9 AUGUST 2003

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L ord Hutton began his inquiry into the death of Dr

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David Kelly, the Ministry of Defence expert on Iraqi weapons, by disclosing part of a letter by the scientist to his superior, in which he said that, judging from the report by...

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The new ice age B y the time The Spectator goes to press, the record for the highest-ever authenticated measurement of air temperature in the British Isles may or may not have...

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I t's no good complaining. The rail network inhabits the wrong

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kind of universe. If the sun shines for more than two days, the network goes down. You can't argue with science. In the last heatwave I travelled back to London from Brighton in...

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The Health and Safety Executive is now far more powerful than the House of Commons

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1 eforc the 1979 election, many senior Tories believed that 0 Thatcherism was dangerous nonsense. If Margaret Thatcher did become Prime Minister, they assumed that she would...

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A single unnamed source telephones to offer a further smear against

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the Today programme's Andrew Gilligan. A fortnight ago, readers will remember, this column reprinted without so much as the courtesy of a check-call the allegation that Mr...

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Is that blood running through Geoff Hoon's veins, or is it refrigerant gas?

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NT arious explanations have been offered for the decision by the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, to leave for his summer holiday before the funeral this week of Dr David Kelly....

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God save the nation

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Gay bishops, dwindling congregations: the Anglican crisis continues, and some are calling for disestablishment. But, says Peter Hitchens, the link between Church and State is...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade The council estates of King's Lynn, Harriet Sergeant recently revealed, are groaning with Chinese migrant...

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Mind your language

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I was looking for an obscure work by Richarde Weste (fl. 1609-16) when I came across a real treat. The DNB told me Weste's book was edited by Frederick Furnivall in the Early...

Sleeping with Freda

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As the care crisis worsens, Jeremy Clarke recalls the strange final years of a spinster who lived in a residential home run by his parents M iss Busby's room — room five — had a...

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Collapse of England

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Simon Heifer believes that Mr Blair's touchy-feely society is undermining cricket by reconciling it to mediocrity S ince it is always helpful to blame the government for most...

Ancient & modern

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The MP John Redwood has hired a London PR firm to raise his profile. The firm is keen for him to feature in lifestyle articles, when he will talk about his great love of...

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How to kill a burglar

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Aldan Hartley on how a friend of his shot dead a robber and wounded another in Kenya last year, without having to go through Tony Martin's agony Nairobi O ne evening in the...

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The rising tide of clichés

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The BBC is staffed by people bristling with academic qualifications, says Tom Fort, but they don't know English I n more tranquil times, before the Gilligan storm broke over his...

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Gardener's question time

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Is the taxpayer about to stump up another £16 million for the Duchess of Northumberland's pet project, Alnwick Garden? Mary Keen investigates T o him that hath shall be given,...

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It is often said that one shouldn't judge by appearances, but it is rather difficult to see by what else one mi g ht j ud g e, at least in the first instance. Besides,...

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Bum rap for Jamaicans

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Theodore Dalrymple says that young Jamaicans have been corrupted by victimhood and the musico-industrial complex lyv henever I have a patient who belongs to the first...

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When distinguished holiday guests unmask a chicken thief

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im uch as I like and admire our courageous Prime Minister, I can't approve of his taste in holidays. Chiantishire was bad enough, but to borrow or hire a pop singer's villa in...

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Far from easy

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From Michael Scott Rohan Sir: Much as I agree with Ross Clark's general point (Just when you thought it was safe... ', 2 August), he is wholly wrong to use easyJet to castigate...

Plan for that plinth

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From Martin Sewell Sir: I was reading Anthony Browne's excellent article (Some truths about immigration', 2 August) last Saturday morning while listening to Radio Four. The...

From Maurice Hardaker Sir: Poor Frank Johnson (Shared opinion, 2

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August). As a 72-year-old Englishman, I was one of millions who found that Bob Hope's humour 'kept us smiling in the grim years of the war' — and after. And for Johnson to take...

Royal rip-off

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From Carola Zentner Sir: Re Leo McKinstry's article on rip-off Britain (Boycott Britain', 26 July), perhaps the Queen could set a good example by abolishing the £1 handling...

Shirley's sweetener

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From Shirley Doltis Sir: The description of Shirley Porter as an 'arch-crook' (The Spectator's notes, 26 July) was grotesque. Without going into the details of the Westminster...

Best of Hinglish

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From Eric Dehn Sir: David Gardner (Plain Hinglish', 2 August) maintained that Indians are 'impeccably logical' in their mastery of our phraseology. I am not quite sure whether...


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From Sir Christopher Bland Sir: Chuck it, Johnson! The 'particularly brilliant Spectator interview' which he referred to in his diary piece on 2 August was almost entirely...

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ew Labour is hated by its natural friends, so why don't the Tories get a good press?

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lose one loyal media friend may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. Not long ago the government could depend on the instinctive support of the...

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Governments' hunger for money is limitless, so bond markets melt in the heat

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As ugust is a sticky month. So often in markets, this is when the trouble starts. The Swiss banks' chief dealers cool themelves by the Italian lakes, the City's better element...

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Double, double, toil and trouble

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Candia Mc William ELECTRIC SHEPHERD: A LIKENESS OF JAMES HOGG by Karl Miller Faber, £25, pp. 401 ISBN 0571218164 Arresting. this. Even more arresting is a later cry from the...

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Local colour laid on thick

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Sebastian Smee THE CLERKFNWELL TALES by Peter Ackroyd Chatto, £15.99, pp, 213 ISBN 1856197069 W hat makes Peter Ackroyd's new novel a failure as fiction is also, strange to...

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The only stranger in town

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Christopher Howse THE FACTORY OF LIGHT: LIFE IN AN ANDALUSIAN VILLAGE by Michael Jacobs John Murray, £17.99, pp. 274, ISBN 0719561639 A strange Englishman has settled in the...

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Spivs and shysters

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Ian Thomson AN UNDERWORLD AT WAR by Donald Thomas John Murray, £20, pp. 429, ISBN 0719557321 Jr oe Walker, the street-smart spiv of Dad's Amy, could be relied on to come up...

The way they lived then

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Anita Brookner GOOD FAITH by Jane Smiley Faber, £12.99, pp. 417, ISBN 0577278437 A nother great American novel, but perhaps not great enough to arouse concern for the more...

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Fleet Street's lucky dip

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P. J. Kavanagh IT TAKES ALL SORTS by Milton Shulman House of Stratus, £8.99, pp. 289, ISBN 0755111427 T here seems a fashion for commonplace books, compilations, even for...

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Not such a cock-up after all?

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Graham Stewart MUD, BLOOD AND POPPYCOCK by Gordon Corrigan Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £18.99, pp. 431. ISBN 0304359556 F or many, perhaps most people, .futility' seems to be the...

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Death in a cold climate

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Tony Gould HUNTING THE 1918 FLU: ONE SCIENTIST'S SEARCH FOR A KILLER VIRUS by Kirsty Duncan University of Toronto Press, £22, pp. 297, ISBN 0802087485 K irsty Duncan is a...

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In love with economic disaster

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Martin Gayford on why we are drawn to places of financial and industrial failure -w e spent part of the last two weeks — as has become a family custom — mooching round Siena....

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Scenes of delight

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Andrew Lambirth Paradise National Gallery until 28 September M en, women, and children on a beach, band music, sea grass, and sandwich hampers remind me more forcibly than...

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Wrecking Strauss

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Michael Tanner Die Fiedermaus Glyndebourne _L./ Flederrnaus is one of those works that, against expectations, nearly always fails in the opera house. The music is irresistible...

Brilliance of Kew

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Ursula Buchan T feel like the bloke in the anorak in The 1 Fast Show who walks along streets saying things like, 'Aren't old people absolutely brilliant?' I want to walk the...

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For hardcore Marlovians

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Lloyd Evans Edward II Globe Calamity Jane Shaftesbray Vincent in Brixton Playhouse M arlowe's Edward II is a fascinating play. Its themes and dramatic patterns are so close to...

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Run aground

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Mark Steyn Pirates Of The Caribbean 12, selected cinemas A c p cording to co-writer Terry Rossio, irates Of The Caribbean was created as 'a very classic. Jane Austen-style,...

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Cry freedom

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Stuart Nicholson J azz can be, and often was, a music of protest. Sometimes it was covert, such as the elegantly raised eyebrow of Duke Ellington at pre-war apartheid America,...

What's our problem?

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Peter Phillips I 've often wondered what people mean when they say they hate a piece of music. The first thought is that it must be a very ordinary example of its kind, so...

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Russian spectacle

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Giannandrea Poesio Kirov Ballet Royal Opera House I n 1900, while classical theatre dance was rapidly declining in Western Europe, Russian ballet was at its peak. Legendary...

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An art worth learning

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Michael Vestey preoccupied with other things I've not I been able to fish on the Tay for the past two years, but a five-part series on Radio Four, The Philosopher, The Fish And...

Will to win

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Robin Oakley I t wasn't the panamas and the pretty girls in pastels who put the gloss on Goodwood this year. It wasn't even the strolling steel band which the crusty old...

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Happy survivor

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Ta k Gstaad A fter the heat of the French Riviera ..and of the birthplace of selective democracy, the Alps are a welcome relief — up to a point. I am here on a family holiday,...

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Caught out

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Jeremy Clarke Elirst thing Monday morning I was in 1 court. No car tax. When I eventually found the magistrate's court, it was like the Marie Celeste. No defendants hanging...

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W hen I was nobbut a lad, several wine merchants and

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department stores used to sell even quite famous wines under their own label. For example, the Army & Navy stores used to bottle the celebrated Château Pavie from St Emilion,...

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Peerless Lord's mic4

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E ngland lost a Test match at Lord's last week, but they found a player. Well, not 'found' perhaps; discovered. Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff made his Test debut five summers ago as...

Q. Is it now de rigueur to offer one's dinnerparty

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guests expensive chocolates along with their coffee or tisane? If the answer is yes, then I am afraid that I personally cannot afford to shell out a further termer on top of...

Q. I recently employed — two weeks in advance —

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a freelance masseuse/acupuncturist woman of many parts to come on holiday with us for a week to do cooking, driving, plus a few massages. (I have lost my licence and have a bad...

Q. We have just had a swimming pool installed in

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our garden in Tuscany. Can you offer any guidance on poolside loungers? My husband claims that upholstered ones are common. S.G., Siena A. The expression poolside lounger' is...