calls his wife 'not a bad old stick'?

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PAUL JOHNSON G eorge Orwell, born a century ago this week, is the only writer of his generation to be honoured by at least two uniform editions of his complete works, including...

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My other job is MP

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From Mr Andrew Mullins Sir: The thought of putting duty to the state ahead of duty to family (Leading article, 21 June) reminds me of that parody of jingoism from Chariots of...

Repel all boarders

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From Mr E. S. Turner Sir: Andrew Roberts's protest against estate agents' boards (Diary, 21 June) is timely. Like the unnamed historian he mentions, I too have felled many of...

Critics are chairbound

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From The Rt Hon The Lord Garel-Jones Sir: Under Lord Tebbit's logic (Letters, 21 June) the art correspondent of The Spectator should be exhibiting at the Tate, the opera...

The Jews in Germany

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From Suzanne Lee Sir: The title of Andrew Gimson's piece ('Within the German pale', 21 June) was an unhappy one for those of us with long memories. I have just returned from a...

The silence of space

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From Alwyn Rea Sir: Paul Johnson (And another thing, 21 June) suspects that 'there is no such thing in our universe as total silence', but the most elementary research before...

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Doctors' dilemma

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From Dr Jeremy Stocker Sir: Universities are not the only public institutions to suffer the distorting effects of 'research' and the need to publish (Rachel Johnson, 'Publish or...

Aspirations and laws

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From Dr Eamonn Butler Sir: Rod Liddle ('Crippling burden', 21 June) makes good points on the Disabled Persons Act, but he underplays the essential hypocrisy of it. Like other...

That's a lot of sewage

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From Mr Robert Butterworth Sir: I enjoyed Mark Steyn's article ('Others can do the caring', 21 June). There can be no doubt that some of the NGOs operating in disaster...

Boyish bard

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From Mr Trevor Lyttleton Sir: I was fascinated to see your City editor, Christopher Fildes, waxing poetic in your correspondence columns (21 June). I still recall the following...

Comic confusion

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From Mr Tim Footman Sir: Deborah Ross (Restaurants. 14 June) may know her sausages, but she is confused about matters of real importance. Desperate Dan was in the Dandy, not...

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The press shouldn't join the government in its mindless obsession with security

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STEPHEN GLC. , Ak favourite newspaper ruse is to sneak a journalist on to the flight deck of a Boeing 747 and then to suggest that we , -.are all at risk as a result of lax...

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The fact is that I don't give a damn about gay bishops

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MATTHEW PARRIS w r hy is it that not only 1 hut millions (I suspect) of my fellow-countrymen too are left cold by the dispute raging within the Church of England about gay...

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The tax monster opens a bleary eye and its jaws will surely follow

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES T ax is back. In fact, like death, the old monster never goes away, but it has been known to lie down and adopt a pacified expression which we may be rash...

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A crowd-pleaser but no classic

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Philip Hensher HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX by J. K. Rowling Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 768 ISBN 074755 1006 W e can all agree that the phenomenon is astonishing....

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Plucky little Estonia

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Doris Lessing TREADING AIR by Joan Kross Hang, 115.99, pp. 368, ISBN X1843430363 he Czar's Madman, the first of Jaan Kross's novels to be published here, was a treat for those...

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Sweet and sour grapes

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Montagu Curzon THE RIPENING SUN: ONE WOMAN AND THE CREATION OF A VINEYARD by Patricia Atkinson Century, ,I12,99, pp. 308, ISBN 0712623736 VIRGILE'S VINEYARD: A YEAR IN THE...

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A lovely patch of jungle

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Jonathan Mirsky CLOUDS OF GLORY: A HOXTON CHILDHOOD by Bryan Magee Cape, £17.99, pp. 343, ISBN 02240159799 1 n 1890 Hoxton, in the East End, was deemed by Charles Booth, the...

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A taste for the amoral

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Honor Clerk BEAUTIFUL SHADOW: A LIFE OF PATRICIA HIGHSMITH by Andrew Wilson Bloomsbury, 125, pp. 534, ISBN 0747563144 H ow disappointing that the creator of Tom Ripley, Edith...

Cry African Girl

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Up in the azure sky shoots the sun's rays The sun with its mellow rays Rises to meet another day, another promise To me it's not yet any hope's ray As more rays weigh down my...

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The logic of lunacy

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Nick Seddon THE AIR Loom GANG by Mike Jay Bantam Press. £12.99, pp. 306, ISBN 0593049977 N owadays it doesn't take a nutter to entertain the notion that governments or aliens...

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The days of the jackal

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John Charmley MUSSOLINI by Nicholas Farrell Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 533, ISBN 0297819658 N icholas Farrell has produced a fascinating biography of Mussolini which is bound to be...

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Before Rupert and Jeffrey came

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The first cold war shivers

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M. R. D. Foot CHANGING DIRECTION: BRITISH MILITARY PLANNING FOR POSTWAR STRATEGIC DEFENCE, 1942-7 by Julian Lewis Frank Cass, £30, pp. 475, ISBN 0714653993 T his is a revised...

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Taking the baton from Beckett

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Lloyd Evans THE WRITER IN THE STORY AND OTHER FIGURATIONS by Tom Richer Apocalypse Press, £25.50, pp. 382, ISBN 095259062X (includes CD) W hat a bizarre book. Any attempt to...

Opening the closed book

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Sidney Brichto THE BIBLE IN ENGLISH by David Daniell Yale, £29.95, pp. 900, ISBN 0300099304 0 n informing people that I am translating the entire Jewish and Christian Bibles, I...

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Jamais la politesse

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Rod Liddle LANZAROTE by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Frank Wynne Heinemann, £9.99, pp. 87, ISBN 0434009180 S ‘ light' : I think, is the adjective I'm looking for here, I...

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Pedantry and philistine parsimony

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Peter Williams believes that today's academics and scholars face unfair evaluation processes r he Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) was established five years ago to...

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Amateur delights

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Andrew Lambirth A Private Passion: Harvard's Winthrop Collection National Gallery until 14 September G renville L. Winthrop (1864-1943), a New Yorker of established family...

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Wonderful potpourri

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Laura Gascoigne Flower Power Millennium Galleries. Sheffield until 25 August o years ago, after Michael Landy's r spectacular destruction of all his worldly possessions on a...

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Insatiable curiosity

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Mark Irving Medicine Man: The Forgotten Museum of Henry Wellcome British Museum until 16 November T here is a glass cabinet on the quiet staircase leading up to the 4th floor...

Reach for the sky

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Alan Powers A s classical columns and cornices were As necessary to the architectural representation of high finance in the 1920s, so tall buildings are today. There may be a...

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Star vehicle

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Lloyd Evans The Master Builder Albety Fallout Royal Court A t f the Albery, beware of the Star Trek aithful swarming and buzzing around the foyer hoping for a glimpse of...

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Mid-career crisis

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Mark Steyn Bruce Almighty 12A, selected cinemas Tn Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey plays a Ireporter on Channel 7 Eyewitness News in Buffalo desperate to get the big job when the...

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Potter tribute

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Michael Vestey A fter reading the Stephen Potter books 1 - 1.Gamesmanship and Lifemanship many years ago, I thought I would put some of his ploys to the test. One involved how...

Everything but the ball

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Simon Hoggart ast year I noticed that Today at Wimbledon (BBC1), the main programme for people who are out at work during the day but want to catch up in the evening, contained...

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Off-road competition

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Alan Judd T he market for SUVs — so-called Sports Utility Vehicles — continues to grow despite claims that it has peaked, and despite the mumping and mewling of the Lib Dem MP...

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Ascot goes global

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Robin Oakley rr here are some things worse than back.' ing as many seconds as I did at Ascot. Late on the first night of the Thessaloniki Summit, where I had to spend most of...

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Trust me

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Taki I was about to tell you of a wonderful weekend in Devon, the Wembury House vs the Zac Goldsmith team cricket match, the beautiful young girls that watched it, the...

On the beach

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Jeremy Clarke ten to five the sun rose. Me and the ay were seated in our directors' chairs on the beach, mourning the embers of our dying fire. We were about midway along a...

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A life in a day

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Neil Collins E phemera danica is quite a girl. Nearly four inches long, with great wavy things at both ends, she looks pretty scary, and when they are blundering about by the...

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Song of Praise

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Petronella Wyatt I went to church last Sunday. This will surprise some of my friends. I am not noted as a regular attender of Church of England services. This is not because I...

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Jaspistos In Competition No. 2295 you were invited to incorporate ten given words that don't exist into a plausible piece of prose so that they seem to acquire a meaning. I...

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L , unching has joined the list of endangered pursuits. I don't mean the type that is eaten at the desk with crumbs all over the carpet tiles below, beginning with a hideous...

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From ruck to rap

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I t was Auden who wrote, in 'Atlantis', that in order to recognise the true you must first become acquainted with the false. You don't have to look very far in our relativist...

Dear Maly

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Q. I understand that, even though my husband and I are reasonably well paid (our joint income is 165,000), we may still be entitled to something called child tax credit for our...