30 DECEMBER 2006

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The Year of the Voter

The Spectator

O ne thing is certain about the political year ahead: No. 10 will have a new occupant well before the end of 2007. Not since Eden’s long struggle to replace Churchill has an...

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New York

The Spectator

T he highlight of my year was undoubtedly interviewing George Clooney. I don’t mean to be star-struck, but in the presence of the square-jawed one my professional façade went...

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The Spectator

Well, here they are! My exciting New Year’s Resolutions for 2007! 1) Make more policy Controversial, I know. But after long chat with Jed am convinced that this is where I can...

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Two hundred years after its abolition, the slave trade will return to haunt Britain in 2007

The Spectator

I t is hard to describe the Slave Trade Abolition Bill 1807 as a Labour victory, given that it predates the party by a century. Still, this does not deter Tony Blair or Gordon...

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This is the advice my old boss,

The Spectator

Diana, would have given Kate Kate Middleton and Prince William are widely expected to announce their engagement in 2007. Patrick Jephson , who was Diana’s private secretary,...

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In Iraq, the West must show it is the strong horse

The Spectator

The Iraqi economy is picking up, writes William Shawcross , but the government needs time to establish itself. The Coalition must keep its nerve in 2007 to avert disaster L et’s...

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‘I have kept alive in me a sense of wonder’

The Spectator

In a rare interview, the actress Claire Bloom talks to Tim Walker about her divorce from Philip Roth, dancing with Billy Zane and her enduring passion for the stage O ne night...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

Conversation is an art in which we all prefer to think we excel, and Stephen Miller has written a whole book on the subject ( Conversation , Yale, £15), which turns out to be...

save the marriage she had earlier thrown Anna, her teenaged

The Spectator

daughter from her union with Rod Steiger, out of their house. ‘Philip had given me an ultimatum, but I shouldn’t have written that. I was ill-advised. There are some things it...

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The smart boy who was always thrilled by the story

The Spectator

Charles Moore pays tribute to his friend Frank Johnson, editor of The Spectator 1995–99, who died on 15 December: a man of awesome learning — and light touch ‘I n the Fifties,...

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As his last year begins, Blair still

The Spectator

hasn’t got the hang of democracy Rod Liddle says that the Prime Minister’s Christmas jaunt to the Middle East epitomised his confusion about what happens when people who hate...

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Contrary to the culture

The Spectator

From Edward Nugee QC Sir: I have in the past felt a little guilty in my belief that an Islamic faith school falls into a different category altogether from an Anglican or Roman...

Dawkins misunderstands

The Spectator

From Dr Robert O.J. Weinzier Sir: Rod Liddle’s recent article ‘A man who believes in Darwin as fervently as he hates God’ (9 December) summarises very neatly one of the main...

Kerry Christmas

The Spectator

From Mary O’Keeffe Sir: The ‘wren boys’ of Fergal Keane’s childhood Christmasses in Kerry (‘Ireland’s laureate of Christmas’, 16/23 December) still visit the pubs in Connemara,...

A symbol of our identity

The Spectator

From John Papworth Sir: Robert Stuart, reviewing a book on monarchy (Books, 16/23 December), says, ‘It survives as the fount of class pride and snobbery’, indicating that he...

Major and manners

The Spectator

From John Bone Sir: I’ve only just seen Paul Johnson’s article on manners (And another thing, 2 December) and would like to bear belated witness to at least one act of...

Going solo

The Spectator

From Rory Knight Bruce Sir: Marcus Berkmann, for so long the most intelligent of pop critics, should not be shy in nominating his all-time favourite guitar solos (Arts, 23/30...

Forever plashy

The Spectator

From James Macdonald Sir: James Young has visited impure sources (Letters, 23/30 December). On both occasions the first edition of Scoop gives ‘Feather-footed through the...

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Velázquez: the high, the devastating price of snobbery

The Spectator

T he Velázquez show at the National Gallery has reminded me that art history is not only about what was, and what is, but what might have been. This Andalusian from Seville (his...

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The Irishman, the Dutchwoman and the Indian who put the home team to shame

The Spectator

I t says something about how cosmopolitan the City has become that, for my money, the three winners of my personal ‘people of the year’ awards are an Irishman, a Dutchwoman and...

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When Peter Rabbit stamps . . .

The Spectator

Charlotte Moore B EATRIX P OTTER : A L IFE IN N ATURE by Linda Lear Penguin, £25, pp. 554, ISBN 0713995602 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘T he bride is a successful...

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From the front rank of Tuscany

The Spectator

Ian Thomson A MAZING D ISGRACE by James Hamilton-Paterson Faber, £12.99, pp. 307, ISBN 0571229395 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 G erald Samper made his debut in James...

Minds boggling in Nebraska

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling T HE E CHO M AKER by Richard Powers Heinemann, £17.99, pp. 451, ISBN 0434016330 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 N o 007, the hero of Richard...

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Grace under pressure

The Spectator

Michael Carlson T HE F OREIGN C ORRESPONDENT by Alan Furst Weidenfeld, £12.99, pp. 278, ISBN 0297848291 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n Alan Furst’s nine novels, it...

An extraordinarily ordinary life

The Spectator

Patrick Boyle J AMES S TEWART by Marc Eliot Aurum, £20, pp. 448, ISBN 1845131819 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W ho is the greatest male film star of all time? Marlon...

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The clash of the armoured megalosaurs

The Spectator

Victor Sebestyen E UROPE A T W AR 1939-1945 by Norman Davies Macmillan, £25, pp. 456, ISBN 0333692853 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘I f ‘justice were done’, writes...

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The almost lost art of astonishment

The Spectator

Sheridan Morley H ONKY T ONK P ARADE : N EW Y ORKER P ROFILES OF S HOW P EOPLE by John Lahr Duckworth, £14.99, pp. 308, ISBN 0715635441 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

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A Grand Tour of wet Wales

The Spectator

Byron Rogers PENNANT edited by Gwyn Walters, with woodcuts by Rigby Graham The Gregynog Press, £750, pp.163, ISBN 0954983912 P ennant should have been a publishing sensation,...

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Visual treats for 2007

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth finds plenty of exhibitions to look forward to in the coming year A lthough it must be a nightmare to administer a museum in these philistine and...

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Festive delight

The Spectator

Robin Holloway A couple of Christmases ago I recommended in this column an exceedingly unfestive offering: Torsten Rasch’s song cycle/symphony Mein Herz brennt with its...

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Liberal baiting

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Pride and Prejudice and Niggas Arts Cinderella Hackney Empire Much Ado About Nothing Novello R eginald D. Hunter watches TV crime reports in a state of near panic....

Taking the plunge

The Spectator

Patrick Carnegy Merry Wives: The Musical Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon Avon S hakespeare’s ill-advised reimagining of Falstaff as a buffoon at large in Windsor has...

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My last chance

The Spectator

James Delingpole E nough TV already! Yes it’s that time of year when I drop all pretence of telly reviewing and talk totally about myself. And anyone who doesn’t like it can b—...

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Sweet singing in the choir

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm Y ou won’t yet have made your New Year resolutions but one thing you might want to add to your list is Join a Choir. It’ll be much cheaper and so much less boring...

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History lesson

The Spectator

Taki O K, 2007 is upon us, and the end of history, as in Francis Fukuyama’s fearless forecast of 1990, has turned out to be full of you-know-what. In fact, never in seven...

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Transmission impossible

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke M y deadline was past. I could imagine the editor drumming his fingers impatiently on the desk. I had the article all written up on my handsome new laptop...

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Mark Palmer says that St Anton is a great resort

The Spectator

even without snow W e all have our ski chalet horrors. Mine came while staying in the swanky French resort of Megève in the mid-1980s and it put me off the whole caper for at...

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Heaven’s XI

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING R equiems for heavyweights: sporting history’s seven super-dupers who died in 2006 were, at 79, football’s Ferenc Puskas, cricket’s Fred Trueman (75) and Sir...

Q. Six months ago an acquaintance asked me to lunch

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in the country, apparently to discuss some business she might be able to put my way. I don’t drive and the journey there and back was gruelling, involving taking a tube, then a...

viewing time, but she is allowed to watch Friends every

The Spectator

morning for half an hour before school. Now her godmother (one of my husband’s best friends) has given her the entire Friends series on DVD. This effectively condemns our family...