Leading article: Unrequited enmity

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The Feast of St Valentine is barely ten days gone, and suddenly it's couples' time all over again, or more accurately ex-couples' time. And while Cheryl and Ashley may be dominating a certain class of headline, down here – as we used to say – in the third leader department, we are more exercised by the verbal wrangling going on between Anna (Ford, that is), and her auld enemy Martin (promoting- his-latest-novel) Amis.

What universe – literary, celebrity or other – we ask, is occupied by long-remembered bitterness about whether or not a famous writer and his rakish friend smoked over the death-bed of a beloved husband, and whether they visited out of affection or just to fill in the time before their flight from nearby Heathrow? Anna suggested that Martin take "a more honest look at himself". Martin accused Anna of an "unworthy farrago". Oh, for the times when throwing a glass of wine over the adversary was enough.

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