13 MAY 2000

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London can take it! Blitz II. Tony Blair laughs off near miss by one of Livingstone's bombers. A fter a delay of several hours caused by a new 'high-tech' balloting system, Ken...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405

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1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 OUT OF AFRICA T he dispatch of British paratroops to Sierra Leone for the purpose of evacuating British and other nationals was sensible and prudent....

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This time, the credit must go to Mr Mandelson BRUCE ANDERSON I n Ulster, this is a time for detail and real- ism. Crucial decisions are imminent, and it is impossible to...

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JUSTIN MAROZZI A a student of the Free Nelson Man- dela generation, I have always wanted to visit Robben Island, the prison off the coast of Cape Town where the great man was...

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Boris Johnson hears the owner of Harrods speak frankly about his friend Colonel Gaddafi and his enemies Prince Philip, Tony Blair and the entire homosexual establishment IT...

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Frank Field says that the PM is neglecting decent, old-fashioned Labour supporters ON any count last week's election results are a major setback for the government, but only...

Second opinion

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OUR residence on earth being so com- paratively short, I try to improve each shining hour. It was for this reason that I picked up and leafed through a magazine called Know Your...

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Toby Young was best man at a Washington wedding — and nobody laughed when he got up to speak IT was an experience I'll take to my grave. On Saturday, 29 April I was the best...

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Kevin Maguire on the latest Tony Blair courtier to find himself caught up in a public spat BOY George was singing his heart out at the Labour conference disco as Piers Mor-...

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Mind your language

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SOME readers have written asking if a phrase I used recently, 'an historical curiosity', was not itself a curiosity. I don't think I'd go that far. Dr Robert Burchfield, who...

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Mark Steyn says that George W is a far cannier candidate than the weird Al Gore New Hampshire ELIAN fever has passed, and the presiden- tial candidates are tentatively...

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BATES 12 months 6 months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK I:1 £97 ❑ £49 Europe El £109 El £55 USA El usS161 0 US$82 Australia El Aus$225 0 Aus$113 Rest of World El £119 ❑ £60 Please...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit ONE of the charming aspects of our parliamentary procedure is that con- cerning private members' bills, whereby obscure...

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Simon Courtauld on the huddled masses of Mexico who are daily risking their lives to enter the United States IN Britain they are called bogus asylum- seekers and come mostly...

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On the 60th anniversary of Hitler's Blitzkrieg, Alistair Home says the Anglo-Americans have no right to sneer at the Maginot Line SIXTY years ago this week the 'Phoney War'...

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The ideal painter to make one forget the horrors of modern art PAUL JOHNSON I celebrated the opening of Tate Modern, art's new Chamber of Horrors, by buying a vast tome about...

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A startling fact that the Observer failed to share with its readers STEPHEN GLOVER I hope readers will remember the strange and fascinating case of Victoria Brittain, the...

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From Mr Andrew Roberts Sir: Like Simon Nixon I worked

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at Flem- ings for three years. They very decently kept me on despite that fact that it was very obvious to everyone that I was utterly use- less at merchant banking. Although he...

Blessed, overcrowded plot

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From C.A. Latimer Sir: We should all be glad that Anne Applebaum ('Why I am proud to be a sub- ject of The Queen', 6 May) has achieved her aim, but she is quite wrong if she...

Dealing at ease

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From Mr Nicky Samengo-Turner Sir: Simon Nixon's excellent piece (`What news from Ekaterinburg?', 6 May) on Robert Fleming reminded me of an obser- vation made by one of my...

From Hayes Williams Sir: Who is the more insecure: Anne

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Applebaum — who wants to be 'in'; or Anthony Hopkins — who seems happy to be 'out'? Hayes Williams London W4

Oxford in Italy

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From Mr Brian Hicks Sir: The accuracy of Shakespeare's descrip- tions of Italian topography, culture and customs (Books, 29 April) has been known at least since 1918 with the...

From Mr Tom Massey Lynch Sir: Anne Applebaum reports elegantly

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on the lack of official emotion following her taking on our nationality, with the percep- tive suggestion that only a fundamentally stable country would offer such indiffer-...

Love the sinner

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From Mr Tom Benyon Sir: Philip Hensher (Books, 8 April) gives a savage thumbs-down to both Jonathan Aitken and to his book, Pride and Perjury. While one can perhaps forgive his...

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Scared of sex

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From Mr Michael Harrington Sir: In his fine and interesting review of a new book about Joe McCarthy (Books, 6 May), Anthony Howard implies that J. Edgar Hoover was a homosexual....

From Mr Michael E. Stevens Sir: Michael Duffy is correct

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in pointing out that the Australian media and intelligentsia are probably the most politically correct in the English-speaking world. Truth and reason are simply ignored and...

Aboriginal truths

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From Mr Bob Ellis Sir: Michael Duffy (The world's next white pariah', 15 April) saying that 'only' ten per cent of Aboriginal children were forcibly separated from their parents...

Squatters' rites

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From Mr Claus von Billow Sir: Jasper Gerard (Absolutely potty', 22 April) has drawn attention to the hitherto insoluble gender inequality which enables men to urinate while...

From Mr Michael Ward Sir: The absurdity of Swedish feminists'

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obsession with the supposed aggression demonstrated by their men urinating in a standing position is illustrated by the habit of the Arab male to pee squatting, especially in...

From Elias J.S. Kulukundis Sir: I do not consider myself

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a person of particularly liberal opinions and I am cer- tainly no follower of the cult of political correctness, but I must confess to the habit of micturating in a seated...

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Kingsley Amis has persuaded me to spill the beans on the closet liberals FRANK JOHNSON T he late Kingsley Amis's letters, pub- lished this week, reveal him to some people as...

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The euro in your pocket has not been devalued, but don't bet your savings on it CHRISTOPHER FILDES S o that's all right then. The euro in your pocket has not been devalued....

Europe? Send Melanie

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GORDON Brown is almost the first Labour Chancellor not to have learned this lesson the hard way. In a span of six decades, Philip Snowden, Hugh Dalton, Stafford Cripps, Hugh...

Eventually, rain

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MY advice to its central banker is to give up his Harold Wilson imitation and take his cue from Eliot (`Calamity) Janeway. The sage was once asked to prognosticate at a grand...

Thieves' paradise

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THEY have tried lecturing the markets. Harold Wilson tried that too. He blamed the dealers for listening to ale-house gossip, an affront resented by my City friends who drank in...

Sterling proposal

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I HAVE a splendid new policy for him, or, if he is too choosy, for the new shadow chan- cellor, Michael Portillo. I urge him to revive the sterling area. Britain is now the...

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Dear blokes . cheers, Kingers Richard Bradford THE LETTERS OF KINGSLEY AMIS edited by Zachary Leader HatperCollins, £24.99, pp. 1208 is frequently affirmed that his nov- els...

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The great unsung Victorian machine-maker

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David Crane THE COGWHEEL BRAIN by Doron Swade Little Brown, £14.99, pp.342 T he reputation of Charles Babbage probably stands higher now than it has ever done. For a few...

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Obscure notes from the underground

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D. J. Taylor KING OF THE CITY by Michael Moorcock Scribner's, £16.99, pp. 421 a) Ian `Lemmy' Kilminster b) Michael Dempsey c) Wilco Johnson The answers are: a) the...

Thatcherism in embryo

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Ian Gilmour MARGARET THATCHER, VOLUME I: THE GROCER'S DAUGHTER by John Campbell Cape, £25, pp. 511 W ith New Labour seemingly determ- ined to be Thatcherite in word and deed...

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The Kaiser's cigar and other cases

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Alan Sked WHAT IF? MILITARY HISTORIANS IMAGINE WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN edited by Robert Cowley Macmillan, f20, pp. 395 I n 1889 Buffalo Bill's famous Wild West Show put on a...

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Queuing for fame

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Norman Lebrecht ZEMLINSKY by Antony Beaumont Faber, £30, pp. 524 R bably the cruellest tribute ever offered by one composer to another was Arnold Schoenberg's 50th-birthday...

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A triumph over gravity and vertigo

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William Feaver BRUNELLESCHI'S DOME by Ross King Chatto, £15.99, pp. 184 I t remains one of the great Renaissance experiences. Jamming your head back, focussing your gaze way...


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Signature: Send me copy(ies) of What If? Military Historians Imnagine What Might Have Been @ i17.00 Send me copy(ies) of The Abolition of Britain U.00 TOTAL: £ Delivery is...

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Rising to the challenge of the century

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Martin Gayford on how Tate Modern is setting the agenda for the new millennium A bout eight years ago, when the mighty Tate Modern project was just get- ting going, I met a...

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Understanding Scott's building

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Alan Powers on the story behind the transformation of Bankside Power Station I t is now well known that Herzog & de Meuron were outsiders in the architectural Competition for...

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Macbeth (Scottish Opera) Ernani (English National Opera) Verdi double Michael Tanner S cottish Opera's production of Macbeth, unveiled at last year's Edinburgh Festival and...


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The King and I (Palladium) The Seagull (Barbican) The first lady sings Sheridan Morley A t last we have the I back in The King and I; when this classic Rodgers-Hammer- stein...

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The real thing? Mark Steyn T o mark what would have been the Sex Pistols' 50 years in showbusiness, director Julien Temple has returned to the scene of his first triumph....

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Nice little earner Michael Vestey O ne of the things I like about Law in Action on Radio Four is that it's a kind of Jodrell Bank of lawyers, giving us advance warning of when...


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The Diaghilev Legacy (Royal Ballet) Triumphant return Giannandrea Poesio T here is little doubt that the works pre- miered by the legendary Ballets Russes during the 20 years...

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Why Vronsky? Simon Hoggart T here was one terrifically erotic moment in the first episode of Anna Karen- ina (Channel 4). Kitty is playing on the piano, where she is joined by...

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Big beauty Alan Judd M y cousin's company car is a four- litre Jaguar Sovereign. He needs something Comfortable because his business mileage is 30 ,000-50,000 miles a year....

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The turf

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It's only a horse race . . . Robin Oakley T rainers rainers need time to get to know their gallops. All credit then to John Gosden for scoring a Classic success with Hamdan al...

High life

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Stars and bars Taki Toby's Caroline I hardly know. At his goodbye party she challenged me to a box- ing match, but I refused. How on earth can a woman be as naive to think she...

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No life

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Death in the afternoon Jeremy Clarke T he sound of rain drumming on the roof of your caravan, day after day, night after night, even if you are on holiday, can get you down...

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Country life

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Down on the picket line Leanda de Lisle F armers For Action want you for your body!' the message read. It came from the Countryside Alliance's Grass Roots organi- sation and,...

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Singular life

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Home from home Petronella Wyatt T hat wasn't it from Morocco. Ever been to Tangier? There's a hotel there called the El Minzah. In Tangier's heyday every itinerant...


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Poor game Andrew Robson TWO PLAYERS in different partnerships were discussing their evening's duplicate. `How did you do on Board 13?', said one to the other. `Fine — knocked...

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Champions eclipsed

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Raymond Keene WHILE Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik are gearing up for their world title challenge in London later this year, two rival claimants to the crown, Anatoly...


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The cynic's reply Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2135 you were asked to supply, in the same metre, a pre- sent-day cynic's reply to Marlowe's Passionate Shepherd's invitation,...

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No. 2138: Contrariness

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Dr Johnson praising Whiggery, a devout hymn by Swinburne, Chesterton arguing in favour of pessimism. . . . You are invited to supply an imaginary passage from a famous author,...


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

Solution to 1460: Azed

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ma M A milt 4lle1 01 11 cormiormananaria tajwrier ruio rim p T onemen I. el 0 killirirldnitalifil ndanardffilitlaaL ammernow armemen, R FIFE rin II a Win li 0 IM...

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Badminton's killing fields Simon Barnes NEWSPAPERS often send big-name writ- ers to Badminton horse trials, but never to write about the actual sport. For years the standard...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. I have recently lost a lot of weight and, to my horror, notice that despite the fact that I am pre-menopausal I now have the condition 'crêpe neck'. How can I...