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A Scottish court sitting in Holland found Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al

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Megrahi, a Libyan, guilty of the murder of 270 people through the bombing of an aircraft over Lockerbie in 1988. His co-defendant, Al Amin Ithalifa Fhimah, was found not guilty...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 DEATH DUTIES G reat sympathy is due to the parents of the children who were...

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Z adie Smith has been compared to Martin Amis; it is true that both authors have pop-star status and cannot win prizes. White Teeth was the great British literary success of...

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They have no sense of shame, as well as no deep sense of Britain

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BRUCE ANDERSON J onathan Aitken once said that politicians who suddenly lose high office take two years to recover their equipoise. He was thinking of Margaret Thatcher and...

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Peter °borne says that of all the lies surrounding the departure of Peter Mandelson, the biggest is that he had to go because he lied AS I write, the paparazzi are desperately...

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Ancient & modern

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PETER Mandelson has been ejected from government for omitting to mention that he was personally involved in enquiring about passports for wealthy Indians. We seem to be living...

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The Chancellor's tests have been met, says Tim Congdon, but the government is too scared to call a referendum TWO rather fancy words were current in the British debate about...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit IF ever there were a case which summed up the futility of banning things, it is to be found in tobacco advertising....


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Children get free condoms but can't go naked into the school shower Quentin Letts wonders what sort of sick society we are living in A WOOSTERISH friend of mine, relishing...

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Anthony Daniels says that European breast beating over the Armenian massacres is part of the Dianafi cation of our moral lives I HAPPENED to be in Istanbul on the day the...

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Martin Vander Weyer recalls a tense meeting with the notorious brothers — and the apology they later demanded from him SUNDAY brunch with the Hindujas, the billionaire former...

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Mind your language

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MR Hilary Foxworthy is worried about things he learnt as a child. Or is it learned as a child? He even suspects me of teasing him for having used learnt as the form of the...


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Lloyd Evans follows the officials of Westminster Council to find out what happens when you die alone WHAT's your idea of a lousy way to die? Try this for size. You're 83,...

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Second opinion

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HAVE patients these days no respect for doctors? I think not. My mobile phone was stolen from my office in the ward last week, and it must have been a patient who took it. There...

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Sir Mulberry Hawke is the latest beneficiary of moral relativism

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PAUL JOHNSON L st week I studied the operations of two squirrels in Hyde Park. Their extraordinary darts, punctuated by moments of intense stillness, their curious way of...

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Moore on hunting

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From H.M. Thornton Sir; Charles Moore, in defending hunting (`Life, liberty and the pursuit of Charlie', 27 January), calls in aid the example of Jews circumcising their baby...

From Mrs Julia Pickles Sir: To write about hunting you

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need in your nostrils the scent of horse sweat, leather and the soil of old England; you need the atavistic music in your ears of questing hounds, and the joy and terror in your...

From Mr George Pitcher Sir: I was a libertarian on

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the hunting issue until I read Charles Moore's emetic article. His dewy-eyed nostalgia for the old social order (in which, naturally, he would appear near the top) admires the...

From Ms Lesley Bryant Sir: Congratulations on the brilliant article

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by Charles Moore. I think it is the best I have ever read. L.F. Bryant Crediton. Devon

From Mr Nick Gray Sir: The number of foxes hounded

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to death or put in mortal fear by a tiny minority — who, if Charles Moore is right, are engaged on a natural pastime — is infinitesimal compared with the number of creatures...

Lost for words

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From Mr Andrew Wilson Sir: Alexander Chancellor gave the correct version of the Auberon Waugh joke about Dominic Lawson (And another thing, 27 January). When he felt his...

From Mr J.H.C. Leach Sir: It is hardly likely that

The Spectator

Winston Churchill's last words were spoken to James Cameron at a dinner hosted by Lord Beaverbrook, if only because Beaverbrook died before Churchill — in 1964 — whereas...

Left or Right?

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From Mr David Watkins Sir: Matthew Parris (Another voice, 27 January) argues that the Left of the Tory party is needed to save it, as the Blairite Right saved Labour. The answer...

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Wheatcroft rebuked

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From Mr Robert Andrews Sir: In answer to a specific criticism regarding the New Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations, reviewed by Geoffrey Wheatcroft (Books, 6 January), the...

Aptitude tests

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From The Revd Leo Chamberlain, OSB Sir: Madsen Pities article ('How exams are fixed in favour of girls', 20 January) was interesting, especially to a headmaster shortly to...

Ignoble phobias

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From Mr John R. Gordon Sir: I do wish some of your correspondents would grow up. Mr Tom Burkard (Letters, 13 January) says that he is a despised minority because he 'suffers...

Tomlinson is wrong

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From Mr Julian Manyon Sir: Even in faraway Moscow, where the circumstances surrounding the publication of Richard Tomlinson's book about MI6 (The Big Breach) grow ever murkier,...

Holocaust memorial

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From Mr M. Fooks Sir: In response to your leading article ( - Holocaust abuse', 27 January): most atrocities take place in what we consider barbaric areas. What distinguishes...

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Why I do not want to be part of the lynch mob pursuing Peter Mandelson

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FRANK JOHNSON I n August 1997 there appeared in The Spectator a prophetic editorial. This might be thought a not disinterested remark since, being editor at the time, I wrote...

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Publish and be threatened, bombed, beaten up and tortured

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STEPHEN G LOV R T he Daily News of Zimbabwe is the most successful newspaper to have appeared in Africa over the last couple of decades. You might say that in a continent...

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marks for originality Allan Mallinson BALKAN BLUE: FAMILY AND MILITARY MEMORIES by Roy Redgrave Leo Cooper, £19.95, pp. 250 I never served under General Redgrave. Indeed, I...

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Outstaying one's welcome in the home of a tyrant

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After the

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Dance is over D. J. Taylor A WRITER'S NOTEBOOK by Anthony Powell Heinemann, £14.99, pp. 176 I t is no disrespect to a grieving family and friends, perhaps, to say that the...

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The search for a third culture

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Hugh Lawson-Tancred A TERRIBLE BEAUTY: A HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE AND IDEAS THAT SHAPED THE MODERN MIND by Peter Watson Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 125, pp. 847 I s it still a...

The Baker Street irregulars

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David Stafford THE SECRET HISTORY OF SOE: THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE, 1940-1945 by W. J. M. Mackenzie St Ermin's Press, BO, pp. 814 0 n the run in occupied Europe,...

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Hidden in the dark

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Jonathan Mirsky THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT by Alan Wall Secker, £10, pp. 294 T here are two novels here. One, compressed on to the back cover, is about Sean Tallow, a passive...

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A class act that will run and run

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Sophia Topley As the BBC prepares to screen a new adaptation of The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford's niece assesses the oeuvre from the perspective...

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Let's face the music

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Robert Lewis believes we ignore the rhythms of rap at our own peril T here isn't a culture in the world that doesn't accord the highest esteem to its original music, just as...

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Objective approach

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Tanya Harrod A good deal of current work in both design and fine art seems to be responding to an existential problem — why make art at all in such a full world? There are so...

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Steaming desire

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Patrick Camegy J oe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane returns to the theatre where it first opened in 1964 and with its power to disconcert undiminished. It's not just that the...

Simply the best

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Michael Tanner E nglish National Opera has got its new production of the Ring underway with a semi-staging of The Rhinegold, in what strikes me as an excellent translation by...

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We know already

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Mark Steyn W hat do women want? Who cares? Nick Marshall knows what he wants. Raised in Vegas, Nick is now a Chicago ad executive with a fabulous pad that's great for nailing...

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Quiet craftsman

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Marcus Berkmann I heard a rare thing the other day: a humorous 'hidden' track on a CD that might actually raise a smile. It cropped up on the first solo CD in more than 30 years...

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Sports overkill

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Michael Vestey A woman from Radio Five Live publicity telephoned and said with some urgency in her voice, 'Could we have your fax number? It's about Ian Wright.' Who's Ian...

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Perfect happiness.

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James Delmgpole A few months ago, our friends Dan and Nic moved from their home just down the road from us in Camberwell to a remote farm in Cumbria. To help them cope, they...

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Eclipsing all rivals

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Robin Oakley F orget Daley Thompson, Carl Lewis, Steve Redgrave or any other human specimen of the bravest and the best you care to offer. When it comes to sheer quality there...

On the take

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Taki L Rougemont ibel laws prevent me from spilling the beans, but a certain name caught my eye while reading the Sunday newspapers. The name was among those who donated to...

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Name dropping

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Toby Young I n my last 'No life' column I mentioned that my fiancée, Caroline Bondy, has no intention of changing her name to 'Young' after we're married and I invited readers...

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The worst snobbery

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Leanda de Lisle B en Fogle, the upper-middle-class star of the Castaway series, had hoped to use his new-found fame to launch a career as a children's TV presenter....

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I WONDER . . . if you can buy kids

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over the Internet, shouldn't you be able to sell them, too? To this end, I have set up my own Internet site totallyfedupmum.co.uk/dot/com/online/hair net — where I have already...

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The prodigal daughter

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Simon Barnes IT has become one of those Wimbledon traditions. Some time during the first week she will be playing a firstor second-round match at a comfortable time for...

Q. Last week I attended the funeral of a man

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I have known well for over 20 years. As the mourners spilled out of the church, I was approached by someone I know only slightly, who greeted me with the screeching cry, 'What...

Q. On arrival at a house in London for a

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private dinner party the other night, the guests were asked to remove their shoes as they walked through the front door in order to protect our hosts' new pale-blond wallto-wall...

Q. This Christmas my sister-in-law gave me a set of

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boxer shorts. This was absolutely fine, but she has chosen to give them to me in a colour which is khaki or, not to mince words, dung-coloured. I feel this is a slight assault...