5 MARCH 2005

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK T he government did a good deal

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of nodding and winking to the opposition over its rushed legislation to provide for house arrest without trial and other controls on anyone suspected of connections with...

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A despotic act

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I t is unfortunate, though perhaps inevitable, that people who have lived only in conditions of liberty and democracy should have limited interest in the legal provisions that...

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W e are so used to reading of malpractice in high

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places that I dare say our sense of outrage has become blunted. But when some devious act affects us personally, the sense is re-ignited. This is the story that shocked me —...

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Piers Morgan’s ghastly diaries will be the epitaph of this government

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B y far the most interesting event of this week was the serialisation of the diaries of Piers Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror . Ebury Press paid more than £1 million...

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I f you are a monarchist, this does not automatically make

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you an admirer of the royal family. But it does lead you to give members of that family the benefit of the doubt, particularly when so many others so viciously do the opposite....

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Paying for Tony’s fat cats

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With almost a million new jobs added to the public sector payroll since 1997, Martin Vander Wayer asks if it is now democratically possible to reduce state spending T here is a...

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The right side of history

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Mark Steyn admits that he’s been wrong about a lot in the past three years — but not about the big things New Hampshire T he other day in the Guardian Martin Kettle wrote:...

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So you want to stuff a badger

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Sam Leith has been taking lessons in taxidermy, and he hasn’t had so much fun in ages ‘N ow I’m going to show you what a scalpel handle is for,’ says Mike Gadd. I pick...

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Mind your language

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What a terrible injustice Angela Cannings went through, being wrongly accused of killing her baby son, after having lost two previously, and then imprisoned. I heard her on...

The man who should be Pope

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Piers Paul Read looks over the candidates to replace John Paul II, and says that Cardinal Ratzinger has got what it takes P ope John Paul II’s recovery from his tracheotomy in...

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Ancient & modern

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The problems relating to asylum-seekers have hit the headlines again. The concept of asylum is ancient, and the problems not new. Asylum derives from the ancient Greek asulos ,...

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Why I won’t serve with the Tories

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Charles Kennedy tells Leo McKinstry that he would not join a coalition government with Michael Howard W hat is the policy of the Liberal Democrats on acute back pain? I ask...

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Children can’t be trusted

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Rod Liddle says it is time that British teachers took back control of the classroom W hen I was ten years old, in the autumn of 1970, the pupils and teachers of my state junior...

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One for oil and oil for one

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Michael Meacher says that the fuss over Ukraine was about the geopolitics of oil, and the growing conflict between the US and China Y es, our man (Yushchenko) and our system...

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Lay off the Tory tabloids

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From Nigel Jones Sir: Douglas Hurd advises us to ignore the campaigns of the popular press — and, by implication, the people whose concerns they ably articulate (‘Time to...

Putin the puppet

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From Alexander Nekrassov Sir: In his article ‘Why Putin sells missiles to Syria’ (26 February) Simon Heffer writes that President Putin’s hard-line foreign policy...

Children need ‘Rat play’

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From Dr Sean Haldane Sir: I agree with Leo McKinstry that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a ‘scandal’, but he only goes halfway to why in stating it is just...

Patten’s patter

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From Jonathan Mirsky Sir: In his otherwise excellent article on the folly of selling arms to China (‘Selling out to China’, 26 February), Andrew Gilligan falls into a...

Tutorials are sacred

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From Bill Macmillan Sir: James Howard-Johnston suggests that some of the most stimulating students are the ‘hot-air specialists who concoct essays out of very little hard...

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Poles put us to shame

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From Peter Whyte-Venables Sir: It is not only America in particular that puts our health system to shame, nor is it rich Western countries in general (‘Die in Britain,...

Save the moon bears

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From Lynne O’Donnell Sir: Paul Johnson’s article (And another thing, 19 February) does not present the whole story of China’s moon bears. During a long stint as a...

Hunting is no mere pastime

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From Julia Pickles Sir: So Anthony Famularo thinks those of us who care about fox-hunting are ‘silly’ (Letters, 26 February). Much has been written in similar vein by those...

Forbidden to pay taxes?

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From Paul Magrath Sir: Can Bill Woodhouse (Letters, 19 February) tell me exactly which laws forbid us paying public money to organisations that do not keep proper accounts and...

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Brünnhilde was not conjured up in a glass of common gin

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L ike many journalists, I can write anywhere and under any conditions. I honestly believe I could do an article in the middle of the street provided there was somebody to fend...

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After ‘Faith’, why not a BBC docudrama on Tony Blair as an untrustworthy airhead?

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I well remember the Conservative party’s shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport. As I never tire of reminding him, in days long gone, before John Whittingdale...

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When the train almost took the strain

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Ross Clark mourns the old style of European rail travel I reached the age of 25 before I flew in an aeroplane. It seemed too much like cheating to me, to be picked up in a box...

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Dining with cannibals

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Mary Wakefield W e’re flying high above the Venezuelan rainforest. Occasionally, far below us, a waterfall tumbles over a cliff and as the biplane rolls right, I can see...

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Rhyl meet again

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David Lovibond M y mother and father honeymooned in Rhyl. It wasn’t only that my father had a sense of humour: the borders were closed during the second world war and at...

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A right royal groupie

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Lucy Helliker A part from her son, the best thing about my mother-in-law is her home in the Scottish Highlands. For one week each year in October, my husband and I become...

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New Age traveller

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Raymond Carr D. H. L AWRENCE : T HE L IFE OF AN O UTSIDER by John Worthen Penguin, £30, pp. 517, ISBN 0713996137 ✆ £26 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 L iterary biography...

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From mourning into morning

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Euan Cameron T O T RAVEL H OPEFULLY : J OURNAL OF A D EATH NOT FORETOLD by Christopher Rush Profile, £15.99, pp. 264, ISBN 1861977085 ✆ £13.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800...

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Living it up in Paris

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James Stourton A LEXIS : T HE M EMOIRS OF THE B ARON DE R EDÉ edited by Hugo Vickers The Dovecote Press, Stanbridge, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH 21 4 JD, tel: 01258 840549,...

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Mau Mau and all that

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Robert Oakeshott H ISTORIES OF THE H ANGED : B RITAIN ’ S D IRTY W AR IN K ENYA AND THE E ND OF E MPIRE by David Anderson Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 406, ISBN 0297847198 ✆ £18...

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Once upon a funny old time . . .

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Byron Rogers M OVING O N by James Hewitt Blake, £16.99, pp. 366, ISBN 1857825470 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T he drama of this book is not its contents but...

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A tale of January and May

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Charlotte Hobson A S HORT H ISTORY OF T RACTORS IN U KRAINE by Marina Lewycka Viking/Penguin, £12.99, pp. 325, ISBN 0670915602 V £11.99(plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 S o...

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Going astray abroad

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Olivia Glazebrook S MALL C RIMES IN AN A GE OF ABUNDANCE by Matthew Kneale Picador, £12.99, pp. 277, ISBN 0330435345 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 T hese days we...

Mary had a little germ

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Andrew Taylor T YPHOID M ARY by Anthony Bourdain Bloomsbury, £7.99, pp. 148, ISBN 0747566879 A hundred years ago there was no known cure for typhoid. Bourdain quotes British...

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Trouble at the sex factory

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Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy T HE I NNER C IRCLE by T. C. Boyle Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 418, ISBN 0747575576 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I should perhaps declare,...

Third Day

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Respirators sound like trout feeding at night in some dream hatchery — no one there to listen; our subaqueous world of care is halfway blue — peaceful, unthreatening....

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Bad presentation of a good cause

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Sibylla Jane Flower S URVIVING THE S WORD : P RISONERS OF THE J APANESE , 1942-45 by Brian MacArthur Time Warner, £20, pp. 512, ISBN 0316861421 V 18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870...

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A star but not a team player

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Rob White D ESPITE THE S YSTEM by Clinton Heylin Canongate, £16.99, pp. 384, ISBN 1841955868 ✆ £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848 I n January 1942 Orson Welles finished...

Mother both superior and inferior

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Sarah Burton G EORGE S AND by Elizabeth Harlan Yale, £25, pp. 376, ISBN 00300104170 I n January 1831 26-year-old Aurore Dupin Duvenant abandoned her secure provincial...

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Cuisine: the master’s report

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Bruce Anderson T HE N EW E NGLISH K ITCHEN by Rose Prince Fourth Estate, £18, pp. 468, ISBN 0007156448 I am proud of this book, because I have always regarded Rose Prince as...

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Dramatic alchemy

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Henrietta Bredin believes we shouldn’t be too eager to categorise performing-art forms D o we all make a good deal too much fuss about which particular category different...

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Dual experience

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Andrew Lambirth Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments Tate Modern, until 2 May August Strindberg: Painter, Photographer, Writer Tate Modern, until 15 May T his brace...

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Make the most of it

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Charles Spencer O ne word in this column’s title strikes an especially ominous chord this week and it is neither ‘golden’ nor ‘but’. By the time The Spectator hits...

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Cultural renaissance

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Petroc Trelawny W hen Liverpool, Newcastle– Gateshead, Birmingham and a host of other regional centres across the UK were slugging it out in the fight to win the title ‘UK...

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Irish horror

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Giannandrea Poesio Giselle Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre Barbican I n Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Giselle for Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre there are no pretty peasants on pointes...

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Sense of humour failure

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Mark Steyn I wonder which Jude Law took more offence at on Oscar night: Chris Rock’s affable riff in his opening monologue — ’Whassup with this Jude Law guy? It’s like...

Dated whinge-a-thon

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Lloyd Evans Days of Wine and Roses Donmar After Intimacy Pentameters Lorelei Old Red Lion T here used to be a thing on British telly called the Wednesday Play . It’s gone....

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Russian revelation

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Michael Tanner The Mariinsky Theatre The Barbican T he Mariinsky Theatre of St Petersburg paid a concentrated visit to the Barbican last week, performing four theatre pieces on...

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Le g al

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hoops Peter Phillips L egal cases involving copyright law have a mind-numbing quality which ensures that the general public doesn’t follow them. This kind of law evolves as...

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Authentic brilliance

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Michael Vestey L ooking back over the radio and televi sion comedy of the past 25 years, my own feeling is that Yes, Minister on BBC television was by far the most brilliant,...

Shock treatment

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Simon Hoggart I n happier times, Charles and Diana came to visit Washington. I was working there then, and a friend of mine at the British embassy described a lunch they...

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Girl power

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Robin Oakley G inger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, a show-biz historian once pointed out. Only she did it backwards. The feminists do have a point, and while...

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Ideology of violence

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Taki I n the American Conservative, Leon Hadar asks, ‘Is it possible that a homeless and failed artist from Vienna, a paranoid gangster from Georgia, and a paedophile and...

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Holding back the years

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Jeremy Clarke I ’m beginning to decompose even before I’m dead. My eyesight’s going, my hair’s falling out, I’ve got galloping gum disease, my legs are covered in...

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O ff to the Duke of Cambridge, which, when it first

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opened in 1998, was the world’s first fully certified organic pub, a fact I thought I’d mention, just in case you care about such things, although I’m not especially sure...

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Cech, mate!

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FRANK KEATING O n the face of it, Liverpool have the best chance of the four English clubs seeking progress in the European Champions’ Cup next week. They take a 3-1 lead...

Q. My teenage daughter’s lifelong friend has over the years

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developed the most unfortunate strain of body odour, obviously unbeknown to her. It has become increasingly unbearable recently and presumably in her earlier years was either...

Q. While weekending at a friend of mine’s parents, her

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mother asked me if I would like some porridge as I arrived at breakfast. I am a keen porridge fan and replied as such. When I tasted the heaped bowl, however, it was heavily...

Q. I want to buy my 93-year-old father a present

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for his birthday but there is nothing he doesn’t have and, what’s more, he hates extravagance. It seems depressing to give him nothing. What do you suggest, Mary? J.V.S.,...