13 JUNE 1998

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The Spectator

Households will be taxed on the amount of rubbish they put out T he government is to go ahead with abolishing seats for hereditary peers with- out waiting for agreement on...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405

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1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 TORIES MUST TRY HARDER C ontrary to forecasts by political cone- s Pondents who should have known better, Mr Blair and Mr Blunkett bit the bullet and...

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T he majority of children today have to choose between history and geography for their GCSEs. Who has decided that these various groupings of subjects cannot be studied...

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On being hounded by the Independent FRANK JOHNSON I was thinking this week how much more like a newspaper — rather than the menu of a modish new restaurant — the redesigned...

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. . but not if the Prime Minister has anything to do THIS WEEK, Downing Street has been resounding to the crash of ordnance. The Beating the Retreat ceremony has been enhanced...

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Mind your language

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LEXICOGRAPHERS are a traditional folk, copying out each other's dictionar- ies and often preserving images of domestic life that are foreign to the modern world. This thought,...

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Amid the accusations against British attitude towards people like himself OUR JURY system of '12 good men and true' goes back 800 years. Together with the presumption of...

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. . . not for persecuting Jeffrey Archer, says Michael Crick, but for indulging him A FEW weeks ago I unearthed, in BBC archives, film of a 1960s Oxford v. Cam- bridge annual...

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Ian MacKinnon meets the man who, like his father before him, is India's hangman Meerut IT WAS an Indian rope trick with a differ- ence. India's best-known hangman, I was told,...

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As the World Cup begins, David Hill says politicians should learn from Mr Hoddle's masterly handling of Gazza SO THE WORLD has not ended. Gazza may not be in France, but the...

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Sion Simon says Mr Robinson has secretly used his skills at the coalface to remain Paymaster General THERE are good reasons why genteelly educated young persons do not usually...

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Michael Portillo questions whether the NHS founder really benefited either the sick or the poor THE 50th anniversary of the NHS pro- vides an excellent opportunity for reflec-...

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Alexander Rose says that even the Ku-Klux Klan is following the example of New Labour EXPUNGE from your mind the image of hooded Klansmen with green teeth and tobacco juice...

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An everyday tale of writing folk toiling in the Guardian saltmines PAUL JOHNSON T he test of a publication's decency is the way it treats its writers, especially that...

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Burns roams

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IT WAS no surprise to see Sir Terence Burns getting out. Smart in his chauffeur's cap and leggings, he has had to perch in the rumble seat while Gordon Brown mashes the gears...

The one that got away

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ROLLS-ROYCE Motors rolls away from a land of missed opportunities. Its new own- ers, Volkswagen, might have been a British company. Lord King tells me that after the war VW was...

No, Chancellor

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SIR TERENCE's successor, Andrew Turn- bull, must try to put this machine into order. Charlie and the back-seat kids will tangle with him at their peril. The Chancel- lor cannot...


The Spectator

MY RAILWAY correspondent, I.K.Gricer, is smirking like Thomas the Tank Engine. He was telling us five months ago how to build a railway to the Channel Tunnel. Quite simple,...


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Stuffed or quacking ducks and shadowy rabbits need a touch of rancour and asperity CHRISTOPHER FILDES K nneth Clarke as Chancellor had the engaging habit of leaning across the...

Where the money goes

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THERE is, as Adam Smith said, a deal of ruin in a nation, especially nations as rich in resources as Nigeria or Zaire, but you have to give their rulers marks for trying. Only...

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Death in Paris

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Sir: Nicholas Farrell's extraordinary maun- derings (`Blood confusions', 6 June) do not reach the habitual level of thoughtfulness of The Spectator. The enigmas which appear to...

Sir: I was astonished by the opening para - graphs in

The Spectator

Nick Farrell's otherwise excellent piece about the carbon monoxide in Henri Paul's blood. At the time he wrote this piece he had never seen a copy of the script of the pro -...

LETTERS Back on track

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Sir: I congratulate you on your leader of 30 May. I am a fifth-generation Australian whose ancestor came to Australia in 1806 as a free settler. He took up land in the Colony...

Sir: The level of carbon monoxide in Henri Paul's blood,

The Spectator

20.7 per cent carboxy - haemoglobin saturation, is about the same as is regularly recorded in policemen on traffic duty in New York City. They have grown used to it. Perhaps...

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Sir: Katie Grant's excellent article remind- ed me of some

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graffiti I encountered while studying at Edinburgh University in 1992. `TOFFS GO HOME', an irate Scot had scrawled on a lavatory door in the student union building, beneath...

Scotland the brave

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Sir: It is wholly unsurprising that there should be widespread hatred of the English in Scotland CA very Scottish death', 30 May). After all, most of the government front bench...

Sir: I would hope that a thousand dirks would leap

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from their stocking-tops after Katie Grant's offensive article about Scot- tish attitudes to the English. To suggest that racism is rife in Scotland because of one murder case...

Sparks fly

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Sir: I have just read an article by Martin Stannard about Muriel Spark (Books, 6 June) and her alleged Jewishness. The arti- cle states that I said, 'Muriel Spark should make no...

Sir: The recent article on 'Scots versus the rest' does

The Spectator

no more than reflect the market- ing of Rob Roy and Braveheart. If Holly- wood confined itself to science fiction and Old Testament epics the UK might be a happier place to live...

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The Spectator

What we did was ask questions. Not all of them have been answered NICHOLAS OWEN ell done!' cried the lady driving a battered old van through my local town at the end of last...

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The Spectator

A question of identity Raymond Carr I n an age of political correctness and when schoolboys identify Winston Churchill as a song writer, asking, 'Why would we want to learn...

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SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Tel: 0541 557 288

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Fear in the global marketplace

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John Redwood THE AGE OF INSECURITY by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson Verso, £17, pp. 312 T wo Guardian journalists have cut loose from the short articles, soundbites and...

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A brave bohemian battler

The Spectator

Jane Gardam FANNY BURNEY; HER LIFE by Kate Chisholm Chatto, £20, pp. 330 I n her portrait, in a 'Vandyke gown', black ribbon tight round the neck, enor- mous, protruding, eager...


The Spectator

kolt e Fanny Burney: Her Life by Kate Chisholm This delightful novel, incorporating the latest research and illustrated with unusual portraits and drawings, is as lively,...

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Shopping and singing

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Kevin Myers THE INFORMER by Sean O'Callaghan Bantam, £16.99, pp. 340 E ither Sean O'Callaghan is the biggest charlatan in the history of the IRA, or he is its most devastating...

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The centre that could not hold

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FROM ROME TO BYZANTIUM: THE FIFTH CENTURY AD by Michael Grant Routledge, £25, pp. 203 R oman history begins in Rome and ends at Constantinople.' It recounts the slow shift of...

Clerihew Corner

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Though history has proved Nietzsche A dangerous moral teacher, One's got to admit, , through teeth that clench, Mentally the chap was a bit of an Ubermensch. James Michie

Sugar and spice

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Caroline Moore THE EVERLASTING STORY OF NORY by Nicholson Baker Chatto, £12.99, pp. 226 Y ou need a strong stomach to be a critic of modern novels, which collectively give the...

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Death in the sun postponed

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Anita Brookner THE LAST RESORT by Alison Lurie Chatto, £15.99, pp. 254 I nto the stagy, semi-tropical setting of Key West — frangipani, hibiscus, bougainvillea, mosquito nets —...

Good but ugly business

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Jonathan Mirsky NO DOGS AND NOT MANY CHINESE by Frances Wood John Murray, £25, pp. 368 h e most preposterous notions were formed as to the demand that was to spring up for our...

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Wanted: a reliable engineer

The Spectator

Alan Watkins FAKING IT: THE SENTIMENTALISATION OF MODERN SOCIETY edited by Digby Anderson and Peter Mullen Social Affairs Unit, £15.99, pp. 211 T his book has received much...

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Living as hunger

The Spectator

Sibylla Jane Flower I AM WELL, WHO ARE YOU? by David Piper, edited by Delian Bower Delian Bower Publishing Exeter, i10, pp. 96 W e have heard much in recent weeks about the...

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The mudslide of heritage-babble

The Spectator

W hat is the most embarrassing word in current English? Let me single out `heritage' as a promising candidate. Having once meant simply 'something acquired through inheritance'...

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The jumbo book of problems

The Spectator

Bryan Magee THE ROUTLEDGE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY, (TEN VOLUMES) edited by Edward Craig Routledge, 41,995, pp. 8,136 I saiah Berlin once told me how he had sat on an Oxford...


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

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The Spectator

Poetry is the new smog Lloyd Evans asks whether its return is a cultural awakening or a passing mirage P oetry is back. It's in the papers, on the Underground, it's in our...

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Exhibitions 1

The Spectator

What is he up to? Martin Gayford W hat is Lucian Freud up to? We know, of course, that he is among the most celebrated painters alive. He may well also be — though, naturally...

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Exhibitions 2

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Patrick Caulfield (Waddington Galleries, till 20 June) Quiet exuberance Andrew Lambirth P atrick Caulfield (born 1936) is riding high. Almost the entirety of his last com-...


The Spectator

Breathing problems Peter Phillips L stening afresh to Sir John Stainer's Fight-part anthem I saw the Lord, and hav- ing always loved the work of the Pre- Raphaelites, I was...

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Orfeo (Barbican) Satisfied but not stirred Michael Tanner E NO's latest revival of Jonathan Miller's production of Carmen raises, in a fairly acute form, a recurrent problem...

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The Spectator

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Triple Bill (Birmingham Hippodrome) Orfeo (Barbican) Style and content Giannandrea Poesio I n his Choreography Observed, one of the best dance books...

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The Spectator

The Broadway Tony Awards, 1998 (New York) Hey Mr Producer (Lyceum) Sure I'm biased Sheridan Morley T he Broadway Tony Awards have always been as eccentric a lottery as any...


The Spectator

Brazil Still Builds (Architectural Association, till 26 June) Baroque swagger Alan Powers W hen students in Sao Paolo gathered in the faculty of architecture to protest...

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Soothed by the strike Michael Vestey O n waking last Thursday morning, later than usual, I switched on the radio and spent one of the most soothing periods between eight and...

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Dad's Army debunked Edward Heathcoat-Amory T he second world war, although it ended more than 20 years before I was born, loomed over my childhood. I played with toy...

The turf

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Epsom test Robin Oakley T he vigilantes have not come knocking on my door as yet but I am not spending too much time at the moment in my Epson'' , home. Asked to open my home...

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High life

The Spectator

Gentlemen and athletes Taki In the American Basketball League, as revealed by Sports Illustrated, a cheer-lead- er type of magazine, there is an out-of- wedlock child for...

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Country life

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Please be nice to me Leanda de Lisle I'm supposed to show the Agriculture Minister up, tease him and that sort of thing. Perhaps he'll say something so annoy- ing that I'll...


The Spectator

Jump for joy Andrew Robson I AM frequently asked to name trlY, favourite convention. I am not a fan 0 ' many conventions: they clutter the memorY and are generally unnecessary...

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The Spectator

SUSTAINING SAMANTHA MESTIC science was compulsory at my all girl school. My first creation was a tinned tuna-fish crumble with parsley gar- nish. It leaked all over my satchel...

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By Digby Anderson Imperative cooking: salad days!

The Spectator

BEWARE dinner invitations in the sum- mer! Beware them, of course, at any time, but summer is second worst, after Christ- mas. There is clearly a fierce competition to serve...

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The Spectator

THE MALT IN COMPETITION NO. 2037 you were told the story of an unpleasable ten-year- old boy who, at the end of a country house party for children, wrote 'Crap weekend' in the...


The Spectator

Shirov shines Raymond Keene ALEXEI SHIROV has qualified for a world championship match against Garry Kasparov. There have been some doubts expressed, not least in this column,...

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No. 2040: Treble hat-trick

The Spectator

You are invited to incorporate the follow- ing nine words in an entertaining piece of prose (maximum 150 words) without using any of them in the sense of 'hat': beaver,...

Solution to 1363: Family circle

The Spectator

ROYAL HOUSE defined each of five circuit lights and the unclued radial 7. First prize: Mrs K. Fowler, Manches- ter. Runners-up: Anthony Ruther- ford, Mosman Park, W. Australia;...


The Spectator

PORT CROSSWORD A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 29 June, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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The Spectator

Worldwide net Simon Barnes THE BALL went clean through the defen- sIv e Wall. That is not supposed to happen. it does, it makes the shot impossible to save. But the goalkeeper...


The Spectator

Q. Are there any circumstances in which it IS permissible to ask one's GP for a date? My GP is extremely attractive and is, as far a s I know, like me, unattached. However, I...