4 OCTOBER 2003

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PORTRAIT I _r 'J 11 H M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor

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of the Exchequer, made a speech at the Labour party conference that pointedly made reference to 'Labour' 20 times and never to 'New Labour'; the party needed 'not just a...

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Debt bomb

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S ir Ian McKellen's visits to Downing •Street were supposedly to discuss gay rights. To study the Prime Minister's conference speech at Bournemouth, though, suggests another...

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D id you have a nice holiday? I know I did. Did you find yourself in a hotel bedroom in Naples looking after four children between the ages of two and six? Two girls and two...

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More battered without but stronger within'? Pass the sick bag

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.(1)1hti PETER °BORNE T here are times when there is no alternative but to throw up one's hands in despair and just confess that one is not up to the job. A plumber, sent to...

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The Questing Voie

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T he National Portrait Gallery ' s highly superior toilet book Heroes and Villains (accompanying a new exhibition, it offers 'pro' and 'anti' essays alongside illustrations of...

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A party split from top to toe

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Peter Hitchens says that there will be no credible opposition while the Tory party remains an impossible coalition of irreconcilables with no feeling for old Britain N o power...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade The other day my email inbox included details of two special deals. One said, 'Increase your penis size', the...

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Britain under Brown

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Simon Hefter says only the Tories can defend us against the revival of socialism planned by the Chancellor I t was, as we now all know, Gordon Brown's definitive statement of...

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ove directly to jail

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Ross Clark says the government punishes innocent companies and defends its own monopolies 0 ne of the Official Monster Raving Loony party's most coherent policies was to break...

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The DIY test that proves BBC bias

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Nicholas Boles demonstrates that although Auntie always gives the Tories equal airtime, she still leans heavily to the Left Nv hen any aspiring Tory orator sits down to compose...

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How bad was Mussolini?

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Forza Italia senator Paolo Guzzanti condemns Fascism — and defends Silvio Berlusconi's assessment of Mussolini F or much of the past month Italy has been lashed by a political,...

Mind your language

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When I hear the word Internet, I reach for . . . words fail me. Veronica has been showing me round that dunces' playground. Pity the children who have to copy out bits for their...

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Dead kitsch

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The government has new ideas about burying the dead, but won't publish them because of the Iraq war. John Gibb says new thinking is badly needed M y mother came from a family...

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Ancient & modern

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Can one justify American intervention in the Middle East, both the wars themselves and the apparent establishment of a shadowy sort of American empire? If one accepts the force...

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The treason of the beaks

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Anthony Lipmann on the decision of Charterhouse, his former school, to sell the contents of its museum Nv hat's cooking at Charterhouse? Last month the school signed a...

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Purging the

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privileged It hardly seems fair, says Rachel Johnson, but the new higher education watchdog, Steven Schwartz, is about to recommend discrimination against elite schools T his...

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Watch out: the office management people are going to bully us into being nice

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ROD LIDDLE 1 t was one year ago this week that I left the BBC. At the time, people thought it was because I'd written something unflattering — and therefore redolent of bias —...

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A sad day for Tory England

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STEPHEN GLOVER C harles Moore is an old friend of mine, and I cannot claim to write about his eight-year editorship of the Daily Telegraph with a great degree of objectivity....

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Radical drivers who did not know

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their left from their right PAUL JOHNSON T hings may be more difficult nowadays, but in my time it was quite possible to go through life without driving. I dislike operating...

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A trip to the Moon accompanied by Debussy, Liszt and Wallace and Gromit

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MATTHEW PARRIS I t was was pure coincidence that The Spectator should have landed itself with our own space correspondent — me — as chance witness to the launch of Europe's...

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Deluding themselves

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From George Bathurst Sir: Melanie Phillips is right to assert that Blair is not a liar (Honest Tony', 27 September). She's wrong to think that that's OK then. Blair is a...

In denial

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From C. Francis Warren Sir: In the last two editions of The Spectator, we have had detailed examination of the BBC's EU bias, even if, as Peter Hitchens says, it is not only...

A lot to ask

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From Michael Bright Sir: 1 would like the Conservative party conference to bring back Mr Nasty. I would like to hear that the burden of tax is to be reduced to 35 per cent of...

Sainthood on schedule

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From Dimitri Cava lli Sir: In her otherwise interesting article, (Go straight to Heaven', 20 September) Anne Sebba reports that the Vatican's plans to canonise Pope Pius XII...

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Taki, FDR and the facts

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From Lord Black of Crossharbour Sir: There were several inaccuracies in my friend Taki's version of the origins of the Pacific war in 1941 (High life', 20 September). Japan...

Biter bit

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From Simon Sinclair Sir: In trying to persuade his nanny to refer to his children's evening meal as 'dinner', Damien McCrystal's snobbery overreaches itself (First, weigh your...

The vernacular Word

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From B.D. Kelly Sir: Your correspondent Dr David Dendy (Letters, 13 September) suggests that Christians in the pre-Reformation Church were not free to read the Bible in their...

The commissars of noise

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From Nigel Rodgers Sir; Theodore Dalrymple (`Nasty, brutish and on credit', 20 September) is absolutely right to compare the 'constant thump of very loud pop music' in...

Seeing off Steyn

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From Stephen Masty Sir: After reading Mark Steyn's latest column (If Clark wins — I'll quit', 27 September), am I alone among Spectator readers in sending a small donation to...

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Slogging to Byzantium

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Clive James W B. YEATS: A LIFE: THE ARCH-POET, 1915-1939 by R. F. Foster Oxford University Press, £30, pp. 832, ISBN 0198184654 y eats was a great poet who was also the...

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He's the top

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Santiago Tamaron WORDS OF MERCURY by Patrick Leigh Fermor John Murray, £20, pp. 274, ISBN 0719561051 T he perfect anthology, like the perfect hors d'oeuvre, should turn us into...

Happy band of brothers

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Angela Huth THE Two POUND TRAM by William Newton Bloomsbury, f12.99, pp. 192, ISBN 0747566976 V ery occasionally one comes across a book which, in its unexpected delights,...

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The run-up to a giant leap

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M. R. D. Foot TEN DAYS TO D-DAY by David Stafford LittieBrown, £20, pp. 366, ISBN 0376724777 W orld history is pitted with world wars. Last century was conceited enough to call...

Battle versus work

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P. N. Furbank ARCTIC SUMMER by E. M. Forster Hesperus, £6.99, pp. 87, ISBN 1843910616 T he great popular success of Forster's Howards End, published in 1910, meant that he was...

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Vendetta to the very end

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Anne Somerset THE MYSTERY OF THE DUCHESS OF MALFI by Barbara Banks Amendola Sutton Publishing, £20, pp. 250, ISBN 0750928409 1 n the film Shakespeare in Love, the young John...

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Zimmerman bound or unbound?

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Grey Gowrie DYLAN'S VISION OF SIN by Christopher Ricks Viking, £25, pp. 512, ISBN 067080133X W hat is going on here? What on earth is going on here? Christopher Ricks, the...

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Absolutely honest and utterly joyless

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Rupert Christiansen THE LESSER EVIL: THE DIARIES OF VICTOR KLEMPERER, 1945-59 edited by Martin Chalmers Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 637, ISBN 1842127438 I n 1940, before the ultimate...

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The love that dared to speak its name

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Eric Christiansen THE FRIEND by Alan Bray Chicago University Press, distributed by John Wiley, £28, pp. 380, ISBN 0226071804 A s you went into the tower door of the church at...

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An exceptional talent for failure

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David Hughes THE CURIOUS LIFE OF ROBERT HOOKE: THE MAN WHO MEASURED LONDON by Lisa Jardine HarperCollins, £25, pp. 422, ISBN 0007149441 T he charm of this unexceptionable book,...

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The making of a professional

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William Trevor WAUGH ABROAD by Evelyn Waugh Everyman 's Library, 419.99, pp. 1064, ISBN 1857152662 A II the clicheis are true: travel refreshes the taste for living; it...

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Five of the best

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Beryl Bainbridge THE LAST GREAT QUEST: CAPTAIN SCOTT'S ANTARCTIC SACRIFICE by Max Jones OUP, £20, pp. 325, ISBN 0192804839 T he blurb on the front of this mesmerisin g and...

Not such a low and dishonest decade

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Tim Congdon THE ROARING NINETIES by Joseph Stiglitz Allen Lane,f18. 99, pp. 389, ISBN 1854109308 1 fit is to be interestin g , contemporary history has to be a battle between...

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Fire from heaven

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Jasper Griffin POMPEII by Robert Harris Hutchinson, .E17.99, pp. 341, ISBN 0091779251 0 f all the places that have from time to time been devastated by the powers of nature,...

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For ever taking leave

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Victoria Glendinning MARTHA GELLHORN: A LIFE by Caroline Moorehead Chatto, £20, pp, 550, ISBN 0701169516 1\4 artha Gellhorn, an American who lost faith in America, was one of...

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And now for my next trick.

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Antonia Fraser THE ROTTVVEILER by Ruth Rendell Hutchinson, £16.99, pp. 384, ISBN 0091799465 1 t may sound an odd comparison but a visit to Alan Ayckbourn's latest black comedy...

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Spillikins of wisdom

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Nigel Nicolson WHERE THERE'S A WILL by John Mortimer Penguin/Viking, 17 7.99, pp. 182, ISBN 0670913650 T his is not exactly an autobiography — John Mortimer has written three...

Dark satanic mill

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John de Falbe THE CLEARING by Tim Gautreaux Sceptre, £14.99, pp. 374, ISBN 0340828897 I t is the early 1920s. Randolph Aldridge has come from Pennsylvania to inspect a sawmill...

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The Georgian way of death

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An exhibition reveals how Dr Johnson faced the prospect of dying. Kate Chisholm reports T he last days of the great essayist and dictionary-maker Dr Johnson were recorded in...

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Beguiled by Rubens

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Andrew Lambirth Peter Paul Rubens: A Touch of Brilliance C.:Umlaute - 1 Instittite, Somerset House, London WC2, until 8 February 2004 Devonshire's two-year-old son Richard...

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In two minds about Boris

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Michael Tanner Boris Godunov Royal Opera House Thais ENO, Barbican M usorgsky's Boris Godunov is a masterpiece; it would be absurd to deny that. Yet it is one about which I...

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Not staying alive

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Marcus Berkmann R ock stars of a certain age seem to be keeling over all around us. Cause of death seems to change over the years. Thirty years ago it was drugs; 15 years ago...

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I was wrong

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Lloyd Evans The Hotel In Amsterdam Donmar John Bull's Other Island Tricycle S ome devotees of the theatre may know John Osborne backwards but for us layfolk he seems barely...

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Seriously bloody

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Patrick Camegy Titus Andronicus Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in repertoire until 7 November I t might perhaps have been no more than coincidence that the...

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Testing times

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Felicity Owen looks at how London's major museums are faring A rt has recently been vying with football for the headlines, the saving of another Raphael for the National...

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Defined by 1952

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Mark Steyn D onald O'Connor and Elia Kazan have nothing in common other than that they died in the same week. But together they're as neat a summation of Hollywood as you could...

Dramatic delights

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Simon Hoggart S unday evening, and usually there's a choice between a gloomy, hard-hitting drama about social problems, probably on BBC2 or Channel 4, or else something light,...

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Not to be trusted

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Michael Vestey Xe assic tale of how governments can nege on agreements with people was broadcast this week in Document: Lucilla and the Lost Lands (Radio Four, Monday). In...

Presence and personality

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Robin Oakley A scot is not just about silly hats, chamagne and flushed faces in corporate boxes. The Ascot crowd know their racing, too. So when Russian Rhythm finished second...

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Memories of things past

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Taki W hat was it that Papa said about Paris? That it was a fine place to be quite young in and that it's a necessary part of a man's education, I believe. Also the bit about...

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Absolute beginner

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Jeremy Clarke had contact lenses fitted last week. I was Iso blind before, I came out of the opticians feeling like Paul on the Road to Damascus. That evening I went along with...

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Twilight casting

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Neil Collins I 'm standing plumb in the middle of the river; to be more precise, in one of the 'carriers', the result of decades of chalkstream management, channels which run...

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Quite another story

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Jaspistos In Competition No. 2309 you were invited to pluck a newspaper heading and attach to it your own surprising story very different from the original one. Hasten to your...

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I was chatting to a colleague the other day about wine writers, and how their tastes can differ quite considerably from that of the drinking public. I don't think that is...

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Gunners in the gutter

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MICHAEL HENDERSON T he footballers are fighting again. The tribes of Manchester United and Arsenal are unruly and resentful, and defying the world. Oblivious to the scorn of...

Dear Maly

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Q. For my husband and me the racing world has always been a source of Elysian happiness and this weekend we are taking our children to Newmarket races. There a problem looms....