27 MAY 1995

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Killer bookworm M I John Major, the Prime Minister, let it be known that he was 'pretty annoyed' by comments in a forthcoming volume of memoirs by Lady Thatcher, a former prime...

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An encyclopaedia of British corruption is not that much longer than a dictionary of Italian war heroes BORIS JOHNSON It is very largely this feeling of distaste, compounding a...

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NICK HORNBY T ony Hancock, Bret Easton Ellis, Joan- na Trollope, Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, Roddy Doyle, Barry Levinson, P.G. Wode- house, Elizabeth Hurley, H.G. Wells, George...

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When the blood, sweat and tears have all dried up AUBERON WAUGH O n 25 May 1915, my grandfather, Aubrey Herbert, a captain in the Irish Guards attached to the Australian and...

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The Home Secretary is planning tough new laws against illegal immigrants. Anne Applebaum argues that, though this might be politically astute, it is economically illiterate TOR...

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Robert Spitzer argues that the American gun lobby is spending $100 million a year on a fatal misreading of the US Constitution New York IN 1982, the township of Brookhaven in...

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If symptoms

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persist.. . THERE IS no doubt that Mr Lilley, the Minister for Social Justice, is putting fear into the hearts of the malingering class- es. I discovered this while a prominent...

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Michael Heath


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Anthony Daniels lifts up a few stones in Russia, and does not much like what he sees Moscow `RUSSIAN DESPOTISM,' wrote the Mar- quis de Custine in 1843, `. . . wages war on...

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Will of the week.

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Sir Alfred Lane BEIT, 2nd Bart., of Russborough, Blessington, Co. Wick- low, the art collector, who died on May 12th 1994, left estate in England and Wales valued at £403,315...

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THANK YOU, GERMANY Martin Vander Weyer argues that the nations we defeated 50 years ago have not destroyed the British car industry; they have saved it `FIFTY QUID, MATE,'...

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Mind your language

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MY HUSBAND and I were laughing about the Bishop of Edinburgh over breakfast the other day. It was not at the usual thing (genes and adultery), but the announcement that one of...

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Ross Clark says that the new right-wing campaign for legalisation of drugs is ignorant of historical precedent A DECADE AGO, to call for the whole- sale legalisation of drugs...

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One hundred years ago

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FLORENCE was greatly alarmed by an earthquake at 9 p.m. on May 18th, which, though it did not throw down buildings in the city, destroyed many in the neighbouring villages. In...

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Robin Harris argues that the Tories are stupid to attack Mr Blair's sincerity. The Labour leader's vulnerability has nothing to do with character IN HIS RECENT Mais lecture...

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Simon Courtauld argues that the RSPB's narrow-minded environmentalism is causing untold misery for Britain's pigeon racers I WAS INVITED recently to the Black Mountains, just...

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John Ware, the presenter of Rough Justice, argues it's about time that the BBC made a series about crooks who get away with it THE BBC'S Rough Justice programme is one of the...

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Andrew Lloyd Webber, Picasso and the brothel-creeping angel of Barcelona PAUL JOHNSON L ast week Andrew Lloyd Webber admitted he was the man who paid $29 mil- lion for...

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We're coming out of bondage to the Chancellor let a million corks explode! CHRISTOPHER FILDES I call for a nationwide fusillade of cham- pagne corks at midday on Sunday....

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Anyone for Flemish?

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Sir: Having just been elected as a deputy to the Belgian Parliament as a member of Vlaams Blok, I thought I would share my first experiences of the British press with your...

LETTERS War and peace

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Sir: Nigel Nicolson's account of his partici- pation in the 1989 war crimes libel action is admirably fair-minded (Accounting for Britain's war crime', 20 May). Inevitably,...

Sir: Nigel Nicolson regrets that he was not asked certain

The Spectator

questions as a witness in the Aldington/Tolstoy libel trial. Because of special interest I attended that trial, and I remember looking at Lord Aldington and feeling deep...

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Mixed reviews

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Sir: I am certain that there will be many punters like myself who will regret Giles Auty's decision to leave The Spectator and take himself off to Australia. I began taking The...

Impudent Scot

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Sir: I wouldn't quarrel with the gist of Paul Johnson's article (And another thing, 20 May), though only someone in the throes of infatuation can suppose that Mr Blair is 'made...

Sir: With a sigh of relief one bids farewell to

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Giles Auty, who has got away with writ- ing the same whingeing article for the last four years in The Spectator. Do the Aussies really deserve him? Hilary Mussett 35 High...

Mobile carriages

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Sir: It has been apparent for some time that British Rail needs a strategy to cope with its telephoning customers. I have been advocating a new separate class of carriage for...


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Sir: In the light of his recent observations on abstruse words in Spectator articles (`demography', 'egregious', Letters, 20 May), we suggest that Mr Donald Froud should cancel...

Interested party

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Sir: Ross Clark argues (`There's nowhere else to go', 6 May) that road traffic levels are stable and therefore the need for improvements to the road network has passed. Mr...

Papist Dot

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Sir: Mr Ron Farquhar (Letters, 20 May) needn't be so snotty about my obiter dictum regarding the year when we might expect the 6,000th anniversary of the creation of the world,...

LETTERS Wake up, prof

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Sir: Professor Richard Lynn writes (Letters, 20 May) that my article on 'the inheritabili- ty of intelligence and the genetic basis of race differences in intelligence contains...

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The Cabinet's appeasement of the green lobby has ruined one of Britain's natural wonders SIMON JENKINS E ach year I take my son to Wales and ascend Cader Idris, as my father...

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PEN mightier than the word Philip Hensher ANGUS WILSON by Margaret Drabble Secker, £20, pp. 714 A cademics are fond of making the claim that all writing is political in...

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Just a little bit longer

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Shusha Guppy BEIRUT BLUES by Hanan Al-Shaykh Chatto, £14.99, pp. 280 o nce the jewel of the Middle East and the favourite resort of oil lords — 'a rich tart living off immoral...

The dynamic duo lied again

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Frederic Raphael FITZGERALD AND HEMINGWAY: A DANGEROUS FRIENDSHIP by Matthew J. Bruccoli Deutsch, £14.99, pp. 226 M any people still find it a surprise and some a scandal —...

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The eternal rocks beneath

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Patricia Craig HEATHCLIFF AND THE GREAT HUNGER: STUDIES IN IRISH CULTURE by Terry Eagleton Verso, £18.95, pp. 355 T erry Eagleton's cast of mind is erudite and ingenious, and...

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Very flat, Iowa

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Michael Carlson MOO by Jane Smiley Flamingo, £15.99, pp. 414 T he hermetically sealed world of the university campus is a disproportionately rich source for novelists. The...

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An awkward customer

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Derek Pringle GOOCH by Graham Gooch and Frank Keating Midas, £15.99, pp. 320 hat can there possibly be left to say about a man whose public and, occasional- ly, private life,...

Gone but not forgotten

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Anne Applebaum KONIN by Theo Richmond Cape, £18.99, pp. 520 A s it happens, I have been to Konin. Driving to Warsaw, I once stopped there to eat lunch in a down-at-heel...

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What the reds were doing under the bed

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David Caute THE SECRET WORLD OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov Yale, £16.95, pp.368 B y the 1960s the Cold War consensus was...

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Exhibitions Where size really counts Belinda Thomson Landscapes of France: Impressionism and its rivals (Hayward Gallery, till 28 August) T his summer's major, unmissable...

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Dumbstruck! (Lyric Hammersmith) Retreat (Orange Tree Richmond) Maria Friedman by Extra Special Arrangement (Whitehall) Longing to hear your voice Sheridan Morley A t the...

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United We Dance Festival (San Francisco 9-14 May) International spin Jann Parry N o need for headphones and inter- preters at San Francisco's United We Dance Festival...

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Ed Wood (`15', selected cinemas) Don Juan de Marco (`15', selected cinemas) Wobbly times Mark Steyn J ohnny Depp is a movie star and it's hard to figure out why. He has full...

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Ermione (Glyndebourne) Ferocious seduction Alasdair Palmer T he reputations of composers and their works do not rise and fall at exactly the rate of hemlines. But musical...

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Return to success Nigella Lawson I n all the agonised discussions of the rel- ative watchability of popular TV, it is always taken for granted that ITV has the edge. I admit I...


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The best night out The critics THEATRE Dealer's Choice (Vaudeville 0171 836 9987). Best first play ever seen at the Cottesloe, now moved into the West End: Patrick Marber...

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High life

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Honking Greeks Taki I live in the leafiest northern suburb of the Big Olive, one where building regula- tions are not only draconian, they are also , enforced. There are no...

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Half life

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The full banana Carole Morin M addie telephoned in the middle of the night to boast about her heart attack. `It's your mother,' Dangerous Donald muttered, passing me the...

Low life

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Fear of living too long Jeffrey Bernard L ast weekend began as a financial disas- ter when I put £100 on Manchester United to win the Cup Final. As I am particularly...

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Long life

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Hooray for the UNA Nigel Nicolson A fter the war came the peace, and with the peace the United Nations and a plethora of acronyms all beginning with UN. Then we called it UNO,...

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Fab foreign food

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I WENT TO a wonderful piano recital last week given in aid of the Thompson Trust which assists post-graduate students of the piano, violin and opera as well as sea voy- ages for...


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Weight counts Andrew Robson ARGUABLY THE BEST partnership in the world is America's Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell. Incredibly aggressive bidders, they always open the...

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Chips down Raymond Keene WHY ARE MIND GAMES, and chess in particular, important to us? Throughout the history of culture, prowess at mind games has been associated with...


The Spectator

SISGLF HALT SCOTCH WHISKS j sisGit okil Sti■ItH NNW URA COMPETITION Self-portrait Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1882 you were invited to provide a prose self-portrait. I...

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A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's

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Malvedos 1979 Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 12 June, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK solvers, the Chambers Dictionary - ring the word...

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We shall see what we shall see Frank Keating THE SPRINGTIME crackles with antici- pation of mighty matters. Could the bad defeat by the Australians have dented West Indian...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. An elderly literary couple, whose com- pany we enjoy, are frequent guests at our table. No one would deny that eccentricity is part of their charm, but the...