14 APRIL 2001

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The Spectator

T he government, in an attempt to show that the English countryside was 'open for business', pressed county councils such as Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire, where no...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 A NECESSARY TRUTH A few weeks ago, Jeremy Bowen, the television reporter, claimed...

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A Moscow time passes. I become increasingly mellow about being called 'girl' by strangers in the street. There's no reason why I should ever have been bolshie about it. After...

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Bruce Anderson on the hypocrisy of the Labour politicians who have condemned the Countess of Wessex but have ignored the apparent conflict of interest in Mrs Gordon Brown's...

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Toby Young says America would have been outraged if a foreign-owned newspaper had stitched up the President's family IMAGINE, if you will, the following scenario: America's...

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Lloyd Evans is surprised and pleased by the orthodoxy of the Church of England SOMETHING strange happened at the final Prime Minister's Questions before the Easter recess. The...

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Second opinion

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WHAT a piece of work is a man! Of course I don't mean this in any complimentary sense: pas du tout and au contraire. Whenever a young person tells me that he or she would like...

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Ancient & modern

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AS argument continues over the European empire's plans for developing its very own army, it is worth speculating what it might be used for. The Romans would have had a pretty...


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John Laughland finds tough talking about the Chicoms among the right-wing think-tanks in America Washington, DC IT was when he started thumping the table and jabbing the air...

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Tim Luckhurst on the difficulties of being an 'English bastard' among the paranoid, parochial Scots Glasgow THE chants began before the first-half news came through that...

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Peter Mandelson says that the Tory party must make up its mind what it stands for if it is to become electable again SIT back, close your eyes and think deeply about today's...

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Murray Sayle on how corruption and gemntocracy have put the Japanese economy on the skids Aikawa IT SEEMS only yesterday — actually, it was back in the 1980s — that British...

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Mind your language

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EARL ATTLEE, with his neat moustache, looks like his grandfather the Labour prime minister, but he sits in the Lords as a Conservative. In 1999 he was elected to continue...

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RSPCA is badly led

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From Mr Roger Scruton Sir: In response to the letter from Peter Davies of the RSPCA (7 April): the Burns inquiry into hunting with dogs did not confirm the RSPCA's 'long-held'...

Let sleazy dogs lie

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From Mr David Packer Sir: Full marks to Franz Metzger (Letters, 7 April) for pointing out just why the United Kingdom should not be part of any United States of Europe. Our...

From Mr Raymond Gann Sir: In the wake of your

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military special issue (24 March), it is perhaps time to remind readers of the following: If the definition of a great European military power is the ability to defeat unaided...

British Beach-Master

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From Mr John F. Barron Sir: John Keegan (The threat from Europe', 24 March) quotes Denis Healey as saying that 'Beach-Master' was an Alfieri can title, the British title being...

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Anzac failures

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From Mr H. Ross Howard Sir: Ross Clark opines against British agricultural subsidies and cites New Zealand as a success story (Toot-and-mouth and selfpity', 17 March). Both...

A day for St George

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From Mr Anthony Cooney Sir: So the English are aggrieved that the census forms deny their identity or consign them to 'other'? Serves them right! When are the English going to...

Heart of daftness

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From M. G. Sherlock Sir: Debbie Barham (Bridget Jones's dowry', 7 April) rightly bemoans the dreadful flood of pap novels spawned by Bridget Jones. The mystery of it all is that...

Digging for Dylan

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From Mr Andrew Lycett Sir: I read Robert McCrum's account (Plum job', 24 March) of the success of his appeal to Spectator readers for information about P.G. Wodehouse on the...

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What would Shakespeare have said of the foot-and-mouth mess?

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PAUL JOHNSON H ard to remember a time when so many of us have been so depressed. Is it the endless rain? Is it the foot-and-mouth outbreak, with images of heartbroken farmers...

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The real Sophie scandal is that the gossip is not filthy enough

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FRANK JOHNSON I t is too soon for any of us to be able to do justice to so vast a canvas as the Embarrassment of the Countess of Wessex; but herewith a few interim...

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Cher Luc, you can't expel O'Kelly and the French will fine you if you try

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he schoolboy O'Kelly's misconduct was celebrated in verse. His acts of resistance multiplied, until at last he was summoned to the headmaster's study....

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Imperial nobs and snobs

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Philip Ziegler ORNAMENTALISM: HOW THE BRITISH SAW THEIR EMPIRE by David Cannadine Penguin, £16.99, pp. 263, ISBN 0713995068 I n 1881 King Kalakaua of Hawaii was visiting...

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Does Christianity matter?

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Stephen Logan THE DEATH OF CHRISTIAN BRITAIN by Callum G. Brown Routledge, £12.99, pp. 272, ISBN 0415241847 T he title doesn't mean that there are no Christians left in...

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One brownie point for Fidel

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Ian Dunlop HAVANA: HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE OF A ROMANTIC CITY by Maria Luisa Lobo Montaivo Monacelli Press, £50, pp. 320, ISBN 1580930522 F ood cannot be the reason why...

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Believing is seeing

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Anthony Daniels THEM: ADVENTURES WITH EXTREMISTS by Jon Ronson Picador, 176, pp. 352, ISBN 0330375458 I s the world the way it is by accident or design, or some subtle...

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PEN pals and party pieces

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Diana Hendry POSTCARDS FROM ABROAD by Elizabeth Paterson Sinclair Stevenson, £9.99, pp. 189, ISBN 0953739872 P cture the scene. It's 1970 and the PEN congress in Seoul, at...

Laying it on a bit thick

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James Delingpole THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A CAD by A. G. Macdonnell, with an introduction by Simon Hoggart Prion, 1'8.99, pp. 253, ISBN 1853754145 I n his new introduction to this...

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An overpraised nun

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Lucy Beckett HILDEGARD OF BINGEN by Fiona Maddocks Headline, 415.99, pp. 332, ISBN 0747273987 H ildegard of Bingen was a 12th-century German nun who had apocalyptic visions,...

In defence of the late Bertrand Russell

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Samuel Brittan T he second volume of the biography of Bertrand Russell by Ray Monk seems to have brought out the worst in both author and most reviewers. (Bertrand Russell,...

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Portrait of the Victorian age

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Tanya Harrod on the V&A's ambitious but not wholly successful new blockbuster N o museum is currently more criticised by journalists than the V&A. As someone who spends many...

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In a silent way Peter Phillips E very art, as the man said, aspires to the condition of music. This remark has of course given rise to a considerable amount of comment in its...


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Blasted (Royal Court) A Midsummer Night's Dream (Albery) Death and the dramatist Sheridan Morley N obody could doubt that the suicide two years ago of the young playwright...

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Houston Ballet (Sadler's Wells) Ancient history Giannandrea Poe sio T he relationship between ballet and ancient Egypt goes a long way back. Regardless of any aesthetic,...

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I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Royal Opera House) Flavio (Britten Theatre) Doomed lovers Michael Tanner T hough I don't think anyone would claim that I Capuleti e i Montecchi is...

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Staying alive

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Marcus Berkmann B est April Fool of the season? Undoubtedly the news that, after the mighty success of boybands, someone is now attempting to put together a 'manband'. What a...

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A Hard Day's Night (U, selected cinemas) Larking about Mark Steyn T o be honest, if I never heard another Beatles record between now and the day I die, it wouldn't be too...

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Revolution of longevity Michael Vestey A nyone who's visited a retirement home can see that, for many, old age is a living death; apart from those with dementia some elderly...


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Down but not out James Delingpole E ven though I've pretty much given up writing digressive me-columns because there are too many people at it in The Spectator nowadays and I...

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The turf

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Terrible test Robin Oakley I n its way it was magnificent. But was this year's Grand National racing? John Maxse, the Jockey Club's level-headed spokesman admitted it was...

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High life

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Generation game Taki H New York is other talents aside, the great Talleyrand was known for having seduced three generations of the Duchesse of Dino, granny first, then her...

No life

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Separate lives Toby Young T his Friday, Caroline and I were supposed to be having supper at Le Caprice to celebrate the first anniversary of our engagement. It was in that...

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Country life

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Study time -Leanda de Lisle T he Easter holidays seem ill-named this year. Teenagers are already studying for their summer exams (they may be easier than they were in our day,...

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Singular life

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High anxiety Petronella Wyatt S hock, horror! Tony Blair is presidential and Cherie dislikes the country. Poor Sophie Wessex, put in the stocks and pilloried for gross...

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National fiasco

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Simon Barnes IT'S one of the most emotional sports photographs I have ever seen, but then we horse people tend to get emotional about horses, and all people who like sport get...

Q. I am a divorced woman of middle age and

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a member of a small community. X, a woman of my age who has recently divorced, has seized on me as her best friend, though we have little in common. Out of kindness I invited...

Q. Since she began watching the television programme Who Wants

The Spectator

To Be a Millionaire? my wife has developed a maddening habit, All our conversations now seem to be punctuated by 'Is that your final answer?', 'But we don't want to give you...

Q. I am sometimes disgusted by the books I see

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in other people's lavatories. For instance, do you agree with me that recipe books are entirely inappropriate? What are the correct books to have in a lavatory? T.K, London W11...