13 DECEMBER 1997

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The Spectator

'President Clinton and I agree that CFCs are no threat to the world.' T he government announced a reform of the National Health Service entailing an end to general...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 THE BRANSON OF OUR TIME A l politicians strive to personify the product, to...

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Fraud is less harmful than coercion or threats BRUCE ANDERSON N o major reform becomes irreversible until its principles are accepted by both the main political parties. Thus...

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T his, I'm afraid, was the year of the dic- tatorship of sentiment. It has been a most peculiar time, when government, newspa- pers and television have joined to encour- age...

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How Mr Blair's beauty makes Mr Mandelson (and others) ugly MATTHEW PARRIS M etaphor should hardly be drawn from the kitchen. If an essayist can't stand the heat he should get...

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Edward Heathcoat Amory answers the only two questions the rest of us really want to know about the City THE CITY is the last battlefield on which Britain's class warriors can...

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Mind your language

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There was a big advertisement at the back of last week's Times Literary Sup- plement inviting applications for visiting fellowships at the Beinecke Library at Yale. It was...

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The American director has run into trouble trying to repeat his Schindler's List success with slavery, reports William Cash Los Angeles FOR Steven Spielberg, who once shocked...

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Andrew Neil on why he bought BSkyB shares — even if he resented some of Mr Murdoch's ways RUPERT Murdoch does not tolerate fail- ure. The world is full of folk he has quickly...

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Teresa Gorman on a conduit between a Japanese lavatory and suspect environmentalism I'D HEARD about them but I thought they were a joke — a centrally heated loo that washed...

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Desmond Gorges, butler to billionaires, says that Britain still supplies the best men at table New York IN EARLY 1978, I arrived in London after seven unsuccessful years...

Second opinion

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OF ALL the noble concepts in the world, perhaps the very noblest is that of social justice: but what exactly is it, and how may it be defined? I suspect that it is rather like...

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. . . and hysterical too. Peter Chadlington replies to Mr Kaufman 's grievances against Covent Garden THE main difference between Gerald Kaufman and the board of the Royal...


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Michael Heath

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The threat which has persuaded Unionists to revive the Ulster-Scots language, says Daniel Hannan LANGUAGE, as Norman Tebbit likes to remind us, is the essence of nationhood. It...

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. . . but it is the son, Toby, who opposes legalisation, and his father, Michael Young, who is for it Michael Young writes: FORTUNATELY for supporters of the legalisation of...

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to persecute Geoffrey Robinson AT FIRST it must have seemed an unmissable opportunity. After years of enduring Labour sanctimony over secret Tory benefactors, mystery sleaze...

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Stephan Shakespeare puts the case for shorter school holidays (not just for pupils) I USED to be a teacher. I left the profes- sion last year, and became self-employed. Now...

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Cunning Mr Robinson spreads confusion, but the press will confound him STEPHEN GLOVER G eoffrey Robinson, the Paymaster General, would not be in such a fix were it not for a...

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Swiss rolls over

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BEHIND his sleek exterior the investment banker is a worried man. He works for one of the two big Swiss banks which are merg- ing, they expect to lose 3,000 jobs in the City,...

View from the bridge

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THE City's Millennium Bridge must span an unexpected obstacle. On the planning committee of the Corporation is a lady who says that it will be built over her dead body. Hurry...

Recently disgorged

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THE great wine robbery hit the City hard. In broad daylight, men in green vans arrived at Greens' vaults, loaded up all the wine, took it away and were not seen again. This was...


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There's a Celtic tiger on our doorstep and we have to pay to feed it CHRISTOPHER FILDES ere it is, on our doorstep: Europe's own Celtic tiger. All it needs now is a Dr...

A market in gas

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ONE way to win a bonus would be to trade in emission certificates, or indeed in pollu- tion warrants, greenhouse options, or con- tracts on the mean sea level in the next mil-...

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Dreyfus of Tatton?

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Sir: Is Neil Hamilton the Dreyfus of Tat- ton? I suspect not. Like many others, I am puzzled by the week-after-week misrepre- sentations of your little group who have been...

Sir: What a brave and tragic tale Gerald Kaufman has

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to tell. Scarred for life by the elitism of the Royal Opera House and the social insecurities it inflicted on him, he is driven to seek retribution through the chairmanship of a...

Sir: I support Mr Bazalgette in deploring the frequency with

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which David Tang referred in the Diary of 29 November to a recently opened New York boutique, but you have now descended to further depths. While I am concerned at Mrs Blair's...

LETTERS Gerald in the Garden

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Sir: In the last Parliament a handful of us on the National Heritage Select Committee were able to restrain the wilder flights of fantasy of our chairman, Gerald Kaufman — for...

Sir: Melanie McDonagh does not answer the crucial question: what

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does your body feel like after reconstruction? What is the point of having breasts that look great but feel like overstuffed cushions? Will some- body, truthfully, tell me the...


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Sir: What a Scrooge that pompous Bazal- gette is (Letters, 6 December)! I bet that his second-hand motor is south of a Volvo. His jealousy should be tortured further by the fact...

Sir: Poor old Gerald Kaufman. Presumably much of his discomfiture

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in the Royal Opera House was due to the well-used seats hurting his back — a condition caused surely by the weight of the chips on his shoulders pressing down on his coccyx....

Under the skin

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Sir: Melanie McDonagh's piece Nutting it fine', 6 December) on Western society's lat- est Faustian pact is brilliant. When cosmet- ic surgery moves onto the mainstream want...

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Paul's enemies

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Sir: Your readers may perhaps have noticed that I am on Paul Johnson's 'ene- mies list'. They may even have wondered what I did to qualify. I promised myself that, if Johnson...

Sir: The best since Jilly Cooper. I am renewing my

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subscription to The Spectator. Sidney Vines 1 Willow Close, Laverstock, Salisbury

Good catch

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Sir: You've made a good catch in getting Lauren Booth to do a Diary piece (6 December). I really enjoyed her comments on the contemporary scene, with a wry edge sometimes rather...

Sir: I was surprised to read Paul Johnson once again

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attacking my husband Geordie Sir: I was surprised to read Paul Johnson once again attacking my husband Geordie LETTERS Greig, the literary editor of the Sunday Times, for...

What's inside

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Sir: Stephen Bayley begins his defence of the Millennium project (Arts, 6 December) with an attack on members of the Garrick Club. We are, of course, almost unen- durably...

Clive St J. Thomas

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Hillside House, Wrotham, Kent

Sir: Are not Lauren Booth's anti-hunting comments about Range Rovers

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and Bar- bour jackets typically indicative of still thriving Old Labour class prejudice, rather than any real concern for furry little foxes? Andrew Bruce...

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Plain Bob

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Sir: I have been putting up with the tabloidism 'Sir Bob Geldof for ten years, but was shocked to see it in a Spectator leader (29 November). I'm sure you know that a KBE is not...

Kings' evil

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Sir: David Watkins's attempt to refute D.A. Brunton's condemnation of William of Orange (Letters, 29 November) will not bear examination. Some 200 rebels from an army...

University challenge

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Sir: Andrew Neil is wrong in assuming my description of universities like Glasgow and Aberdeen as redbrick was born of igno- rance (Letters, 6 December). Having con- sidered at...

Ffion's fish-knives

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Sir: Miss Jenkins is quite right to include fish-knives on her wedding list (Leader, 6 December). They are perfectly acceptable nowadays and widely used by all classes. When did...

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The English have not changed, but they are more eccentric than ever PAUL JOHNSON A e we English changing character, becoming 'touchy-feely', 'letting it all hang out', weeping...

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He shopped till he dropped Philip Hensher RUDOLF II AND PRAGUE: THE COURT AND THE CITY edited by Eliska Fucikova Thames & Hudson, £48, pp. 792 T he Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II...

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The Adam family and others

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Patrick James T he country house has been hailed as this country's greatest artistic achievement. These days, however, the preference is to view them as 'educational...

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The pick of the runners-up

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Robert Rhodes James THE LOST LEADERS by Edward Pearce Little, Brown, £18.99, pp. 385 T he best politicians enjoy playing games. One favourite is naming potential prime...

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Missing a connection

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William Scammell ARKANSAS by David Leavitt Little, Brown, £14.99, pp. 198 A merica, home of the private dick, has gone on to pioneer the public dick, which in one of David...

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Tapestry hedges and knot gardens

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Emma Tennant GARDENING WITH SILK AND GOLD by Thomasina Beck David & Charles, 179.99, pp. 160 L 1979 Thomasina Beck, who is a skilled embroiderer, a keen gardener, and an expert...

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12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £93.00 0 £47.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £104.00 0 £52.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$151 0 US$76 Rest of Airmail CI £115.00 U58.00 World f Airspeed .0 £107.00 0...


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All the books reviewed here are available from THE SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Telephone: 0541 557288 Facsimile: 0541 557225 We accept payment by credit card ACCESS/VISA/AMEX/SWITCH or...

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Christmas art books

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David Ekserdjian T he great event of the artistic year is the opening of the new J. Paul Getty Museum, and it is being celebrated by seven handy guidebooks devoted to the...

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Nazis but not nasties

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Piers Paul Read TRUE TO BOTH MY SELVES: A FAMILY MEMOIR OF GERMANY AND ENGLAND IN TWO WORLD WARS by Katrin Fitzherbert Virago, £16.99, pp. 308 T he story of two generations of...

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That damned elusive concept

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Robert Taylor A CLASS ACT by Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard Hamish Hamilton, £17.99, pp. 308 N . ew Labour wants to repackage Britain as a 'young country' at the 'cutting...

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1998 Diary and Wallet The Spectator 1998 Diary, bound in soft dark navy blue leather, is now available and at the same prices as last year. Laid out with a whole week to view,...

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Not a great many Brownie points

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C. D. C. Armstrong MAN OF WAR, MAN OF PEACE? THE UNAUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF GERRY ADAMS by David Sharrock and Mark Devenport Macmillan, i16.99, pp. 488 M an of War, Man of...

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The misogynist who painted Madonnas

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Stephen Pepper THE DIVINE GUIDO: RELIGION, SEX, MONEY AND ART IN THE WORLD OF GUIDO RENI by Richard E. Spear Yale, £40, pp. 430 I t is welcome news that at last Professor...

Clerihew Corner

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Whitman Would have made the world's worst hitman. I hear Walter falter behind the raised gun, 'I can't do it. I'm your father, son.' James Michie

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Lifestyles and hairstyles

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Simon Carnell DANNY BLANCHFLOWER: A BIOGRAPHY OF A VISIONARY by Dave Bowler Gollancz, £16.99, pp. 256 MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Kevin Keegan Little, Brown, £16.99, pp. 310 A million...

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The facts of everybody's life

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Colin Wilson KNOWLEDGES: WHAT DIFFERENT PEOPLES MAKE OF THE WORLD by Peter Worsley Profile Books, £25, pp. 407 P eter Worsley is a distinguished sociol- ogist, the editor of a...

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Funnies and peculiars

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Richard Ingrams 0 ne of the most familiar clichés in the cartoonist's world is men (usually bankers or businessmen) throwing themselves off the window ledges of office blocks....

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Bilbao's imperial masterpiece Martin Gayford is impressed by the flamboyantly eccentric new Guggenheim Museum A one walks down Calle Iparraguirre, a perfectly normal street in...

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Behind the scenes at the RA

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Felicity Owen on why the Royal Academy should uphold its traditional values W hen four distinguished members of the Royal Academy were lost recently through resignations, an...

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Antipodean lessons

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Robert Turnbull on the merger of two Australian opera companies 0 ne of the many examples Sir Richard Eyre might like to look at as he prepares his feasibility study into the...

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Magnificence at the Medici Court (Palazzo Pitti, Florence, till 6 January) Princely treasures Bruce Boucher Bernardo Buontalenti: vase in lapis lazuli, Museo degli Argenti,...

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Paul Bunyan (Royal Opera, Snape Maltings) Giant success Michael Tanner R ather as with visiting Italy, and won- dering how a country with a hopelessly dis- credited and...

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Hamlet (Barbican) Heritage (Hampstead) It Takes Two (Jermyn Street) Where's the emotion? Sheridan Morley W e all know the economic struggles of the RSC, but this is getting...


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Tomorrow Never Dies (12, general release) The people's Bond Mark Amory T his is the 18th James Bond film and the producers had difficulty coming up with a title. Ian...

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CandoCo Dance Company. (Queen Elizabeth Hall) Blunt edged Giannandrea Poem C andoC,o Dance Company's last pro- duction left me rather perplexed. I under- stand that the...


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For couch potatoes Ursula Buchan O ne of the more depressing phrases in the English language (along with 'self- catering accommodation', 'pay as you earn' and 'please make...

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Afternoon trash James Delmgpole A often happens when you've been away on holiday, I returned from India with a raging existential crisis and no desire to do any work ever...

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Let's yoik Michael Vestey W hen I'm driving a snowbike,' said the woman, 'and the sun is shining, yes, I have a little yoik on my own.' A yoik, I should explain, is a cross...

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The turf

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Where are the rides? Robin Oakley A round the valets' sanctum in the Sandown weighing-room, tumble-dryers whir in perpetual motion. Senior valet John Buckingham, who has seen...

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High life

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Some hero Taki hen Larry Lawrence died last year Bill Clinton gave the eulogy at his funeral. A true blue American hero was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, reserved for...

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Country life

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My whip problem Leanda de Lisle P eter came back from the Newark Christmas Antiques Fair armed with a col- lection of swaggersticks and whips. They're very nice, I must say....

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Imperative cooking: turning to jelly

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I AM staring at a wonderfully ghastly pic- ture titled `Chaudfroid de Volaille'. It is in the vast Ideal Cookery Book published just after the first world war, but with its...


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Oh, calamity Andrew Robson THIS week's hand does not match the 3,400 penalty that Forrester and I lost against Indonesia in the summer of 1996. We had played in 34 redoubled,...

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Dragon's fire Raymond Keene ONE OF the most attractive defences for Black is the Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defence. Black fianchettoes his king's bishop and swiftly...

II ISLE OF le 51,61.1 VALI SCOICM Vilf1■ 1

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ISLE OF I l UIM i SI% II 11 , ILT OICH 1.15111 - COMPETITION Music hall Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2012 you were invited to write a song on the lines of 'My old man's a...

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Solution to 1338: Fingered

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111 E I2N 4A INDERE 7G A'1. ES 0 BS AV ri N jErr Ear la ECK MARCIA Ca COI F LE bis L NA111 TT OE it 21 Ell MI isoLo ay N Ai 111 d M ' ri I R 0 -6 H „...


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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 5 January, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

No. 2015: Sufferings below

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Windrush Press has just published Poems NOT on the Underground, verses mocking the inefficiency and inconvenience of the Tube system. Please join in (maximum 16 lines). Entries...

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What went wrong? Simon Barnes ENGLAND have been drawn to play Colombia in their group in the World Cup finals in France next summer, and I am transported back to one of the...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. I am the headmaster of a large Anglican school — a position which requires me to attend a great many school social functions. One particular parent who is...