13 APRIL 1996

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'Hi, I'm Tony! Think of me as a blue under the bed.' S ome building societies further reduced mortgage rates. A Unionist crowd threw stones and petrol bombs at police in the...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 BLAIR'S AMERICAN ACTIVITIES M r Blair, at the time of writing, is...

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The louder he talked of his religion, the faster he counted his votes BRUCE ANDERSON H eadline writers are not on oath. Faced with soft sift in an hour-glass, they must impose...

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ANNE McELVOY T o dank Cambridge for the K6nigswin- ter Conference, the annual health check of Anglo-German relations. The German par- ticipants are infallibly polite and...

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Two years after his death, someone from a modest pensione claims to be Harold Acton's half-sister, and to be rewarded accordingly, reports Michael Sheridan Florence SIR HAROLD...

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Michael Heath


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Sue Cameron on how the Min. of Ag. is deservedly seeing off those who are using mad cow disease as an excuse to slaughter it MAD OR NOT, the cow now deserves to be regarded as...

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I SUSPECT that Mr Tony Blair's recent remarks on his Christian beliefs have been misrepresented by the media. I doubt that Mr Blair really meant, as the headlines implied, that...

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If symptoms persist.. .

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IS THERE no limit to the scope of counselling? I phoned a neighbouring hospital last week: the outpatient depart- ment, to be exact. I needed to speak to one of the doctors...


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Hugh Brogan says that if Britain's republicans won, we would not end up with a non-political president KING Haakon of Norway once remarked that his handkerchief was the only...

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It's not Dole, it's not Whitewater: Philip Delves Broughton says it's a left-winger who runs on pinto beans EVER SINCE the Republican Party won control of the Senate and...

Mind your language

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FOR goodness' sake! A Mr Dalzel-Job of Plockton (whose name combines the obsolete letter yogh and a Hebraic ele- ment in an interesting way that I haven't got time to go into)...

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Women now make up 13 per cent of Sean Bean's wife was never one of them THE FUTURE of British football is once again under threat, thanks to the behaviour of a group of...

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A first blast on the literary trumpet for the Smith of Smiths PAUL JOHNSON T here is a simple and enjoyable way to hit back at the deconstructionists and other academic yobbos...

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Room for a view

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TWO unrepeatable holes have opened up in the City of London. Enjoy them while they last. One, in St Martin's le Grand, marks the site of a nondescript office block, whose...


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Good news for Rupert and Samantha is moving the market in houses money CHRISTOPHER FILDES W ith the tuneless persistence of an early cuckoo, estate agents promise me that the...

All hands to the pumps

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STRUGGLING to get the banks off Euro- tunnel's back, Sir Alastair Morton is per- forming a labour of Sisyphus, and I am here to help him. Last month, so I see, more than 200,000...

Shark's fm soup

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JUST when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, spot that old triangular fin. Yes, it's the European exchange rate mechanism, back again by lack of popular request...

Heads in the sand

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I TURN to the Business Opportunities page of the morning paper and see five opportu- nities for investing in ostriches. This is down from seven the week before, which may have...

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Sir: This week's Spectator arrived with its spectacular cover raising

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the hopes that E.P. Sanders had something special to tell us about the Resurrection. Having read his confusing details (what else does one expect from an American?), I am still...

Sir: It seems the craze for wearing baseball caps back

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to front is not the more or less recent phenomenon one might imagine. I refer you to the character on the right in the painting by Piero della Francesca, featured on the cover...

Divine rights?

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Sir: Professor Linzey argues CA Christian shield for animals', 6 April) that animals have rights. Rights pre-suppose duties. My Lockean LETTERS rights to life, liberty and...

Sir: Two thousand years ago, the human population of the

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world was a fraction of what it is today. Townships were far smaller and widely spaced.; there were none of today's huge conurbations. Even Ancient Rome was far smaller than the...

Sir: It was a delight to read E.P. Sanders's lucid

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essay and to find at last mature, unprejudiced thinking on Christianity pre- sented to the general reader, as opposed to the usual extremes of naïve literalism from...

LETTERS Gospel truth

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Sir: We can be grateful to Professor Sanders Out did it happen?', 6 April) for turning our thoughts again to the Resurrec- tion. However, he covers the same ground as have...


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12Months 6Months UK 0 £84.00 0 £43.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £95.00 0 £48.00 USA Airspeed ❑ US$135 0 US$68 USA Airmail 0 US$180 0 US$90 Rest of Airmail 0 £115.00 U £58.00 World...

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Foreign affairs

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Sir: Andrew King (Letters, 6 April) usefully reminds journalists that the squabbles of their trade often bore readers. Nevertheless the recent changes to the Observer raise an...

Pope v. Wesley

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Sir: Come off it, Paul Johnson. How can St Peter's, the seat of the Roman Apostasy, be the greatest church in Christendom (And another thing, 6 April)? That honour belongs to...

Going Dutch

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Sir: Your correspondent Justin de Blank may not have changed his surname but he has lost nothing of his Dutch boorishness in commenting upon Nigella Lawson's antecedents. One...

Two boos

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Sir: I must finally express exasperation over the ongoing utter disrespect shown by cer- tain of your writers towards President Clin- ton, his wife, and occasional members of...

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I have received a letter from just another pompous company chairman. The trouble is, it's Hugo Young STEPHEN GLOVE R L ast week the editor of this magazine published a letter...

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Heaven is being rich, white, Protestant and over 71 PETRONELLA WYATT T om was the youngest person I had seen all week. He was 63. But in Naples, West Florida, to be 63...

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A satisfying sexual act Philip Hensher SLOWNESS by Milan Kundera Faber, £12.99, pp.132 by Milan Kundera Faber, £12.99, pp.132 T he film of The Unbearable Lightness of Being...

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Who follows in his train?

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Anne Applebaum TROTSKY: THE ETERNAL REVOLUTIONARY by Dimitri Volkogonov HarperCollins, f25.00, pp. 254 I t was not the brilliance of his argu- ments, nor even his famed...

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The fate of a beautiful woman

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Kate Grimond HIGH LATITUDES by James Buchan The Harvill Press, £14.99, pp. 192 J ane Haddon, otherwise know as Janet MacKay or the Countess of Bellarmine, is, at a youngish...

Who's left holding the baby?

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Anita Brookner FAITH FOX by Jane Gardam Sinclair-Stevenson, £15.99, pp. 312 T he title is misleading, as is the jacket illustration. The determined young woman in the white hat...

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Presiding over decline

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Alan Clark F or the better part of this century the Conservatives have been the governing political party of Britain. During that period the country has fallen in statute...

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Different sides of the counter culture

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Francis King MR CLIVE AND MR PAGE by Neil Bartlett Serpent's Tail, £9.99, pp. 207 T he season, as we almost immediately discover, is Christmas. The year, as we dis- cover more...

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A wife as well as a mother

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Lucy Hughes-Hallett IT TAKES A VILLAGE by Hillary Rodham Clinton Simon & Schuster, £12.99, pp. 319 T here's something cosily familiar to a British reader in the tone of Hillary...

Lloyd George knew her mother

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Alan Watkins FRANCES, COUNTESS LLOYD GEORGE: MORE THAN A MISTRESS by Ruth Longford Gracewin& £15.99, pp. 214 S ome 30 years ago the late Andrew Boyle, the editor and co-founder...

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The scholar's life assailed

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Andrew Crawshaw WALTER OAKESHOTT: A DIVERSITY OF GIFTS by J. Dancy Michael Russell, £24.00, pp. 370 I t was Walter Oakeshott who first told me as a boy why Virgil was chosen to...

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Bringing it all together

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Celina Fox COURT, CLOISTER AND CITY: THE ART AND CULTURE OF CENTRAL EUROPE 1450-1800 by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 25.00, pp. 576 S ome books are launched...

Into White

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Passing from day to day has the eyes move Along a colour-chart, flesh-pink to white, But each rectangle with you pausing less. For example, the late August sunlight —...

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Women and children last

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Caroline Moore COLLECTED SHORT STORIES by Rose Tremain Sinclair Stevenson, £17.99, pp. 468 T his book was a bitter disappointment. I was keenly looking forward to a collec-...

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Just an old-fashioned wrestler

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Tobias Jones THE IMAGINARY GIRLFRIEND: A MEMOIR by John Irving Bloomsbury, £9.99, pp. 192 o much of a novelist's writing . . . takes place in the unconscious: in those depths...

I did not think to write an elegy for you

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a friend whom I'd not seen for forty years, until a boy passed by with sun-burnt skin and from the sky a lark spilt notes of rain. Then I remembered one hot summer day when we...

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Exhibitions Anthony Eyton (Browse & Darby, till 27 April) Eyton's loud exclamations Andrew Lambirth explores the two sides of Anthony Eyton's paintings A ithony Eyton, now in...

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Opera Alceste (Scottish Opera) Arabella (Royal Opera House)

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Soft spots Rupert Christiansen S he's a rum do, an odd fish, and I'm rather fascinated by her case. I speak of Isabelle Vernet, a young French soprano — and by virtue of that...

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Stone throwing Alan Powers looks at the renewed interest in natural stone T here is a conspiracy theory to the effect that architects are in the grip of the suppliers of...


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The Spectator index for July to December 1995 is now available. r Please send copies of the following at £7 each (UK), £8 (overseas) inc July-Dec 1995 (Vol. 275) Jan-June...

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Irene Worth (Almeida) Clocks and Whistles (Bush) The Thickness of Skin (Royal Court Upstairs) Sweet bird of age Sheridan Morley O ur greatest living actress returned all...


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Mighty Aphrodite (15, selected cinemas) Words from Woody Mark Steyn I n Mighty Aphrodite, Claire Bloom plays Woody Allen's mother-in-law. In real life, they're about the same...

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Belief in Godot Harry Eyres W e had been told to expect an unholy Easter weekend. The IRA were planning a commemoration of 1916, probably featur- ing more of that terrible...

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The club

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Lingering legacy Simon Courtauld One or two well-dressed black Kenyan members may be seen in the club these days — it is, after all, 33 years since the country got its...


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Lost Liz Michael Vestey T his week, the new acting managing director of BBC radio, Michael Green, for- mally took over, following the mysterious departure of Liz Forgan. The...

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Not motoring

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Say yes to Yerkes Gavin Stamp C hicago must be the only city defined by its public transport. The city centre is not the City Centre, or the Merchant City, or the Old Town or...

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The turf

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Modern cavalier Robin Oakley T he jockeys past and present out on the town for the Lesters jockeys' awards the other night, the dapper Joe Mercer, the elegant Yves Saint...

High life

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Upstairs, downstairs Taki Alas, the marriage did not last. Once he became a serious billionaire, Perelman needed a tall blonde by his side, something Claudia was not. In came...

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Low life

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Vera come home Jeffrey Bernard T he newspapers must be even more desperate than usual for news. Some days ago the Times put my name in a list of peo- ple headed Celebrity...

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Country life

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Queen of cool Leanda de Lisle I n London my four-year-old goddaughter lives in a social whirl and gets invited to parties in nightclubs where the grown-ups drink cocktails...


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Bridge heading Andrew Robson I SUSPECT that it is easy to miss the critical play on this week's deal: cover up the East- West hands and see if you can make 64 on +C) lead, and...

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Blankety blank THAT restaurateurs do not like receiving unfavourable reviews is hardly news. Never- theless, I think it is worth remarking on Justin de Blank's letter (6 April)...

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IN-THE-STRAND CHESS SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND i■ Dutch treat Raymond Keene THE EUWE Memorial tournament in Amsterdam ended in a two-way tie for first place between Kasparov...


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ISLE OF COMPETITION P, I i mi, , ORM WHISIn iii lu RA 41, ., if OLT WORM NXNO UR One for the oldies Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1927 you were invited to provide a...

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Apology: In Martin Woodhead's winning entry last week, 'weekend, by

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a printers' error, appeared as 'evening'.

No. 1930: A modest proposal

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Swift's famous pamphlet of this name, in which he recommends that the solution to Ireland's difficulties would be for the poor to devote themselves to rearing children to be...

Solution to 1253: Puff-ball

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.._....■- .—.__._ .. _ 41 '_C I " E X P E L LLE A b'E l Vil.' S I.4 N U‘FLF1 7 116 U1011:1 ..y.,_S 1 9 01 SE A % Ei ta I A A EV I% 0 T 0 RIO ErAIT T C 0 0 o f N I Y [ ELASH...


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A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1989 Port for the first correct solution opened on 29 April, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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Dear Mary. . . Q. Since my husband and I moved to India several years ago we have been receiving anonymous 'sex pest' telephone calls. Recently, the number of these calls has...


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Hopes and dreams Simon Barnes AS WINTER turned towards spring, it seemed inevitable: Wimbledon Football Club were to be relegated from the top division. They have for years...