5 APRIL 2008

Page 5

The real immigration lie

The Spectator

Y et again, New Labour’s predilection for spin and misleading statistics has landed the government in trouble. Ministers have long been fond of making the argument for...

Page 9

M y dinner parties are an exercise in patience. People used

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to tell me how much money they’d made buying in Islington when they did. ‘Good for you,’ I’d say, hating them just a little. I’ve noticed that recently my friends have stopped...

Page 10

Watch the Tories sidling up to the Lib Dems: the foundations for a post-election pact

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N ow that Francis Maude is no longer lurking around Conservative headquarters dampening any high spirits he might encounter, bubbles of optimism are allowed to float with...

Page 11

I f Boris Johnson wins the contest to become Mayor of

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London on 1 May, he will not inherit an impartial civil service of the sort to which British national politicians are accustomed. There has only been one Mayor of London so far...

Page 12


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MONDAY Head buzzing from v important Economic Strategy meeting. Total reorganisation of our smoothie expenditure, with half the budget to be spent on bran muffins. Lot of...

Page 14

Welcome to subprime Britain.

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How scared should you be? Mining data of unprecedented sophistication, George Bridges unveils a map of future economic pain: the areas where repossessions and negative equity...

Page 15

Is your home at risk?

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DARK AREAS SHOW WHERE THE CREDIT CRUNCH WILL HIT HARDEST She is likely to be what it calls a ‘burdened optimist’. She and her partner strive for a ‘standard of living which is...

Page 17

A chance for the Lords to justify their existence

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The EU’s Lisbon Treaty was handled scandalously in the Commons, says Daniel Hannan . Now the Upper House has the chance to play its ancestral role as the conscience of the...

Page 18

Politicians boasting about the women they’ve slept with is not candour: it’s spin

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Rod Liddle says that Nick Clegg’s toe-curling remarks are part of a deceitful tendency in the political class to tell us things about themselves that we don’t want to know...

Page 19

Death of a Post Office

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T hey shut our Post Office yesterday. For the first time in living memory there is no early morning light in that end of the ancient cottage and the little shop that went with...

Page 20

Why hasn’t Britain got a sovereign wealth fund?

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Martin Vander Weyer says that we resent the growing power of countries which shrewdly invest the wealth from their natural resources. We had North Sea oil, and we blew the lot...

Page 22

Tatarstan is the Muslim girlfriend Putin locks up

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Venetia Thompson dislikes the resignation she finds in the most quiescent of Russia’s Muslim states. But other republics will be less apathetic in the face of Moscow’s...

Page 23

You’d think Prince Charles would approve of foie gras

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Alexander Chancellor says that it is the sort of food which the Prince should like: free of chemicals and genetic manipulation, produced on small family farms, and steeped in...

Page 24

A child’s needs

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Sir: I doubt the suggestion in your leading article (29 March) that clause 14(2)(b) of the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is a moral disgrace. The Bill...

Obama’s snake-oil

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Sir: Matthew Parris (Another voice, 29 March) defends Barack Obama’s speech on race very well. But surely we ought to resist the core of Mr Obama’s case? The Reverend Wright...

Life and death issue

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Sir: May I be allowed a single comment on the gracious article concerning myself (‘A holy man tipped to lead the nation’s Catholics’, 22 March)? Towards its end, in response to...

Puzzlement and delight

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Sir: I read the article by David Selbourne (‘We are living in a state of emergency’, 29 March) with a mixture of delight and puzzlement; delight at the argument thereof — apart...

A slow run thing

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Sir: Henry Sands is quite wrong (Diary, 22 March) when he claims that his pal Mr Tolstoy recorded the slowest time of the season on the Cresta Run this year. A chap with a group...

Taste the difference

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Sir: I was initially impressed by Charles Moore’s son’s theory regarding the position of our taste buds (The Spectator’s Notes, 29 March), according to which canapés and open...

Page 26

Nick Clegg’s sex confession shows why politicians should never try to look normal

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I t was the 14 pints, I always thought, that ultimately did it for William Hague. That was the beginning of the end. There must have been teenagers out there in the 1970s who...

Page 27

When markets come crashing down, send for the man with the big red nose

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T oo early yet to say whether the present financial turmoils will end in a catastrophic maelstrom or simply slip away like an angry tide, leaving puddles. One has no great...

Page 28

Is Australia’s economic luck about to run out?

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Tim Soutphommasane says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is in London this weekend, inherited a boom but now faces threats from China, inflation and global downturn A ustralia’s...

Page 30

A fundamental crisis of credibility

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Simon Nixon says loss of authority at the Bank and the Treasury matter even more than the failings of the FSA D uring the boom years, it was fashionable to say that London owed...

Page 32

A mask that eats the face

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Sebastian Smee T HE W ORLD I S W HAT I T I S by Patrick French Macmillan, £20, pp. 400, ISBN 9780330433501 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A man whose personal life...

Page 34

Flies on the wall

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Philip Ziegler I W ISH I’ D B EEN T HERE edited by Byron Holinshead and Theodore K. Rabb Macmillan, £20, pp. 456, ISBN 9780230528017 ✆ £16(plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T o...

Page 36

Changing all utterly

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Byron Rogers W ATCHING THE D OOR by Kevin Myers Atlantic Books, £14.99, pp. 274, ISBN 9781843547280 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his is a book so remarkable that...

The Walk of a Friend

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‘The walk of a friend, the line of a melody, the healthy throbbing of a motor, are known when they are seen or heard.’ Scott Buchanan: Poetry and Mathematics (1929) And so...

Page 38

Boys will be boys

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Diana Hendry S PUTNIK C ALEDONIA by Andrew Crumey Picador, £7.99, pp. 553, ISBN 9780330448413 ✆ £6.39 (plus £2.45p&p) 0870 429 6655 R eading this novel I couldn’t help but...

Sounds of the Seventies

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Simon Baker T HE N ORTHERN C LEMENCY by Philip Hensher Fourth Estate, £17.99, pp. 738, ISBN 9780007174799 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O ne of the difficult tasks...

Page 39

A subject in need of a writer

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‘H ave you your next book in mind?’ ‘Not yet, I can’t fix on a subject,’ my friend replied. ‘What about Ouida?’ I said. Actually this exchange has taken place a couple of times,...

Page 40

Liberating Shakespeare

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Mary Wakefield talks to the RSC’s Michael Boyd and learns how he scared the Establishment H alfway through our interview, in the middle of a discussion about the future of the...

Page 41

Crowded out

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Andrew Lambirth Cranach Royal Academy, until 8 June F riend of Martin Luther, and court painter to the Elector of Saxony (who was Luther’s protector), Lucas Cranach the Elder...

Page 42

Two little boys

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Deborah Ross Son of Rambow 12A, nationwide S on of Rambow is the tale of two young boys — one from a strict religious background; the other a troubled troublemaker — who come...

Page 43

Family ructions

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Lloyd Evans God of Carnage Gielgud Never So Good Lyttelton Into the Hoods Novello N othing terribly original about Yasmina Reza’s new play, God of Carnage , which examines the...

Page 44

Sugar rush

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Marcus Berkmann A s in real life, it’s considered faintly reprehensible in music to have a sweet tooth. Greens are good for you, and so is The Velvet Underground, but right now...

Page 45

Damp squib

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Michael Tanner Carmen Royal Opera House W hat is an opera house for? The question would sound silly if it weren’t being asked in a particular and, in this case, rather...

Page 46

Violent deaths revisited

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Kate Chisholm T wo dramas, both based on real life; two deaths by shotgun; two black men destroyed at their peak (although both plays seemed intent on suggesting that their...

It’ll end in tears

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James Delingpole A ccording to a recently divorced friend of mine, the sex opportunities when you’re a single man in your forties are fantastic. Apparently, you don’t even need...

Page 47

Money and mud

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Robin Oakley I t would have been nice to be at Nad Al Sheba racecourse last Saturday to see the burly, majestic Curlin obliterate the pretenders to his crown as the best...

Garden shorts

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In the last few months, I have idly watched the slow spread of a green moss in a very shady place on the north side of our house and, then, the seeding into that moss of the...

Page 48

There will be blood

The Spectator

Taki S artre was a far greater fornicator than philosopher, but he did come up with the greatest truism of them all: ‘Hell is other people.’ (The last line in one of his...

Page 49

Garden pursuits

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Jeremy Clarke T he woman hired by the National Trust to see that nothing is pilfered from the upper floor at Clouds Hill, and to answer the visitors’ questions, knew almost...

Letter to hope

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Alex James T here are only two kinds of people: the ones that make you feel better and the ones that make you feel worse. It’s a shame, but, as far as I can tell, most people...

Page 50

Cheese politics

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Richard Sennett Texas ‘N o buffalo-thyme pizza?’ The grazinggrounds around Naples are poisoned, grounds on which herds of water buffalo feed to produce Italy’s most delicate...

Page 51


The Spectator

T he budget has hit wine merchants and drinkers quite hard. Those of us who like a sophisticated slurp are paying the price for those who drink themselves senseless on Friday...

Page 52

Land of the giants

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke marvels at the fauna of Guyana’s rainforests T here was a punch-up in the cheapest seats on the flight going out to Guyana, three against one, women screaming, red...

Page 54

Spa’d for life

The Spectator

John Torode takes the healing waters at Wiesbaden and Baden-Baden I t’s not often that you come across a living god while hovering outside your hotel idly wondering — why the...

Page 62

Spending time with my children makes me appreciate my wife. How does she stand them?

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I am so strapped for cash that I have been forced to give up my outside office and start working from home. With three children under five, this is far from ideal, but at least...

Mind your language

The Spectator

‘I wonder,’ writes Kim Parsons from Helston, or nearby, ‘if you have seen the new government-generated No Smoking signs which declare: “It is against the law to smoke in these...

Page 63

O ne distinction between the private and the public sector is

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that the former generally has an incentive to offer customers a variety of levels of service, while the latter doesn’t. That’s why you can get a pizza delivered to your home...

Q. Our 16-year-old son is having 30 friends to a

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party. For obvious security reasons my husband and I will not go out but have agreed not to show our faces downstairs. This raises a problem with food. Our son refuses to have...

Q. On arrival at a London hotel I usually insist

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on carrying my own case to my room because of uncertainty about how much to tip the bell-boy at, for example, Claridge’s. I consider it better to pretend my case is too light to...

Q. How can I tactfully tell a friend who emails

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me too often that I simply don’t have the time for an epistolary relationship? I know her enthusiasm is partly on account of her enjoyment of her own writing style, but I cannot...

Q. It seems that the two most celebrated of London

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SW1 emporia no longer do really big bath towels — six foot long or so. Can you help? This information may be vital to many of your readers. S.C., Northamptonshire A. Giant bath...

Q. At the risk of attracting a further accusation of

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pedantry, may I draw your attention to the inadequate use of punctuation in your articles concerning the ‘black taxi rapist’ (8 and 15 March)? The simple insertion of a hyphen...