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The sense of an ending

The Spectator

'S leaze has been the dominant factor throughout,' declared the opposition, 'and sleaze has been the end issue. Nothing better encapsulates what people think of this government....

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The Spectator

ANDREW ROBERTS Well, I've learnt my lesson. After my last Speccie diary was satirised by the Guardian, Emily Maitlis, Michael White, Taki, a newspaper called the Asian Age, and...

Page 5

The Labour party has ended up as the unloved child of the Blair Brown divorce

The Spectator

ANNE MCELVOY eepparty feuds never really die: they just lie buried under the flimsy covering of the good times. For Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, such times have been brief...

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CHARLES MOORE We all know about spin in theory, bu

The Spectator

CHARLES MOORE We all know about spin in theory, but we are slow to notice it in practice. The approved version of the release of Gillian Gibbons, the 'teddy bear' teacher in the...

Page 7

Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody By Tamzin Lightwater SUNDAY Weekend duty totally r

The Spectator

By Tamzin Lightwater SUNDAY Weekend duty totally ruined by silly Sayeeda's trip to Sudan. Spent all dayyesterday fielding calls for pre-trip interviews, but she couldn't do any...

Page 8

Labour would get rid of Gordon if the plotters had a real candidate

The Spectator

As the government sinks into a mire of sleaze and incompetence, Fraser Nelson says that Labour MPs and ministers are braced for electoral disaster and already plotting...

Page 10

Guess what? Gordon has done something right For al

The Spectator

Guess what? Gordon has done something right For all Brown's woes, he is spot on about anti-competitive sharp practice in business, says Irwin Stelzer. Now he needs to import...

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'Zimbabwe is like a flipped coin in the air'

The Spectator

As the first EU—Africa summit for seven years opens, Christopher Thompson talks to those who still suffer under Mugabe's tyrannical rule and see no reason for optimism Harare...

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The teddy bear teacher was released from prison too soon

The Spectator

Rod Liddle is unimpressed by Gillian Gibbons and her view of Islam — but pleasantly surprised by the unequivocal reaction of British Muslim groups to her treatment So the...

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'The Arab world with its own European union'

The Spectator

Walter Russell Mead, the chronicler of US power, talks to James Forsyth about the geopolitics of the Middle East and says that Bush has 'carried the sins of his people' The...

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The older the Queen gets, the more she changes

The Spectator

Robert Hardman, presenter of the acclaimed BBC series on the monarchy, hails Elizabeth II for her ability to adapt and for her dwindling interest in 'VIPs' 1 n a fortnight the...

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The US needs the UK

The Spectator

Sir: David Howell is certainly correct (Letters, 1 December) in pointing to the massive shift of wealth to Asia and oil producers, a devel- opment to which I have repeatedly...

A church, not a cult

The Spectator

Sir: Individuals may disagree with the policies pursued by Tony Blair in office but all the Roman Catholic Church asks is that he acted on the basis of an informed conscience...

Full circle

The Spectator

Sir: Miranda Sawyer should not have included The Sound of Music in her list of 'films turned into live shows' (Diary, 24 November). It was, of course, the other way round: a...

Larry's Freudian kiss

The Spectator

Sir: Lloyd Evans is incorrect in stating that Olivier played Othello twice (Arts, 1 December). In the 1938 production at the Old Vic, Olivier played Iago and Ralph Richardson...

Despair, but also hope

The Spectator

Sir: Paul Johnson need not be so terrified by what he finds written in Matthew xxvii 46 (And another thing, 1 December). Jesus' reported last words on the cross are quoted from...

Money mad

The Spectator

Sir: What a funny and insightful piece by Andrey Slivka on the effects of mass consumption on Ukraine (Money culture is ruining Kiev', 1 December) Perhaps now he could be...

Page 19

I oppose a 'gay-hate' law because that is not what criminal legislation is for

The Spectator

MATTUFW D, plc Should 'gay-hate' be a crime? Stonewall, the gay lobbying group of which I remain a solid supporter, has just sent me a briefing paper urging members to support...

Page 20

From Renaissance Florence to Hollywood in only one contrapposto step

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON The other day I came across a clever book on the movie actor John Wayne. I forget the name of the author but it may have been Simon Louvish, who writes better than...

Page 21

The last Victorian bastion besieged

The Spectator

Matthew Lynn says London's last 19th-century merchant bank, Close Brothers, is under threat of takeover by one of the modern breed of aggressive City traders, Andy Stewart...

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Braced for a new oil shock? Relax, this isn't the 1970s

The Spectator

Allister Heath Those of us born in the late 1970s have a great advantage when it comes to understanding today's oil market: we cannot remember Opec embargoes, nor the...

Page 23

Wine maker to the maharajas

The Spectator

Richard Orange meets Rajeev Samant, an entrepreneur whose products please the palates of new-rich India 1 t's not often your host has passed up dinner with Mick Jagger and the...

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Charm school: You don't have to be an eight-year-old to love charm bracelets, writes Sarah Sands

The Spectator

When I was a bridesmaid, at the age of eight, I was given two silver charms. One was of a ballet dancer, en pointe, in a full skirt, like a little Degas. The other was a tiny...

Girl gadgets

The Spectator

Amelia Torode chooses the techy devices most likely to appeal to 'lady geeks' Say the words 'gadgets for women' to most men and rather quickly schoolboy humour takes over. But...

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My new best cellar

The Spectator

Dig deep for the wine-lover in your life, says Jonathan Ray Iknow what I want for Christmas and it ain't socks or handkerchiefs, thanks very much. I want a cellar. A grownup,...

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First past the post

The Spectator

Bill Cashmore picks the winners among mail-order food companies Ilove the nectar and ambrosia of luxury Christmas hampers but recipients aren't as grateful as they ought to be;...

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All passion spent

The Spectator

Philip Ziegler BALFOUR: THE LAST GRANDEE by R. J. Q. Adams John Murray, £30, pp. 479, ISBN 97807193541247 © £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Sargent's portrait of Balfour,...

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A choice of cookery books

The Spectator

Elfreda Pownall Let's start in the garden. This year cookery writers are as happy digging and planting as slicing and braising. Sarah Raven is a great gardener and, on the...

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Recent books of photographs

The Spectator

Christopher Howse In England by Don McCullin (Cape, £35) is, as might be expected, more gritty than pretty. Yet it is approachably humane compared with his famous war...

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Too funny for words

The Spectator

Kevin Brownlow SILENT COMEDY by Paul Merton Random House, £25, pp. 322, ISBN 9781905211708 £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 1 n 1989, when David Gill and I celebrated the...

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Fear and loathing in old Europe

The Spectator

Allan Mallinson NAPOLEON'S WARS by Charles Esdaile Allen Lane, £30, pp. 621, ISBN X9780713997156 © £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 What marks out the Napoleonic wars from...

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Don't judge a book by its cover

The Spectator

Christian House THE JOURNAL OF DORA DAMAGE by Belinda Starling Bloomsbury, £12.99, pp. 452, ISBN9780747585220 £1039 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 With its quartos, rectos...

A love story

The Spectator

Daniel Swift SPITFIRE: PORTRAIT OF A LEGEND by Leo McKinstry John Murray, £20, pp. 435, ISBN9780719568749 £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The pilots called it 'the Spit',...

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A choice of first novels

The Spectator

Archie Bland Rarely has Nietzsche been taken so literally as in Ron Currie's God Is Dead (Picador, £12.99), wherein the deity adopts the form of a Sudanese refugee woman called...

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The enduring mystery of Mrs Bathurst

The Spectator

L ‘ isten, Bill,' wrote P. G. Wodehouse (in a letter published in Pe/forming Flea), something really must be done about Kip's "Mrs Bathurst". I read it years ago and didn't...

Page 37

All points East

The Spectator

Ariane Bankes takes the Trans-Siberian railway and encounters some surprising music and art Serendipity is the best aspect of travel — the chance encounter, the unexpected...

Page 38

Drawing on experience

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Theatres of Life: Drawings from the Rothschild Collection The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London Wl, until 27 January 2008 Pop Art Portraits National...

Page 39

Marital tensions

The Spectator

Laura Gascoigne Bauhaus 1919-1933 Middlesbrough Institute of Modem Art, until 17 February With all the 'boundary-blurring' going on in contemporary art, the old distinction...

Page 40

Insight denied

The Spectator

Deborah Ross The Killing of John Lennon 15, West End and key cities Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon on 8 December 1980 as he returned to his New York home after a...

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Bitter sweets

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Happy Christmas New End The Seagull; King Lear New London Ablast of seasonal cheer at the New End Theatre. Paul Birtill's bitter and hilarious family satire, Happy...

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Rubies to the rescue

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Jewels The Royal Ballet George Balanchine's Jewels is an ideal acquisition for the Royal Ballet, for the evening-long work provides the artists with a...

Sound and fury

The Spectator

Charles Spencer Iwent out on the razzle with a bunch of reformed drunks last weekend. God, it was fun. The aim was a serious walk, eleven and a half miles, kicking off from...

Page 43

Breaking hearts

The Spectator

Michael Tanner The Rake's Progress Royal College of Music The Turn of the Screw English National Opera The Royal College of Music's Britten Theatre is the ideal size for...

Page 44

Prepare and reflect

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm The onset of Advent in the last days of November is supposed to be the herald of great joy at the jollities to come, but for most of us who have left childhood...

Dark doings in the suburbs

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart No doubt one reason why British people like Kath & Kim (often on BBC2, now on Living, Thursday) is that it takes the mick out of Australian suburban life. That...

Page 45

Don't worry about Harry

The Spectator

Robin Oakley After Denman, the deluge. The downpour which followed the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury reduced my notes to soggy pulp, but no matter. Twill remember almost every...

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Name dropping

The Spectator

Taki New York OK. Next to last column before the end of the year one, and of course it has to be about the crisis that has enveloped Pug's, the world's most exclusive of clubs....

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Pill popping

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke G Where are you going?' said the nurse. 'Guyana,' I said. She looked blankly at me. 'South America,' I said, passing on information I'd only recently learned...

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Making records is ridiculous

The Spectator

Alex James people ask me sometimes if I still do any music and I always tell them that music is a garden and, once you've been there, you never stop going back. It's true. Then...

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California hikin'

The Spectator

Steve King goes for a walk through the Los Angeles hills Los Angeles, they say, has four seasons: fire, flood, earthquake and drought. More than 500,000 acres of southern...

Page 50

Christmas in the Highlands The air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself at Cawdor, says Ella Windsor

The Spectator

1 nverness in winter. Sugar-coated riverbanks, glittering with leaves. Inverness — home to the Loch Ness Monster and Cawdor, land of Macbeth. I was staying with friends for a...

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The Spectator

DEBORAH ROSS The new champagne bar at St Pancras Station — sorry, St Pancras International — is said to be the longest in Europe, which is fine, although I pity the poor...

Page 54

Me in Who's Who? Until I see the 2008 edition, I'll assume it's a hoax

The Spectator

TOBY YOUNG When the letter anived last April I thought it was a joke. 'Dear Sir,' it began. 'On behalf of the publishers A & C Black I am very pleased to invite you to compile...

Mind your language

The Spectator

Some years ago The Spectator was sued for libel. It was a silly case, but it went to court and, early on, the counsel for the defence explained that The Spectator had no...

Page 55

Your Problems Solved

The Spectator

Dear Maly Q. Although I consider my dog Claude to have been born without a brain, he miraculously remembers that Wednesday is the day for his extra-long walkies and sits by the...

Lords of the ring

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING Another big fight on Saturday in Vegas: Britain's welterweight Ricky Hatton vs the accomplished American Floyd Mayweather. Victory for the four-square brickhouse...