8 MARCH 2003

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M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said in a speech

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in Swansea: 'In 1938 Chamberlain was a hero when he brought back the Munich agreement. And he did it for the best of motives. He had seen members of his precious family, people...

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H aving had a peek through the gates of Downing Street, the next item on a tourist's itinerary is a short stroll across Horse Guards Parade to the Cabinet War Rooms, from where...

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Y ou once said something I remind myself of at least twice a day,' Alan Rusbridger said to my excitement, over our lunch at Flaneur. 'You told me never to go on TV or radio.' I...

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Things have come to a pretty pass when a freeborn Englishman is not allowed to kill his wife

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ROD LIDDLE T he government is considering a new law which would make it illegal to kill women, no matter how annoying they may have become. Men should lose recourse to the...

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Mr Blair is being timid in not joining the nations now resisting the hawks of Washington

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MATTHEW PARRIS T he Prime Minister is right. The whole credibility of the United Nations is at stake this week. If the Security Council buckles under the US blackmail to which...

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Peter °borne on why undergraduates dunked Andrew Marr in a Cambridge pond, and why such an outrage would not be perpetrated today TWENTY-FIVE years on, Andrew Marr recollects...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade TWO weeks ago, this magazine warned of the consequences if well-meaning scientists and equality campaigners were...


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Julian Manyon on the bitter hostilities in northern Iraq Erbil ON the road to ancient Nineveh, now signposted Mosul, I stood with a group of Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers...

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Mark Steyn says the US is defeating the terrorists — but still has trouble on the home front New Hampshire TIMING is everything. Last week, President Bush received an 'open...

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Ancient & modern

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THE EU has recently proclaimed that, for the purposes of its statistical analyses, Britain is not an island. That poses an interesting question: when did it become an island? It...

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In the French catechism, gluttony is given as 'gourmandise'. Philip Delves Broughton says virtuous French gourmands want it changed Paris BEFORE his death last year in a...

Second opinion

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IN the days when relations between men and women were not so fluid or elastic that they left some room for the only cement that holds civilisation together, namely hypocrisy, it...

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Mind your language

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DR C.M.W. Tang writes from Georgetown. Guyana, to say that an English lady professor of his acquaintance was perplexed when she was admitted to a hospital there and had to tick...

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Sir Bernard Crick on the tests that immigrants must pass to achieve citizenship THE foreign hotel register demands: 'Nationality?' By 'nationality', of course, the hotel means...

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FOR some people, Burgundy is the only wine. Everything else

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is alcoholic grape juice. And a great Burgundy, red or white, has a style and flair and perfume and finesse and depth and richness which can't be found anywhere else. On the...

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The government insists that the reconviction rate among young offenders is falling. But that's not true, says Theodore Dahymple THERE is nothing a professional pessimist hates...

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The sliding axis on which the world rests or goes adrift

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PAUL JOHNSON W riters oscillate between the poles of criticism and creation. A divine few — such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Victor Hugo and Mark Twain — are at home equally as...

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Why the Tories should split

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From Mr Lawrie Brownlee Sir: Lord Howe's article ('Balancing the ticket', 22 February) confirms my view that the Conservative party is doomed in its present form. What is...

From Mr Brian fernier Sir: A few weeks ago I

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went to a black-tie dinner hosted by a residents' association on the Hyde Park Estate in London — a bastion of Tory tribalism. During the dinner I understood from the...

From Mr Roderick MacLean Sir: Why are you so enthusiastically

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embracing the term 'Tory'? In modern usage it is most often a left-wing term of abuse. In origin it was first applied to Irish bog-trotters and robbers, and then in around 1680...

My husband's great Act

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From Lady Butler Sir: Peter °borne (Politics, 1 February) uses the word 'disgraceful' in alluding to my husband's political career. I learn that he is referring to the time of...

New light on Nancy

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From Laura Thompson Sir: Anne Chisholm (Books. 1 March) is of course entitled to her alarmingly low opinion of my book about Nancy Mitford, Life in a Cold Climate. But she is...

Reaping the whirlwind

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From Mr Royce MacGillivray Sir: Frank Johnson (Shared opinion, 1 March) convincingly argues that the Iraq crisis is not Munich or Suez, but Sarajevo in 1914. It is worth...

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Taxing times

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From air G. Marshall Sir: Conservative councillors throughout the country will recognise the truth of Ross Clark's exposure of the government's latest tax scam Of it's Tory, tax...

In the blood

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From Miss Susan Clarke Sir: I read with interest Charles Moore's column (Hunting, 1 March). Mr Moore's articles on foxhunting in your magazine are one of the highlights of my...

Encouraging words

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From Captain C.J. Allen Sir: While thousands of British troops build up in Kuwait to join our US counterparts at the direction of our Prime Minister and for the continued...

Leave them alone

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From Mr Anthony G. Phillips Sir John Laughland's perceptive article (Hands off Northern Cyprus', 22 February) concludes with a sentiment which could equally apply in many parts...

Cornwall's proud

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From Mr William Shawcross Sir: Your correspondent Tom Palmer ('Hothouse of hate', 22 February) is quite wrong to dump all over the Eden Project in Cornwall because of a few...

How low can you get?

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From The Revd Canon Methuen Clarke Sir: Born early last century, I have been a Spectator reader since the Thirties and for the first time in those years I was truly shocked by...

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Did Mr Mandelson and Mr Blair conspire to get rid of a troublesome editor?

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STEPHEN GLOVER 0 ur old friend Peter Mandelson is alleged to have engineered the removal of Harry Blackwood, editor of the Hartlepool Mail, a newspaper in Mr Mandelson's...

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A nasty old person from Persia

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Philip Hensher PERSIA IN THE GREAT GAME by Anthony Wynn John Murray, £25, pp. 346, ISBN 0719564077 I have to register a strong complaint about the misleading and opportunistic...

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Drifting out of court

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Gabriele Annan JUDGE SAVAGE by Tim Parks Secker, £16.99, pp. 442, ISBN 043620598X J udge Savage is a dashing mixture of thriller, social comedy and dysfunctional family saga....

Why did she do it?

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Sebastian Shakespeare THE LIGHT OF DAY by Graham Swift Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp. 243, ISBN 0241142040 W e have had to wait seven years for Graham Swift's latest novel. Was...

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Where the buck never stops

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Archie Cotterell GREENBACK: THE STORY OF THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR AND THE INVENTION OF AMERICA by Jason Goodwin Hands* Hamilton, £14.99, pp. 299, ISBN 0241140986 I t is a seductive...

Spreading the good word

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Alan Wall A HOUSE BY THE RIVER by Sid Smith Picador, f15.99, pp. 262, ISBN 0330481231 T his is a remarkable novel. Written in a beautifully crafted prose, its theme is the...

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The contents of Auntie's handbag

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Jonathan Fryer THEN AGAIN by Irma Kurtz Fourth Estate, £15.99, pp. 360, ISBN 1841156930 D iaries, like snapshots, can be hostages to fortune. Anxious to capture a first...

Hervey remounts

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his horse Tom Pocock THE SABRE'S EDGE by Allan Mallinson Bantam, £16.99, pp. 320, ISBN 0593047281 T hose who prefer their history straight may look askance at the historical...

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He who would be king

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Jonathan Cecil PLAYING LEAR by Oliver Ford Davies NHB, £14.99, pp. 211, ISBN 1854596985 A sked who was the greatest French poet Andre Gide famously replied, 'Victor Hugo,...

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Hacking a path through the jungle

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Charlotte Mitchell THE VICTORIANS: THE OXFORD ENGLISH LITERARY HISTORY, VOLUME 8, 1830 - 1880 by Philip Davis OUP, £30, pp. 648, ISBN 0198184476 J onathan Bate, the general...

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A pioneer of the modern mood

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Fiona Maddocks PUCCINI: A BIOGRAPHY by Mary Jane Phillips-Matz Northeastern University Press, $30, pp. 384 ISBN 1555535305 PUCCINI: HIS LIFE AND WORKS by Julian Budden Master...

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The sound of music

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Robert Edric THE TIME OF OUR SINGING by Richard Powers Heinemann, £14.99, pp. 631, ISBN 0434060626 T he Time of Our Singing is the story of a mixed-race marriage in post-war...

Eureka proclaimed too loudly

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Robert Macfarlane WATSON AND DNA: MAKING A SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION by Victor K. McElheny Wiley, £18.99, pp. 365, ISBN 0470854294 J ames Watson has all the makings of a great...

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Own goals galore

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Boys will be boys

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Juliet Townsend DEAN FARRAR AND 'ERIC' by Ian Anstruther Haggerston Press, Barlavington Estate, Petworth. Sussex GU 28 OLG, Tel: 01798 869260, Fax: 01798 869401, £19.95, pp. I...

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Farrago of multiple choice

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Andrew Lambirth on the Tate's new exhibition, a cross-section of British contemporary art D ays Like These is only the second Tate Triennial Exhibition of Contemporary British...

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Workings of a genius

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Bruce Boucher A ly exhibition of Leonardo's drawings is an event, and the one now on display at New York's Metropolitan Museum is no exception. More than 100 works by Leonardo...

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Janacek in a tent

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Henrietta Bredin braves the backwaters of Venice for a production of Katya Kabanova G oing to the opera in Venice these days is quite a business. Everything that would have...

Fallen star

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Mark Steyn I can't remember the last time I saw Hogan's Heroes. It must be on somewhere right now, as you're reading this, if only because just about every piece of extant...

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Much ado

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Lloyd Evans T revor Nunn's sumptuous production of Love's Labour's Lost is almost faultless. The staging and the design attain a high level of professionalism. The company...

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Endemic laziness

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Michael Tanner B efore I went to the latest revival of Jonathan Miller's production of Richard Strauss's most popular comic opera at the Coliseum. I intended to begin my review...

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Follow the leader(s)

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Peter Phillips P erhaps it would be fun to hold a Most Influential Composer competition. It could be undertaken by one of our glossier magazines as a distraction from the...

Trials of a weekender

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Ursula Buchan T he property bubble may be finally popping, but for people like me, who like staying put, the recent hike in house prices, in the cities especially, has been...

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Is spelling a CWOT?

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Michael Vestey A friend who went for a secretarial job at Buckingham Palace was asked if she could spell, as the nature of the correspondence sent out was such that accuracy...

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Newton as nutcase

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Simon Hoggart I s there something in the water in Grantham that creates such extraordinary offspring? Why are the famous people from this pleasing but modest market town so...

Skiing with Ii Duce

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Taki JParis ust before I left Gstaad, I acted as auctioneer for a charity started by a lady who lost her young son to brain cancer. Things were not exactly hunky-dory as the...

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Spoil sports

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Jeremy Clarke M y boy was on half-term holiday last week so I renewed our family railcard and we went up to London for a day out. We left Devon at nine and arrived at three:...

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Living dangerously

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Pe tronella Wyatt T here hasn't been much in the news recently to cheer about, eh what? Apparently, we lack vaccines against chemical weapons. a terror exercise is to he staged...

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Deborah Ross

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SO, to Hakkasan, the first Chinese restaurant ever to win a coveted Michelin star, which can be found down a surprisingly seedy, dimly lit alley off Tottenham Court Road. Then,...

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Star of India

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Michael Henderson Port Elizabeth THERE is no sporting event in the world quite like a cricket match between India and Pakistan, for reasons that require no exposition. The...

Q. My problem is that my skin is very drylooking,

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a bit like crêpe paper, even though I am only 15. I am always slathering on moisturiser, but then the skin goes back to looking cfepey again a couple of hours later. E.F.,...

Q. Apropos the gentleman with a misshapen shoulder (22 February),

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I had a distant cousin in France who had a similar problem with his shoulder because of a first world war injury. His tailor's solution was to envelop his upper torso in what...

Q. I wonder if you can help me with a

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matter of English etiquette. My wife and I correspond periodically with an English couple — old friends whom we met many years ago while working abroad. On occasions, I...

Q. I cannot find the website for the medical suppliers

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of the 'social sheath' you mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Of course, this may be evidence that I am too old to make the machine work for me, but although I watch carefully for...