14 NOVEMBER 1998

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`Gay eating area or straight eating area?' M r Michael Portillo, the former Cabi- net minister, said that Mr William Hague, the leader of the opposition, should make the...

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

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1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 A TASK ONLY FOR THE PM T he Ulster peace process is once again in danger, because of the IRA's refusal to decommission its weaponry. Insolently...

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MICHAEL COLE T he new BBC newsroom at Wood Lane is where I used to park my BBC Escort on the cinders. Very smart and no coffee rings on the equipment, yet. A lovely welcome from...

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Mr Portillo has an ego, and Mr Hague has a problem BRUCE ANDERSON I n public relations terms, it was the least successful Tory conference ever. Just over a month ago in...

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I don't care what they say, what Mr Mandelson gets up to is unnatural FRANK JOHNSON T om Utley, the Daily Telegraph colum- nist, wrote the other day: 'I disapprove of...

Classifieds — page 76-78

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Graham Turner on why, in the week when Prince Charles is 50, his wife's memory no longer threatens him WHEN LADY Susan Hussey, one of the Queen's longest-serving...

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Stephen Dorrell on what the Tories, especially Mr Portillo, should learn from the fate of Mr Gingrich and the Republicans JEB BUSH, the new Republican governor of Florida, was...

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Sion Simon explains what the Welsh Labour troubles tell us about Mr Blair RED KEN Livingstone is not, after all, to be the first elected mayor of London. As predicted in The...

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THE LATE Lord Wyatt's diaries have caused a stir but they are a squib com- pared to the time-bomb left by the late Lord Wigg, which should shortly be made public. I spent many...

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Second opinion

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PEOPLE sometimes ask me whether I am not frightened to work in the prison. I tell them that I am much safer there than on the streets, because on the streets I cannot easily...

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Mark Steyn identifies what is becoming a major problem for the Republicans New Hampshire `GINGRICH — primary mission,' wrote the fledgling Newt in a reminder to him- self in...

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Michael Heath


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Judy Hurd on why, though a cancer patient, eating is always on her mind BEFORE the thunderbolt struck, I too had the feeling that we were being overwhelmed by cooks and...

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the English-speaking world's greatest religious populariser IN real life C.S. Lewis did not resemble Sir Anthony Hopkins in the film Shadowlands: he was more like Ian Paisley....

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Mind your language

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THE voice on Radio Four referred to 'so- called amateur archaeologists — it's not a nice word'. She meant amateur, not archaeologist. Considering how long the word amateur...

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Edward Heathcoat Amory says the Lottery has brought trouble to everybody concerned — except one CALLING a company Camelot was always a risk. The story of Arthur and his...

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Bettina von Hase reflects on the British belief that Germans lack a sense of humour THE OTHER day I heard a German joke — not necessarily an oxymoron — and it went like...

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Was Sargent the greatest painter of the twentieth century? PAUL JOHNSON S ome critics have been sneering at the Tate's Sargent exhibition, but that tells us more about the...

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Bring back BOAC

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I AM left to wonder what it is that Lord Marshall and his airline see in Europe, for the answer cannot be sales or profits. All the growth has come out of what used to be BOAC....

British European Airways

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ANOTHER favourite that risks losing touch with its world is British Airways. It is no longer the stock market's favourite, for the shares have almost halved in six months, and...

Bump, says the Bank

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A NASTY bump next year, followed by a period of convalescence. The Bank of Eng- land's idea of what is in store for the British economy agrees, I am flattered to find, with my...

Works Outing

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NOW that the Labour Party is more of a Works Outing, I miss the sure touch Of Kelvin MacKenzie. He is busy with his new' toy, Talk Radio, where he has marked his arrival by...

Find that apron

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THE eye of the storm brings with it the eye of the camera and Sir Richard hates that, too. 'I'm basically a very low-profile and shy man', he told a House of Commons com- mittee...


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A perfect storm blows up at Marks & Spencer and the answer's not in code CHRISTOPHER FILDES S ir Richard Greenbury never strikes me as remorseful. He could join the former...

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Ready or not

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Sir: Your contributor Allan Massie should stick to his novels. His proposition (`The war for a worse world', 7 November) that Britain blundered into an unnecessary war in 1914...

LETTERS Seeing isn't believing

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Sir: Obviously the '300' list is a jolly jour- nalistic diversion (What about Sir Humphrey?', 7 November). However, the great problem for some of us is that impor- tant but...

Sir: Before Richard Lamb steps in to con- tradict Allan

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Massie's excellent piece on 1914, might I write in to support it? My forthcoming book The Turning Point, to be published in the spring by Hodder, provides chapter and verse for...

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Science fiction

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Sir: Seldom does one read an article so flawed, so mischievously misleading: Ter- ence Kealey's polemic arguing the case for laissez faire — no government money — in the...

Sir: A small English weekly with three peo- ple named

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Johnson writing for it should think twice before calling Wales incestuous. William Davies 4569 Victory St, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Terms of endearment

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Sir: I recently wrote a two-page handwrit- ten letter to the Prime Minister suggesting that we should all be proud of the Royal Opera House orchestra and chorus and t heir...

A family affair

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Sir: Your editorial of 31 October states that Wales is a 'small incestuous principality'. This is both inaccurate and racist, and I take severe exception to it. Unless I...

Taken as read

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Sir: I wonder if anyone drew to your notice the following in a profile of Professor Alas- dair Breckenridge of Liverpool in the Lancet: `How do you relax?' I would like to say...

Royal favour

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Sir: Was C.H. Sisson's letter in favour of strengthening the monarchy (31 October) actually a clever ploy to ensure that the prospect of his being included among suit- able...

Mind your language

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Sir: I laughed out loud with pleasure on reading Matthew Parris's article on clichés. (`Another voice', 31 October). My pet hate amongst all the clichés is Labour's pompously...

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What's a good story like this doing in a paper like that? STEPHEN GLOVER 0 ne of the most extraordinary aspects of the Peter Mandelson affair has scarcely been remarked upon....

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Mission brave but impossible Philip Hensher MODERN TIMES, MODERN PLACES by Peter Conrad Thames & Hudson, 124.95, pp. 752 ti ter Conrad has always been someone who enrages the...

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Mapping a prefab paradise

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Nicholas Waywell THE RUM DIARY by Hunter S. Thompson Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 204 h is is a timely reissue of Hunter S. Thompson's first novel, written in the late Fifties at...

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Short on talent, long on genius

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William Scammell PUSHKIN by Elaine Feinstein Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 309 P ushkin invented Russian literature single-handed, in his spare time, between whoring, gambling,...

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Firm but unfair STOP PRESS ...STOP PRESS ...STOP PRESS The Spectator website has arrived http://www.spectator.co.uk Log on now to discover what's in this week's issue, find...

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A triple vision

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John Campbell CLASS IN BRITAIN by David Cannadine Yale, £19.95, pp. 242 A s a British historian teaching in America for the last ten years whose magnum opus is the definitive...

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A trolley-load of questions

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Ian Ousby THE PITY OF WAR by Niall Ferguson Allen Lane, £18.99, pp. 622 T his book takes its title from a line in Wilfred Owen's poem 'Strange Meeting', in which Owen...

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The importance or otherwise of cricket

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David Gilmour THE ENGLISH by Jeremy Paxman Michael Joseph, f20, pp. 320 T he English have enjoyed a long tradi- tion of puzzling foreigners, both their detractors and their...

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West country matters

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Teresa Waugh SPIDERWEB by Penelope Lively Viking, .f, pp. 218 T o read a novel which precisely describes the place where you live is strange indeed, and this reviewer has spent...

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The hardest thing of all

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Carole Angier EDITH'S BOOK by Edith Velmans Viking £14.99, pp. 240 D o we need another Holocaust mem- oir? Yes, we do. It's like asking if we need another love story. This...

Casting a lazy spell

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Julian Mitchell FRIENDS AND APOSTLES: THE CORRESPONDENCE OF RUPERT BROOKE AND JAMES STRACHEY, 1905-1914 edited by Keith Hale Yale, £19.95, pp. 287 by are people still...

Clerihew Corner

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`I drink and I pun,' cried Charles Lamb, `And being the dog that I am, I relish this juicy Beaune!' Silence. Then a general groan. James Michie

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Where money talks and bullshit walks

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Francis King A MAN IN FULL by Tom Wolfe Cape, £20, pp. 742 C haracters in this vast, garrulous novel writhe, thrash around and entangle with each other with the frenzied...

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Why Labour will lose

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Maurice Saatchi UNFINISHED REVOLUTION: HOW THE MODERNISERS SAVED THE LABOUR PARTY by Philip Gould Little, Brown, £16.99, pp. 448 T he third dream of Rene Descartes on 10...

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Tricks of the light

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Katie Grant ELEMENTALS by A. S. Byatt Chatto, X12, pp. 232 0 pening this little collection of short stories is like opening a jewellery box. You extricate a brooch which is, as...

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Recent books on tape

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Peter Levi I f the reader has been missing these reviews of tapes, let them not be sad; I have not been entirely idle, only confused. I found in the first place that all tapes,...

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Put Mozart's operas on ice Michael Scott gives Glyndebourne some suggestions on what to do next G lyndebourne's economic auguries, at least, have never looked rosier. This...

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Exhibitions 1

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Grinling Gibbons (Victoria and Albert Museum, till 24 January) Showmanship of a master Annabel Ricketts I n 1671, while out for a walk, John Eve- lyn stumbled upon a young...

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Exhibitions 2

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Master Drawings from the Hermitage and Pushkin Museums (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, till 10 January) Negative pleasure Roger Kimball P eople who write about the...

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Exhibitions 3

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Salvador Dali: A Mythology (Tate Gallery, Liverpool, till 31 January) The Freud connection Andrew Lambirth P eople's reactions to the current Dali exhibition in Liverpool...

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Special relationship Peter Phillips T he National Gallery is an interesting place to give a concert. Gone are the days when Myra Hess would play before one painting, chosen by...


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Albert Herring (Guildhall School of Music & Drama) Best of Britten Michael Tanner C onversion and confession time: I have always — that is, since 1956, I think regarded...

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Hope Floats (PG, selected cinemas) A mawkish wallow Mark Steyn T he best acting in Hope Floats comes in the opening scene. Birdee Pruitt goes on The Toni Post Show thinking...

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Britannicus (Albery) The Invention of Love (Theatre Royal Haymarket) Crimes of the Heart (King's Head) Political parable Sheridan Morley R acine's fifth drama Britannicus,...

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Gimme shelter Ursula Buchan I was, as they say, in denial. Although I had moments of rationality, generally I refused to believe the evidence of my own eyes. I did not have an...

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The Europe trap Michael Vestey I s that a dog or a cat in the back- ground?' Nicky Campbell asked a caller to his phone-in. 'No, it's my niece,' she replied. Sometimes live...

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APOLOGY We apologise to readers for the transpo- sition of

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pages 66 and 71 in last week's issue. This was because of an error by the printers, who associate themselves with this apology.

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The turf

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Young talent Robin Oakley While the crème de la creme of British racing was at Churchill Downs to watch our heroes go down, we ordinary mortals m ade do with Sandown Park on...


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Channel crossing Edward Heathcoat Amory D espite living in central London, near the top of Notting Hill, with Broadcasting House a few miles to the east, and White City a mile...

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High life

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Unpoliced sexuality Taki New York Aas, for once I got it right. The Draft Dodger is here to stay, just as I predicted he would all along. It all has to do with morality. There...

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Country life

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Fishy story Leanda de Lisle M y teddy-bear left me when I went to boarding school at ten. I don't know where he went or what happened to him but I still miss him sometimes. If...

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Singular life

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Martyrdom postponed Petronella Wyatt e stood around, waiting. Every tick of the wall clock seemed a toll. Would any- body come? Shame and ignominy appeared certain. I recalled...

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I WAS in Belfast two weeks ago. I've never been

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there before; it seemed a charming place with a beautiful loch and romantic-looking hills surrounding the town, also it was a perfect day, sun and brilliant blue skies, whereas...


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Fighting fits Andrew Robson `13E bold with a fit,' I frequently find myself saying to my students. If the opponents have a big fit on the same deal — as they often will —...

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Alice Thomson MY MOTHER has been making engage- ment chutney. Bananas, dates, prunes, crys- tallised orange, apples, cider, onions, spices, ginger, sultanas and demerara sugar...

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Damn dozen Jaspistos IN COMPETITION No. 2059 you were g iven 12 expletive words or phrases and invited to incorporate them, in any order and usin g them non-expletively, in an...


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Mad Max Raymond Keene IN SOME tournaments nothin g will g o ri g ht. I arrived at the 1970 British Champ- ionship hopin g to win it but instead drew g ame after g ame. In the...

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No. 2062: Not so dumb friends

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People have been known to erect tombstones for dead pets, complete with memorial ver- ses. You are invited to reverse the situation and to supply a poem, sweet or sour, written...


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1388: Mad Hatter ' s threat by Ascot A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 30 November, with two run- ners-up...

Solution to 1385: Electron lillbliallb VAIRlarielp

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11N argil 1_ ICI°G 1's EEO ERETT 1ST gin_ ErmAnTniiinn A DoTraLunT E alma 1 s in alnkirlima 1 - E L E on I 'IL E in E nnorammmirimmtnnn odrlorika I EMIR] GAB MOM ara H...

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Hit and run Simon Barnes FORTUNATELY it came in a plain brown wrapper and looked like a marital aid of a strange and exotic kind. It was, though it did not look like one, a...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. I have been invited to a school reunion next month at glamorous premises in cen- tral London. How can I get my own back on an institution I have always loathed...