Page 2

Labour sleaze

The Spectator

E dward Gibbon would recognise it: the air of decadence, the smell of death which hangs over the New Labour empire this week. The impotence of Emperor Blair is a pitiful sight....

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK M r David Blunkett resigned as the

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Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after it was revealed that he had taken a directorship in a DNA-testing company called DNA Bioscience, after resigning from his previous...

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J ust because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out

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to get you, and someone’s definitely out to get us. Last week the Palestine hotel, home to many journalists here, was almost demolished by a particularly telegenic truck bomb....

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How greed and hubris led to Blunkett’s downfall

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A t least this time we were spared the self-pitying squealing about only doing what he had for the ‘little lad’. But even though David Blunkett walked the plank he still...

Page 7

A fter a week in Florence, astonished all over again by

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the unsurpassed beauty of its painting and architecture from 1350–1550, I wonder about the odd mixture of features which characterises a high civilisation. This includes: 1. A...

Page 8

A dying breed

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By mid-century, the world’s population will be 50 per cent higher than it is now, says Richard Ehrman , but the boom will come from developing countries, not Europe, and...

Page 11

Let them have nukes

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Paul Mervis says we cannot stop the Iranians acquiring the Bomb, but they would be mad to use it I t is the habit of the Iranians to use hyperbole in everyday speech, a courtly...

Page 13

Don’t do it, Hewitt

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John Dodd on the ignorance, humbug and dodgy statistics behind the drive to ban smoking in pubs I f this increasingly intolerant government resembles anything from history, it...

Page 14

A gangster comes to town

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Jonathan Mirsky says that the state visit to Britain of China’s President is no cause for celebration W hen China’s President Hu Jintao sits next to the Queen at her state...

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Muslims are an ethnic group

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Alasdair Palmer says the religious hatred law is unnecessary because Muslims and others are already protected T he Lords did their best to amend the Religious Hatred Bill last...

Page 16

Mind your language

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The word panjandrum has been popping up recently. I have noticed it from the pens of Andreas Whittam Smith, Andrew Graham-Dixon, Brian Sewell, Simon Hoggart and funny old Roy...

Page 17

Fairtrade fat cats

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Philip Oppenheim on guilt-stricken consumers who boost the profits of supermarkets and middlemen F airtrade is the new cricket. It’s official. Fairtrade has been declared a...

Page 19

How the French riot

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Theodore Dalrymple reports on the disturbances in Clichy-sous-Bois, following the death of two young thieves Les Vans, Ardèche F or a patriot like me, it is a great...

Page 20

Dalai Alan and Helicopter Ben may propose, but the markets dispose

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I have long thought that Alan Greenspan would have made a passable Dalai Lama. Those gnomic utterances, that air of inner calm, that instant access to a deep well of...

Page 21

Science can be just as corrupt as any other activity

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M y old tutor, A.J.P. Taylor, used to say, ‘The only lesson of history is that there are no lessons of history.’ Not true. History does not exactly repeat itself, but there...

Page 22

Nuclear hedge fund

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From Dr Jeremy Stocker Sir: Andrew Gilligan (‘A terrifying plan for nuclear strikes’, 29 October) is being unduly alarmist about the future of Britain’s small nuclear...

Same old schools policy

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From David Woodhead Sir: Your leading article (29 October) is scornful of Labour’s vocabulary of school reform, in particular its use of the term ‘independent state...

Dying with dignity

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From Dr D.W. Wheeler Sir: Alasdair Palmer is right (‘Killing old people’, 29 October); sometimes we treat the elderly very badly and sometimes, but not always, geriatric...

Too nice to like

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From Sir Peregrine Worsthorne Sir: In my memoir, Tricks of Memory , published as far back as 1992, after expressing regrets for that unfortunate Sunday Telegraph profile on...

On the defensive

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From Nick Prest Sir: Writing as someone who has been in a senior position in the UK defence industry, I do not recognise the picture painted by Richard North (‘Europe is...

Page 23

Mussolini and the Jews

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From Nicholas Farrell Sir: Ian Thomson states (Books, 22 October) that ‘these days’ it is ‘fashionable’ to portray Benito Mussolini as a ‘decent fellow’, and cites...

How to fund Oxford

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From Dr Bill Macmillan Sir: It is not the case, as Simon Jenkins asserts (‘Independence for Oxford’, 29 October), that the vice-chancellor, John Hood, believes in principle...

Lost Cameron vote

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From Harry Bott Sir: Bruce Anderson, in the closing paragraph of his article promoting David Cameron (Politics, 29 October), suggests that David Davis is ‘chippy, nasty,...

Page 24

Will compassionate tax cuts win Tory hearts and minds?

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I reported here in the summer on the bid by the upmarket retailer Cameron and Osborne to take over the ailing Conservative party in competition with Davis’s, which prides...

Page 25

Full Marx for George Bush

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The President of the United States is not a communist, says John Laughland , but his belief in a global democratic revolution is inspired by Marxist thinking E ver since the...

Page 28

Christmas Podding

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Benet Simon can resist the latest wonder from Apple — but only just T he spirit of Christmas this year belongs to Apple. The new iPod has just hit UK shops and every teenager...

Page 30

Soul providers

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Michael McMahon T he Benedictines are named after St Benedict, the Bridgettines are named after St Bridget, and the Chocolatines are named — by me, anyway — after an...

Page 31

Sweet smell of excess

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Sophia Hesselgren T he nose apologises: he has a cold. ‘And for me, losing my smell is like ... ’ his arms hover in front of him — ‘... being blind. Blind!’ We are...

Page 32

Leather fetish

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Rory Knight Bruce E veryone should have a talisman personal, meaningful or useful, a symbol by which we measure our worth to ourselves. In Graham Greene’s The Comedians the...

Page 34

Foil in the bag

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John Laughland A s someone who hates sport, even I have to admit that not all sports are the same. There are some which are elegant, like cricket, and some which are highly...

Page 35

Do it yourself

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Matthew Bell A mature friend claims that the greatest favour anyone can do for his or her friends and family is to die without publishing a single book — no novel, no...

Page 36

Baking hot

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Michael Heath A couple of years ago I was in New York with my arm candy, plus friends and offspring, checking out the Chelsea area and SoHo with its hip residents, rats and...

Flushed with success

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Lucy Vickery ‘D uring 30 years as a practising herbalist I’ve cured myself of three terminal illnesses and I’ve done more colon cleanses than I can count,’ writes...

Page 38

The perils of peace

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft POSTWAR by Tony Judt Heinemann, £25, pp. 878, ISBN 0434007498 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n 1945, Europe lay prostrate after the greatest...

Page 40

Ten men went to mow

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Oliver Gilmour T HE V IRTUOSO C ONDUCTORS : T HE C ENTRAL E UROPEAN T RADITION FROM W AGNER TO KARAJAN by Raymond Holden Yale, £22.50, pp. 370, ISBN 0300093268 ✆ £18 (plus...

Looking for trouble and finding it

The Spectator

Jane Gardam C ATCH M E W HEN I F ALL by Nicci French Penguin/Michael Joseph, £12.99, pp. 304, ISBN 0718145216 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T hrillers now come...

Page 41

The man in the iron mask

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Roger Lewis M ICHAEL C AINE : A C LASS A CT by Christopher Bray Faber, £20, pp. 358, ISBN 057121682X ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I sn’t it peculiar when people...

Page 42

Raking through the embers

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David Crane I t is difficult to put a finger on the reason, but there has always seemed something particularly dismal about the Gunpowder Plot. There is obviously a lot to be...

Page 43

Ego trip with excess baggage

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William Feaver STRANGELAND by Tracey Emin Sceptre, £14.99, pp. 288, ISBN 0340769440 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R eaders may sympathise with Tracey Emin. Her...

Page 44

Nobody has been left out

The Spectator

Simon Jenkins C ITY OF C ITIES by Stephen Inwood Macmillan, £25, pp. 537, ISBN 0333782879 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 H istories of Victorian London now come two...

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Instant post-mortem verdicts

The Spectator

Graham Stewart G REAT L IVES : A C ENTURY OF O BITUARIES edited by Ian Brunskill HarperCollins, £20, pp. 465, ISBN 0007201680 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 L et us...

Page 46

Not bloody likely

The Spectator

Byron Rogers C HARLES BL C AMILLA by Gyles Brandreth Century, £20, pp. 368, ISBN 1844138453 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 D elicate confections, these biographies...

Page 48

The rich harvest of the random

The Spectator

John de Falbe T HE B ROOKLYN F OLLIES by Paul Auster Faber, £16.99, pp. 304, ISBN 0571224970 V £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T here is a delightful moment in this...

The holy terror himself

The Spectator

James Buchan O SAMA : T HE M AKING OF A TERRORIST by Jonathan Randal I. B. Tauris, £15, pp. 346, ISBN 0375708235 V £12 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O sama: The Making of a...

Page 49

Too French by half

The Spectator

Lucy Beresford A NTHOLOGY OF A PPARITIONS by Simon Liberati Pushkin Press, £12, pp. 139, ISBN 1901285588 ✆ £9.60 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T ake Harold Pinter:...

The Secret Garden

The Spectator

Why did we go there after dark To carve our initials in the bark, Why was daylight not for us But bittersweet and dangerous? Why did the innocence of trees Bring my conscience...

Page 50

The wonderful edge of the sea

The Spectator

Susan Hill T HE H IGHEST T IDE by Jim Lynch Bloomsbury, £10.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0747578443 V £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T here are some classic novels about a boy...

Page 51

Earning brownie points

The Spectator

David Pryce-Jones T HINKING A LOUD : T HE B EST P ROSPECT , 1995-2005 edited by David Goodhart Atlantic, £19.99, pp. 320, ISBN 1843544814 ✆ £15.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870...

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Pursuit in the desert

The Spectator

Robert Edric N O C OUNTRY FOR O LD M EN by Cormac McCarthy Picador, £16.99, pp. 309, ISBN 0330440101 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 S even years after the...

Page 53

The case of the curious Christian

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Digby Anderson C. S. L EWIS by Michael White Abacus, £10.99, pp. 268, ISBN 0349116253 ✆ £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE N ARNIAN by Alan Jacobs SPCK, £12.99,...

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Colossally bad taste

The Spectator

Anthony Daniels D ICTATORS ’ H OMES by Peter York Atlantic Books, £14.99, pp. 119, ISBN 184354430X ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 E veryone loves a good...

Page 55

Antipodean wit and wisdom

The Spectator

Rupert Christiansen T HE M EANING OF R ECOGNITION : N EW E SSAYS , 2001-2005 by Clive James Picador, £14.99, pp. 367, ISBN 033044025X ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 56

Leave us alone

The Spectator

Tiffany Jenkins believes that ‘placemaking’ advocates are in danger of social engineering ‘P lacemaking’ is the big new idea that will transform communities....

Page 57

Full-blooded drama

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Andrew Lambirth Rubens: A Master in the Making National Gallery, until 15 January 2006 Sponsored by Shell T he National Gallery really is a remarkable place. In addition to...

Page 58

Perfect teamwork

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Michael Tanner Osud; Le Villi Vienna State Opera Don Carlos Welsh National Opera, Oxford I don’t usually associate the Vienna State Opera with adventurous programming, but...

Page 59

Out of step

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Mark Steyn Elizabethtown 12A, selected cinemas ‘T he motto of the British Air Force Special Services,’ announces Orlando Bloom, ‘is, “Those who risk, win”.’ Close...

Page 60

Down memory lane

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Birmingham Royal Ballet Sadler’s Wells Theatre T he preservation of national choreographic heritages has long been a concern of those who fear...

Page 61

Lost innocence

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Charles Spencer I t comes as something of a shock to realise that I have known Liz Anderson, this magazine’s admirable arts editor, for almost 20 years. We first met in 1987,...

Page 62

Global village

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Stuart Nicholson A lmost without anybody noticing, the London Jazz Festival, which opens on 11 November and continues full pelt until 20 November, has grown in stature and...

Page 63

Give us a break

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Lloyd Evans And Then There Were None Gielgud Flanders Mare Sound Theatre The Brothers Bullion Rooms T en strangers having a black-tie dinner in an airport lounge. That’s the...

Beyond the baton

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Peter Phillips W hen I am asked what I do, I say I am a musician. The response is invariably, ‘Which instrument do you play?’ When I say I conduct, I am aware that I have...

Page 64

Brace of Johnsons

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Michael Vestey T wo of the journalistic Johnsons graced the airwaves last month — Frank, the former editor of this magazine, and Boris, the present incumbent: Frank on Radio...

Page 65

Rome, sweet Rome

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James Delingpole F or some time now I have been aware that there was something badly wrong with my life without ever being quite able to put my finger on exactly what. Now,...

Page 66

The right woman

The Spectator

Taki U nlike Peregrine Worsthorne, I thought the Duff Cooper diaries were interesting and terrific, and also made me envious as hell. Oh, to have lived back then. People sure...

Off night

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke T he active volcano Stromboli, one of the Aeolian islands, rises out of the sea off the north-east coast of Sicily. It is forbidden to make the three-hour trek to...

Page 70

Dance macabre

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING H aving cruelly blackwashed the combined British Isles Lions tourists just four months ago, New Zealand’s athletic young rugby sadists are back in the old...

Q. You suggest (22 October) that scrap suppers be served

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on site following private views in art galleries. May I suggest the very same practice might well reverse the decline in numbers of young people attending classical concerts?...

Q. Please advise us, Mary. My husband and I have

The Spectator

moved to a very beautiful part of the country and have been inviting people down from London to stay for the weekend. Our problem is that many of our friends have young children...