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No surrender

The Spectator

A fortnight ago this magazine praised the Prime Minister for a statesmanlike speech in which he made the case for abolishing agricultural subsidies and dismantling tariff...

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister,

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was forced by the presence of protesters to have a cup of tea instead of delivering a speech in Islington on nuclear energy. After his cup of tea he said that energy policy was...

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T he world is, suddenly and inexplicably, obsessed with the moral

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implications of penguins. The Christian Right in America, inspired by the documentary film March of the Penguins , argues that the life-cycle of the emperor penguin demonstrates...

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How Cameron plans to profit from the war between Blair and Brown

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A lmost exactly two years have passed since Michael Howard was drafted in as emergency leader of the Conservative party. He has done the job he was asked to do. He took over at...

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O ne of the basic divisions in human character is between

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those who expect the imminent end of the world and those who don’t. This can take a religious form, but in modern times it often appears in other guises. In the early 1980s, the...

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The end of Britain’s economic miracle

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Simon Nixon on what happens when North Sea oil runs out — and we have to do without the drug that fuelled the boom years T he New Labour spin doctor’s handbook has clear...

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Let Irving speak

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Rod Liddle says it is typical of the anti-Semitic Austrians that they should bang up David Irving for saying what they themselves believe I am surprised, incidentally, that our...

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Why bomb al-Jazeera?

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Richard Beeston says the Qatar-based satellite channel is becoming bigger, richer and part of the establishment I would have preferred to meet the man accused of heading Osama...

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Why Nato bombed Serb TV Did George W. Bush make

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a tasteless gag about bombing al-Jazeera? Did Tony Blair dutifully laugh? How could two leaders of the free world think it appropriate to jest about whacking pesky Arab journos...

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Public-sector scroungers

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Ross Clark on the workers who milk the rest of us by retiring early as a result of ‘ill health’ T he next few months may well see the political death of Tony Blair. But whether...

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Not all priests are paedophiles

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Kevin Myers says that the sex abuse scandal in Ireland is being exploited by ruthless lawyers and a guilt-ridden government T he nightmare of the Catholic Church in Ireland...

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Proud to be Thatcherite

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The Australian Prime Minister has been in power longer than Tony Blair and shows no sign of losing his grip. Matt Price reveals his secret Canberra J ohn Howard is defying...

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Saddam must get real justice

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Geoffrey Robertson says that the former Iraqi leader should be tried by an international court T he trial of Saddam Hussein stops and starts and now stops again for six weeks,...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

As the European Union continues covertly to impose itself on us all, one is reminded of the way in which Greek citystates, freely uniting after the Persian Wars (491–479 BC ) in...

The day I nearly died

The Spectator

Mark Palmer was spending up to £100 a day on taxis in London, so he bought a scooter. Then he had a prang.... I t was a glorious morning — and that was the problem. Turning the...

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Strictly for the birds

The Spectator

Tom Fort spends a lovely day twitching in Norfolk — and wonders whether it is time for the RSPB to spread its wings a little ‘I think it’s a whimbrel,’ she said uncertainly,...

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The Spectator

THEODORE DALRYMPLE One of the great advantages of a multicultural society is that it gives you a clear view of the varieties of human evil. If it were not for a multicultural...

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Birth of the internet

The Spectator

From Owen Mostyn-Owen Sir: Martin Vander Weyer’s excellent piece (‘The UN and the internet’, 26 November) should also have pointed out that the internet was a US defence...

Stars in their eyes

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From Walter Harris Sir: Rulers and politicians have always sought the advice of astrologers, medicine men, clairvoyants and other quacks (Frank Furedi, ‘The age of unreason’,...

Lightweight Cameron

The Spectator

From Professor Stephen Bush Sir: Sheila Donaldson (Letters, 26 November) is dead right to characterise David Cameron’s leadership bid as back to the centrist cosy politics of...

Tolkien in the trenches

The Spectator

From Graham Tayar Sir: I think Charles Moore (whom I much respect as a columnist) is wrong about J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (The Spectator’s Notes, 12 November) when he...

Gently, Jeremy

The Spectator

From Sally Williams Sir: On reading Charles Moore on BBC interviewers (26 November), I recalled a Conservative party conference in Bournemouth a few years ago. I was strolling...

Morality is local

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From John Moles Sir: Some arguments are so bad that it is difficult to believe that they are being made in good faith. According to Charles Moore (26 November), ‘the irony [of...

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Rape and male power

The Spectator

From Sarah Farrier-Rabstein Sir: Rod Liddle (‘Sometimes women share the blame’, 26 November) may think he has a point about the greater likelihood of women being targets for...

Victors’ justice

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From Norman Burton Sir: The more I hear about Milosevic and his trial (‘International law is an ass’, 19 November), the more I think that history is repeating itself. I was...

Conduct unbecoming

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From Professor Richard Holmes Sir: Although Bruce Anderson (‘Conduct unbecoming’, 19 November) could do with some help, he will not get it from E. Derek Smith (Letters, 26...

Conciliar confusion

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From Professor Sir Michael Dummett Sir: Paul Johnson (Letters, 26 November) criticises me for historical inaccuracy; even if he were right on this, it would be irrelevant to...

Weeping for Wayne

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From Peter Hughes Sir: Shall we be expected to observe the same Dianalia of mourning that has accompanied the demise of George Best if, heaven forfend, Wayne Rooney should now...

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My solution to the pensions crisis: let’s fill the gap with grannies

The Spectator

I n the sixth form, I sat next to Adair Turner, now Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, the pensions prophet whom the Chancellor has left crying in the wilderness. Turner was cleverer...

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What Mr Cameron should have said about belonging to White’s

The Spectator

M ost of those who write and talk about politics have it the wrong way round. In the Conservative leadership election, it is Mr Cameron who is the traditionalist and Mr Davis...

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Things to pray for in this season of Advent

The Spectator

T his is the season of Advent: the time of prayer. Of course we should all pray all the time and not just in this season. I am not a prayerful person but I do pray daily and...

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A flawed genius

The Spectator

Sebastian Faulks J. D. B ERNAL : T HE S AGE OF S CIENCE by Andrew Brown OUP, £25, pp. 562, ISBN 0198515448 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 D esmond Bernal was one of the...

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Sharing the knowledge

The Spectator

Nicholas Harman S TREETWISE : H OW T AXI D RIVERS E STABLISH T HEIR C USTOMERS ’ T RUSTWORTHINESS by Diego Gambetta and Heather Hamill The Russell Sage Foundation on Trust,...

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When the tide of blood turned

The Spectator

Noble Frankland A W RITER A T W AR : V ASILY G ROSSMAN WITH THE R ED A RMY , 1941-1945 translated and edited by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova Harvill, £20, pp. 378, ISBN...

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Gods and heroes made human

The Spectator

Eric Anderson S ONGS ON B RONZE : T HE G REEK M YTHS R ETOLD by Nigel Spivey Faber, £16.99, pp. 242, ISBN 0571215416 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 N igel Spivey set...

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A place of wonders and horrors

The Spectator

Anthony Sattin T HE C HAINS OF H EAVEN : A N E THIOPIAN R OMANCE by Philip Marsden HarperCollins, £14.99, pp. 298, ISBN 0007173474 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 F or...

Come, rap for the planet

The Spectator

Digby Durrant G ET A L IFE by Nadine Gordimer Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 187, ISBN 0747581754 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Y ou don’t read Nadine Gordimer without...

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Cookery books for Christmas and for life

The Spectator

Elfreda Pownall A good cookery book is for life, not just for Christmas. Fifty years ago many people had just one cookery book, and in Italy it would have been The Silver Spoon...

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Cocking a snook at Manhattan

The Spectator

Ian Thomson S UMMER C ROSSING by Truman Capote Allen Lane/ Penguin, £12, pp. 142, ISBN 0713999292 ✆ £9.60 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 B orn in New Orleans in 1924, Truman...

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Gongols and bobfocs

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans F ANBOYS AND O VERDOGS : T HE L ANGUAGE R EPORT by Susie Dent Oxford, £10.99, pp. 163, ISBN 0192806769 V £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 D ICTIONARY OF C...

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New virtues for old

The Spectator

John Charmley DECADENCE edited by Digby Anderson Social Affairs Unit, £20, pp. 240, ISBN 1904863043 I t can be reliably predicated that few Spectator readers will disagree with...

Recent children’s books

The Spectator

Juliet Townsend T he bookshop shelves are stacked with the usual bewildering array of children’s books this Christmas, and the first striking fact is what good value they have...

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The early corridors of power

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Andreas Campomar PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld Picador, £12.99, pp. 406, ISBN 0330441264 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 G ENTLEMEN & P LAYERS by Joanne Harris Doubleday,...

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Counting fewer and fewer blessings

The Spectator

Anne Chisholm L ATE Y OUTH : A N A NTHOLOGY C ELEBRATING THE J OYS OF B EING O VER F IFTY edited by Susanna Johnston Arcadia, £12, pp.270, ISBN 1900850966 ✆ £9.60 (plus £2.45...

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Draining our museums’ lifeblood

The Spectator

The government favours access over acquisition with dire consequences. Mark Fisher investigates F or the past 13 years, visitors to the National Gallery have been able to see...

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The Spectator

Ideal of frivolity Michael Tanner Die Fledermaus Royal College of Music Un Ballo in Maschera Royal Opera House D ie Fledermaus is one of the most consistently inspired scores...

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Unalloyed delight

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Andrew Lambirth André Derain: The London Paintings Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, until 22 January 2006 A ndré Derain (1880–1954) has a somewhat mixed reputation....

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A very British medium

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Angela Summerfield The Elemental North Messum’s, 8 Cork Street, London IY1, until 3 December Gainsborough to Turner: British Watercolours from the Spooner Collection Hermitage...

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Uneasy encounters

The Spectator

John Spurling N ow that Georgia is independent again — it was annexed by Russia in 1801 and broke free from the Soviet Union in 1990 — it is keen to reassert its identity and...

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Surprise tactics

The Spectator

Tanya Harrod Carol McNicoll and Jacqueline Poncelet: Paradise Lost Barrett Marsden Gallery, 17–18 Great Sutton Street, London EC1, until 7 January 2006 S uddenly the word craft...

Industrial relations

The Spectator

Mark Steyn Steamboy PG, selected cinemas S ometimes it’s fun to go back to an era and cast it in the pop vernacular of a later age. For example, there were no comic-book...

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Aural padding

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Royal Ballet Royal Opera House T here seems to be a problem with the way some modern-day dance-makers deal with music. Twice in a fortnight, I have been...

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Orgy of confusion

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Coram Boy Olivier The Rubenstein Kiss Hampstead Phaedra’s Love The Pit T ake a pile of bilge, add a bucket of drivel, stir in a few dead babies’ heads and you’ve...

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Moving the goalposts

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Peter Phillips T he appointment of Stephen ‘Sid’ Layton to the post of director of music at Trinity College, Cambridge has generally been acknowledged as a good one. Sid is an...

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Jazz riches

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Charles Spencer I ’m still trying to get on with the blasted novel, over which I have been procrastinating for several years now. Though there are occasional exhilarating hours...

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Seriously funny . . .

The Spectator

Michael Vestey T he American humorist S.J. Perelman was a huge influence on American comedy from the 1930s onwards and even to some extent on its British version. Peter Sellers...

. . . but make up your own mind

The Spectator

James Delingpole M y favourite programmes this week were Cold Steel: Ray Mears’s guide to the knife-fighting techniques of Anders Lassen VC (Channel 4, Monday); Das Reich: From...

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Just William

The Spectator

Taki New York T here was a disclaimer of sorts in the programme for William Buckley’s 80th birthday party and National Review ’s 50th: ‘WFB guarantees never again to figure in...

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Man with a grievance

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke W e’d been excommunicated from the eBay auction site for over a year. Non-payment of fees. They said I owed £4.17; I maintained that I’d paid it. And because it’s...

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Simply the Best

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING B efore both codes of rugby muscled in briefly with a flurry of Test matches, a month or so ago who’d have imagined the two most compelling contests at the top of...

Q. Despite misgivings, and only when further evasion would have

The Spectator

been offensive, I accepted an invitation to a dinner party from a successful architect with whom I have a perfectly amicable business relationship. My wife and I arrived and...

Q. As part of his mid-life crisis my husband has

The Spectator

bought a brand-new Maserati. It is his pride and joy, but the trouble is that, so far, he has been unable to show it off. We live in the country and invitations to large...