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Fighting On the Beaches

Fighting On the Beaches

Famously, Margaret Thatcher hated holidays. Even when persuaded to take a brief one in Salzburg, the British prime minister could hardly bear the enforced relaxation. Upon hearing that Helmut Kohl was vacationing at a nearby Austrian lake, she called to request bilateral talks with her German counterpart. Kohl, who couldn’t bear Thatcher, claimed to be …

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When We Wrote Letters

When We Wrote Letters

When I read in Sunday’s New York Times that Hillary Clinton’s college-era letters to a high school friend had been miraculously preserved for posterity — (“Since Xmas vacation, I’ve gone through three and a half metamorphoses”) — I braced myself for the inevitable parodies.

The End Of the Tories?

The End Of the Tories?

Hands up, everybody: The British Conservative Party surrenders. Only days after Gordon Brown, new leader of the Labor Party, became prime minister, the Spectator magazine — the Conservatives’ once-faithful house organ — was ready to throw in the towel.

Uncowed in London

Uncowed in London

“Yes, the Piccadilly line is running slowly today; took me ages to get here.” I first learned that someone had tried to set off two car bombs in London late last week from two women talking in a shop.

Words Of Mass Infuriation

Words Of Mass Infuriation

“Eager to preserve the English language against a rising tide of nonsense,” a British newspaper asked readers last week to compose a piece of prose “crammed with as many infuriating phrases as possible.” The results make entertaining reading.

Forgotten Threat

Forgotten Threat

Late last week you could have been forgiven for thinking that the Star Wars era had begun. Space-age computer graphics dominated the news: Satellites orbited the globe, target sites throbbed on interactive maps of Europe and the Middle East.