29 MARCH 2003

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hat we will encounter more difficulties and anxious moments in

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the days ahead is certain.' Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said in the Commons after four days of war against Iraq. 'but no less certain, indeed more so, is coalition...

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Losing at home

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0 ne of the enduring images of the second Gulf war will be the sight of Hollywood's finest ' blubbing their way through their acceptance speeches at the Oscars. 'My hormones are...

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I reakfast with Frost (the actual breakfast, not the programme ) which

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precedes it) is usually a rather jolly affair. Uniquely in today's cost-conscious BBC — where, if you're lucky, you'll get a plastic cup of some thin brown liquid called...

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The US faces a terrible choice start killing civilians or hand the initiative to Saddam

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I 4 enin remarked that there were decades in which history would stand still, and weeks when it would move forward by a decade. This is one of those terrible weeks when history...

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Tile Questing Voila S t Stephen's Club, the venerable sluicing hole

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in Queen Anne's Gate, lately auctioned off a number of its art works to its members. Among the lots on offer were photographs of recent Tory leaders, which allowed, as it were,...

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This is no cakewalk; this is war

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Some Iraqis are fighting out of fear, says Tim Butcher, but others are motivated by love of country and family Umm Qasr T , he shriek of artillery shells has died away from Umm...

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A breathtaking achievement

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Mike Dewar on how the press has got it wrong O (Aver the first week of the war in Iraq there has been a quite extraordinary mismatch between the perceptions of the coalition...

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War is purgatory

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Iraq is going well, with few casualties: Mark Steyn hails American ingenuity and moral superiority New Hampshire 1 'm writing this a few hours before deadline. So by the time...

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Mind your language

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The war has brought to our ears a whole new world of words. We learn about the existence of Umm 0asm. Is that from the same Arabic word qacr, 'castle', that gives us alcazar?...

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ormal hostilities to be resumed shortly

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Simon Heifer says there are opportunities ahead for the Tories — if they can forget about dumping Duncan Smith lithe political parties — the Tories convincingly, Labour...

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The gulf of incomprehension

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Tim Shipman on the irony-free zone in which the official press briefings take place USCentral Command, Doha, Qatar T he first clue that this would be a media war unlike any...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade Although much overshadowed by the war in Iraq, environmentalists, businessmen and charity workers met at the...

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ot in our name

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Peter Hitchens says that this is a left-wing conflict and Conservatives should not support it T , here is nothing conservative about war. For at least the last century war has...

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Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone

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Mary Wakefield finds that the pupils of Wycombe Abbey and Eton are not learning their anti-war lessons T he sight of London teeming with pacifist children last week sent...

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When boys were boys

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Max Hastings finds comfort in G.A. Henty, the Victorian writer of schoolboy thrillers and object of fastidious sneering any people are suffering a surfeit of reality this...

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Blood, oil, tears and sweat

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Rod Liddle says that the most obvious spoils of war are going to American, not British, companies A question for you. How much money do you think has been secured in contracts...

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Israel and Palestine

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From Rabbi Dr David J. Goldberg Sir: It really is time to take issue with Melanie Phillips and her talk of 'a terrifying firestorm of hatred' being directed at the state of...

From Jeanne Zanger Sir: I want to express deep gratitude

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for giving your readers the opportunity to read Melanie Phillips's article. It saddens me that a great nation like Great Britain should allow the mistruths, lies and distortions...

I didn't write that

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From Dr Hugh Roberts Sir: David Pryce-Jones's review (Books, 15 March) of The Battlefield: Algeria 1988-2002 passes off his own misconceptions of Algerian politics as if my...

We're full of Liffe

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From Sir Brian Williamson Sir: Simon Jenkins (Books, 15 March) rightly praises Philip Ward-Jackson's book Public Sculpture of the City of London. However, Jenkins writes that...

PC world of the NYT

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From Mr Claus von 'Allow Sir: Boris Johnson (Well, hush my mouth', 22 March) expresses surprise at the politically correct censorship which rules at the New York Times. This is...

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An ideal wartime coalition government would not be led by Tony Blair

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T raditionally, Britain's big wars do not end with the same prime minister, war Cabinet and Cabinet that started them. What if this present war were a bigger, different one? To...

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Anti-war journalists hope for the worst because the worst will prove them right

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Nv e journalists think pretty highly of ourselves. I don't mean the chap who touches up photographs of Page Three girls; he may have a proper sense of his place in the universe....

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The Ides of Much are come.' 'Aye, Caesar, but not gone' it's the smith

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n the Ides of March I went into the soothsaying business. Shares would bounce with relief, I said, if a war in the Gulf turned out to be swift and successful. As sooths go,...

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Who is the most evil creature to have done wickedness in our day?

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ast week has set me thinking about evil and the need to establish a hierarchy of wickedness among the men who unleash it on the world. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Lenin, for...

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The battle for Notting Hill

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Aubrey Square is not for Rachel Johnson, even if she could afford it j r. ohn Prescott's plans to erect hundreds of thousands of new homes on — I'm going to use that disgusting...

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Blarney market

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Karen Robinson A recent news story in the Irish Times began: 'A court has been asked to settle a dispute between a Dublin lesbian couple over the proceeds from their €470,000...

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Killing fields

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Mira Bar-Hillel CO just what was that Matt Crawford up to in Midsummer Meadow? For the benefit of the one or two of you who are not Archers fans, a villain of a property...

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No mod cons

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Jeremy Clarke A nybody with that ineffable longing to up sticks and go and live in the past might consider Lake Farm, Poundsgate, on Dartmoor, a 14th-century granite and thatch...

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The fatal Dogberry tendency

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A. N. Wilson THE DIARIES OF A. L. ROWSE edited by Richard 01lard Allen Lane, 125, pp. 462 ISBN 0713995726 J n June 1959, A. L. Rowse was sitting on a train in the United...

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Tales of the unexpected

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Lloyd Evans FROM THE EDGE OF THE COUCH by Raj Persaud Transworld, 112.99, pp. 492 ISBN 059304696X H ow's this for a good opening? ,, took out a gun and painted the bullets...

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The young, red-haired man in the cupboard

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Byron Rogers SHAKESPEARE'S FACE by Stephanie Nolen Piatkus, 1:18.99, pp. 365 ISBN 0749923911 I f this had a third act it would make a superb film, for the cast list is...

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Old Wasp with a weak sting

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Harry Mount DREAMING WAR by Gore Vidal Clairview, £9.95, pp. 197, ISBN 1902636414 T he pleasure boat captains who ply the coast of the Gulf of Salerno beneath Gore Vidal's...

What voice can do

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Candia McWilliam PERSONALITY by Andrew O'Hagan Faber, fl 6.99, pp. 325, ISBN 05 76195016 T here was recently, in the serious and excellent Saturday Guardian review, a short...

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Tormented Prince Charming

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Douglas Johnson PRINCE OF EUROPE: THE LIFE OF CHARLES JOSEPH DE LIGNE, 1735-1814 by Philip Mansel Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 338 ISBN 1842127314 T he story begins at the château of...

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Still on his feet in the twelfth round

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Roger Lewis THE SPOOKY ART: SOME THOUGHTS ON WRITING by Norman Mailer Little Brown, £20, pp. 330, ISBN 0316725757 N orman Mailer was 80 years old on 31 January 2003, so let us...

March 2003

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With slow and lingering steps he walked away Far down the long wide path between the trees And there was nothing I could do but pray. The path he took would lead across the...

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A parable of a lost talent

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Andrew Gimson CRABWALK by Gfinter Grass, translated by Krishna Winston Faber, £16.99, pp. 234, ISBN 0571216501 PT'S he advantage of Crabwalk is that it is only a third as...

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Serving Christ and colonialism

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Sara Wheeler THE SWORD AND THE CROSS by Fergus Fleming Granta, £20, pp, 350, ISBN 1862075271 F ergus Fleming is thc author of three volumes of narrative history, the best of...

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Cobra's heroic self-belief

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Laura Gascoigne on the vibrant paintings showing at Gateshead's Centre for Contemporary Art u nlike the old Co-Op building on the Newcastle bank of the Tyne, which has...

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Playing with scale

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Andrew Lambirth Ron Mueck: Making Sculpture at the National Gallery National Gallery until 22 June Tn 1990, the National Gallery appointed 1Paula Rego as its first Associate...

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Enduring legacies

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Robin Holloway W e have in recent weeks lost two memorably larger-than-life characters whose contribution to the richness of our musical culture was quite outstanding. One —...

Understated affair

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Michael Tanner Madam Butterfly Royal Opera House Ariadne on Naxos; Die Fledermaus English Touring Opera, Cambridge M adama Butterfly is a great opera, by far Puccini's finest,...

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Oscar gloom

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Mark Steyn G Cod bless Michael Moore! The corpulent provocateur didn't deserve to win the Best Documentary Oscar — Bowling For Columbine is (to put it at its mildest) grossly...

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Irony-free zone

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Toby Young The Laramie Project Cochrane Ragtime Piccadilly Racing Demon Birmingham Repertory Q n the face of it, The Laramie Project doesn't look very promising. It's one of...

Cool customers

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Patrick Carnegy As You Like It Swan Theatre, Stratford S tratford emerges from winter hibernation with an As You Like Jr that, not inappropriately, takes a chill view of this...

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Study in contrasts

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Giannandrea Poesio The Sleeping Beauty Royal Opera House A s g promised, I went back. And I am lad I did. My second visit to the Royal Ballet's new production of the 1890...

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Reluctant warrior

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Michael Vestey R adio has covered the war with Iraq with some distinction in its extended news and current affairs programmes. Radio Five Live's more flexible format enabled it...

I don't believe it

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James Delingpole T heproblem with Walking With Dinosaurs and Walking With Beasts was that anyone with even a fraction of a brain knew that they were a load of madeup rubbish...

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Good night to the season

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Charles Moore A [though it is only mid-March, I am writing this column outdoors. In these last two days the tide has turned in the annual war between cold and warmth. No doubt...

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Sofa samurais

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Taki Gstaad I t seems obscene to be sunning oneself in the Alps while brave men on both sides are dying in Iraq, so I will dispense with the High life, My friend Charlie Glass...

Political fantasy

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Jeremy Clarke I couldn't sleep. I turned over again and opened my eyes. Her Majesty the Queen was there, as usual, between me and the 105-year-old lady I'm sleeping with at the...

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Chance encounters

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Aidan Hartley Laikipia There I was, striding down the red-dirt 1 road of Rumuruti under the jacaranda trees in my flip-flops on market day this week, when a Samburu fellow...

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Quick thinking

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Petronella Wyatt D uring the second world war my mother and my aunt were young girls living in Budapest. The city came under heavy allied bombardment and a once great and...

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Constellation of Leo

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MICHAEL HENDERSON T he world has been going to the dogs for as long as anybody can remember, but it seems there is a particular urgency about our current rush towards the...

Q. At a party the other day a friend of

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mine took a canapé off a loaded plate that was being carried by someone she thought was one of the catering staff, only to realise, on account of the woman's astonished look,...

Q. An acquaintance of mine has a penchant for sticking

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things 'where the sun don't shine' in a vain attempt to gain attention at weekend country gatherings. His original prop was a cigar, which he used in a presidential if...

Q. As the picnic season is now upon us, I

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am beginning to worry about what protocol I should follow when I see a fellow-picnicker discarding litter. E.B., Lewes, East Sussex A. Why not follow the example set by the...