2 AUGUST 2008

Page 5

Leader of the lemmings

The Spectator

S o madly introspective and selfobsessed has Labour become that it seems almost impolite to intrude upon its private agonies. Yet since the party is still notionally governing...

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E very six months the tabloid press shakes its pudgy fist

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in ecstatic indignation over some new film (usually French and about as offensive as a French actress’s unveiled breasts). Last week, it was a British film called Donkey Punch...

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W hen David and Samantha Cameron appeared in the newspapers on

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Monday, photographed on the beach at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall, it was a ‘defining moment’. For the first time in our history, a British political leader has clearly benefited...

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Monday V nerve-wracking weekend. Thought I was going to get

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the sack for leaving the mike on during Dave’s meeting with Mr Obama. Wrote a long email of apology to Gary cc Nigel for accidentally forgetting to tell the ABC cameraman that...

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‘There is nothing saying Labour will ever win power again’

The Spectator

The choice facing the governing party is between defeat and annihilation, says Fraser Nelson . For now, Labour is mired in ‘division without decision’ as Jack Straw, David...

Page 16

The tightrope walk and the terrorists

The Spectator

Sarfraz Manzoor talks to Philippe Petit, whose stunning walk between the Twin Towers in 1974 is the subject of a new film — and discovers the mirror image of the horrors of...

Page 18

It is commercial television that is really in peril

The Spectator

Channel 4 can’t afford Carol Vorderman and says it needs more cash for its public service remit. Nonsense, writes Neil Midgley : it is mass-market television that needs help...

Page 19

Mind your language

The Spectator

After Padraig Harrington gave an interview to the Today programme the other day, Evan Davis, the presenter, commented that he had never heard the phrase ‘amn’t I’ before....

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Jordan would have raised the tone at the polo

The Spectator

Venetia Thompson says that the pneumatic model — banned from the key enclosures — is no more of a ‘chav’ than the punters who throng at these increasingly vulgar events...

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In Cyprus, warm words conceal dark intentions

The Spectator

Don’t be misled by the notional amicability between North and South, says John Torode . Many Cypriots believe that Turkey is determined to annex the North, with our tacit...

Page 23

On Colombian ‘democracy’

The Spectator

Sir: Tristan Garel-Jones’s article misrepresents Justice for Colombia’s work by implying a common agenda with the Farc (‘The day I was kidnapped’, 12 July). JFC works...

Councils are accountable

The Spectator

Sir: Rod Liddle often entertains us, but his tirade against local government (Liddle Britain, 26 July) was an undoubted masterpiece of missing the point. He is quite entitled to...

Took’s demonisation

The Spectator

Sir: It is a pity Mr Hall did not read my article (‘The Establishment paedophile: how a monster hid in high society’, 12 July) with particular care, having berated me for...

Brown in power

The Spectator

Sir: The slow-burn political death of our subPrime Minister reminds me of a passage in Tacitus Histories [1.49], regarding the short rein of the Emperor Galba who came to power...

Lying about the dead

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Sir: Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s musings on funeral addresses (Diary, 26 July) reminded me of my own late father, a Spectator reader for as long as I can remember. He left strict...

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The really irrational thing once you have faith is to entertain reasonable doubts

The Spectator

U ntil recently I never realised that triangulation had entered theology as well as politics. But listening to Thought for the Day on BBC radio the other day, it struck me that...

Page 25

Getting beneath the skin of the tickling phenomenon

The Spectator

‘W e can cause laughing by tickling the skin,’ wrote Darwin in Emotions (1872). We all know that. Difficulties arise when we probe a little deeper, where tickling hovers...

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Rumours of the death of music are exaggerated

The Spectator

David Crow says the record industry’s attempt to clamp down on illegal downloads is belated and befuddled — but the good news is that live music is thriving again B ack in...

Page 27

Cold beer, smiling people, stable growth: where Gordon should have gone on holiday

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P aul Theroux, in The Great Railway Bazaar , paints a louche portrait of the capital of Laos. ‘The brothels are cleaner than the hostels, marijuana is cheaper than pipe...

Page 29

Not tired of this life

The Spectator

Philip Hensher S AMUEL J OHNSON : A B IOGRAPHY by Peter Martin Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25, pp. 568, ISBN 9780297607199 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T hanks to...

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The net result

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Sarah Burton V ERMEER ’ S H AT : T HE S EVENTEENTH C ENTURY AND THE D AWN OF THE G LOBAL WORLD by Timothy Brook Profile, £18.99, pp. 272, ISBN 9781846681127 ✆ £15.19...

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The world at bay

The Spectator

Christian House T HE G REAT W ESTERN B EACH : A M EMOIR OF A C ORNISH C HILDHOOD B ETWEEN THE WARS by Emma Smith Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 384, ISBN 9780747595915 ✆ £11.99...

Glimpses of past happiness

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Jonathan Mirsky M Y F ATHER ’ S R OSES by Nancy Kohner Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99, pp. 256, ISBN 9780340960240 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hat could be...

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Where statesmen and authors met

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Blair Worden T HE K IT -C AT C LUB : F RIENDS W HO I MAGINED A N ATION by Ophelia Field Harper Press, £25, pp. 524, ISBN 9780007178926 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

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The invisible muses

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Philippa Stockley H IDDEN IN THE S HADOW OF THE M ASTER by Ruth Butler Yale University Press, £18.99, pp. 376, ISBN 9780300126242 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

A country of ruins

The Spectator

Robert Stewart C HILDREN OF THE R EVOLUTION : T HE F RENCH , 1799-1914 by Robert Gildea Allen Lane, £30, pp. 540, ISBN 9780713997606 ✆ £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

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Corruption, celebrity and confidence

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Lloyd Evans talks to Matthew Bourne about his new ballet Dorian Gray and co-directing Oliver! M atthew Bourne is a whirlwind. He’s a dynamo, a powerhouse, a force of nature....

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Emperor’s vision

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Andrew Lambirth Hadrian: Empire and Conflict The British Museum until 26 October Sponsored by BP A fter last week’s Hadrian supplement in The Spectator , readers will be...

Page 38

Spectacularly disappointing

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Giannandrea Poesio Mikhailovsky Ballet London Coliseum I t is somewhat refreshing that the 2008 summer ballet season in London is not monopolised by either the Bolshoi or the...

Three in the park

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Michael Tanner La Gioconda; Pulcinella; Iolanta Opera Holland Park O n a hot fine evening in London there can’t be anywhere more delightful for an opera-lover than Opera...

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Mischief making

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Lloyd Evans The Female of the Species Vaudeville Hangover Square Finborough The Frontline Shakespeare’s Globe A first-class Aussie bitch-fight has erupted over a new West...

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Not for terrestrials

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Deborah Ross The X-Files: I Want to Believe 15, Nationwide O K, straight to the point, because we are busy people, right? And when we are not busy we are pretending to be...

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Tables have turned

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Marcus Berkmann T here’s a rather wonderful new book out by a man named Travis Elborough, which sounds a bit like one of those dead Dorset villages where every second house...

Popular marriage

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Kate Chisholm E arly mornings on Four have seen a miraculous appearance in the past fortnight with the emergence of the Evan and Nick Show. Not for years has there been a...

Page 42

Riotous ride

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Simon Hoggart A three-part series called Expedition Guyana was hurriedly retitled Lost Land of the Jaguar (BBC1, Wednesday) possibly in the hopes that viewers might think it...

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Tough justice

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Taki On board S/Y Bushido A round 20 years or so ago, Udai Hussein, Saddam’s boy, had some of his heavies beat up a man who refused their master’s invitation to join his...

Take my hand

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke ‘ G ordon, can I have your autograph?’ I said, offering pen and small notebook folded back at a new page. I’d butted into his conversation, but he swung...

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Devil may care

The Spectator

Melissa Kite T he really useful thing about relationship break-ups is that you get to eat up all the out-of-date stuff in the fridge without fear of food poisoning. It took me...

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Fishy business

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Richard Sennett A t a House of Commons cocktail party I suddenly noticed a friend’s face contorted like ‘The Scream’ of Edvard Munch. Could it be yet more bad news for...

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The king-makers

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James Sherwood apprises the Savile Row tailors who dress royalty S hortly before Christmas Mr Garry Carr, head of Gieves & Hawkes’ military department, received a telephone...

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What takes my breath away is the sheer anger of the comments under my articles

The Spectator

T here have been many wise and learned discussions about the impact the internet has had on journalism. However, one area that has been neglected is the impact it has had on the...

Ancient & modern

The Spectator

The recent exchange of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers for five living Hezbollah (and much else) has produced outrage in some sections of the Israeli press. Admittedly, it...

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Y ou need a PhD in astro-physics to work out what’s

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going on in cricket at the moment, so time for some simpler fare. Here are 10 good reasons, and I know no sane person should be thinking about this right now, why the next...

Q. I am sorry this is anonymous, but I volunteered

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to write on behalf of a good friend — call her Anna Finch — who is terrified at the prospect of being identified in the small conservative village where she has lived for a...

Q. Three friends and I enjoy a weekly game of

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bridge at each of our respective homes in rotation. When not hosting, we also take turns to pick the other two up to be driven to the venue of the week. None of us are in our...

Q. I have been inundated with applications for a personal

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assistant. On the principle of speed dating, I will be pretty certain which candidates can be eliminated within the first three minutes of talking to them. How can I move things...