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T he Democratic Unionist party became the biggest in Northern Ireland after elections for the Assembly there, which has

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been suspended for more than a year; 'A democrat will not sit down with armed gangsters and murderers to negotiate the future of this country,' said the Revd Ian Paisley, the...

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SPECTATOR Equality is unfair

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o n Monday the Employment Equality Regulations 2003 came into force, making it an offence, subject to an unlimited fine, for employers to discriminate against their staff on the...

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T he last time I was here was to cover the

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story of the midEighties famine for the Mirror. The story was complicated by the fact that we had Robert 'Mercy Mission' Maxwell for company. I was summoned to the presence for...

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The Tories should support Tony Blair's magnificent defiance of his own party

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T he intelligent case for voting for Tony Blair in 1997 and 2001 was simple and very compelling. Only New Labour could bring about deep-seated reform of British public...

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his week's Richard Desmond story concerns Des the Crusader for

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Ancient Freedoms. This great patron of letters is a man with whom liberty-loving Spectator readers and opponents of the nanny state everywhere can find common cause. He was once...

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Health and safety spell danger

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Rachel Royce says that the rules and regulations now governing police procedures are putting victims' lives at risk H ave you noticed that whenever there is an armed siege...

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Figures of fun

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The US army claimed to have killed 54 insurgents in a gun battle in Samarra this week, but, says Julian Manyon, it turns out that only eight died, and some of them were...

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You have been warmed

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Tom Fort goes to St James's, Piccadilly, and hears Michael Meacher and others warn that the end is nigh T he handsome church of St James's in Piccadilly is a lively, friendly...

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Ancient & modern

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It is routinely said to be better that 99 guilty men should escape the noose than one innocent be hanged. As the capital punishment debate starts again, an ancient might ask...

That Labour humbug in full

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Socialist policies impoverish health and education — so Diane Abbott and her fellow socialists go private, says Leo MeKinstry ypocrisy has always been the handmaiden of...

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eeting of the extremes

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Dean Godson on the background to last week's elections in Northern Ireland 1, hat's another fine mess you've gotten me into,' quipped David Trimble with black humour as he...

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Mind your language

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'What? What! What?!' said my husband with a provoking profligacy of punctuation. 'What?' I said before I could stop myself. 'Buttonhole,' he said. 'You say here it's nothing...

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The nice side of Saddam

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The Iraqi tyrant's translator tells Philip Delves Broughton that his master — 'a kind, patient man, ready to be contradicted' — was writing a novel on the eve of war Paris ess...

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The big story of the past 50 years has been

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the triumph of Western capitalism over Eastern communism — although sometimes you begin to wonder. After 50 years, China has thrown off the yoke of socialism and embraced...

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Taking liberties

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Michael Yardley describes his bitter experience of how the licensing people get their information about who owns a TV set 1 , n pre-Velvet-Revolution Czechoslovakia they used to...

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Naked couples walking through cornfields anything else is evil

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A s the days pass, more and more people are assuming that Hollinger International will be forced to sell the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. Of the...

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All for the best in the best of all possible worlds

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p essimism is the 'ism' which has succeeded Marxism in occupying the vacant space in the minds of the slobbering classes. Nowhere has it established a more feverish grip than...

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Now we know: discrimination against exhibitionists is politically incorrect

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mi r riting from the Commons for the Daily Telegraph this week, though alluding to him, I went to tortuous lengths not to name the MP whom a Sunday newspaper had exposed as the...

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From Andrew Jones Sir: Mark Strauss's analysis of the new antiSemitism (Who hates the Jews now?', 29 November) is a chilling reminder that the far Right and the...

Proud to be lazy

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From Barbara Field Sir: Rod Liddle's assertion (Women who won't', 29 November) that women who choose to stay at home are merely lazy and idle is. . . spot on in my case. I...

From Madeline Cutts-Watson Sir: I nearly choked on my bonbons

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and fell off my chaise-longue when reading Rod Liddle's preposterous claim that some women who stay at home are bone-idle. Only this very morning my channel changer's...

From Elizabeth Frimston Sir: I have stuck pages 18 and

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19 of this week's issue together so that my husband won't get to read Rod Liddle's blasphemous article. I've been lounging about at home — cosy out of the rain, feet up, eating...

From Dr Philip M. Peverley Sir: Rod Liddle has opened

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my eyes this morning with his radical theory on working women, or rather non-working women. In general practice the situation is even worse. The vast majority of male GPs work...

Skimming through

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From Christopher Booker Sir: The 30 sentences of John Laughland's 'review' of our book The Great Deception: The Secret History of the European Union (Books, 29 November) contain...

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Cheap jabs for the grunts

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From Fiammetta Rocco Sin While researching The Miraculous Fever Tree, my recent book about malaria and the discovery of quinine, [learnt that one of the main reasons France...

What's stopping the US?

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From Professor Sir Michael Howard Sir: I read with interest Mark Steyn's proposal that the United States should now liberate five more countries (These five regimes must go', 29...

Victimhood's chronicler

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From Sir Peregrine Worsthorne Sir: In rebuttal of my complaint that Martha Gellhorn was unsympathetic to the victims of Soviet tyranny, John Hatt (Letters, 29 November) cites...

Nearly 'Gone Away' for good

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From Frances Marshall Sir: On reading Mary's advice (Your problems solved, 21 November), I took immediate action. I used Mary's information to acquire the 'Gone Away' hunting...

From Peter Burden Sir: The Vole leaves us suspended (29

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November) in his failure to reveal if any of Richard Desmond's minions had the presence of mind to utter the obvious response to the distinguished publisher's enquiry, 'I wonder...

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Points under discussion

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Philip Hensher EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES: THE ZERO TOLERANCE APPROACH TO PUNCTUATION by Lynne Truss Profile, £9.99, pp. 228, ISBN 1861976127 S ome g reat writers just can't...

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The mysterious mists of Hoban-land

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John de Falbe HER NAME WAS LOLA by Russell Hoban Bloomsbia,, £15,99, pp. 207, ISBN 0747570248 At s Max comes out of Russell Square tube station on the way o meet Seamus for...

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The wonderful world of Wales

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Paul Ferris THE BANK MANAGER AND THE HOLY GRAIL by Byron Rogers Aurum, £12.99. pp. 271, ISBN 1854109499 T he only journalist I ever knew who wrote pieces remotely like the ones...

The emperor who made his horse consul

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Barry Unsworth CALIGULA by Allan Massie Sceptre, £17.99, pp. 279, ISBN 0340823135 T he field is crowded, but among cruel and wicked dynasties the Julio-Clauclians must take...

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Laughter laced with pain

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Michael Horowitz THE BEST LOVED POEMS OF JOHN BETJEMAN John Murray, £8.99, pp. 112. ISBN 0719565456 I n Against Oblivion: Lives of the Twentieth-Century Poets, Ian Hamilton...

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Being prodigal with the truth

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Raymond Carr LIVING TO TELL THE TALE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cape, £18.99, pp. 483, ISBN 0224072781 G abriel Garcia Marquez, according to a recent poll of prominent literati,...

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Reading the hand of the Master

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Alasdair Palmer THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO GIOTTO edited by Anne Derbes and Mark Sandona CUP, .00, pp. 313. ISBN 0521770076 G iotto is very widely regarded as the founder of...

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The true shiver of unease

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Harriet Waugh UNDESIRABLE GUESTS AND OTHER STORIES by William Charlton Tartarus Press, Coverley House, Carlton-inCoverdale, Leybum, N. Yorks DL 84 AY, email:...

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The trail of the Comeback Kid

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Roy Kerridge PUTTIN' ON THE STYLE: THE LONNIE DONEGAN STORY by Spencer Leigh Finban International, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2QQ, Tel: 01303259316, £6.99. pp. 160, ISBN 0952950022...

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Children's books for Christmas

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Juliet Townsend L ast year, while wrestling to wrap a particularly difficult large model helicopter, whose rotor blades kept bursting out through the paper, I made a mental...

Unexpected Passenger

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Classic FM spills memories in my car as I drive northwards on the motorway; landmarks fly past with disconcerting speed — but I travel backwards: hear again the muffled boom of...

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Just wild about birds

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David Edelsten AUDUBON'S ELEPHANT by Duff Hart - Davis Weidenfeld, £18.99, pp. 192, ISBN 029782967X T here cannot be many for whom the name Audubon means nothing, nor many who...

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Green thoughts in a green shade

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Kim Wilkie THE GARDEN OF COSMIC SPECULATION by Charles Jencks Frances Lincoln, £35, pp. 256, ISBN 0711222169 A t Portrack Maggie Keswick and Charles Jencks have designed one of...

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The battle between heart and politics

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Montagu Curzon FOR YOUR FREEDOM AND OURS: THE KOSCIUSKO SQUADRON: FORGOTTEN HEROES OF WORLD WAR TWO by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud William Heinemann, £20, pp. 428, ISBN...

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Tarnished heroes, but still heroic

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Jonathan Keates RIVERS OF GOLD: THE RISE OF THE SPANISH EMPIRE by Hugh Thomas Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 604, ISBN 0297645633 W hen John Donne apostrophised his mistress with the...

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Short-changed by today's artists?

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Harry Eyres wonders if our sense of awe at nature in sublime mode has gone for ever C an you make art about nature any more? About nature, I mean, not 'nature'. For the...

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Revelations in miniature

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Andrew Lambirth Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe Sackler Wing, Royal Academy, until 22 February 2004 M anuscript illumination...

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Wicked little rebel

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Mark Glazebrook Jean-Jacques Lebel: Works from 1960 to1965 Mayor Gallery 22a Cork Street, London W1, until 19 December I t would seem that the 1960s, like the poor, are always...

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No worries, mate

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Ursula Buchan A week ago last Saturday, at 10 o'clock n the morning, I stood in a wood in Northamptonshire, prey to a succession of dreadful anxieties. I was picking up on a...

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The need to know

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Peter Phillips Q ne of the pleasures of going to art ‘...igalleries is to look at the people looking at the paintings. I rather sympathise with those who clearly know nothing...

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A bear too far

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Mark Steyn Brother Bear LI, selected cinemas D isney's latest animated feature, Brother Bear, is the usual New Age mumbojumbo with a generalised Native American gloss: the...

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Struck by Electra

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Toby Young Mourning Becomes Electra Lyttelton The Secret Rapture Lyric The God Botherers Bush T was dreading Mourning Becomes 1 Electra. A four-and-a-half-hour epic set in New...

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Dark intentions

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Michael Tanner The Turn of the Screw Royal College of Music Twilight of the Gods Barbican 7 r he Turn of the Screw is this autumn's Benjamin Britten Opera School's...

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Best of 2003

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Marcus Berkmann H as 2003 been a good year for pop music? Ask me in a few years, and even then I probably won't know. It has only recently dawned on me what a great year 2000...

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Period charm

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James Delingpole ornetimes I feel ever so slightly guilty Oabout the huge areas of TV that I never bother to review: police procedurals such as Frost. Taggart and Prime...

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The pain game

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Michael Vestey T he lunacy of excessive litigation in certain American states was explored in a rather disturbing Crossing Continents on Radio Four last week (Thursday). In...

Are you beaglewise?

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Charles Moore I have never much liked the idea of huntling a hare. This is an aesthetic point, not a moral one, for the means of death is not cruel. The fox appears always in...

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Trumped by The Donald

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Taki Palm Beach W hen William Paley died aged 90, 14 years ago, he was referred to as being middle-aged in the Palm Beach press. Paley would have liked that. He had panache...

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The laughter of sinners

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Jeremy Clarke I n a fit of madness the other day I bought a book of selected passages from John Donne's sermons. The thunderous sermons, with titles such as 'Terrible Things',...

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Thanksgiving dilemma

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PetTonella Wyatt Virginia T he waitress, attired in a frilly cap and a tight bodice, slapped a platter of food down on the trestle table, which was gleaming like a nut in the...

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M y partner's brother and his wife had a baby last

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week at the Portland Hospital on Great Portland Street. Absolutely adorable. The hospital, that is. Sure, the baby is delicious — those little toes. with perfect nails as tiny...

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A morass of muck and money down the drain

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T he Book of Genesis tells us nothing of the sanitary arrangements provided in the Garden of Eden, but in that perfect, prelapsarian Paradise Adam and Eve could have got by...

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The built-in rip-off

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Ross Clark O nepolicy above all is credited with winning the 1979 general election for the Conservatives: the right to buy. Britain in the 1970s was a country where the...

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Greatness departs

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MICHAEL HENDERSON E ven the best performers have difficulty in knowing when to go. Particularly the best, one might say, because, having scaled the heights, they imagine they...

Q. I have always deplored the practice of having to

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shake hands with strangers. After a burly oaf at a smart luncheon party shook my hand with unseemly force, I was barely able to hold my knife. The pain and fear that he had...

Q. I have moved from Wiltshire to Cornwall and now

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participate in a brisk social life accompanied by a certain increased degree of formality — doubtless due, in part, to the seniority of those involved. However,! recently...

Q. I am engaged in a friendly dispute with a

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peer, on which hangs a case of champagne. It concerns dinner table etiquette. To whom should a man talk for the first part of a dinner party? I maintain that he should talk to...