4 JUNE 2005

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

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on holiday in Italy, called for ‘time for reflection’ after the French referendum’s rejection of the proposed European constitution. ‘What emerges so strongly from the French...

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A new Europe

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T his magazine has a good record of opposing the centralising treaties of the EU. Alone in the media, The Spectator came out in 1985 against the Single European Act, which...

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A m I losing my puissance or has something gone disastrously

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awry with the nation’s young women? It used to be at this time of year — just as the sun started to shine and the first green blob of plum showed itself upon the twig — that...

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What’s ‘nasty’ about the Tory party?

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Nothing — except the modernisers T here is a weirdness about the Conservative predicament. The Conservative party has won all the great intellectual and political battles of...

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I wish I could share the widespread joy at the great

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European ‘No’. Yes, the word ‘No’ is good. Yes, I feel the normal human pleasure at the discomfiture of the politicians. I have enjoyed seeing Peter Mandelson trying to worm...

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Now for the British revolution

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Anthony Browne says the French model has failed. Britain must now show the way forward — and save the European Union by her example Brussels Y ou might feel safe reading your...

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A landslide in the Midi

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Frank Johnson on how (and why) they voted in his part of rural France Dept d’Hérault O ur TGV, slipping through La France Profonde from Lille to Montpelier three days before the...

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The counsel of Trent

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Damian Thompson says that the new Pope wants to promote the Latin Mass — and radical purification B enedict XVI is the first pope in history to have gone about his daily life as...

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Reading for pleasure

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Olivia Stewart-Liberty finds that the British Library is buzzing with sexual tension T he first time I went to the British Library, I was waiting to collect my reader’s card in...

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Mind your language

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I have been enjoying in a way a book my husband gave me for my birthday called Shop Horror (Fourth Estate, £10). This compilation by Guy Swillingham of colour photographs of the...

The worst of both worlds

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Ross Clark says that the government’s PFI deals allow private companies to prosper at the public’s expense I magine you are a left-leaning Guardian reader with a social...

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Thabo’s tantrum

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Rod Liddle is amazed that the South African President should take offence at Gordon Brown’s efforts to help Africa D oes our Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, think...

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Mexican wave

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Peter Brimelow says that immigration is out of control in the United States Washington, Connecticut I f you read the conservative press in the United States — which in effect...

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ID charade

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From John Hunter Sir: You seem to believe that Conservatives have spent the last four years ‘standing up for local and national democracy, and against the tendency of the...

From Richard Rex Sir: In the unlikely event of the

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Prime Minister’s being able to bulldoze through his proposals for identity cards before the levers of power are prised from his frenzied grasp, I propose to refuse compliance...

Not from nowhere

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From Neil Glanfield Sir: Martin Vander Weyer’s article (‘Stagnant Britain’, 28 May) on declining social mobility might have been even more powerful if he had known a little more...

middle-class, educated and expectant ‘somewhere’. Jamie is not the exception

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to prove the rule, but rather the rule to prove the increasingly rare exception. Neil Glanfield Harlow, Essex End of a ‘panacea’ From Denis Mollison Sir: There is a good...

Episcopal contrasts

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From Timothy O’Sullivan Sir: In later life Cardinal Hume regretted choosing the cloister over training for mortal combat in 1941 (Books, 28 May). He would tell anybody who cared...

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From Robert Triggs Sir: It is greatly to the credit

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of the late Cardinal Hume that he believed in people’s freedom to buy private education. The late Bishop of Liverpool David Sheppard was much more politically correct. More than...

A burger to read

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From Wynn Wheldon Sir: I’m afraid I must take exception to Lloyd Evans’s defence of The Da Vinci Code (Arts, 28 May). While Dan Brown may well be smarter and better informed...

Clarke’s your man

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From David Meikle Sir: I often find myself in agreement with Charles Moore, but we diverge when it comes to his views on the Conservative party (The Spectator’s Notes, 28 May)....

A biased system

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From John Maloney Sir: Your editorial of 21 May says the Tories must fight street by street with the Boundaries Commission to eliminate Labour’s rotten boroughs. I’m sure they...

Painterly pique

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From Dr J.W. Millar Sir: I enjoyed Michael Prodger’s article on George Stubbs’s magnificent equestrian portrait of ‘Hambletonian Rubbing Down’ (Arts, 14 May). As a child I...

Tasty trees

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From Martin Kidd Sir: I was amused by Nigel Farndale’s piece (Diary, 28 May) concerning the disposal of his Christmas tree. Here in Berlin everything is recycled and nothing...

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It’s an overdue jolt for Europe’s tram on the line to ever-closer union

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T here has to be a first time for everything, and now the French have taken my advice. ‘ Allez France ’, so I urged them last week, ‘ votez Non, votez souvent ’ — and they did....

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When coughing drowns the parson’s saw

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F arewell, the merry, merry month of May. Most of it, in my case, was taken up in catching a cold, feeling it concrete-up my nose, torch and lacerate my throat, twist and file...

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Putting the ghosts to rest

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John Weston M AO : T HE U NKNOWN S TORY by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday Cape, £25, pp. 814 ISBN 0224071262 ✆ £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I n 1976, the year of Mao’s...

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Birds in the hand

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Nicolas Barker T HE L IFE AND T IMES OF A LLEN L ANE by Jeremy Lewis Penguin/Viking, £25, pp. 484, ISBN 0670914851 P ENGUIN B Y D ESIGN by Phil Baines Penguin/Allen Lane,...

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Brillo boxes and marble nudes

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Rupert Christiansen W HAT G OOD A RE THE A RTS ? by John Carey Faber, £12.99, pp. 298, ISBN 0571226027 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 P rofessor John Carey is at his...

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Jazzing up the Wilson years

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Alan Watkins E NOUGH I S E NOUGH by Mark Lawson Picador, £16.99, pp. 371, ISBN 0330438034 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 S ex, as Philip Larkin famously told us, began...

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On the scent of the rose

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Roy Strong T HE T UDOR H OUSE AND GARDEN by Paula Henderson Yale University Press, £38, pp. 288 ISBN 0300106874 ✆ £38 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T HE G ARDENS AT H AMPTON...

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When men were blokes

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Lucy Hughes-Hallett HEROES+VILLAINS photographs by David Steen Genesis, £150 (regular edition), £250 (deluxe leather edition, signed by Roger Moore) ISBN 00104351939...

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Lost in translation

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Henrietta Bredin on the prevalence and pitfalls of opera surtitles T hey’re here to stay. There is no longer any point in discussing whether or not opera performances in...

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‘How various he is’

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Andrew Lambirth Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity Tate Britain, until 18 September T he first question: why isn’t this Reynolds show at the Royal Academy, of which Sir...

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Rare Tallis

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Peter Phillips I n thinking about Tallis in this his anniversary year, I have come to realise that performances of even his most famous works are so rare that we are still at...

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Exquisite torture

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Charles Spencer C onsulting my records, as Dr Watson used to say, I find that it was in June 2003 that I first wrote here about the iPod. My former colleague Caspar, now...

Mean and sleazy

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Mark Steyn Sin City 18, selected cinemas W hat’s black and white and red all over? Sin City . Shot in noir-hommage monochrome, it breaks into colour only for its frequent...

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Rossini subdued

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Michael Tanner La Cenerentola Glyndebourne La Clemenza di Tito St John’s Smith Square G lyndebourne began in what is now the traditional manner: high winds and driving rain....

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Choreogra p hic

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kaleidoscopes Giannandrea Poesio Rambert Dance Company Sadler’s Wells Theatre A t first, the idea of a dance work based on Albert Einstein’s theories, including the...

Pleasures denied

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Toby Young Theatre of Blood Lyttelton Hedda Gabler Duke of York’s Some Girls Gielgud W ell, it wasn’t quite the theatrical event of the year I was expecting. Theatre of Blood...

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Philosophical consolations

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Patrick Carnegy Believe What You Will Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon A t Stratford’s Other Place, the RSC is putting on an excellent new play by David Grieg in which a...

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Dictators’ legacies

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Michael Vestey T he propaganda myths surrounding Mao Tse-tung have been exposed this week with the publication of a biography, Mao: The Unknown Story, by Jung Chang, the author...

Glimmer of hope

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James Delingpole T o be honest, I haven’t been watching an awful lot of TV lately. It gets in the way of bedtime reading and an early night. You think you’re safe watching a...

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Woody and Mike

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Taki New York R obert Wood Johnson IV is the billionaire owner of the New York Jets, an American football team which plays in New Jersey, as its crosstown rivals, the New York...

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Onwards and downwards

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Jeremy Clarke I was running on the treadmill in the gym in the new custom-built trainers I’d bought in Oxford Street. I’d popped my foot on a sensor, the assistant had pressed...

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I f you’ve never been there, get yourself to Waddesdon Manor, the vast French château in one of the loveliest parts of Buckinghamshire built by Ferdinand Rothschild as his...

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T he rarity of a British Lions rugby tour (England, Wales,

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Scotland and allIreland combined as one) makes it so resonant, so keenly anticipated. They kick off today against a Bay of Plenty XV in Rotorua, whiffily sulphurous...

Q. Two friends of mine would be great as a

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couple but despite having often sat next to each other at dinner, and even been out to dinner alone together at least three times, nothing has happened. I can tell that they...

Q. A friend of mine has recently acquired a helicopter

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and comes to visit me in our small hamlet, landing in the field opposite our house. Am I right in thinking this is something of a feather in my cap? P.R.E., Pewsey, Wilts A. It...

Q. I am a single mother with two children. I

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would like to repay the great hospitality I have received from neighbours in the six months since I moved to Cornwall from London, but cash flow crises have left me stumped....