5 APRIL 2003

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A n ICM poll in the Guardian found that 52 per

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cent approved of the war and 34 per cent opposed it; among Conservatives approval was 61 per cent, among Labour supporters 59 per cent and among Liberal Democrats 31 per cent....

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A fickle public

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1 , f the assault against Saddam , Hussein is not quite going to plan, that fact seems to have been lost on . the many shadow war cabinets meeting in session down at the Dog and...

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I used to be amused and appalled by the Pentagon-speak which

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developed during the Vietnam war. But now the almost Stalinist euphemisms and aggressive acronyms have given way to a less extreme form — a military version of corporate-speak....

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I feel a cold anger at the stupidity of this war

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L ast Sunday evening, weary from digging, I staggered in to wash and eat, and then, cup of tea in hand, slumped down in my kitchen chair by the Rayburn to listen to the radio....

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The special relationship between Blair and God

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The Prime Minister's religious faith is acknowledged, says Peter Oborne, but it masks a remarkable doctrinal elasticity 1 t was an unusual preliminary to the war. No British...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade One of the arguments advanced in favour of the war on Saddam Hussein's regime is that it will enable the West to...

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Mind your language

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Veronica tells me she is 'against the war'. At least she hasn't joined up for the Baath party. While she was making a placard or two on the kitchen table, I have been puzzling...

Where were the Americans?

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Julian Manyon was amazed to see the Iraqi army withdraw — and no attempt by the US to capture Kirkuk Kaiak, northern Iraq T hey say that the devil has the best tunes, and that...

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ust we flatten Baghdad?

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Andrew Gilligan says the coalition must show respect if they are to win the acquiescence of the Iraqis Baghdad he optimists among us were half expecting to be home by now. The...

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Ancient & modern

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Commentators are complaining that the Iraqi army is refusing to confront the coalition forces head-on. Very sensible of them, Quintus Fabius Maximus (charmingly known as...

A FEW years ago I stayed with my family

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at an ancient hotel particulidy in the lovely southern French town of Gaillac, on the river Tarn. Strolling in the market square we found a stall offering samples of the local...

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Leave Iraq to US

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Neither the French nor the UN should have any part in drawing up a new Iraqi constitution, says Mark Steyn New Hampshire I n Punditstan and Armchairiya it may be a quagmire....

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I don't understand how anyone could ever have thought that the organ of cerebration resided anywhere other than in the head. After all, one's thoughts certainly feel as if they...

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The penny

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drops Leo McKinstry reveals that gambling is declining in the UK — because the Lottery has taught us a horrible truth R emember all those grim warnings that the National...

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Happy hookers of Eastern Europe

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Phelim McAleer reveals the truth behind the myth of sex-slave trafficking Bucharest he reports of Eastern European women being forced into prostitution in the West are as...

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Children of Confucius

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Jeni Hung takes her children to China to pay their respects to their ancestors Quill, Shandong Province L unch is turtle soup, sea slugs or stirfried cicadas. The cicadas look...

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The last great luncher

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Robin Oakley mourns the passing of the political lunch, at which great men were bibulous and indiscreet T he saddest five words in the English language, the Guardian's Ian...

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Pointless, damaging tax

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Labour's tax rises are hurting the economy and failing to improve public services, says Nick Herbert. It's time for real reform ollsters talk about the tipping point — the...

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'That man committed a hate-crime.' What?'

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Well, he told a joke, didn't he?' c are more censored, or self-censored, now than at any time since the mid-18th century. The concept of the hate-crime, enforced with...

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The craven BBC

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From Captain Jonathan Tokeley Sir: Three cheers for Mike Dewar (A breathtaking achievement', 29 March) and Mark Steyn (War is purgatory', 29 March)! Yes, the BBC coverage has...

From Mr Paul Kellogg Sir: I read Colonel Dewar's article

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with great interest. I agree that war is a dirty, messy business. However, there seems to be some misjudgment on the part of the US military. Dispatches of 28 March speak of an...

From Mr Mattyn Partridge Sir: There's precious little to smile

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about in the press these days, so I suppose one ought to he grateful for the belly laugh provoked by Mike Dewar's uplifting comparison between the coalition's progress in Iraq...

Yarns of yesteryear

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From Mr Richard Bruton Sir: Max Hastings ('When boys were boys', 29 March) rightly sings the praises of G.A. Henty, the prolific writer of Victorian schoolboy adventure stories...

The oldest hatred

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From Mr Kenneth Strachan Sir: Melanie Phillips (The new antiSemitism', 22 March) is to be congratulated for once again highlighting this malevolent and potentially catastrophic...

From Mr Richard Hoare Sir: When Melanie Phillips used to

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write for the Sunday Times, I found her articles invariably intelligent and thought-provoking. Sadly, her recent articles on antiSemitism fall far short of her previous...

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Two kinds of conceit

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From Mr Gemge Liebmann Sir: It is startling that Richard Perle ('United they fall', 22 March) believes that the UN Security Council is a product of the 'liberal conceit of...

Foolish delusions

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From Donna Sherwood Sir: We are all very touched here across the pond by Peter Hitchens's expressions of concern over the possible prospective loss of civil liberties via the...

From Blair Gibbs Sir: The opposition's endorsement of this war

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has indeed been a tactical error; but there are other arguments than the ones Peter Hitchens gives. They should have avoided all talk of morality and instead focused calmly and...

We can't help Zimbabwe

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From Mr John C.H. Mounsey Sir: While quite agreeing with the thrust of Rod Liddle's article (Thought for the day, 22 March) about regime change in Zimbabwe, there is no doubt...

Font et origo

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From Mr C.D.C. Armstrong Sir: Paul Johnson (And another thing, 22 March) writes that when he was a pupil at Stonyhurst all the employees 'were Catholics from birth'. Surely he...

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War may not have defeated Saddam — but it has hopelessly confused the Left

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nor Robin Cook. At first we thought that he had effected yet another escape from an uncomfortable and untenable position, with his important principles firmly intact. And then...

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Nobody really knows how the war is going, partly because our governments lie

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ne of the paradoxes of this war is that most of us do not have very much idea of what is going on. That is at any rate what I feel. There are hundreds of brave and talented...

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Given for valour and won under fire it's the Queen's Award for exports

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.-ceds must for some, but I have never felt the urge to go to Basra, which has been described to me as a polyp on the Shatt-al-Arab. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office seems to...

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The best committee that ever sat

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Philip Hensher POWER AND GLORY: JACOBEAN ENGLAND AND THE MAKING OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE by Adam Nicolson HarperCollins, £18.99, pp. 288 ISBN 0007108931 T here are two literary...

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A selection of recent paperbacks

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Non-fiction: The Daily Telegraph Best Sermons Ever compiled by Christopher Howse, Continuum, £10.99 Inside Track by Robin Oakley, Corgi, £7.99 The First World War by Michael...

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Master of the merry-go-round

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Francis King CHINA by Alan Wall Seeker, £10.99, pp. 378, ISBN 436205467 S prawling, teeming with people and flooded with an almost malevolent brilliance, this book is the...

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Partial in both senses

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M. R. D. Foot AN ARMY AT DAWN: THE WAR IN NORTH AFRICA, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson Little, Brown, £20, pp. 681 ISBN 0316725099 T he general reader is prey to the...

The invention of Great Britain

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Raymond Carr THE MAKING OF ENGLISH NATIONAL IDENTITY by Krishnan Kumar CUP, £47.50, pp. 381 ISBN 0521771889 T he main burden of this book is clear enough. It is contained in...

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The heart of whiteness

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Robert Macfarlane THE ICE: A NATURAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF ANTARCTICA by Stephen Pyne Weide*ld, £16.99, pp. 448 ISBN 1842126741 H appiness writes white, it's said: so too, one...

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These foolish things

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David Caute THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF STUPIDITY by Matthijs van Boxsel, translated by Arnold and Erie Pomerans Reaktion Books, £19.95, pp. 205 ISBN 1861891598 p erhaps this strange...

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Among the goys and philistines

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Hugh Massingberd A SPOILT BoY by Frederic Raphael Orion, £14.99, pp. 291, ISBN 0752855840 F or some reason, almost every time I plunge into too hot a bath I find myself...

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Style of contradictions

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Andrew Lambirth on the V&A's vast and magnificent exhibition of Art Deco A i . rt Deco is the style that succeeded Art Nouveau, enjoyng a surprisingly long global Ai stretching...

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Slowly but surely

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Laura Gascoigne Richard Enrich Visionary Artist Millais Gallery, Southampton Institute until 26 April I n 150 years of coexistence, painting and photography have had an...

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Civilian thoughts

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Marcus Berkmann I t's a ridiculous business, reviewing records. You listen to a record half a dozen times over a few days, more if you like it, less if it's by Simply Red, and...

Feat of endurance

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Giannandrea Poesio Companfa Nacional de Danza Sadler's Wells Theatre A t first he was just a superbly talented, drop-dead gorgeous dancer, whose name prompted all sorts of...

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Courage and confidence

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Michael Tanner Ciboulette University College Opera Agrippina Royal College of Music Julietta Opera North R eynaldo Hahn's Ciboulette is a work of fragile charm, clearly in...

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Workaday activities

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Ursula Buchan y ears ago, as they say round here, there was such a thing as a 'blackthorn winter', a spell of harsh weather in late March and early April when the blackthorn...

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Sound and fury

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Lloyd Evans Crossing Jerusalem Tricycle Claw Greenwich Playhouse Lags BAC L crossed London to see Crossing usalem. The curtain rose at 8 p.m. By 9.15 I was crossing London...

Waves of discontent

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Mark Steyn Blue Crush 12A, selected cinemas I f your idea of a beach movie is How To Stuff A Wild Bikini or Beach Blanket Bingo (to name two of my personal favourites), Blue...

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Negative speculation

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Michael Vestey A l:hough I have found the radio coverge of the war generally impressive there is, however, too much speculation of a negative kind. There is more of it on...

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Death and

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Venice Simon Hoggart M irder In Mind (BBC1) was the last appearance on TV of the late Adam Faith, and I have to say he didn't look very well, resembling a mop on legs. Faith...

Back on track

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Robin Oakley W ell, hello again. The House of Lords, it seems, is not the only proof of life after death. This column, having ceased to be on 22 February, is now, thanks to the...

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Boat people

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Taki New York N atasha Fraser-Cavassoni first came to my ancestral country seat at Bruern Abbey, Oxfordshire (actually a let from the Astor family) at a very young age. As it...

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Fowl play

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Jeremy Clarke Q n the Saturday, hungover, we drove from London to Norfolk in dazzling sunshine. The further we drove into East Anglia the more wildlife we saw lying dead beside...

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Hard times

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Petronella Wyatt T cannot help but feel sorry for Michael 1Trend, the disgraced Conservative MP, who allegedly defrauded the taxpayer by claiming a whopping sum in false...

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1 , - .. 've booked dinner at Claridge's, in i Gordon Ramsay's

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restaurant, for myself and two friends. Now, the prospect of dining at a Ramsay . _ establishment is both thrilling — he is now generally regarded as Britain's greatest chef —...

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Two nations divide

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MICHAEL HENDERSON E ngland won a rugby match in Dublin last Sunday, and, in doing so, the players saved their reputations. Had Ireland beaten them — and they gave it a jolly...

Q. My parents-in-law have taken to dropping round uninvited. While

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I do not dislike them, they always seem to appear at an inconvenient time, when either the house is looking horribly dishevelled or lam. My husband doesn't see anything wrong...

Q. This may seem a very self-indulgent thing to write

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in about, but when I was lying in the sun last week I couldn't get comfortable because the arm of my sunglasses seemed to be driving into the side of my face whenever! tried to...

Q. How can I stop people sending me flowers I

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do not like?! have just received a bunch of gaudy carnations and gypsophila through the post from Jersey. This is not the first time. Name and address withheld A. You must just...