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Pedantry and philistine parsimony

The Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) was established five years ago to support research and postgraduate study within the UK’s higher education institutions. But to read its website or its voluminous guides to applicants is a depressing experience – even if it is only to familiarise oneself with the hurdles colleagues have to jump

French farce

It is Hollywood’s most predictable script. ‘Dazzle foreign investors, force them to spend as much as possible and then drive them out once they’re broke.’ For the third time in a decade, the French are beating a humiliating retreat from Beverly Hills. This time the French national champion in question – Vivendi Universal, a once

Come fly with me

Most Spectator readers no doubt know that this is the 100th anniversary of aviation and that the patriotic American brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, flew the world’s first aeroplane. I would imagine most of the readers have also heard of Charles Lindbergh, who was the first man to fly across the Atlantic in 1927. These

It could be you

Do you suspect you soon may be going to lose your marbles? And are you over 65? Or do you suspect your elderly parents may be going to lose theirs? Is this loss of faculties likely to be a serious one? Then do not inquire in New Labour’s New Britain for whom the bell of

The first casualty of Pilger…

The Americans are making a hash of rebuilding Iraq, but one of the not so bad things they have done is to give Iraqis the freedom to scribble. On the wall outside the Baathist ministry of health the other day, a graffiti artist had scrawled in perfect English, ‘We need a health ministry free of

Self abuse

I never used to like pornography – not really. Yes, in my teens in the Seventies I used to have the odd copy of Mayfair under my pillow; yes, as a student in the Eighties I used to filch the occasional Fiesta from my flatmates. But on the whole I didn’t really go for jazz

Public scandal

To get elected in 1997 Tony Blair championed the cause of ‘Mondeo Man’, a hard-working, hard-driving travelling salesman who had suffered from years of negative equity and suppressed bonuses. It is not Mondeo Man, however, who has ended up as the beneficiary of Labour’s six years in office. It is Principal Project Delivery Officer Person.

Back to basic instincts

Few people are entitled to more compassion than young men thus affected [by love]; it is a species of insanity that assails them, and it produces self-destruction in England more frequently than in all the other countries put together.William Cobbett, 1829 What on earth is the Conservative party going to do about sexual intercourse? People