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eformers versus wreckers. That is the battle for this Parliament,' Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, told a meeting in Cardiff known as the Labour spring conference. He...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 MMR SAVES LIVES T here was a man who for many years used to pace up and down...

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Why Tony Blair must be mighty pleased to be in Africa

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PETER °BORNE P olitics returned to normal this week. Gordon Brown, back from Scotland, reoccupied the centre of the stage, while Tony Blair went abroad. It has been an odd...

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T he only thing I was lacking when I flew to Amsterdam last weekend for the wedding of the Prince of Orange and Maxima Zorreguieta was something orange. From the moment I landed...

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The phrase 'business as usual' seems to have no resonance on the other side of the Atlantic, says Simon Heifer: for all the swagger of Hollywood, some Americans get absurdly...

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Hugh Russell on why women in Zambia are parading topless in the name of decency and good government Lusaka NOT counting what might happen in my personal life, I don't normally...

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Mick Hume says that Mike Tyson is the one black man that liberals feel free to despise NAME one black man whom you can call an animal without being prosecuted for inciting...

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Mind your language

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'SEVENTEEN!' cried my husband, stirring triumphantly in the confines of his armchair like a pig that has just uncovered a windfall apple in the straw of its pen. 'I won't ask,...

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Alasdair Palmer celebrates the compelling logic of Robert Nozick, the libertarian philosopher who died last month ROBERT NOZICK, the Harvard philosopher who died last month,...

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Duncan Turner says scientists now believe that we can live to be 160 — even 300 but there may be a price to pay EVERY year millions of people suffer from a mysterious...

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John Laughland says that the trial of Slobodan Milosevic has been rigged to justify Nato's war against Serbia WHATEVER the outcome of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, which...

Second opinion

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LAST week I had my day in — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say at — court. As ever, I had to wait for several hours before I was called to give my evidence, but I...

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Ancient & modern

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LAST week's column described how, according to the Natural History of the Roman encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), the famous 4th-century BC Greek artist Apelles offered...

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There was no 'burning of the books', just the 'shrieks of yesteryear'

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PAUL JOHNSON T he death of Will Camp, the gifted PR man, inventor of the famous High Speed Gas campaign, has given rise to a legend, in the obituaries of him, which ought to be...

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Let's drop the fascist Caesar and give the middle classes a real challenge

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FRANK JOHNSON T he Royal Shakespeare Company's latest Julius Caesar, just arrived at the Barbican from Stratford, has Caesar as a fascistic dictator. Here we go again. For...

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The EU project

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From Mr Edward Spa/ton Sir: Matthew Parris's perverse anti-Americanism is getting a little tedious (Another voice, 2 February). The Americans are not dictating up to 80 per cent...

From Mr Stephen Peddle Sir: Matthew Parris asks, 'Why would

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membership of Nafta not threaten our sovereignty in the way that joining EMU would?'. The answer is that Nafta is a free-trade association (that's the Ita bit). EMU is not; it...

American betrayals

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From Mr Henly Keown-Boyd Sir: Although I agree with most of Mark Steyn's article Mow ridiculous can you guys get?', 26 January), I would like to remind him that there have been...

From Mr Alan Gibson Sir: If the USA policy really

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is 'kill Ameri cans, and you're dead meat', perhaps someone will explain how this policy is supposed to deter a suicide bomber. Alan Gibson Eltisley, Cambridgeshire

Loyal Canada

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From Dr Paul F. Robinson Sir: Rory O'Keeffe (Letters, 2 February) accuses Mark Steyn of 'ridiculous distortions' regarding Canada's military effort in the second world war. He...

Beware the zealots

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From Mr Sam Talbot Rice Sir: I fully understand Theo Hobson's frustrations with the Church of England ('Losing our religion', 2 February) and the cow ardly way some of its...

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Hang on to life

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From Mr Sam Schulman Sir: Andrew Gimson's expert ('In praise of the health service', 2 February) chose an odd measurement to use when comparing British and US standards for...

Tribal matters

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From Veronica Bellers Sir: Boris Johnson's article (Slack Africa, white guilt', 2 February) encourages those of us whose families served colonial Africa with dedication and...

From Mr John Papworth Sir: Boris Johnson has missed the

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obvious point about Africa. It has always been more inimical to human settlement than almost any other part of the world, because of its vastness, remoteness, its climatic...

Baffling philosophy

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From Mr Laurence Goldstein Sir: Edward Smith (Letters, 26 January) cites an amusing but apocryphal attribution to Wittgenstein to the effect that, in the beginning, after God...

Australian accounts

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From Mr Peter Henderson Sir: Peter Oborne ('How Labour courted the money men', 26 January) might be interested to know that the accountancy firm Arthur Andersen is not just...

Moses and his horn

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From Mr Patrick Motile Sir: You illustrate your review of the exhibition of mediaeval sculpture on page 40 (Arts, 2 February) with a figure which is undoubtedly Moses, not 'an...

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MORI does not mean better: why the Times has decided to stop using the polling organisation

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STEPHEN GLOVER A ter many years the Times is parting company with the polling organisation MORI. The divorce has not yet been made public, but a MORI poll last week could be...

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Buying to let it's our latest idea of a painless way to make money

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES E very so often, greed triumphs over fear, and otherwise sensible citizens persuade themselves that they have discovered a painless new way to make money....

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Dancing to greet the new dawn

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Anne Applebaum ISADORA: THE SENSATIONAL LIFE OF ISADORA DUNCAN by Peter Kurth Little, Brown, #25, pp. 652, ISBN 0316854352 A lthough she lived well into the era of silent...

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Nature without nurture

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Brian Masters SAVAGE GIRLS AND WILD BOYS: A HISTORY OF FERAL CHILDREN by Michael Newton Faber, £12.99, pp. 192, ISBN 0571201393 H ere in fact are two subjects which evoke...

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The wit, wisdom and passion of the pulpit

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James Bell BEST SERMONS EVER selected by Christopher Howse Continuum, £16.99, pp. 201, ISBN 0826456855 C hristopher Howse reckons that there is a contemporary hunger for real...

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A figure of little fun

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D. J. Taylor RUMOURS OF A HURRICANE by Tim Lott Viking, 114.99, pp. 378, ISBN 0670886610 T im Lou's second novel (its predecessor won the Whitbread First Novel Award) ends with...

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Masturbating with words

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Michael Glover BE MY KNIFE by David Grossman Bloomsbury, £16. 99, pp. 307. ISBN 0747549524 A book can make a hole in the wall. It can help us to read reality,' the Israeli...

Banks ready to burst

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Jonathan Mirsky THE CHINA DREAM by Joe Studwell Profile Books, £15, pp. 356, ISBN 861973705 THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA by Gordon G. Chang Cemum £14.99, pp. 320 ISBN...

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A little millennial horseplay

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Bevis Hillier A HORSE IN THE COUNTRY: A DIARY OF A YEAR IN THE HEART OF ENGLAND by Clive Aslet Fourth Estate, £16.99, pp. 285, ISBN 1841153753 I n 1937 Robert Byron, best...

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Not getting to know the general

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Byron Rogers EMBERS by Sandor Marai Viking, £12.99, pp. 213, ISBN 060910996 T his book is being marketed as a time capsule. First published in Hungary 60 years ago, every...

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Flying in the face of the evidence

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Francis King LIVING PROOF: A MEDICAL MUTINY by Michael Gearin-Tosh Scribner, £12.99, pp. 327, ISBN 0743206770 M any readers of this painful, provocative book may decide that it...

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A thrilling story muffled by gratitude

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Robert Macfarlane THE COMMON THREAD: A STORY OF SCIENCE, POLITICS, ETHICS AND THE HUMAN GENOME by John Sulston and Georgina Ferry Bantam, .£17.99, pp. 310, ISBN 0593048016...

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Repetition turned into original art

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Martin Gayford praises the Andy Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern M ost people, the artist Andy Warhol once observed, are happy to watch more or less the same thing every night...

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Acclaim, money and love

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Michael Hann on an aging rock singer's appearance at the Royal Festival Hall I f the old men of the British rock aristocracy were sentient last week, they should have been...

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George's day

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Toby Young T aboo, a new musical that's just opened off Leicester Square, is a mixed success. As a stand-alone piece of theatre it's pretty mediocre. The music and lyrics are...

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Heart of darkness

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Patrick Carnegy Y ou could sum up the story of Heinrich von Kleist's great play The Prince of Homburg as 'nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of imminent...

Dash of humour

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Giannandrea Poesio m a Bausch's Masurca Fogo, or 'fiery mazurka', has little in common with her previous creations. Light-hearted, carefree and, at times, showing irreverent...

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Take them or leave them

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Selina Mills J udging from the queues of excited crowds straggling round the dreary, drizzleswept Trafalgar Square last week, it would appear that the National Portrait Gallery...

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Violent voices

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Michael Tanner S everal great composers have been drawn throughout their lives to writing an opera on King Lear. Fortunately the two who were most celebratedly tempted by the...

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Ripped to shreds

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Marcus Berkmann T here are actors who smile, and there are actors who don't smile. Johnny Depp, as a rule, steers well clear of the guffaw and the chuckle, preferring the moody...

Celebrating the Jubilee

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Ursula Buchan T he regiment in which my father-in-law served during the second world war never stood or stopped talking for the National Anthem, because its loyalty to the...

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Royal reason

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Michael Vestey henever I argue the constitutional, spiritual and symbolic importance of the monarchy with a republican I can almost guarantee in advance that he or she has no...

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Why do I care?

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James Delingpole S ometimes I really do think I should be sacked from this job. Obviously my columns can be bloody funny and fascinatingly autobiographical and even quite...

Sandown strengths

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Robin Oakley I f in doubt about your selections, goes the old saw, back the mounts of the first jockey you see at the racecourse, The tradition doesn't extend, sadly, to owners...

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A hell of a fellow

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Taki A Rougemont t the Nikola and Sveva Romanov 50th wedding anniversary party (Nikola would today be head of Russia instead of president of the Eagle Club if some lousy commie...

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Keep out!

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Petronella Wyatt L ast night our burglar alarm wasn't working again. Our burglar alarm is so complicated that even the people who installed it no longer know how it works....

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Blue Wales

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Simon Barnes MY recent hard words in this space on the subject of Wales and the Welsh received some justly harsh criticism. I mentioned five good things about Wales; why, my...

Q. I do not suppose that you get a lot

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of questions answered before they are even asked. But here is one that you could keep on your files, which, perhaps, could be useful in the future. I occasionally go to a C of E...

Q. In February my Russian girlfriend's tourist visa will expire,

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forcing her to return to Moscow after a three-month visit to Germany. Ordinarily, a further three months should elapse before the German authorities in Moscow issue her a second...

Q. My (new) wife tells me that it is my

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duty, as a godfather, to send Valentine cards to my various teenage god-daughters. Do you agree with me that this is faintly pervy? Name and address withheld A. Clearly, your...