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M r Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB negoti- ated to buy Manchester United for £575 million rising to £624 million within a cou- ple of days; Mr Peter Mandelson, the Sec- retary of State...

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SPECt E AT'OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone:

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0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 FUTILE LADDISHNESS T he government's indifference to opera has caused Covent Garden to announce a year-long surrender. Its interest in...

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When great questions arise, party management becomes irrelevant BRUCE ANDERSON W illiam Hague's decision to poll his party on Europe was popular with Eurosceptics; in most...

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S ummer's almost over. Don't you feel you want to reach out and hold it back?' I couldn't agree with Jay Gatsby more. For weather, this summer on the Riviera has been...

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Why I, though a Eurosceptic, will not vote with Mr Hague on this one MATTHEW PARRIS S o the Conservative party is to enter the next election on a pledge to remove the...

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Theodore Dalrymple regrets that so many of the Indian young now follow white and black youth into the underclass I USED to think that the assimilation of Indian immigrants into...

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Mind your language

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I HAVE been trying to learn to love the New Oxford Dictionary of English (the Node). I do not want to keep going on about this fat book, but it does deal with most of our...

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A report this week from Islington Council's chief executive demonstrates the truth of my 1995 article, writes Leo McKinstry THE LONDON Borough of Islington, long a byword for...

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Michael Heath

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Sion Simon on why it should not be assumed that in the long run the monarchy is safe with Blairites A House of Commons Select Committee on the Monarchy should oversee this...

Page 20


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Chapman Pincher on some of those who leaked to him — and why THE GREATEST professional compli- ment ever paid to me was to be described in Parliament as 'a public urinal at...

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Anthony Blond says that by no means all Britons living in France are well-off and well-behaved THE ENTREPRENEUR — usually an 'euse' — rents a room in a Walthamstow/...

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about a communist murder in London 20 years ago this month TWENTY YEARS ago this week, a Bul- garian emigre writer and broadcaster parked his car below Waterloo bridge and...

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Feelings of Dantesque joy in a storm to remember PAUL JOHNSON T he storm which broke over Lake Como at the end of last week was the most spectacular I recall in all the years...

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This week's offer

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YOU HAVE to admire the Merrill Lynch salesman who this week came up with a new reason to buy shares. They have fallen so far, he says, that investors can buy twice as many as...

Manchester Tied

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FRANK KEARTON, like Rupert Mur- doch, believed in vertical integration. When he took over at Courtaulds he bought all the companies Courtaulds supplied. His idea was that if he...

Buy now, fly later

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I SUPPOSE there must have been a time when people went along to the Farnbor- ough Air Show, saw a nice new aeroplane and bought one to take home. It is different now. Prices...

Critical moment

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THE RUSSIANS now admit that they burned up $9 billion of their reserves in the hopeless defence of the rouble. We have seen nothing like it for six years, when the Chancellor of...


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NatWest runs short of a chairman, so there goes Sir David's peace and quiet CHRISTOPHER FILDES I have learned not to think of academic life as peaceful but perhaps Sir David...

No retirement job

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THIS is the familiar stage in the cycle when the banks find out the mistakes that they made when everything looked easy and they thought their systems were foolproof. Barclays,...

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LETTERS Aid epidemic

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Sir: I wish to compliment the Secretary of State on her skilful defence of an impossi- ble position, the most effective I have read (`No, Better than the Previous 500', 5...

Haig's failure

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Sir: I am one of the dwindling generation whose fathers served in the Kaiser's war and I am conscious of a duty to protest against the view of Haig as blameless for the...

Bring back George

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Sir: I applaud Janet George's article ('Marching as to war', 29 August). With Edward Duke having had the intelligence to resign as chief executive of the Country- side Affiance...

Diana and Astrid

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Sir: I have been wondering when a journal- ist would notice the similarities surrounding the tragic deaths in motor car accidents of the Princess of Wales and Queen Astrid (lust...

Tax is the enemy

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Sir: I hope any Russians reading The Spec- tator will ignore Norman Lamont's opinion (`Russia, land of enterprise', 5 September) that with Russian tax revenues below 20 per cent...

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Lodge objection

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Sir: Mr Matthew Parris's delightful tirade against the importunate questions which now appear on official forms (Another voice, 29 August) echoed a little more som- brely for...

New Zealand whine

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Sir: Not for the first time, Auberon Waugh refers to 'colonial' wines, usually in the con- text of the Antipodes (Spectator Wine Club, 29 August). I don't think he includes...

Separate forces

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Sir: My father's career in the RAF included the Battle of Britain, but if alive today he would have been amused by Anthony Leigh Mallory's assertion (Letters, 22 August) that...

The demand for gold

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Sir, Let me declare my interest. I am PDG of Mines d'Or de Salsigne, the 100,000- ounce per year goldmine in France, and I have substantial goldmining interests in Russia and...

Romantic Scot

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Sir: I was flattered — if slightly apprehen- sive — to read the approving comments from the president of the Scottish National party (Letters, 5 September) about my arti- cle on...

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Will Ms Cherie Booth QC appear against the Blairite Lord Hollick? STEPHEN GLOVER O nce before I have written about James Hughes-Onslow. On that occasion the poor chap had been...

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All books reviewed in The Spectator are available through THE

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SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Tel: 0541 557 288


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Where there was no Why David Pryce-Jones PRIMO LEVI: TRAGEDY OF AN OPTIMIST by Myriam Anissimov Aurum, £25, pp. 452 T he many thousands of concentration camp testimonies are a...

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Clerihew Corner

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Though he wrote The Man Within, Graham Greene Was, rather, The Man Between — Atheism and belief, Castro and the Pope, Sex and guilt, despair and hope. James Michie

His country kneaded him

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Allan Mallinson KITCHENER: THE ROAD TO OMDURMAN by John Pollock Constable, £20, pp. 290 H e may be a general — but neer a gentleman,' complained Winston Churchill when...

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A hero of our time

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Michael Beaumont CLOSE TO THE WIND by Pete Goss Headline, £18.99, pp. 282 T his is the story of a brave man: a man who turned into the teeth of a hurricane to save the life of...

Hate in a cold climate

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Stephen Cang MAN IS WOLF TO MAN: SURVIVING STALIN'S GULAG by Janusz Bardach and Kathleen Gleeson Simon and Schuster, £16.99, pp. 387 T here are two stories in this riveting...

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A curious kind of liberation

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William Trevor THE CLOTHES THEY STOOD UP IN I n all sorts of ways the short story is an awkward customer. It is so for the publish- er, lost in his conviction that when ten or...

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A far cry from Frankenstein

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Jane Gardam MAURICE, OR THE FISHER'S COT by Mary Shelley Introduction by Claire Tomalin Viking, £9.99, pp. 152 T his is the first publication of a manuscript by Mary Shelley...


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RATES 12 Months 6 Months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK 0 £97.00 CI £49.00 Europe LI £109.00 0 £55.00 USA 0 US$161 la US$82 Australia LI Aus$225 LI Aus$113 Rest of World 0 £119.00...

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Hoping against hope

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Paschal Khoo-Thwe UNDER THE DRAGON by Rory MacLean HarperCollins, £16.99, pp. 224 T he history of Burma is full of violence, but the scale has become much greater in recent...


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BookoftheWeek THE DAILY TELEGRAPH FOURTH BOOK OF OBITUARIES: ROGUES Edited by Hugh Massingberd, this rogues' gallery will prove to be the most enjoyable, and controversial...

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All good pals and jolly bad company

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Anita Brookner AMSTERDAM by Ian McEwan Cape, £14.99, pp. 178 W hen three old friends — well, two friends and one intimate enemy — meet at a former lover's funeral and offer...

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DIARY 1999

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£14 Plain £15 Initialled The Spectator 1999 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the diary is 5" x...

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For strong stomachs only

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Teresa Waugh THE GIANT, O'BRIEN by Hilary Mantel Fourth Estate, £14.99, pp. 211 H ilary Mantel's new novel is about an 18th-century Irish giant. The heart, then, may well sink...


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the-nation exercise D. J. Taylor ENGLAND, ENGLAND by Julian Barnes Jonathan Cape, £15.99, pp. 265 E ngland, England opens a short dis- tance into the third millennium, in a...

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The bad and the bogus

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Andrew Barrow THE DAILY TELEGRAPH FOURTH BOOK OF OBITUARIES: ROGUES edited by Hugh Massingberd Macmillan, £16.99, pp. 415 I hope it will not cause any confusion if I begin my...

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The man who loves islands

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David Hughes WORMHOLES by John Fowles Jonathan Cape, 118.99, pp. 404 O pposite the title page stands a repro- duction of Fowles's nice bookplate, a sort of laurel wreath on...

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A life in eight weeks of the Proms Nicholas Kenyon looks back at the 1998 season which ends on Saturday Week 1: the cancellations YOU SEE — and hear — the tip of the musical...

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Sense of discovery

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Michael Tanner attends a mini festival of Czech opera in Edinburgh and London I t is not often in Great Britain that we can go to three of the staples of Czech opera on...

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Exhibitions 1

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Pieter de Hooch (Dulwich Picture Gallery, till 15 November) Poet of light Andrew Lambirth A stonishingly, Pieter de Hooch has had to wait more than 300 years for this his...

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Exhibitions 2

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Young Americans Part 2 (Saatchi Gallery, till 22 November) The art game Martin Gayford W hat's going to happen next in art? That, of course, is the big question. The honest...

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Magic formula Peter Phillips M uch space has been devoted to the question of what distinguishes a great orchestra from a competent one. One argu- ment is that present-day...

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The Play about the Baby (Almeida) Full Gallop (Hampstead) Stage games Sheridan Morley Lk ' e his great contemporary Arthur Miller, Edward Albee now does us the honour of...


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Saving Private Ryan (15, selected cinemas) Oddly pointless Mark Steyn W hen Saving Private Ryan was released in America, I made a mild obser- vation to the effect that its...

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Why did I vote yes? Michael Vestey I t is 23 years since we voted by a margin of two to one to remain in what was then the European Economic Community or Common Market as it...


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City Ballet of London: Triple Bill (Peacock Theatre) Disturbing trend Giannandrea Poesio I have always admired the tenacity with which Harold King led and directed what was...

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Our hero James Delingpole I n 1984 I did something so utterly, mind- blowingly idiotic that even as I think about it now I feel like hitting myself and shout- ing, 'You stupid...

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Not motoring

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Nostalgic journey Gavin Stamp N orthampton Borough Council has very wisely decided to cash in on the Mack- intosh Industry and has now acquired No. 78 Demgate, the Georgian...

The turf

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Gift of the gab Robin Oakley L oitering with intent in the Member's Lobby of the House of Commons is not so much an offence as a job description for political correspondents....

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Country life

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That itchy feeling Leanda de Lisle J ust as the biblical Egyptians had to cope with plagues of locusts and boils, so modern families in Old Rectories have to deal with lice....

High life

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Power obsessed Taki W Gstaad hy don't we start by cutting the bullshit. Martin Jacques, Geoff Mulgan, Charles Leadbeater and the rest of the Marxist rabble — and that includes...

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Softly, softly Andrew Robson MERELY because you expect the oppo- nents to go down in their contract does not mean you should double — as East found to his cost on this week's...

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HERE we are on the beach at Broadstairs. 'We' are

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your Imperative Research Unit, self and Mrs A. We are here to find out what 'they' — no explanation needed — are eating. Of course, we can only find out what they are eating on...

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THE BEAUTIFUL Italian island of Ischia, off the Neapolitan coast,

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became the home of the Oldham-born English composer Sir William Walton and his young Argentinian wife, Susana, in 1949, and, Sir William hav- ing died in 1983, Lady Walton...

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Paradise lost Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2050 you were invited to write a poem in the style of Byron, Wordsworth or Browning reflecting their reactions, were they alive...


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Desert air Raymond Keene SOME YEARS ago I prepared a series for Thames Television in which I chose what I considered to be the 12 best games of chess ever played. The process...

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CROSSWORD 1379: Who got rhythm? by Ascot

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 28 September, with two run- ners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the...

No. 2053: Bouts-rimes

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You are invited to supply a poem with the following rhymes in the following order: woof, squeeze, proof, degrees, aloof, fine, last, combine, past, line, eats, cup, feats, up,...

Solution to 1376: Makers

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The unclued lights were anagrams of poets: MENANDER (1A), HORACE (5), HOMER (17), DONNE (26), TAG- ORE (42), FLECKER (15), CUMMINGS (21), BRIDGES (23) and Novas (35). First...

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The Godolphin legend Simon Barnes 'THE FUNCTION of sport is the creation of legend. Discuss.' That is the latest essay in my undergraduate course, 'Sport and the Meaning of...

YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED Q. What is the correct behaviour at

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a lunch or dinner party, when the wine is 'corked'? In restaurants, at receptions or charity din- ners and so on, I do not hesitate to ask for another bottle, since there is...