11 MAY 1996

Page 4


The Spectator

T he Conservative Party began an adver- tising campaign which, according to Mr John Major, the Prime Minister, would include a note of 'humility'. The Tories had lost more than...

Page 5


The Spectator

The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 EXPELLING DANGER A time of threatened expulsions of British...

Page 6


The Spectator

The Smith who set out to think the unthinkable and ended by saying the unthought BRUCE ANDERSON C hris Smith belongs to a minority. The shadow Social Security Secretary, he is...

Page 7


The Spectator

SIMON HOGGART T here was, I'm told, a torpid, glum mood at the new Labour Party media cen- tre after last week's local election results. Staff had to be persuaded to open the...

Page 8


The Spectator

`DRIVE THRU' fast-food outlets in super- market carparks are, to some commenta- tors, potent symbols of the desolation of modern Britain. The phrase itself derives, to use a...

Page 10


The Spectator

Michael Heath

Page 12


The Spectator

Robin Gedye knows what is happening to the British diplomats facing expulsion from Moscow. It happened to him I WAS spread-eagled across my kitchen floor trying to hold down...

Page 15


The Spectator

There's a call for civil servants, not just ministers, to answer to MPs' committees, Sue Cameron reports. And it's from civil servants themselves HOPE MAY spring eternal, but...

Page 16

Mind your language

The Spectator

OUR old friend Nicholas Udall (1504-1556), suitably (as I shall explain) a beak at Eton who got into trouble for doing unspeakable things, is a useful ally in the continuing...

Page 17


The Spectator

Simon Sebag Montefiore replies to Simon Blow who, in last week's issue, complained that the British always complain THE BRITISH have always believed that bumptious optimism...

Page 19


The Spectator

Anti-racism is often just an excuse FOR a supposed debate about the nature of intelligence, the current row over the Edinburgh University don Chris Brand is singularly witless....

Page 20

If symptoms

The Spectator

persist. . . `TO PREVENT disease, to relieve suf- fering and to heal the sick — that is our work,' said the great clinician and apho- rist Sir William Oster. Of course he had...

Page 24


The Spectator

May-time's tongues in trees and sermons in stones PAUL JOHNSON T he long-delayed spring finally came to west Somerset last weekend. The sky, from dawn to dusk, was the true...

Page 26

Verdicts of peers

The Spectator

THE JOCKEY Club once informed the Prince Regent that the other members must decline to race their horses against his. That was a royal warning off. As a rule, though, the club...


The Spectator

Proposals to cover this column with concrete save champagne, drink with a friend CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he proposal to pave this column over or to put it down to concrete has...

Could do better

The Spectator

IAN BYATT, who regulates them, thinks that they are learning to behave like busi- nesses, even if some of them have learning difficulties. They are spending more money to stop...

Burnt offering

The Spectator

MANY banks, and indeed many business- es, would be better off if their head offices burned down. They would collect the insur- ance, and without, for example, the person- el...

A wave of Manuels

The Spectator

THE LATEST Brown study takes in the European single currency. It won't work, Gordon Brown says, unless Europe tackles unemployment first. I would like to think that he has been...

Electric light

The Spectator

SINCE there seems to be some confusion, I am happy to cast light on the govern- ment's policy on mergers in the power industry, as it stands this week. You can buy a regional...

Page 28

Sir: Of course many Irish clergy and laity must have

The Spectator

been traumatised by the brutal excesses of the occupying English (how sad that they didn't have the milder yoke of the Germans, French, Belgians and Dutch as exemplified in...

My leader, your leader

The Spectator

Sir: It is your perfect right to believe (Lead- er, 4 May) that John Major is fit to hold the office of prime minister, but it will not do to caricature his Tory detractors as...

Sir: Sean O'Callaghan brings to light (`Mur- der with the

The Spectator

Fathers' help', 20 April) facts which most of us have been aware of for years, and which, for some reason or other, have always been evaded or covered up. The situation should...

Trusty steed

The Spectator

Sir: As Stephen Glover says (Media studies, 4 May), Henry Wickham Steed emerges badly from S.J. Taylor's (or any other) account of his dealings with Northcliffe. He first sucked...

LETTERS God and nationalism

The Spectator

Sir: Sheridan Gilley raised some interesting points in his letter (27 April). I must say that I was horrified that he should believe me to be 'as much an extremist as ever'. My...


The Spectator

12 Months 6 Months UK U £88.00 ❑ £45.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £99.00 CI £51.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$141 0 US$71 Rest of } Airmail CI £115.00 0 £58.00 World Airspeed CI £99.00 0...

Page 29

Mad bull disease

The Spectator

Sir: May I make a point to forestall a possi- ble flood of criticism of Simon Courtauld's appreciation of the art of bullfighting (Arts, 4 May)? Having been enthralled by the...

Sir: It has come to something when The Spectator extends

The Spectator

two-thirds of a page to an uncritical, quasi-sophisticated celebration of bullfighting: nothing of the deliberate brutality to weaken the bull before entry into the ring;...

Delicious salad

The Spectator

Sir: Is young Mr Morley, your dramatic critic, suggesting that my entirely charming cast in Salad Days is not performing Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds's text accu- rately...

Sir: As a devoted reader of The Spectator I am

The Spectator

sickenend by Simon Courtauld's approving article about bullfighting, and disappointed that you should publish it. The next piece, by Emma Bagnall (Walk- ing), refers to the...

The case for de Blank

The Spectator

Sir: Justin de Blank has been knocked about in your columns recently (Restau- rant, 13 April), so it's time someone said that for many years in Elizabeth Street he ran a...

Page 32


The Spectator

Why a tiny group of press barons are not behind the newspaper attacks on the Prime Minister STEPHEN GLOVER A part from being bald, enormously rich and a lover of women, Sir...

Page 33


The Spectator

The importance of being angry PETRONELLA WYATT nlike Dietrich, I have decided not to fall in love again. Most of you, understand- ably, will think this unrealistic. One of the...

Page 34


The Spectator

Her shaping spirit of imagination Philip Hensher BABEL TOWER by A. S. Byatt Chatto, £16.99, pp. 617 B abel Tower, the third in a series of novels which began with The Virgin...

Page 37

Most of us are turkeys

The Spectator

Helen Osborne GOING MAD IN HOLLYWOOD by David Sherwin Deutsch, £17.99, pp. 300 T he journals of the slightly dippy are usually worth a detour and David Sherwin's spasmodic...

Page 38

Rights of passage

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling DANCING WITH MR D: NOTES ON LIFE AND DEATH by Bert Keizer Doubleday, £9.99, pp. 324 F eud and Peter Pan were right. Even when life is good, Homo sapiens...


The Spectator

SPECTATOR First the bad news - subscription rates to The Spectator went up on 1 May. The rising cost of print, paper and postage means that we now do need to charge more. The...

Page 40

January in the Sculpture Park

The Spectator

Feet crack through frosted glass, crossed-grass pattern, By Gormley's tin-stockinged gestures, Caro's narrow shed, Gross pelvic moulds, and Zeppelin cocoa pod On which a crinkly...

Just one country after another

The Spectator

Geoffrey Wheatcroft THE WORLD, THE WORLD by Norman Lewis Cape, f18.99, pp. 300 F ew English writers of the age are so intensely admired as Norman Lewis, few so elusive, few...

Page 42

A tide in the affairs of women

The Spectator

James Lees-Milne MRS KEPPEL AND HER DAUGHTER by Diana Souhami HarperCollins, £18, pp. 338 T he message of Mrs Keppel and her Daughter is how to, and how not to, con- duct a...

The dove keeps on rising

The Spectator

P. J. Kavanagh THE SPIRIT LEVEL by Seamus Heaney Faber, £14.99, £6.99, pp. 70 W hat more shall we say of Heaney? We have ;already given him nearly every prize there is, our...

Page 43


The Spectator

Broken promises T he moment a television company has got the agreement of a writer or artist to do a programme, panic sets in, and this though they might have been chasing her...

Page 44


The Spectator

Anastasia (Royal Opera House) Timeless torment Giannandrea Poesio 0 thcr 20th-century works continue to reflect the cultural and aesthetic trends of the time they were...

Page 45


The Spectator

Drawings by Thomas Gainsborough (Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, till 26 May) Genuine, fake or don't know? Leslie Geddes-Brown T he attribution of a painting is merely...


The Spectator

Tolstoy (Aldwych) Blue Remembered Hills (National) Travesty of genius Sheridan Morley A the Aldwych, James Goldman's Tol- stoy is just awful, one of those scripted...

Page 46


The Spectator

Mr Holland's Opus (PG, selected cinemas) Out of tune Mark Steyn H e who can, does; he who cannot, teaches': if only Bernard Shaw had worked it up into a screenplay. Instead,...

Page 47


The Spectator

Breaking the code Robin Holloway D own the ten or so centuries of its evo- lution in the West, music's inherent capaci- ty to play games with numbers has waxed and waned with...

Page 48


The Spectator

Gallows humour Harry Eyres W riters, poets especially, are expected to be interested in words. When a televi- sion dramatist shows interest in the work- ings of television,...


The Spectator

Portrait of a marriage Michael Vestey W e have yet to hear a Radio Three announcer say, 'Hello . . . let's dip into the Mozart hits album for one of his biggest.' Or 'The old...

Page 50

Not motoring

The Spectator

A vital link Gavin Stamp I return to that wonder of the world, that triumph of British engineering, that extraordinary, century-old 330-feet high network of some 50,000 tons...

The turf

The Spectator

Sweet success Robin Oakley N ewmarket is one of the few places where a man can go racing, said Jack Leach. Elsewhere he merely goes to the races, which isn't the same thing at...

Page 52

A man full of surprises

The Spectator

Douglas Johnson remembers Richard Cobb, who died earlier this year R ichard Cobb liked to surprise. He had the gift of surprising. Sometimes the surprise would come in...

Page 53

High life

The Spectator

All's well that ends well Taki I am invited by the Washington Times, the conservative daily which tells it like it is in a town where the truth is as rare as it is in an...

Page 54

Low life

The Spectator

The blunt truth Jeffrey Bernard H eaven knows how many times I've been an in-patient in the Middlesex Hospi- tal now but it is certainly countless and even one of the porters...

Page 55

Country life

The Spectator

Plotting my revenge Leanda de Lisle T he toad boffins appear to be having one last burst of activity before their grant runs out and they leave us forever. They have nailed...


The Spectator

George's idea Andrew Robson South West North East 1* pass 2f double 2, 24 pass 44 all pass West lacked the values to respond 2+ to his partner's 1* in modern style; North...

Page 56

THERE ARE a few chefs one can imagine having started

The Spectator

off as footballers, but Gor- don Ramsay — who did indeed once play for Glasgow Rangers — isn't one of them. His food is so delicate, his touch so light, he is such a chef's...

Page 57

MAYBE IT'S the Dunkirk spirit, but I've sold more beef

The Spectator

this week than for some time.' These brave words, spoken by Mr Brian Clivaz, manager of Simpson's-in-the- Strand, made me feel quite proud of having acceded to the editor's...

Page 58


The Spectator

41 2 CHESS , A SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND Indian sign Raymond Keene AFTER HIS victory in the world champi- onship match last year Kasparov appears to have established a...


The Spectator

L u RA COMPETITION sr, It V 411 MOT!. ,111111■10 Telegrams and anger Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1931 you were invited to supply the letter which might have followed the...

Page 59

No. 1934: Bouts rimes

The Spectator

You are invited to write a poem with the following rhyme-scheme: square, bed, where, red, grand, hand, lingers, fingers, twos, soccer, shoes, knocker, dejectedly, discon-...

Solution to 1257: 2.50

The Spectator

aka or"...ri OEM 1 N T 11 : 1 E Lion ill, WWI Cr la E R A ... D u AL I i73 N© V I M T la t ITN mor 4 uMEIMEICIE 1310112gEgrial3TSI k i ll Hiri AiVtliOrl CICELECCIO...


The Spectator

A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1989 Port for the first correct solution opened on 28 May, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

Page 63


The Spectator

Political games Simon Barnes IMRAN KHAN, the former Pakistan crick- et captain, said that he would never marry and never go into politics. Now, married and in politics up to...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. We recently went to lunch with friends and among the guests was an old school fellow of mine. Unfortunately she insisted on endlessly recalling memories of...