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M r Alastair Campbell confirmed that he was to resign as

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the Prime Minister's director of communications and strategy. He is to be succeeded, at least in the first half of the title, by Mr David Hill, but there is to be a general...

Page 7


The Spectator

Kelly's case for war he most revealing evidence to the Hutton inquiry so far has been provided not by Alastair Campbell, Andrew Gilligan or Geoff Hoon but by David Kelly's...

Page 8

y ou will expect me to bore you about my holiday in France, where, like Joan Collins, we

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found things hideously expensive compared with a year ago. When the credit-card bill arrives, I shall console myself that the euro is now heading south, and that when we return...

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Brown lurks as Blair and Duncan Smith sink together

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T _ here has been no more abject moment in the Blair premiership than last Tuesday afternoon's capitulation to the trade unions. The grandees of the movement, led by the new...

Page 12

Forza Berlusconi!

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The embattled Italian Prime Minister summoned Boris Johnson and Nicholas Farrell to his Sardinian retreat, and accorded them an insight into his success 1 t is twilight in...

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The new imperial vision of Silvio Berlusconi

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The Spectator began by asking Berlusconi whether he has mended fences with Chancellor Schroder, after he likened the German Social Democrat MEP, Martin Schulz, to a Nazi camp...

Page 18

Catch me if you can

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Neil Barnett says that The Hague's attempt to track down Radovan Karadzic has been inept and counterproductive -Isv ill Osarna and Saddam ever be found? If they fare as well as...

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The end of the affair

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Paul Michael Wihbey predicts a total collapse of the long-standing relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia A merica is disengaging from Saudi Arabia. To many...

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Ancient & modern

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The pop singer Sir Mick Jagger thinks that the Greek god whom he most resembles is Dionysus. Oh dear? One wonders if Dionysus will be pleased when he discovers that the national...

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Biological warfare

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Douglas Davis reveals Arafat's plan to achieve a single Palestinian state by encouraging his people to breed T he moment has come for the long queue of diplomatic highwire...

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Cat flap

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Andrew Gimson on why his neighbours reported him to the Cats Protection League Iv e got word that our house in London was infested with fleas as we drove north on holiday in...

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Mind your language

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I can't say that I care for the outbreak of 'Mumbai' that has been pouring from the telly since those terrible bombs in Bombay. Why should we suddenly call it Mumbai any more...

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The answer to being too fat is utter self-delusion

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I caught sight of some fat, pompous ass haranguing a bunch of attractive women at a party the other night. He was on the far side of the room, clutching a poncy cocktail the...

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Alastair Campbell's redtop values have contaminated our politics

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Nv hen I learnt of Dr Kelly's suicide, my first thought was that he had been fatally drawn into Alastair Campbell's world. It is what many people felt. It was a reasonable...

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Har är mit rad till Svenska folket: rUsta nej, rOsta ofta

The Spectator

T , his is my message to the people of Sweden: Vote No, vote often. As you can see, I have burst into Swedish to put it across, and it seems to be working. Next weekend, in a...

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The real resigning matter

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From Frederick Forsyth Sir: The Hutton inquiry is predictably bogged down in a futile quagmire of who said what, to whom, on whose authority, who knew about it and, frankly, who...

Pogroms and pipedreams

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From Graham Wheeler Sir; Adrian Hilton's article (Render unto the Pope.. . ', 30 August) is funny without being vulgar. As a practising Catholic, my response to it can be...

From Professor Noel H. Gale

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Sir: It was surprising to find that the signatory of the semi-hysterical article outlining the imagined plan of the Vatican to use the EU to extend its sovereignty to Britain...

Very unlike my Wales

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From Mona Roberts Sir: I grew up in the Amlwch of the 1940s/50s that David Lovibond seemed to despise so much ('Weep for Wales', 16 August). These are some of the reasons he...

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Ever a virgin?

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From Gordon Villars Sir: How disconcerting to see such an intelligent writer as Christopher Howse defending the incurably mediaeval, profoundly irrational and completely...

No oil, no bin Laden

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From Simon Courtauld Sir: As an addendum to your excellent editorial (30 August) on the qualities of Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his hatred of the modern world, it is relevant to...

Subject to no one

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From Mike Block Sir: I spluttered my vodka over the last page of The Spectator the other night as I read Michael Henderson's piece (Sport, 23 August) from New York: 'The Queen,...

My lovely Auld Reekie

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From Martin Hogg Sir: As a resident of Edinburgh. I must apologise to Lloyd Evans (Arts, 23 August) for his dreadful experience during his recent visit to my parochial and grey...

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Why the Loch Ness Monster decided to stay on the bottom

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I n summer, throughout Scotland, elderly men, usually with beards and in Highland dress, stand around with their bagpipes waiting for tourists to pay them to play. I recall one...

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How a balloon flight over the Pyrenees cured my mother's fear of flying

The Spectator

IN hat, for her 77th birthday, do you give a woman who has everything? I do not mean that my mother is rich or lives in hinny, but that though we, her six children, have all our...

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Treasures buried in the mud

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Philip Hensher YELLOW DOG by Martin Amis Cape, £16.99, pp. 340 ISBN 0224050613 T hough not as bad as had been suggested before the absurdly tightly guarded publication, Yellow...

Page 38

Don't let the facts spoil a good story

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Charles Mitchell TRUE CRIME by Jake Arnott Sceptre, £10.99, pp. 344, ISBN 0340818565 J ake Arnott tells a good story, and when he gets on with it his books tick along nicely....

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The worst class of elite

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Raymond Asquith DARKNESS AT DAWN: THE RISE OF THE RUSSIAN CRIMINAL STATE by David Satter Yale, £22.50, pp. 314, ISBN 0300098928 T he thesis for which this book submits evidence...

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The better half of mathematics

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Alexander Masters ISAAC NEWTON by James Gleick Fourth Estate, £15, pp. 289, ISBN 0007163177 I saac Newton showed no signs of being a brilliant child, only an odd one. Reading...

Oh, my Papa!

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Digby Durrant SIX by Jim Crace Penguin, 116.99, pp. 356, ISBN 0670881163 F elix ('Lix') Dern is under a curse. 'Every woman he dares to sleep with bears his child.' There are...

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Keeping an eye on the generals

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Hugh Brogan JOHN F. KENNEDY: AN UNFINISHED LIFE, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek Allen Lane, £25, pp. 838, ISBN 0713997370 F or once a bookseller's puff is accurate. 'Hands down...

Page 42

Tragedy and comedy in Kosovo

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Olivia Cole THE INTERNATIONALS by Sarah May Chatto, £10, pp. 217, ISBN 0701172827 E xtraordinary public events have a power to locate us in the mundane minutiae of our everyday...

Sex, please, we're British

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Robert Edric POLITICS by Adam Thirlwell Cape, £12.99, pp. 279, ISBN 0224071041 A ppropriately for a book entitled Politics, Adam Thirlwell's first novel — another of Granta's...

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The puzzle of Rebus

The Spectator

Allan Massie A QUESTION OF BLOOD by Ian Rankin Orion, £17.99, pp. 360, ISBN 0752851101 A rguably no Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott has had the commercial and critical...

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Embarras de richesses

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Hugh Massingberd GREAT HOUSES OF EUROPE by Marcus Binney Aurum, £40, pp. 192, ISBN 1854108492 HISTORIC FAMILY HOMES AND GARDENS FROM THE AIR Norman Hudson & Co, £25, pp. 189,...

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Joining the wild party

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Justin Marozzi THE TASTE OF DREAMS by Vanora Bennett Review, L14.99, pp. 276, ISBN 0755300637 F rom time to time, a certain champagne house which suffers from an association...

Method in his madness

The Spectator

Alan Judd HARVARD AND THE UNABOMBER: THE EDUCATION OF AN AMERICAN TERRORIST by Alston Chase Norton, £20.95, pp, 432, ISBN 0930020029 T heodore Kaczynski, the American Unabomber...

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The primrose path

The Spectator

Nicholas Harman TURNED TOWARDS THE SUN by Michael Burn Michael Russell. £20. pp. 320, ISBN 0859552802 H ere we find several autobiographies, all within a single cover and by...

Page 48

The dark side of la dolce vita

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Caroline Moorehead THE MONTES1 SCANDAL: THE DEATH OF WILMA MONTESI AND THE BIRTH OF THE PAPARAZZI IN FELLINI'S ROME by Karen Pinkus University of Chicago Press, £16.49, pp....

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Winner takes all

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling AMARILLO SLIM IN A WORLD FULL OF FAT PEOPLE: THE MEMOIRS OF THE GREATEST GAMBLER WHO EVER LIVED by T. A. 'Amarillo Slim' Preston with Greg Dinkin Yellow...

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The strange potency of bad music

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Marcus Berkmann investigates the strong feelings invoked by atrocious cover-versions A lesson is learnt. Good music, as we hear it, tends to be ours and ours alone. But had...

Page 51

Double-edged spirit of the age

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Andrew Lambirth Elizabeth National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 14 September T he England of the first Elizabeth was expansive. It was a time of adventure and...

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Great interpretations

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Michael Tanner Die Winterreise Edinburgh Festival part from the two cycles of The Ring, all he opera in this year's Edinburgh Festival was performed in concert, with some of...

French farce

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Lloyd Evans Le Costume Young Vic The Taming of the Shrew The Globe T e Costume is a masterpiece directed by Peter Brook. No, I'll rephrase that. Le Costume is directed by...

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'that's entertainment

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Patrick Camegy Cymbeline Swan Theatre, Stratford Pericles Bard on the Beach, Vancouver (In holiday from the exertions of the 15 l_lor so years that had taken him from the early...

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Iconic avenger

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Mark Steyn Cn iartes Bronson made a few good ovies, a lot more lousy ones, and, either way, piled up enough dough to buy a horse farm in West Windsor, Vermont, a little way...

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Beautifully arranged

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Ursula Buchan irrhe trouble with you garden writers,' 1 said Judith Blacklock, editor of the Flower Arranger Magazine, not unkindly, when I met her at the Chelsea Show, is that...

Best of Five

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Simon Hoggart people keep telling me that Channel 5 1 (or 'Five' as we are supposed to call it) is much improved, being no longer devoted to sport and nude women, and with...

Page 59

An historic campaign

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Michael Vestey W eall know that political spin is nothing new. Previous governments tried to present their policies in an attractive light and the Heath administration actually...

Page 60

He really owes me

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Robin Oakley A l:stair Campbell, I reckon, owes me 789.30. My oldest friend's ruby-wedding celebrations made it impossible for me to make it to a racetrack last Saturday so I...

The Qatar way

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Taki Gstaad T alk about dumbing down. Here's a moron commenting on Sky following the Greek victory in the women's javelin: 'Oi didn't know Greeks could speak English, not that...

Page 61

Doctor in the house

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Jeremy Clarke T here is very little in the way of conversation at home. Uncle Jack sometimes appears in the hall to ask someone where he is, what he is doing here, or what time...

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Putting on L-plates

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Petronella Wyatt I t seems a bit odd, learning to drive in one's thirties. Readers will wonder why I have put it off for so long. The answer is that, as Eliza Doolittle...

Page 66

1 t's always a huge pleasure to go to Southwold,

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that charming, lively yet soothing Suffolk seaside resort — Frinton without the frumpiness. There's a fine intact pier, and at the Crown an excellent restaurant. The colourful...

Page 71

Gripping times

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tiENDERSON I f you die at the age of 86, and your admirers in a career spanning four decades include the Queen, Margaret Thatcher and Frank Sinatra, it is fair to say you have...

Q. Our 15-year-old daughter was invited as a guest to

The Spectator

accompany a schoolfriend on holiday with her friend's father and stepmother (whom we have not met) as the elder sister did not wish to go. In a telephone conversation to discuss...

Q. I do relish bringing together over lunch friends with

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similar tastes and interests. To give us time for more leisured convivial exchanges. I'd like to do it over dinner instead. Can this be contrived without roping in spouses and...

Q. How much is a first-class stamp to Europe?

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A.M., Fulham, SW6 A. I'm glad you asked. A lot of people think it costs the same as a first-class stamp in England and great mounds of letters go undelivered as a consequence....