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Forza Berlusconi!

It is twilight in Sardinia. The sun has vanished behind the beetling crags. The crickets have momentarily stopped. The machine-gun-toting guards face out into the maquis of myrtle and olive, and the richest man in Europe is gripping me by the upper arm. His voice is excited. ‘Look’ he says, pointing his flashlight. ‘Look at

The strange potency of bad music

A lesson is learnt. Good music, as we hear it, tends to be ours and ours alone. But bad music is everyone’s: we all suffer together. Last month I related the harrowing tale of a recent family holiday in St Ives, where my girlfriend and I, while not buying beach balls in a tourist-tat emporium,

Cat flap

We got word that our house in London was infested with fleas as we drove north on holiday in glorious weather through the borders into Scotland. Sid, who very kindly and conscientiously looks after our cats while we are away, sent a series of increasingly alarmed text messages, in which he informed us that he

Biological warfare

The moment has come for the long queue of diplomatic high-wire artists to bite the bullet: there is no immediate prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. No matter how much Tony Blair huffs and Jack Straw puffs, the painful reality is that the Middle East ‘road-map’ is destined to join the slew of

The end of the affair

America is disengaging from Saudi Arabia. To many observers this seems shocking, to others it is unthinkable, but all the evidence points to a dramatic change in relations. A few weeks ago, the last of America’s bases, Prince Sultan Air Base, was closed and the 363rd Air Expeditionary Wing deactivated. This coincides with claims that

Catch me if you can

Will Osama and Saddam ever be found? If they fare as well as the Bosnian Serb mass murderers Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, perhaps not. In July the desperate duo celebrated eight years on the run from indictments by The Hague Tribunal, and the smart money has them at large a while longer. Mladic seems

The new imperial vision of Silvio Berlusconi

The Spectator began by asking Berlusconi whether he has mended fences with Chancellor Schröder, after he likened the German Social Democrat MEP, Martin Schulz, to a Nazi camp commandant? It was I who was offended, my government and my country. I replied with a joke. I wanted to be humorous. The whole of the parliament