14 MARCH 1998

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The Spectator

T he Commons Committee on Moderni- sation proposed doing away with the proce- dure 'I spy strangers' and with the necessity of wearing a hat to make a point of order during a...

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SPE CT T HE AT OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 THE FEDERALIST CASE K osovo is an enclave of ethnic Albani- ans which for reasons related to Serbian history has become part of...

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Mr Blair's variety of religious experience BRUCE ANDERSON Under Mr Blair, however, priorities have been inverted. Many of his ministers seem to regard paperwork or...

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VICKI WOODS W hile I have no wish, during this Lenten season, to make windows into men's souls, I feel we have received so many mixed messages from the High Tory press about our...

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How Rupert Murdoch interferes less than other proprietors MATTHEW PARRIS T he moving finger writes, and the record can embarrass. On finding my name in Private Eye as...

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On the eve of the Budget, Sion Simon looks into the figures behind the numbers - that is, the Treasury's people THE THREE Musketeers would be a cheap, even childish comparison...

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Michael Gove on why Mr Blair keeps his distance from once-useful Barbara Follett — now she's an MP KEN AND BARBARA Follett are wealthy enough as a result of his writing to buy...

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Second opinion

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THE GREAT secret of life, I have dis- covered, is always to appear busy, whether one is or not. A reputation for ceaseless occupation is a considerable asset in the eternal...


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Alfred Sherman argues that the Jewish state is not the reason why Palestine is fought over BENJAMIN Netanyahu's policies can be criticised for failing to advance Israel's...

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Gift Subscription Offer Give a gift subscription to The Spectator and we will send you a bottle of magnificent Laphroaig 10 year old single Islay malt whisky. Laphroaig is...

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Olympic status will not save BALLROOM dancers and snooker players have little in common bar a penchant for wearing evening dress all day and for adding the pseudo-glitz...

Mind your language FORD'S new motor-car is to be called

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the Focus, they have announced proud- ly. There is a lot of focusing around, these days. Mr Blair relies on so-called `focus groups' to tell him what ordinary people's concerns...

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Sandra Howard sums up almost a year as an ex-ministerial spouse LIFE AFTER government reminds me of the BBC sitcom After Henry. Ministerial life, like Henry, dominated...

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Tristram Hunt on the LSE's role at the heart of 'the Project' - the other name for New Labour My object as the occupant of this chair is not to create a body of disciples who...

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Melanie McDonagh on why planners should spare Britain's brownfield sites THE CHIEF difficulty in addressing the urban-rural debate in the wake of the Countryside March is...

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Is it getting cold in that bath, Madame Bonnard? PAUL JOHNSON T he rapturous reception of the Bonnard exhibition irks me. He was an interesting colourist, but I am dismayed by...

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They said it before, but let's hope the Irish really spend more on the Indie now STEPHEN GLOVER ost exactly four years after buying into the Independent titles, Mirror Group...

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MY EYE is caught by a blue poster with a simple message in white lettering: Go OUT AND MULTIPLY. I reflect that if this is addressed to me personally, it is out of place. Now,...

Gross margins

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RETAIL BANKING is the business that everyone wants to be in. Lloyds, which has concentrated on it, can earn 40 per cent on its shareholders' funds and has become the world's...

In Siegmund's shadow

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WHEN Peter Spira left the bank that Sieg- mund Warburg built, a junior wrote to him: `I will miss you, because I have always regarded you as the outstanding example of how to be...

Backing losers

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TUESDAY of next week is a day to look forward to (writes my racing correspon- dent, Captain Threadneedle). It is always a thrilling occasion and at the end of it we might even...


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Think of your bank as a mother-in-law why pop in if you can ring up? CHRISTOPHER FILDES M y contribution to modem banking is the Mother-in-Law Theory. This says that some...

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LETTERS Norfolk speaks

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Sir: I have been reading The Spectator, on and off, for 40 years, and I can tell you that your leader, 'No to nostalgia' (7 March), was quite the most disgraceful and wicked...

Evans on Young

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Sir: Mr Toby Young seems to be making a cottage industry out of denigrating me in various publications. I have ignored his cam- paign to date, but the article you published...

Nouveau fermier

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Sir: The choice of John Humphrys (`The CAP doesn't fit', 28 February) to discuss the CAP and other farming matters ahead of the Countryside March, was an irritating irony:...

Facts on the line

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Sir: I have often thought that journalists can be even worse than their victims at taking criticism. The publication of Edward Heath- coat Amory's letter (7 March) has rein-...

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Unfair to Neville

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Sir: I too shall sit out the anniversary waltz (Shared opinion, 7 March). If I didn't I should be a humbug. I was only 16 at the time of Munich, and the public figures who...

Down undies

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Sir: You will be pleased to know that the flurry of Oz v. Porn letters in your magazine has been noted in the Sydney Morning Her- ald on 9 March, the final comment, being in...

Enough whingeing, Oz

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Sir: I feel like the second Alice von Schlief- fen — or perhaps Gavrilo Princip, with Kim Fletcher (New South wails', 17 January) as Archduke Franz Ferdinand. My letter (31...

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Stretching her talent Philip Hensher WIDE OPEN by Nicola Barker Faber, .f12.99, pp. 304 I t's easy to assume that a brilliant writer of short stories will be able to turn him...

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Playing by the book

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Nicholas Harman THE JUSTICE GAME by Geoffrey Robertson Chatto,120, pp. 415 B ack in the 1960s, Australia exported its brightest talents to serve in the British entertainment...

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Weird, wacky, wonderful

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Andrew Barrow BILTON by Andrew Martin Faber, £9.99, pp. 244 T his is a brilliantly funny and highly accomplished first novel. It is set a few years into the future and tells of...


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koftheWeek Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor Wobegon Boy is the saga of John Tollefson, last seen in Lake Wobegon Days leaving home, he is now a forty-something Norwegian...

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Clerihew Corner

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Vilerde!' Why does that famous mot de Cambronne Live on? Is it the pinnacle of French wit To exclaim 'She? James Michie

A damned ticklish question

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Henry Hitchings MAN OR MANGO? , by Lucy Ellmann Hodder Headline, i14.99 ,pp. 238 M an or Mango? is Lucy Ellmann's third book, the successor to the acclaimed Sweet Deserts and...

The unmasking of Gerald

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Anita Brookner THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER'S BOY by Barbara Vine Viking, £16.99, pp. 352 L ike Simenon, Ruth Rendell divides her writings into two distinct genres: the straight, or...

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Boxing not so clever

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Michael Carlson A SAVAGE BUSINESS: THE COMEBACK AND COMEDOWN OF MIKE TYSON by Richard Hoffer Simon & Schuster, £15.99, pp. 288 R ichard Hoffer coulda been a con- tenduh. His...

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Opening the world

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Sargy Mann BONNARD his is a wonderful book and at £7.95 it will surely turn out to be the art book bargain of the year. It is helpfully designed with a good selection of well-...

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A peripatetic partner

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Kenneth Rose A GILT-EDGED LIFE by Edmund de Rothschild John Murray, £22.50, pp. 243 I n his 83rd year, Edmund de Rothschild still puts in two or three days a week at the family...

A fellow of infinite jest

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John Grimond t is safe to say that Antony Martin would have been surprised to learn that a book had been written about him. Viewed conventionally, his life was not a success....

12 Months 6 Months

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UK LI £93.00 U £47.00 Europe (airmail) 01 £104.00 0 £52.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$151 0 US$76 Rest of Airmail 0 £115.00 CI £58.00 World Airspeed . £107.00 01 £54.00 Please enter a...

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Money to burn

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John McEwen K FOUNDATION BURN A MILLION QUID by Chris Brook and Gimpo Ellipsis, £14.95, pp. 252 he K Foundation consists of Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond. They made their money...

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Politics without tears

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John Grigg THE ROAD TO NUMBER TEN: FROM BONAR LAW TO TONY BLAIR by Alan Watkins Duckworth, £25, pp. 314 B y no means every master-columnist is equally good at writing books,...

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Decline and fall of our heritage Felicity Owen on the penurious plight of our regional art collections T hose reviewers who have sought to debase the remarkable exhibition of...

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Imperial sleaze Michael Tanner F or their visit to London, Welsh National Opera brought two very different works dealing with imperial Rome, Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, his...

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Northern Ballet Theatre, Theatre Royal, Nottingham) Novel approach Giannandrea Poesio T he idea of deriving a three-act ballet from Victor Hugo's...

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Exhibitions 1

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Fernand Leger (The Museum of Modern Art, New York, till 12 May) Tres dr 'Ole Roger Kimball T he motor-car,' Edith Wharton declared in 1908, 'has restored the romance of...

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Exhibitions 2

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Piero Manzoni (Serpentine Gallery, till 26 April) Notorious jester Martin Gayford A couple of years ago there was an installation at the Serpentine — by Richard Wilson —...

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Visionary guidance

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Alan Powers on what to do with the Dome after the 2000 Millennium Experience I f you believe that architectural forms have symbolic meaning, then domes come high up the list....

Theatre 1

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Not About Nightingales (National Theatre) Things We Do For Love (Gielgud) Doing bird Sheridan Morley I n an entirely understandable desire to sell as many advance tickets as...

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Theatre 2

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Shadows (The Other Place, Stratford) Celtic gloom James Treadwell O ut of the glowing mists of the Irish Revival — or, if you prefer, out of the vaults of the Abbey Theatre...

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Where's the work? Peter Phillips H aving recently filled this column with my animadversions on the steady decline of audiences for the central European reper- tories (Arts, 21...


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Wag the Dog (15, selected cinemas) Thank you, Mr President Mark Steyn B arry Levinson's Wag the Dog is a satire about spin control — the tail that winds up wagging the dog....

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Change your habits Michael Vestey I t won't be just the clocks that will need changing this spring, listening habits will need some adjustment as well. Last year James Boyle,...

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Classic beauties James Delingpole ad Our Mutual Friend (BBC 2, Mon- day) and Tess of the D'Urbervilles (ITV, Sunday and Monday) been shown on con- secutive days two years ago,...

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The turf

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It's that time of year Robin Oakley A Daily Mail lifestyle feature the other day asked an up-and-coming actress what she wore in bed. She replied, 'An expectant smile.' After...


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Spot the engine Alan Judd F our-wheel drive vehicles, those expen- sive daisy-crushers, continue to spread like the daisies they so rarely actually oppress, and since the...

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High life

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Poetry corner Taki Gstaad T heThe Spectator's High life correspon- dent for nearly 21 years, I would be amiss in my duties if I didn't put personal feelings aside and inform...

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Country life

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Robin, tacos and princesses Leanda de Lisle I can't bear Robin Williams. It's not the cloying sentimentality or his hairiness, it's the two combined. However, I still took the...


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Vengeance Andrew Robson IF there was a poll to find the British bridge expert with the most flair, John Collings would get many votes. Forced to give up tournament bridge for...

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L° HI 7

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By David Fingleton The Square and Les Saveurs THERE was a time when diners spoke of cooking rather than of chefs, who were thought to be ascetic, taciturn, often grumpy men,...

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Sinking feeling Raymond Keene WHAT HAS been described as the Boat Race for the brain ended in a clear but not overwhelming victory for Oxford last week- end. Although Oxford...


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Spilling the old beans Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2024 you were invited to supply an extract from the Memoirs of the Hon. Freddie Threepwood, Lord Emsworth's least favourite...

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No. 2027: What the Doc ordered

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You are invited to incorporate at least six of this week's crossword clues into a plausi- ble piece of prose. (Maximum 150 words.) Entries to 'Competition No. 2027' by 26 March.


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

Solution to 1350: Too many

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IN 0 R A N 0'0 DIAt5C R U B a S I b 1( E '. 1 )1"R E 1 1E 1 1 E N T R EltIFI 171H C PI .1 E S 1.. 0 it I , 1 5 : ,0 G"A'R K IL _A F i A A DTP"CHME%LANT ED iHXL1....EROSSINH...

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Leave it to the Irish Simon Barnes NEXT Tuesday is 17 March. It is also Budget Day, St Patrick's Day and the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, the annual three-day race...


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Q. The p.v. pronunciation of laundry is surely larndry, not landry. Leyburn, N. Yorks A. I stand corrected. Q. A.D. Sopwith, the great senior history master at Latymer Upper...