30 JULY 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK F our bombers escaped in London when

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the detonators they used failed to set off explosives they were carrying. The attempts, 14 days after the public transport bombs in London, were made on the No. 26 bus and on...

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Don’t lie to us

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T wo weeks ago this magazine called for an end to the use of the phrase ‘War on Terror’, an appeal for which we were denounced by the neocon tendency in this country and in...

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U nlike Randy Newman, I’ve always loved LA in a completely

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unironic way. I love the climate, the light, the vegetation, the fake breasts, the lot. And the celebrity culture is impossible to get used to: I still get a childish thrill...

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Don’t be misled — the London bombs were a direct response to the Iraq war

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M Ps set off on their holidays this week amid a mood of national consensus. Tony Blair’s reputation has never stood so high, and its lustre stretches across all parties....

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The myth of moderate Islam

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Patrick Sookhdeo says Islamic teaching has been aggressive for 1,400 years, and requires radical re-interpretation T he funeral of British suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer was...

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Wake up, folks — it’s war!

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Mark Steyn says only warlike measures can deal with the threat facing Britain A couple of items from Tuesday’s papers. On the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian...

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Prince of peace

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Douglas Davis talks to Prince Hassan of Jordan about his frustration at Muslim failure to integrate with Western society P rince Hassan bin Talal is the almost-man. After 34...

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Prescott’s drought

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Rod Liddle says that the government’s house-building programme is causing a water crisis ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow, If it’s brown, flush it down.’ Advice on...

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Mind your language

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‘It’s a Welsh rare bit,’ said my husband carefully, staring at some toasted cheese on toast. What, I asked him, would a ‘rare bit’ be like that wasn’t Welsh? He was...

Sixty years later, Andrew Kenny says that the atomic bomb

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saved millions of lives ‘A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence. I stood up, took my cap in my hands, and was about to catch the dragonfly when... ’ ......

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Mind your language

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‘It’s a Welsh rare bit,’ said my husband carefully, staring at some toasted cheese on toast. What, I asked him, would a ‘rare bit’ be like that wasn’t Welsh? He was...

Giving thanks for Hiroshima

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Sixty years later, Andrew Kenny says that the atomic bomb saved millions of lives ‘ A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence. I stood up, took my cap in my...

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Matthew’s sad gospel

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From Andrew Macdonald Sir: Matthew Parris has decided to sing yet another chorus of the same sad atheistical song (Another Voice, 23 July). What is the basis of his comment that...

Islam and Jesus

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From Colin Basham Sir: How can David Martin, a supposed Christian, echo the appalling Rowan Williams in saying that Islam is ‘a fine religion’ (‘War and peace and...

Nobel rot

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From David Bellos Sir: Stephen Schwartz’s attack on Ismail Kadare (‘Literary courtesan’, 16 July) cannot be allowed to stand. Schwartz has published similar pieces before:...

Even Stephen

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From Richard Porter Sir: Based on her viewing of just three of Stephen Sackur’s BBC HARDtalk programmes, Miriam Gross has concluded that he is ‘pathologically...

Currant affairs

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From Philip Roe Sir: In your thoughtful piece ‘Just don’t call it war’ (16 July) you ask whether suicide bombers can expect virgins or raisins in the afterlife. When Islam...

Champagne moment

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From James Young Sir: The anecdote about Ted Heath and the brandy (The Spectator’s Notes, 23 July) reminded me of an occasion at Glyndebourne some years ago, when I spotted...

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Governments brushed these ideas aside until they fell over their feet

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W e should all be in the banknote business. It’s a licence to print money. The Bank of England made £1,618 million out of it last year, and paid every penny of this over to...

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Mullah Clarke and his frightening mediaeval faith of Europeanism

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M r Kenneth Clarke is the Conservatives’ version of that Muslim cleric with a hook in place of a hand. His every utterance to his followers secures enormous attention,...

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Two contrasting occupants of this royal throne of kings

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I n my lusty prime I used to write 1,000-page books on big subjects. No more. In old age my books are shorter. All the same, I love leisurely, multi-volume histories, and...

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Golden lads and girls

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Frederic Raphael I n the first century BC , the wrestler Nicophon of Miletus was said to have a physique which would have made Zeus himself tremble. He literally outstripped...

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Morality of bricks and mortar

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Judith Flanders T HE E DIFICE C OMPLEX : H OW THE R ICH AND P OWERFUL C HANGE THE W ORLD by Deyan Sudjic Penguin/Allen Lane, £25, pp. 345, ISBN 0713997621 ✆ £23 (plus...

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Recent first novels

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Rosalind Porter I n 1991, A.S. Byatt wrote an introduction to a reissue of her first novel, The Shadow of the Sun (1964), in which she recalls that she had: the eternal first...

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A darker shade of grey

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Andrew Barrow B ETSY : T HE D RAMATIC B IOGRAPHY OF P RISON R EFORMER E LIZABETH F RY by Jean Hatton Monarch, £8.99, pp. 368, ISBN 1854247050 T he somewhat starchy figure of...

The Schleswig Holstein Question answered

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Adam Zamoyski N ORTHERN S HORES : A H ISTORY OF THE B ALTIC S EA AND ITS P EOPLES by Alan Palmer John Murray, £25, pp. 448, ISBN 0719562872 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800...

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Giving it to them with both barrels

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Matthew Dennison D EBS AT W AR by Anne de Courcy Weidenfeld, £18.99, pp. 258, ISBN 0297829300 ✆ £16.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 L avinia Holland-Hibbert joined the...

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Vengeful brush strokes

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Allan Massie T HE P ORTRAIT by Iain Pears HarperPerennial, £8.99, pp. 211, ISBN 0007202776 I ain Pears is a risk-taking novelist. He does not repeat himself. This is no way to...

Bring on the Colander Girls

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Hugh Massingberd W HAT C AN I D O T O H ELP ? by Deborah Hutton Short Books, £7.99, pp. 251, ISBN 1904977391 L ike Groucho Marx I tend to be rather ambivalent about joining...

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Zen and the art of investigation

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Michael Vestey B ACK TO B OLOGNA by Michael Dibdin Faber, £10, pp. 223, ISBN 0571227759 A urelio Zen returns, this time, as the title indicates, in Bologna. Our Venetian-born...

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This green and pleasant land

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Andrew Lambirth on Tate Britain’s exhibition celebrating our landscape art T his summer seems to be developing into a season of British Art — with exhibitions of the...

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Quest for knowledge

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Celina Fox Princely Splendour: The Dresden Court 1580–1620 Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, until 23 October Sponsored by Hubert Burda Media, the Schroder Family and...

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Vintage Wagner

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Robin Holloway M y focus for some recent revisits to the Wagnerian oeuvre has naturally been the Prom performance of Die Walküre (reviewed opposite by Michael Tanner); this...

Making the most of time

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Nicola Christie T he curtain goes up late in Israel. Performances start at 8.30 p.m. or 9p.m. On a Saturday this is considered so early by the partygoers of Tel Aviv that it is...

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Silent witness

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Michael Tanner Die Walküre Royal Opera House; the Proms T he first revival of the production of Die Walküre, which was premiered at the Royal Opera in March, was so immense...

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Remake fatigue

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Mark Steyn Charlie and the Chocolate Factory PG, selected cinemas W illy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory came out in 1971, and if you can’t remake a movie after a third of a...

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Battle to the death

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Toby Young Mary Stuart Donmar Warehouse The Gruffalo Criterion L ondon has become so hard to navigate in the wake of the terrorist attacks, I’m loth to recommend anything at...

Long haul

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Michael Vestey I don’t know about you but over the past few years I’ve got rather sick of Islam, to me an alien religion and really no concern of mine, I used to think:...

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Playing it safe

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Taki On board S/Y Bushido T he island evenings are always subtle and slow. White-painted houses rise up steeply from the wine-dark sea, the sunset drifting over the hills...

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Pleasure seeker

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Jeremy Clarke A s the waiter removes her plate, he says, ‘Hoop-la!’ Sharon, who always looks these days as if she’s on the verge of tears, has got the shakes worse than...

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Home, sweet home

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Aidan Hartley Kenya coast W e are gathering to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday at the home where we grew up on Kenya’s coast. She is one of the serried ranks of great...

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Hot property

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In these pages recently Elisabeth Anderson wrote about, but declined to give the name of, a website that gives the price of any property sold in England and Wales during the...


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SIMON HOGGART A mini-bar for the connoisseur this month. Corsican wines are greatly prized, and for that reason rarely leave the island. It’s most unusual to find them here,...

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Simply the best

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FRANK KEATING H ooray, at least, for hubris. After all the optimism, fuelled by threatening boasts from some of England’s cricketers, the Lord’s Test match in no time...

Q. I have a six-bedroom house in Thorpeness to which

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I normally retire during the month of August. My problem is that there is no washing line and no way to dry sheets other than in a tumble-drier which is very noisy and, of...

Q. How does one discreetly establish status when outside home

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territory and moving in a new milieu? I am going to stay in the south of France with some very new friends who are both famous and mega-rich but who have never been to stay with...

Q. A friend of mine is married to a soldier

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who thinks of himself as rather macho. The problem is that he has a very effeminate voice, so when I ring my friend I am never sure if it is him or her as neither of them gives...