7 OCTOBER 2006

Page 5

The substance of optimism

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T hose Tories coming to David Cameron’s first conference as party leader in search of detailed policies were always going to be disappointed. It is only ten months since Mr...

Page 9

I embarked upon my new book, On Royalty , because, as a

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republican, I was genuinely baffled by the devotion monarchies seem to inspire. Yet the more I looked into it, the less there seemed to be to the republican cause: monarchy may...

Page 10

David Cameron has helped his party rediscover its most lethal weapon: loyalty

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F or the first time in perhaps a decade, not a drop of blood has been shed on the floor of a Conservative party conference. What was for so many years a vicious gladiatorial...

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T he current Tory position on tax cuts is rather like the doctrine of the Trinity. It makes no sense unless you know the questions that lie behind it. It is not really a...

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SATURDAY Phonecalls to Dorset police: 235. Nights without sleep: 3. Double espressos: 25. Where is Dave’s pass?!!?!? We applied two months ago...

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The mean streets of Britain, where life is as cheap as food

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The shootings in a Brixton McDonald’s were a terrible metaphor for the way we live now, writes Allister Heath . A whole section of society, raised on violence and fast food,...

Page 16

Unlike Clinton, McCain told them the truth

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Irwin Stelzer , who urged the US presidential contender not to come to the Tory conference, still admired his honest speech and its refreshing contrast with Clinton’s at...

Page 18

Ken Dodd: still happy after all these years

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More than 50 years after his debut, the Squire of Knotty Ash plays 120 shows a year, each lasting five hours. He tells Michael Henderson what comedy is — and quotes Aristotle...

Page 19

Mind your language

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I’ve just bought my husband’s Christmas present. It is Gallimaufry (Oxford, £12.99) by Michael Quinion. He was the man, you may remember, who wrote Port Out, Starboard Home...

Page 20

The History Boys film gets me all wrong

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The villainous teacher in the play, now a movie, is partly based on Andrew Roberts . But, he writes, Alan Bennett fails to grasp that revisionist history is not based on a...

Page 22

The slaughter of the Amish children: just another day in America

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Rod Liddle says that a society brutalised by violent imagery and the death penalty has learned to expect such horrors as the bloodbath in the schoolhouse I t was what the...

Page 24

Special relationship spats

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From Stephen Graubard Sir: The interview with Senator John McCain (‘David Cameron has what it takes to succeed’, 30 September) is both informative and interesting but I’d...

Media whore

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From David Mayger Sir: As a longtime Spectator reader, I used to sympathise with Britain’s problem. Used to, that is, until reading that your two major political parties are...

Where Paul first preached

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From Tim Hudson Sir: It’s odd that the Pope should think that Christianity both defines and is defined by Europe (‘Pope Benedict was attacking the West, not Islam’, 23...

A resignation issue

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From Andrew Sinclair Sir: I was the other Fellow of Churchill College who resigned with Francis Crick over the chapel issue (‘The genetic code genius failed to kill faith’,...

Hair today

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From Alistair Robertson Sir: Matthew Parris has now joined Alistair Cooke as my other bathroom guru (Another voice, 23 September). Many years ago my wife heard Alistair Cooke,...

Bus blockade

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From Alan Phillips Sir: Rod Liddle (‘A miserable waste of space’, 30 September) quotes Transport 2000, ‘A bus carrying up to 90 passengers takes up the same space as...

Light truths

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From Robert Davies Sir: Thomas Young’s wave theory of light did not in fact disprove Newton’s particle theory (Books, 30 September). One of science’s later achievements...

Page 28

Why should the Queen endorse the unions’ decision to choose a new Labour PM mid-term?

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I magine that the prime minister of the day — whoever he might be were to stand down as PM and leader of the majority party in Parliament. His party would choose a new leader....

Page 29

Let us now praise famous horses

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I have never ridden a horse in my life. But I like them, big, decent, hardworking, sensitive creatures that they are. At my house in West Somerset I know several, and take great...

Page 32

Why Google has already passed its peak

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Matthew Lynn says the mighty search engine has gone from cool start-up to capitalist monster in record time — but that its decline could be just as quick I f you happened to...

Page 33

Don’t expect a new era of cheap fuel

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Allister Heath E conomics is not always the dismal science; sometimes it can cheer you up. Take the price of petrol. When fuel duty was first introduced in 1909, it was set at...

Page 34

It’s unthinkable, but Tesco is heading for trouble

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Judi Bevan says the supermarket group shares many of the faults that afflicted Marks & Spencer a decade ago T esco is heading for a fall. Improbable though this may sound after...

Page 36

Bear market strategies

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Joanna Pitman explains how wealth can be stored in your children’s toy cupboard E ver thought of investing in teddy bears? Before you collapse in a fit of laughter, consider...

Page 38

A voice crying in the wilderness

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Charles Moore T HE G OD D ELUSION by Richard Dawkins Bantam, £20, pp. 416, ISBN 0593055489 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R ichard Dawkins is an evangelical. The...

Page 39

The shadow of a scandal

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Peregrine Worsthorne B RINGING THE H OUSE D OWN by David Profumo John Murray, £20, pp. 304, ISBN 0719566088 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 F or someone famous —...

Page 40

Fashions and passions at Westminster

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Tamzin Lightwater G LASS H OUSES by Sandra Howard Simon & Schuster, £10, pp. 480, ISBN 0743285557 ✆ £8 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O ne gets so tired of the heavy duty...

Page 41

Death of a billionaire PM

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Charles Glass K ILLING M R L EBANON by Nicholas Blandford I.B. Tauris, £17.99, pp. 236, ISBN 1845112024 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R afik Hariri was...

Page 42

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

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P. D. James T HE A CT OF R OGER MURGATROYD by Gilbert Adair Faber, £10.99, pp. 286 ISBN 057122637X I t is hardly surprising if from time to time a contemporary novelist should...


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Medley of horses by the motorway untethered; the field surplus to transport or agriculture. At this speed the horses look like Travellers’ horses beside a leftover wood where...

Page 43

Having your cake, eating it and selling it

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Toby Young BORIS by Andrew Gimson Simon & Schuster, £17.99, pp. 277, ISBN 0743275845 W hen Boris Johnson was selected as the Conservative candidate for Henley in 2000, a year...

Anglo German attitudes

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Michael Gove D ON ’ T M ENTION THE W AR by John Ramsden Little, Brown, £20, pp. 433, ISBN 0316861227 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O ne of the most dangerous...

Page 44

The end of the imperial line

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David Gilmour T HE L AST M UGHAL : T HE F ALL OF A D YNASTY , D ELHI , 1857 by William Dalrymple Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 578, ISBN 074758639X ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 46

Public servant, private saint

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Hugh Cecil L EONARD W OOLF : A L IFE by Victoria Glendinning Simon & Schuster, £25, pp. 530, ISBN 0743220307 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 L eonard Woolf had a...

Page 47

Dreams Before Sleeping

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The idea is to set the mind adrift And sleep comes. Mozart, exquisitely dressed, Walks carefully to work between soft piles Of fresh horse-dung. Nice work. Why was my gift...

Page 48

Essex girl goes West

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Nicholas Haslam R ED C ARPETS AND O THER B ANANA S KINS by Rupert Everett Little, Brown, £18.99, pp. 405, ISBN 0316732222 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his...

The battle of the books

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Selina Hastings A S PY IN THE B OOKSHOP : L ETTERS BETWEEN H EYWOOD H ILL AND J OHN S AUMAREZ S MITH , 1966-1974 edited by John Saumarez Smith Frances Lincoln, £12.99, pp....

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The last time he saw Paris

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O ne good reason to read Simenon is to recover Paris. It is now 75 years since Maigret made his first appearance, and, if his Paris is not yet utterly lost, you have to walk...

Page 51

‘Pass me a sparkler’

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Henrietta Bredin goes operatic speed dating with composers, conductors, singers and directors W ould I like to attend an operatic speed-dating evening, as a librettist who...

Page 52

Light on a master

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Tom Rosenthal Rembrandt: Quest of a Genius Kulturforum, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, until 5 November I t’s strange that while Britain has gone fairly mad over Mozart’s 250th...

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Lines of beauty

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Andrew Lambirth Holbein in England Tate Britain, until 7 January 2007 Sponsored by The British Land Company Manet to Picasso National Gallery, until 20 May 2007 H ans Holbein...

Page 56

Unforgettable fire

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Ruth Guilding P laces, like property prices, go up and down. Margate, in the most northerly corner of Kent, is just beginning the uncertain journey upwards again. The...

Page 57

Meryl’s movie

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Deborah Ross The Devil Wears Prada PG, Nationwide S o, to cut straight to what you really want to know without having to wade through several paragraphs of plot-rehash followed...

Page 58

Absent Eliot

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Lloyd Evans Tom and Viv Almeida Amadeus Wilton’s Music Hall Daddy Cool Shaftesbury Theatre A mazing news. Theatre tickets in Islington are free. It’s all to do with...

Lessons from Tristan

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Michael Tanner Tristan and Isolde Welsh National Opera La Traviata ENO I t’s more than three years since there was a production of Wagner’s ultimate masterpiece, Tristan...

Page 59

Reasons to be cheerful

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Charles Spencer I used to love the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and when I’m kicking conkers on the way to the station or picking damsons on a sunny Sunday...

Page 60

Top of the pops

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Kate Chisholm I was never a fan of The Office , nor did I fall for its doleful star Martin Freeman (the mole-like antidote to Ricky Gervais), but I was intrigued to find out...

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Bare cheek

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Simon Hoggart N ormally I detest people who use laptops on crowded trains, but if you’re watching a DVD your elbows aren’t flying, and with earphones you’re no more of a...

Page 62

A little snack

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Simon Courtauld T he countryside writer Ian Niall, a columnist in these pages some 50 years ago, told in his classic work, The Poacher’s Handbook , of one of the fraternity...

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Great judgment

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Robin Oakley G ermany, next in the European Union presidency, won’t be trying anything too adventurous. We know that from the Berlin official who cautioned memorably against...

Party time

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Taki T he trouble with throwing a party is it only lasts for a few hours. Compared with the time and effort it takes to organise, it seems, well, a waste of time. John Aspinall...

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On the buses

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Jeremy Clarke ‘A t the age of 35,’ said Evelyn Waugh, ‘one needs to go to the moon, or some such place, to recapture the excitement with which one first landed at...

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Village life

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Roy Hattersley T he northern end of my village rejoices in old age. And it is even more venerable than it looks. Sometime during the 18th century the more prosperous residents...

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J oël Robuchon, the French chef who is variously referred to

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as ‘a genius’ and ‘legendary’ and ‘the chef of the century’ has just opened his first London restaurant, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. This is, apparently,...

Page 68

Oh, Brother

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Oscar Humphries has found a club he wants to belong to B rooks Brothers have made suits for every American president since Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was wearing one of their...

Page 69

Snakeskin on a plane

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Sarah Standing embraces hands-free travelling F lying back to Heathrow from JFK on 12 August, just two days after the Draconian new hand luggage restrictions were put into...

Page 70

Fashionable Paris

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Alexandra Shulman mixes couture and culture in the City of Light P aris was the first capital city outside London that I ever visited. My mother and godmother took me and Suzi,...

Page 79

Hove has it again

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FRANK KEATING F ootball’s overblown autumn overtures have been interesting enough, I suppose; and the rugger buggers have been lining up their wicked big hits for the...

Q. A few weeks ago we had a 25th wedding

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anniversary dance. Old and new friends came from far and wide. A clutch of beautiful presents was left for us in the hall, which we did not expect. One had an unsigned card...

Q. I have a friend who is giving much offence

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by first making good friends in the course of business and then, as soon as the business is completed, looking through those same friends at parties. What I would like to know,...