8 APRIL 2006

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How about asking us?

The Spectator

I n his 1997 manifesto Tony Blair described New Labour as ‘the political arm of none other than the British people as a whole’. Nine years on, it more closely resembles the...

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T he most satisfying night of recent weeks had to be

The Spectator

the poetry reading in the British Library organised by Josephine Hart, a woman born to fill us with her infectious love of poetry. It was standing room only, as Evelyn and Lynn...

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Cameron’s meeting with Blair was a deplorable stitch-up

The Spectator

I n 15 years of covering domestic politics I have never reported on anything half as sordid as Tuesday’s meeting between Tony Blair and David Cameron in the Prime Minister’s...

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W hen Bill Clinton was threatened with impeachment over the Monica

The Spectator

Lewinsky affair, I was keen that the Daily Telegraph , which I was editing at the time, should add fuel to the flames. A little earlier, I had edited the Sunday Telegraph and...

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The Spectator

By Tamzin Lightwater MONDAY Another day, another chance to demonstrate our values. We are launching our spring forum in Manchester with an initiative: ‘focusing on the...

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The Queen has succeeded simply by being herself

The Spectator

Sarah Bradford , the Queen’s acclaimed biographer, hails her 80th birthday, reflects on an astonishing life — and looks forward to Her Majesty’s ninth decade T he Queen will be...

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The way we were the week the Queen was born

The Spectator

Mary Wakefield looks back at our issue of 24 April 1926, and finds The Spectator reflecting on Mussolini, the brewing General Strike — and the off-side rule I t was press day at...

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What’s one less IRA grass to the government?

The Spectator

Jenny McCartney says that the murder of Denis Donaldson is a matter of supreme indifference to the authorities in London and Dublin T he final miserable weeks of Denis Donaldson...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

I’m stuck in a fine old barney with Prof Michael McCarthy, the co-author of the new Cambridge Grammar of English . This grammar calmly notes that like can be used to introduce...

Meet the real Sarkozy: the man who could save France

The Spectator

Allister Heath has gained access to the inner circle of France’s interior minister. Here, he offers a unique portrait of the presidential hopeful Paris I t was the ideal...

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Let’s hear it for the family from hell

The Spectator

Rod Liddle meets the mother and father of Leighanne Black, the notoriously abusive 14-year-old drink-driver, and finds that they are kind and loyal parents A t last there’s the...

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People-traffickers are not the problem: people are

The Spectator

Tony Blair has launched an FBI-style crackdown on ‘human smuggling’. But, as David Rennie reports, DIY migration is the true crisis facing Europe Brussels R ight now,...

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The most beautiful book to come out of South Africa,

The Spectator

at least that is known to me, is Pauline Smith’s The Little Karoo . It was published in 1925, when the racial question (as it was then called) concerned the relations of Boer to...

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Hail Quinlan Terry: our greatest living architect

The Spectator

Roger Scruton pays homage to the scourge of modernism, a lonely warrior who defends the classical tradition in building S ince the early 20th century, Western society has been...

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Blair is no Thatcherite

The Spectator

From Lord Tebbit Sir: I am not sure whether in his review of the programme Tory! Tory! Tory! (Arts, 25 March) Simon Hoggart is expressing his own view or that of Edwina Currie,...

The bombers of Oz

The Spectator

From Peter Smalley Sir: Matthew Norman is wrong to doubt that Australian magpies pursue human beings (‘Blair really thinks he is the Wizard of Oz’, 1 April). In Australia,...

History is for blockheads

The Spectator

From Professor Robert H. Taylor Sir: Byron Rogers’s review of Marion Elizabeth Rodgers’s biography of the American journalist H.L. Mencken (Books, 25 March) notes that her...

A cox’s job

The Spectator

From Judy Pearce Sir: Frank Keating’s article (Sport, 1 April) is pure whimsy. As mother of last Sunday’s winning Oxford coxswain, I can vouch for this being the ultimate...

Hedge rows

The Spectator

From Jonathan Hoyle Sir: Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 25 March) takes comfort from the fact that despite ‘often’ making £10 million a year, hedge fund managers have in...

Astrological error

The Spectator

From Joseph M.A. Ledlie Sir: Paul Johnson’s near-perfect miniature of Grand Central Station (And another thing, 25 March) says the celestial ceiling of the station’s grand...

Ladronian war games

The Spectator

From Simon Longe Sir: I enjoyed John Laughland’s enchanting vignette of Ladronia (Travel, 1 April). I must put him right on one point. My late father, who served with SOE, told...

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Voices of a lost East End that reach us through the smog of time

The Spectator

D espite or perhaps because of the great smog of 1962, the worst for a decade, the Alma at Limehouse was crowded. Among the drinkers were ‘an inaudible Chinese elder nicknamed...

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Knock, knock! A toast to the City’s peerless chronicler and jokesmith

The Spectator

C hristopher Fildes’s City and Suburban column first appeared in June 1984 and notched up over a thousand appearances; before that, he served as business editor under Nigel...

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Let us not be Pontius Pilate and wash our hands

The Spectator

T he events which led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday AD 33 were essentially a conflict over freedom of speech. The Romans ran, on the whole, a liberal empire...

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The catastrophe of success

The Spectator

Ferdinand Mount T HE S ELECTED L ETTERS OF T ENNESSEE W ILLIAMS , 1945-57 edited by Albert J. Devlin with Nancy M. Tischler Oberon Books, 521 Caledonian Road, London N7 9 RH,...

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Mystery of the Silver Chair

The Spectator

As if God’s glory, with just one sun-ray, Could not burn craters in a chromosome, We call it kindly when it works our way, And, some of us with tact, some with display, Arrange...

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All go in the name of God

The Spectator

Ronald Blythe R UN O ’ THE M ILL B ISHOP by John Bickersteth Cappella Archives, £24.50, pp. 345, ISBN 1902918215 T he Bickersteth family has performed its Levi-like role in the...

Imaginary conversations: an encounter in Madrid

The Spectator

‘Good morning, Don Pepe!’ ‘Good morning.’ ‘And how are your beautiful daughters? Mercedes?’ ‘Mercedes? She has become a famous vivisectionist.’ ‘And Pilar?’ ‘Secretary to a...

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Mad about the Bard

The Spectator

Jonathan Bate W ILL AND M E : H OW S HAKESPEARE T OOK O VER M Y L IFE by Dominic Dromgoole Penguin/Allen Lane, £16.99, pp. 291, ISBN 0713998318 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870...

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A magnificent seven

The Spectator

John Bayley 7 S TORIES by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, edited and translated by Joanne Turnbull Glas, £9, pp. 208, ISBN 5717200730 B eing a creative fantasist is not a simple...

What next — after the end of history?

The Spectator

Douglas Hurd A FTER THE NEOCONS by Francis Fukuyama Profile, £12.99, pp. 226, ISBN 1861979223 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 P rofessor Fukuyama is famous for having...

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Lady in waiting

The Spectator

Jennifer Jenkins P ART OF THE P ATTERN by Edna Healey Review, £25, pp.306, ISBN 0747275807 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 E dna Healey recalls her life as ‘a Wife at...

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A toddle along the Gibbon trail

The Spectator

Jasper Griffin T HE D REAM OF R OME by Boris Johnson HarperCollins, £18.99, pp. 210, ISBN 9780007224418 W hat is likely to be the future of Europe? Is some kind of unity really...

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Soldier of good fortune

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm A C ONVERSATION ON THE Q UAI VOLTAIRE by Lee Langley Chatto, £15.99, pp. 376, ISBN 0701179120 ✆ £12.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 F ans of Lee Langley’s...

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Relocation with a vengeance

The Spectator

Christopher Hitchens T WICE A S TRANGER : G REECE , T URKEY AND THE M INORITIES THEY E XPELLED by Bruce Clark Granta, £20, pp.267, ISBN 0199291055 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870...

ecstasies beyond the mundane

The Spectator

To harness, like a great power, the erotic I bought Erotic Art by The Great Masters which I purposed to use like a fuel its heavenly energy to rouse my own writing into...

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A talent for losing

The Spectator

Philip Ziegler W AVELL : S OLDIER AND STATESMAN by Victoria Schofield John Murray, £30, pp. 512, ISBN 0719563208 V £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W avell was a great...

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Harnessing the horses of Apollo

The Spectator

Hugh Massingberd S UNDIALS : H ISTORY , A RT , P EOPLE , S CIENCE by Mark Lennox-Boyd Frances Lincoln, £30, pp. 144, ISBN 0711224940 ✆ £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n my...

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Rattling good à la Russe

The Spectator

Honor Clerk W HITE B LOOD by James Fleming Cape, £12.99, pp. 361, ISBN 0224077996 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T olstoy has always been so much a part of English...

Spring forward, fall back

The Spectator

Pankaj Mishra T HE L ONG M ARCH by Sun Shuyun HarperCollins, £20, pp. 302, ISBN 000719479X R epublics, as much as monarchies, need founding myths in order to legitimise...

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Where are the Snows of yesteryear?

The Spectator

S ome years ago I bought a little book by Arnold Bennett from a stall at a church fete. It cost only a few pence, a real bargain, for this collection of pieces written for The...

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‘Enemy of obviousness’

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans on the life and work of Samuel Beckett, who was born 100 years ago ‘Q uelle catastrophe.’ Thus Samuel Beckett on hearing that he had won the Nobel Prize in 1969. He...

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Taking shape

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Ellsworth Kelly Serpentine Gallery, until 21 May T he Serpentine Gallery is a pleasure to visit, which makes it all the more frustrating that its exhibition...

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New world orders

The Spectator

Laura Gascoigne Christopher P. Wood: New Worlds Long & Ryle, until 22 April Nigel Cooke: A Portrait of Everything South London Gallery, until 14 May T his year’s Tate Triennial...

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Homage to a bygone era

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio English National Ballet Richmond Theatre Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Peacock Theatre L ast week I briefly lamented the lack of stylistic and...

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Relentless morbidity

The Spectator

Charles Spencer A s T.S. Eliot almost wrote, this column has become much obsessed with death and sees the skull beneath the skin. Going to a moving memorial service for a...

Family at war

The Spectator

Olivia Glazebrook The Squid and the Whale 15, selected cinemas I n a dark corner of the Museum of Natural History in New York there is a diorama of a giant squid caught between...

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Captivated by Weir

The Spectator

Michael Tanner A Night at the Chinese Opera Royal Academy of Music La Rondine; Arms and the Cow Alhambra, Bradford A Night at the Chinese Opera is the first stage work of...

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Addicted to niceness

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans The American Pilot Soho Members Only Trafalgar Studio Beckett Centenary Festival Barbican D avid Greig. Wunderkind or waste of space? You may not be familiar with...

Real life

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart L ike everyone else I loved Planet Earth (BBC1, Sunday), which came to only a temporary end this week. The images are fabulous. If the global-warming doomsayers...

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Osborne tirade

The Spectator

Michael Vestey B BC Radio marked the 50th anniversary of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court with a production of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger on Radio Four last...

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Whatever the weather

The Spectator

Robin Oakley A m I alone, I wonder, in despairing of the human condition every time I encounter the manacled, immovable coathangers in the wardrobes of expensive hotel...

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Riotous times

The Spectator

Taki U nless one’s in the middle of it — and even then — Paris and a riot go together like a horse and carriage, which was the way one travelled when rioting became chic, après...

Fight to unite

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke I was in the gents at the Black Lion in Plaistow, east London, standing at one of the two urinals, when it hit me. I was thinking about my Mum. She hasn’t been...

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Without fear

The Spectator

James Delingpole Mickie O’Brien’s father served with the Royal Marines at Gallipoli. Mickie himself was commissioned in the Royal Marines in 1940 and, after two years in ships...

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Y ou will know by now whether Arsenal in Italy on

The Spectator

Wednesday carried on from their racily appealing first-leg home victory over Juventus and are now in the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup. Whatever, last week’s...

Q. We have friends who regularly invite us to dinner.

The Spectator

Because I know that they have little appreciation of fine wine, we generally and generously like to bring a bottle of quality wine as a gift, to complement both the meal and the...

Q. With the Easter holidays approaching, can you recommend any after-dinner games suitable for families and friends to play together?

The Spectator

C.B., Aldeburgh A. Why not play the Water Game? This is suitable for every age group. One of the party becomes Question Master, putting about two tablespoonfuls of water into a...

Q. My cousin recently used my telephone to ring a

The Spectator

friend of hers who was on a mobile in Poland at the time. She assured me that she was keeping a tab and would refund me before she left but she forgot. The itemised bill has...