7 APRIL 2007

Page 5

The wages of stealth

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A stealth tax, by definition, is one in which political pain is deferred in return for immediate gain. The Chancellor who imposes such a tax effectively mortgages his...

Page 9

T his afternoon we are saying farewell to the 11-year-old daughter

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of a close and muchloved colleague, Robin McKie, the revered and veteran science editor of the Observer . Olivia was killed in a road accident one Friday lunchtime. What the...

Page 10

F riends with military experience ponder two questions about the Iranian

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kidnap of the 15 British sailors. The first is, ‘Why didn’t they put up a fight?’ The answer seems to lie with the rules of engagement. This was effectively confirmed by...

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MONDAY Feel dreadful. Had horrendous nightmare last night. Was sleeping fitfully when a ghostly form appeared above my bed. He was tieless, wearing a white, open-necked shirt...

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Revealed: how the Conservative party is planning to split

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The slide towards extinction in Scotland has persuaded the Tories to draw up a blueprint for separation, says Fraser Nelson . The Scottish Tories would split off — and...

Page 16

The magus of Fitzrovia in his prime

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Ian McEwan talks to Matthew d’Ancona about his new novel set in the Sixties, On Chesil Beach , his forthcoming opera and the primitive magic of the open sea I meet Ian McEwan...

Page 17

Mind your language

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I found it odd that the defence counsel for Lord Black (referred to as Mr Black in the Chicago court where he is standing trial) told the jury that his client ‘sounds...

Page 18

‘You get your film,’ the Israeli soldier said, ‘and go home’

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Rod Liddle witnesses a Palestinian teenager being brutally treated by an Israeli soldier and considers the part he and his film crew played in the incident ‘S o, are you happy...

Page 20

Sloane Rangers!

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Unite to save your Square Mark Palmer is appalled by plans to turn Sloane Square, the cluttered, lovable home of Peter Jones, into a grim crossroads. Why destroy such a...

Page 22

‘We Christians need more persecution’

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In an interview to mark Easter, Cardinal Cormac MurphyO’Connor tells Stuart Reid that Christianity must always swim against the tide, but especially in an age of secular...

Page 23

Senator Duke?

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How disappointing it is that our legislators spend so much of their time arguing about reform of the House of Lords when the whole of Parliament is crying out for reform. The...

Page 24

A celebration of ‘Porgy and Bess’

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Michael Tanner Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess is a masterpiece, whatever other category one finds for it. It is bursting with vitality, it has a larger number of memorable, indeed...

Page 25

Tales of ‘Stuffing it’ Austen, ‘Eye-opener’ Dickens and ‘Banana’ Waugh

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I suspect gluttony, the excessive consumption of food and drink, was the first of the deadly sins to be committed. The least glamorous of them too. It is universal today, to...

Page 26

Brits in denial

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Sir: James Forsyth (‘Where is the outrage at the kidnapping of our Marines?’, 31 March) points out that the indifference the public is showing towards the seizure and...

Sir: James Forsyth misunderstands the reasons for our collective indifference

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to what he describes as ‘Iran’s act of war’. Having been fed misinformation by the Blair government for a decade (particularly in relation to ‘war propaganda’) most of...

Sir: I read Ross Clark’s mean-spirited article about Red Nose

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Day (‘Read the small print before you donate’, 24 March) with great concern. As the director of the Children’s Legal Centre I would like to make it clear that at no time...

Sir: Ross Clark’s article included misleading information about BBC Children

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In Need. All our funding goes directly to help disadvantaged children and young people. We receive thousands of grant applications each year, and we apply a rigorous assessment...

Aussie outrage

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Sir: Charlotte Moore, reviewing Thomas Keneally’s The Widow and Her Hero (Books, 24 March), questions whether there is ‘a woman alive’ who, like Grace, notices the...

Cormac’s slip

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Sir: I am glad to hear (Letters, 31 March) that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is full of ‘admiration’ for the Pope’s recent document on the Eucharist. Some of us...

Total recall

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Sir: The review of Bryan Magee’s autobiography Growing Up in a War (Books, 10 March) recounts that while Magee is in the Christ’s Hospital infirmary he is tended by a...

Page 28

French trains: faster, cheaper, greener, sexier

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Neil Collins meets Guillaume Pepy, France’s top railwayman, and asks what lessons Britain can learn from the record-breaking success of the TGV network G uillaume Pepy...

Page 29

A way out of this Kafkaesque world

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Ross Clark T he regulator of premium-rate telephone services, ICSTIC, is investigating television companies which dangle prizes before viewers’ eyes and then make it...

Page 30

Market-leading eco-warriors

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Margareta Pagano visits Kingspan, a family-run firm at the forefront of zero-carbon building technology I t’s bleak, cold and nearly dusk at Kingspan’s industrial estate at...

Page 32

In business since 1537, the City company that’s acquiring targets in Basra

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T o Armoury House, headquarters of the Honourable Artillery Company, for lunch with the recruiting officer — not with a view to joining up, though the PT would do me good, but...

Page 33

The great novelist as generous critic

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Malcolm Deas TOUCHSTONES: E SSAYS ON L ITERATURE , A RT AND P OLITICS by Mario Vargas Llosa, selected, edited and translated by John King Faber, £25, pp. 353, ISBN...

Page 34

Our women at the front

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Jonathan Mirsky H IGH T EA IN M OSUL : T HE T RUE S TORY OF T WO E NGLISHWOMEN IN W AR -T ORN I RAQ by Lynne O’Donnell Cyan, £9.99, pp. 213, ISBN 9781905736096 V £7.99...

Page 35

From hero to villain

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Montagu Curzon B OMBER B OYS : F IGHTING B ACK , 1940-45 by Patrick Bishop Harper Press, £20, pp. 395, ISBN 9780007189861 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 P atrick...

Page 36

Starting out on the wrong foot

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Juliet Townsend J ACKIE D AYDREAM by Jacqueline Wilson Doubleday, £12.99, pp. 343, ISBN 9780385610155 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 E . Nesbit once pointed out...

Wonders never cease

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Olivia Glazebrook SEIZURE by Erica Wagner Faber, £10.99, pp. 232, ISBN 9780571227594 ✆ £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 J anet seems to have her life neatly organised....

Page 37

A nation transformed in two generations

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Raymond Carr T HE N EW S PANIARDS by John Hooper Penguin, £10.99, pp. 480, ISBN 9780141016092 ✆ £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hen in November 1975 Franco died, he...

Page 39

The squalor of the past

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Philippa Stockley H UBBUB : F ILTH , N OISE AND S TENCH IN E NGLAND , 1600-1770 by Emily Cockayne Yale, £25, pp. 335, ISBN 0300112149 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

Page 40

Repetitive strain injury

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Henrietta Bredin on how actors cope with the challenge of long theatrical runs W hat is it like for an actor, after the stimulating exploratory process of rehearsal, followed...

Page 41

Singular sensation

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Andrew Lambirth Prunella Clough Tate Britain, until 27 August Harry Thubron: Collages and Constructions 1972–1984 Austin/Desmond Fine Art, Pied Bull Yard, 68–69 Great...

Page 42

Sheer perfection

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Michael Tanner L’Heure espagnole; Gianni Schicchi Royal Opera House Ariodante Barbican T he trouble with perfection, on the extremely rare occasions one encounters it, is...

Page 44

Narcissistic posturings

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Lloyd Evans Total Eclipse Menier The Wonderful World of Dissocia Royal Court The Rose Tattoo Olivier T oo much artist and not enough art. That’s one problem with Total...

Page 46

Star quality

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Harry Joll Sunshine 15, selected cinemas T he plot of Sunshine does not inspire confidence. A band of eight astronauts aboard the Icarus II must deliver a bomb to the centre...

Cultural bedlam

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Peter Phillips B y the time you read this the first episode of The Tudors will have been screened in the US on the cable channel Showtime. In fact, it will have appeared nine...

Page 48

Aged-related patterns

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Marcus Berkmann F or many of us, the music that touches us most deeply remains the stuff we first heard between the ages of (give or take a couple of years) 14 and 22. During...

Vicious propaganda

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James Delingpole T he thing I really don’t get at all about The Mark of Cain (Channel 4, Thursday) is how the people involved could bring themselves to do it. I mean, I’m...

Page 49

Shafts of light

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Kate Chisholm T ough stuff on Radio Three on Good Friday, and an uncompromising bit of programming. W.H. Auden’s Horae Canonicae , his seven-part meditation on the...

Page 50

National symbols

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Taki Santa Cruz, Bolivia B olivia’s ruling party is demanding that Coca-Cola drops the ‘coca’ from its name to ‘dignify’ the ‘bioenergetic’ leaf that provides...

Page 51

Lonely planets

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Jeremy Clarke W e love this old house and can’t imagine living anywhere else. But needs must and we’ve finally bitten the bullet — the house is on the market from today....

Page 52

Water features

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Aidan Hartley Laikipia A bit like my bowel movements after a fortnight in Katanga, the seasons in upcountry have lost their cyclical regularity. My father used to time the...

Page 53

P restige Agencies is part of the admirable Playford Ros company

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in North Yorkshire. They sell some wonderful wines from the world’s boutique vineyards, often made in tiny quantities, all created with the kind of loving attention you just...

Page 54

Green is the new black

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‘Conscientious consumption’ is the height of fashion, observes Mimi Spencer W orking at Vogue magazine in the middle Nineties was a glorious exercise in indulgence. I well...

Page 55

Treasure island

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Harry Mount casts his golden eye over Jamaica I t was Ian Fleming’s anxiety about impending fatherhood that brought about the birth of James Bond. When his longtime lover,...

Page 63

Championship fever

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FRANK KEATING E ight teams, and scarcely 10 points between them for months. While the Premiership title has long been an unchallenging two-horse race between Manchester United...

Q. Several years ago I had a well-respected broadsheet editor

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to stay for the weekend. The house party included another friend who has since become a rising star in the world of politics. Last Sunday, as I leafed my way through the...

Q. We are lucky enough to live on a large

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estate well known for its excellent hunting. Although we do not hunt ourselves, we like to contribute by giving a lawn meet which always seems to prove popular, and this year...