13 NOVEMBER 1999

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Mr Prescott loosens his green bell M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a pre-Budget state- ment that the standard state pension would rise by 75p a week,...

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I met President Clinton for the first time a couple of weeks ago. As we waited for him in the Oval Office an intern divulged, without a trace of irony, that 'the President uses...

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Gordon Brown should be more simple-minded and work less hard BRUCE ANDERSON T he Tory front bench knows what it would like to do to Gordon Brown. It would like to wipe that...

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The only thing Mr Blair won't roll out is the barrel MATTHEW PARRIS P rosecuting tricksy politicians requires at times a sort of pedantry. Your witnesses will try to slip...

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Norman Davies says that, ten years after the Wall came down, the Evil Empire is thriving — with the help of the West In reality, the fate of Chechnya is not a small matter. It...

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Daniel Hannan says that the Europhiles cannot understand the languages of their new best friends THERE is no mistaking the champion lin- guist among Britain's MEPs. He is Dr...

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George Walden laments that the French have surrendered their moral exceptionalism to Anglo-Saxon pietism EVERYONE is getting France wrong. Contrary to appearances, its...

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Petronella Wyatt asks the BBC chairman about the alleged failings of his Corporation, and feels his wrath IN THE hall of Broadcasting House in London is a plaque that reads...

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Michael Heath

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Edward Chancellor on how a booming new economy could go bust with profound repercussions for the UK IT has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Its population is...

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Mind your language

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THIS snotching business is getting out of hand. The word had turned up in an early 18th-century account by a Wilt- shire rector of a man apparently struck dead by Providence for...

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Norman Lamont goes to Chile and feels ashamed to be British HOW intriguing. Jack Straw, the Home Secretary responsible for the incarceration of General Pinochet, seems to have...

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Philip Delves Broughton on how Bill Clinton's remorse and jealousy of his wife are pushing him off balance New York IT was meant to be a night for his wife. Broadway had laid...

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We need a regime, an incentive, a hotline next, Gordon Brown's budget for sex CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he best moment in the Green Budget came early. Below the Chancellor's...

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Ross Clark scorns the reverence of the cultured classes for the Elgin Marbles IT is a tragedy that H.M. Bateman is no longer with us. What fun he could have now. His Man Who...

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but, says Charles Moore, neither is he New Labour, whatever Tony Blair may think SOMEONE once said that he didn't mind that Mr Gladstone always had a card up his sleeve, but he...

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W.F. Deedes on the lessons of the Australian vote against a republic Melbourne WE went down to the great Victoria mar- ket here early, two hours before the polling stations...

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Here is my list of the century's greatest political figures PAUL JOHNSON O nly six weeks to go before the end of the century: time to draw up a list of its political success...

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The Guardian and the Sun climb into bed with Uncle Sam STEPHEN GLOVER T he Sun and the Guardian, you would think, are chalk and cheese. The two papers disagree about almost...

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Liberal fascists

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From Mr Toby Horton Sir: Lady Mosley is right to remind us that, after the war, Sir Oswald Mosley devoted his political life to the 'Europe as a Nation' movement (Letters, 6...


The Spectator

Belittling of a genius From Mr Simon Schama Sir: Philip Hensher (Books, 30 October) is perfectly entitled to his interesting opinion that Rembrandt's paintings show no evi-...

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From Mr Jonathan Kreeger Sir: As Diana Mosley states, Sir

The Spectator

Oswald was, of course, 'not an extremist'. One's reaction can only be compared to that of Sir John Gielgud who, when asked his opin- ion of Olivier's eye-rolling cinematic...

Edwards's bon mots

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From The Revd RG. Holloway Sir: Chris Patten did not 'invent' for Mar- garet Thatcher the brilliant phrase 'The facts of life are Tory' (Politics, 6 Novem- ber). Out of the...

Ancestral vice

The Spectator

From Mr Francis Johnston Sir: Earl Spencer (Diary, 6 November) does no justice to his family or to the peerage by flaunting the entirely bogus 'Despenser' ancestry of his...

Gold well sold

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From Mr David 0. Clark Sir: I have just read Martin Vander Weyer's article 'Fool's Gold' (16 October), in which he claims the Chancellor's decision to sell off part of our...

Scent Ambrose

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From Dr Dennis M. Jones Sir: In Lyall Watson's article on the sense of smell ('The Cinderella of the Senses', 30 October) he states that there are no societies dedicated to the...

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Sun worshippers

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From Mr Tom Thatcher Sir: I enjoyed the article on Jerusalem arti- chokes (Arts, 30 October): they are a stan- dard feature of game strips around here, and my son has a patch of...

Churchill's gamble

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From Professor J.R. Vincent Sir: M.R.D. Foot salutes Churchill's deci- sion to fight on alone in May 1940 (Books, 6 November). There is an important ques- tion here. Was...

Burnt toast

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From Captain S.R. Martin (Rtd) Sir: Charles Moore's diary (30 October) reports the loyal toast of the Royal Regi- ment of Artillery as The Queen — our captain gunner'. As will...

Ignorance is bliss

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From Mr Brian Basham Sir: I showed my wife John Laughland's article ('The massacres that never were', 30 October) which alleges that we were told a pack of lies about the scale...

Parfit knights

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From Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith Sir: Since in Damian Thompson's article on the Order of St John ('Out of Order', 30 October) I was criticised for 'glossing over' history, I...

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The story that inexplicably died, a mystery letter and a false imputation of social liberalism FRANK JOHNSON T wo Sunday papers had something unusually interesting this week...

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Not all plain sailing Philip Hensher PASSAGE TO JUNEAU by Jonathan Raban Picador, £16.99, pp. 435 J onathan Raban's complex and secretive new book, Passage to Juneau, is...

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More froth than coffee Helen Osborne

The Spectator

ADRIAN MOLE: THE CAPPUCCINO YEARS by Sue Townsend Penguin, £14.99, pp. 326 T he latest stage of Adrian Mole's trudge on life's pimply treadmill opens on election eve 1997 in...

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The biter only half-bitten

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James Michie HOME TRUTHS by David Lodge Seeker & Warburg, £6.99, pp. 115 me it is impossible to write a film play without first writing a story,' Graham Greene noted. David...

Browsing in poisoned pastures

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Francis King ANGELICA'S GROTTO by Russell Hoban Bloomsbury, £10, pp. 271 L ike its author, the protagonist of this novel, Klein, is a small man of 72, born in America but long...

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A marshmallow easily consumed

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Frederic Raphael MY MOVIE BUSINESS by John Irving Bloomsbury, £12.99, pp. 177 T he novelist and screenwriter run on parallel lines which sometimes meet at the bank. Even when...

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The harlot's progress

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Jane Ridley HARRIETTE WILSON: LADY OF PLEASURE by Valerie Grosvenor Myer Fern House, L1750, pp. 178 shall not say why and how I became at the age of 15 the mistress of the...

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The glory has not all departed

The Spectator

Christopher Montgomery GREAT HOUSES OF IRELAND by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, with photographs by Christopher Simon Sykes Laurence King, f40, pp. 272 I s any book worth £407...

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Rose is a rose is a rose . . .

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Dot Wordsworth WORDS AND RULES: THE INGREDIENTS OF LANGUAGE by Steven Pinker Weidenfeld, 114.99, pp. 348 S teven Pinker is the Oliver Sacks of language, only, instead of men...

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A tough suburb for trees

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Richard West TRIOMF by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Leon de Kock Little, Brown, £16.99, pp. 544 T he fall from power of the South African National Party has robbed the...

Jackal among big cats

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Richard Lamb MUSSOLINI'S SHADOW: THE DOUBLE LIFE OF COUNT GALEAZZO CIANO by Ray Moseley Yak, £19.95, pp. 302 T his is the only biography of Galeazzo Ciano in English, although...

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Hunting the grey fox

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Hugo Williams BURNT DIARIES by Emma Tennant Canongate, £12.99, pp. 231 W ell, should they have been? Did she snatch them back from the flames, thinking to herself, 'No, if he'd...

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The seven provinces of a secret people

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Simon Courtauld THE BASQUE HISTORY OF THE WORLD by Mark Kurlansky Cape, f15.99, pp. 387 T his book has a rather grandiose title. True, Basque fishermen were among the first from...

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So close to the ground

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William Feaver TOULOUSE-LAUTREC AND THE FIN-DE-SIECLE by David Sweetman Hodder, £25, pp. 511 T he shortness of Henri Toulouse- Lautrec has been exaggerated. True, Peter...

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Favourites and scapegoats

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James Delingpole ARTIFICIAL PARADISES by Mike Jay Penguin, £9.99, pp. 416 A bout five years ago, I wrote a novel satirising the excesses of 'New Lad' maga- zines like Loaded....

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Spankers and scuttle-butts

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Hugh Massingberd BLUE AT THE MIZZEN by Patrick O'Brian HarperCollins, £16.99, pp. 262 I n the course of a peripatetic, not to say profligate, life I have recklessly rid myself...


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virile genius Jane Gardam SECRETS OF THE FLESH: A LIFE OF COLETTE by Judith Thurman Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 596 hen Colette was 61 the brilliant American journalist, Martha...

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When a man stops believing in God . . .

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Robbie Millen HOLY MADNESS: ROMANTICS, PATRIOTS AND REVOLUTIONARIES, 1776-1871 by Adam Zamoyski Weidenfeld, f25, pp. 498 H istory has been held hostage, insult- ed and...

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Cassius the defiant gladiator

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Lucy Hughes-Hallett KING OF THE WORLD: MUHAMMAD ALI AND THE RISE OF AN AMERICAN HERO by David Remnick Picador, £14.99, pp. 326 I n his prime Muhammad All was every- thing he...

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`The erosion is catastrophic' A new report claims there is a serious decline in scholarship in our museums, says John Parry I t is a disturbing thought that a nation which so...

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Exhibitions 1 The Art of Bloomsbury (Tate Gallery, till 30

The Spectator

January) Stick to the wallpaper Martin Gayford hen I ask about English painters,' Picasso once mused, 'why does someone always start telling me about Duncan Grant?' It was a...

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Exhibitions 3

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London Eats Out (Museum of London, till 27 February) Fare flair Bruce Boucher W e are what we eat, but when, where, and how we do it also defines our social status. Whether...

Exhibitions 2

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Dom Hans Van der Laan (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, till 16 January) Didactic toys Alan Powers T he popular Lego building brick for children may have much to answer for. Its...

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Corpus Christi (Pleasance) Celui Qui A Dit Non (Palais de Congres, Paris) Two Pianos, Four Hands (Comedy) Off-stage drama Sheridan Morley W hat matters about Terrence...

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Diary of one who vanished (Lyttleton) Subverting Janacek Michael Tanner H ow far can media hype, packaging, pretentiousness and a betrayal, at once cal- low and callous, of a...

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Unwelcome novelties Ursula Buchan I t is a quirk of personality from which, annually, self-knowledge fails to protect me. Faced with the opportunity to replant (having...

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East is East (15, selected cinemas) Generation clash Kim Fletcher I f you were trying to publicise is film set in Salford in 1971 and featuring the tribula- tions of a large,...

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A right rave James Delingpole W hen you're cooped up at home seven nights a week with a broken ankle, you do tend to watch an awful lot of televi- sion. And 99 per cent of it...

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Educating Dickie Michael Vestey O ne of the few pleasures to be had in watching England bat in a Test Match was the sight of Harold `Dickie' Bird umpiring at the bowler's end....

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A great leader

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Jeremy Deedes remembers the former editor of the Evening Standard who died last week I had forgotten how frightened we were of Charles Wintour, the legendary editor of the...

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The turf

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Fashionably French Robin Oakley I t was over a glass of the thick and foamy stuff, with an Irish band cheering the Sandown customers on Saturday, that I heard the one about...

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High life

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Life's lottery Taki New York Watching a parliamentary debate the other night — yes, they show it on C-Span over here, but very late, after the kiddies are in bed — I was...

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Country life

The Spectator

Cooking up trouble Leanda de Lisle W hen I was single my Sunday lunch was Palma ham and melon — an excellent hangover cure. When I first married and had the time to extend my...

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Singular life

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Shopping around Petronella Wyatt I was under Gore Vidal. I suppose that was better than being under a number of people one might think of — I might have been under Ronnie...


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Right & wrong Andrew Robson IN THE final match of each Thursday night's Teams event at my bridge club, the competitors play six interesting hands churned out by a computer...

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1 - 10W strange that so many people's enjoy- ment of restaurants should mainly be deter- mined by the politeness and proficiency of the waiting staff. What other pleasure acti-...

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Without prejudice Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2110 you were invited to provide a review of an imaginary book by a writer who, though he may have glanced at the blurb,...

XRd b

The Spectator

The Ultimate Islay Malt. XRd b www.ardbes.com CHESS Awesome Wells Raymond Keene GRANDMASTER Peter Wells is one of the polymaths of chess. Over the board, he is A powerful...

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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 29 November, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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The Marshall art of terror Simon Barnes NO bowler in history has extorted fear from his opponents quite as much as Mal- colm Marshall. Last week Marshall died of cancer of the...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. During the summer a friend and I were invited to stay as guests in the house of an English nobleman who lives in Tuscany. Since he is a man of some...