30 APRIL 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK T he Mail on Sunday claimed that

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before the war on Iraq, Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, had warned Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, in a 13-page letter that it was questionable whether Britain could...

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Vote Tory

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G iven that most readers will have voted by the time this magazine next appears, we have no hesitation in now urging them to vote Conservative. This is no time for dwelling on...

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L et no one say that this election is going to

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be the same as the last. We are winning back what I call the buggy vote. That is the middleclass mums and dads pushing prams. I don’t know quite why, but I attach terrific...

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Victory will prove a humiliating experience for Tony Blair

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N ext Thursday Tony Blair will be re-elected with a fairly generous margin of victory: not less than a 50-seat majority, but probably not much more than 100. The Tories will...

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F ascism is a bigger part of this election than most

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people realise. We know about the BNP already, but the growing force is Muslim extremism. The tactics are nasty. Look at the website of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee...

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Why we can’t afford a third term

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Allister Heath shows how Gordon Brown has played fast and loose with the facts to portray Britain as a dynamic economy. The truth is that the Chancellor is a tax-and-spender who...

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Ancient & modern

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The replacement of one Pope with another of equally firm and loudly proclaimed views on a wide range of political and social issues raises specific questions about the...

Waste of trust

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Andrew Gilligan records the goodwill that accompanied Mr Blair’s 1997 victory, and how he lost it M uch is made, not least by The Spectator , of the waste of New Labour: the...

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Parliament of eunuchs

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Brussels is now responsible for half the laws passed in Britain, but our MPs don’t kick up a fuss. Anthony Browne wants to know why I f you are a Christian Aider worried that...

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Mind your language

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On 25 November 1894 in a chapel in the rue du Bac in Paris was first celebrated the feast honouring devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the ‘Miraculous Medal’, which...

Stop complaining, start campaigning

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Some Tories find the party platform too raucous; others feel that it lacks radicalism. Bruce Anderson says neither group understands the subtleties of electoral politics ‘L ook...

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Essex Man is alive and well and voting Tory

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He was always Maggie’s favourite. She loved him. He adored her. But as in most hot romances, there was a cooling. And finally the embers died. Essex Man had found another. In...

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It was better under communism

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In Hungary, says Petronella Wyatt , the euphoria that followed the collapse of the old regime has been replaced by cynicism and despair I was recently having lunch with some...

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My money’s on China

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Of course Beijing is beastly, says Mark Steyn , but its strategy of economic liberalisation without political liberalisation is working nicely New Hampshire D id you see that...

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Deadly recipes

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From Helen Boaden Sir: Andrew Gilligan takes a characteristically certain view on what the headline describes as ‘Ricin certainties’ (23 April). Mark Easton researched the...

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Only the Tories can cut the state down to size

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M ay I claim my prize? Unless I am much mistaken, and unless my internet searches have missed something, it was I who brought the expression ‘dog-whistling’ to British...

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An election won on the economy — or is it ‘vote now, pay later’?

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I found the Chancellor outside his local supermarket, conducting what he called a stationary walkabout. He had brought his spaniel, which canvassed the voters by licking them:...

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Why beeches are better than other trees in the woods

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I n his book of proverbs, Blake writes, ‘A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.’ That is true enough but it is not my treeproverb, which runs, ‘An artist sees trees...

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What’s truth got to do with it?

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Peter Oborne says New Labour has latched on to postmodernist philosophy to replace mere facts with a ‘narrative’ that serves party interests A s his premiership has persisted,...

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The age of anxiety

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Sam Leith N EVER H AD I T S O G OOD by Dominic Sandbrook Little, Brown, £20, pp. 824, ISBN 0316860832 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I f you can remember the Sixties, so...

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A long and winding road

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Sandy Balfour T HE P RESTER Q UEST by Nicholas Jubber Doubleday, £14.99, pp. 516, ISBN 1385607024 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 H aving read The Prester Quest almost...

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A master of ambiguities

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Rupert Christiansen W ILLIAM E MPSON : V OLUME I: A MONG THE M ANDARINS by John Haffenden OUP, £30, pp. 692, ISBN 01992766595 ✆ £30 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 S chool...

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Practising to deceive

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William Rees-Mogg T HE R ISE OF P OLITICAL L YING by Peter Oborne Free Press, £7.99, pp. 317 ISBN 0743275608 T here are two views about the morality of political lying. The...

Learning how to swim

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Olivia Glazebrook T HE G LASS C ASTLE by Jeannette Walls Virago, £14.99, pp. 341, ISBN 1844081818 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T he Glass Castle is a memoir of an...

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A cuppa or a coup?

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Neil Clark H URRAH FOR THE B LACKSHIRTS : F ASCISTS AND F ASCISM IN B RITAIN B ETWEEN THE W ARS by Martin Pugh Cape, £20, pp. 320, ISBN 0224064398 ✆ £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870...

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The shaky scales of justice

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John Mortimer T HE T RIAL : A H ISTORY FROM S OCRATES TO O. J. S IMPSON by Sadakat Kadri HarperCollins, £25, pp. 474, ISBN 0007111215 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T...

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Intrepid sisters of the Service

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Patricia Daunt D IPLOMATIC B AGGAGE : T HE A DVENTURES OF A T RAILING S POUSE by Brigid Keenan John Murray, £14.99, pp. 292, ISBN 0719567254 ✆ £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800...

The boy done good

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Caroline Moorehead T HE B OY IN E NGLAND by Naim Attallah Quartet, £12.50, pp. 217, ISBN 0704371170 T he saga of Naim Attallah and his writing career continues. For readers who...

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Unnatural selection

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Richard Kirwan on the idiosyncrasies of the art college interview I t should come as no surprise to learn that the World of Art, with all its attendant satellites and moons, is...

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In love with paint

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Andrew Lambirth Peter Coker RA (1926–2004) Piano Nobile Fine Paintings, 129 Portland Road, W11 (Tel: 020 7229 1099), until 7 May P eter Coker died in December last year after a...

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French connection

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Tom Rosenthal Jean Hélion Picasso Museum, Barcelona, until 19 June Paris and the Surrealists Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, until 22 May; at the Museo de Bellas...

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Box of delights

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Robin Holloway T he God of Small Things has enjoyed a fulltime month. The human propensity to gather, hoard, tabulate, display goes all the way from stamp collecting,...

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Regime change

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Toby Young Julius Caesar Barbican My Name Is Rachel Corrie Royal Court Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me New Ambassadors I t’s quite hard to enjoy Shakespeare’s history plays these...

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Aging disgracefully

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Giannandrea Poesio Ondine Royal Opera House Sylvie Guillem and the Ballet Boyz Sadler’s Wells Theatre I am perfectly aware that what I am about to say will upset several...

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Animal passion

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Michael Tanner Lulu Coliseum E NO’s production of Berg’s Lulu, first mounted three years ago, is one of its outstanding successes. Richard Jones, the director, seems to feel a...

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Remembering John Mills

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Mark Steyn T he Mills family, according to David Thomson, has ‘crowded us out with insipid, tennis-club talent’, which is a cruel verdict, but hard to disagree with. When the...

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Westminster tribe

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Michael Vestey H ow many times do we groan, I wonder, when at eight o’clock in the morning we hear Today presenters announce the names of the politicians they’ll be...

Mongolian massacres

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Simon Hoggart G enghis Khan (BBC1, Monday) was a remarkable 60-minute documentary. Normally, something filmed on such a massive scale would be stretched to last several hours...

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Irish on top

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Robin Oakley H umphrey Bogart once complained that the trouble with the world was that ‘everybody in it is three drinks behind’. He would have liked the three Irishmen ahead of...

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Making a stand

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Taki New York H appiness is a German pope succeeding the greatest pope ever, a Pole. Not everyone agrees with me. Blogger Andrew Sullivan, a Brit expatriate and gay-rights...

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Woman trouble

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Jeremy Clarke S un streaming in through the open door. Barman hunched over the counter, absorbing the racing pages. Jeremy Vine on the radio. I’m standing at the bar, the only...

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Playing the footie card

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FRANK KEATING O bligatory at election time are party leaders compelled to treat voters as dolts by declaiming lifelong devotion to the people’s game. In 1997 Mr Blair made a...

Q. Further to your letter regarding the telephone habits of

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foreigners, would they by any chance be Greek? Married for 20 years to a Greek, I am aware that no convention attaches at all to what we consider to be good manners. Calls will...

Q. Your recent (16 April) reference to ‘using the loo’

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dealt with an important problem, particularly to those of us who enjoy the doubtful privilege of using the Kent trains, which are regularly marked by the local pond life who...

Q. I am shortly to give a dinner party for

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an 80-year-old friend who very much wants to meet some neighbours of mine who are writers but very politically correct. My friend, however, has never brought himself up to date...