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T HE Conservative Party attempted to dampen speculation that a general election might be held in November. Polls con- tinued to show a Conservative lead. Nissan in Sunderland...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 GOING DUTCH A lthough the decision on whether to have a European Monetary Union will be taken at Maastricht in December, the nego- tiations...


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Mr Ashdown and friends are suffering from a surfeit of small ideas NOEL MALCOLM You notice the distinctive qualities of the ancient Liberal civilisation the moment you enter...

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JILLY COOPER M y idea of hell is judging the fancy dress at the Bisley Flower Show. I cannot bear to see those little black-corked upper lips trembling. Happily this year there...

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Is hanging too good for Mr Murdoch's underclass? AUBERON WAUGH Or so we read in the tabloids. I always liked to think that these vindictive and mer- cenary sentiments were put...

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Edward Whitley reveals the real life game of Monopoly being played out in London's furthest reaches IF THE Monopoly board were updated, where would Carnary Wharf go? Geo-...

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One hundred years ago

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THE death of Mr. Charles Jamrach, which took place on Sunday, leaves a vacancy in one of the most curious occupations in the country. "The wild- beast man", as he was sometimes...

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John Simpson regrets that the dissident did not live to see this day Moscow THIRTEEN years seemed to have made no difference whatever to Yegor, except for a wispy moustache...


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Michael Heath

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Anne Applebaum argues that the Lithuanians have not realised how much they will miss Russian largesse Vilnius CURLED RIBBONS of barbed wire still lie in rows beside the...

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A reader received the following letter: Dear Sir, I• was able to collect your address through a friend who imports goods from your country. He told me you are a trustworthy...


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Sandra Barwick on how John Browne MP refuses to lie in his grave THERE can be little doubt that Conserva- tive Central Office wishes the whole sub- ject of John Ernest Douglas...

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If symptoms

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persist... NOW THAT this year's rioting season has opened with performances in Oxford, Birmingham and Newcastle, it is surely time for a dispassionate and scientific enquiry...

The second half of Dr Dalrymple's 'If symptoms persist' last

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week should have come first. The column should have started at the paragraph beginning 'In the course of my brilliant career.' We apologise for our error. As the piece was about...

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Dominique Jackson on how recession has hit the oldest profession AT THREE THIRTY on a sunny after- noon only the distant rattle of the District line disturbs the tranquillity...

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Ray Honeyford on why a High Court ruling could destroy a national institution BISHOP Challoner School in Stepney is a Roman Catholic girls' school. It has volun- tary status....

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A tale of sermons, stones and dead cats PAUL JOHNSON T he Church of England's current bout of odium theologicum is in danger of slip- ping over into something good Anglicans,...

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The Hon also rises big business where nothing succeeds like successors CHR I STOPHER FILD ES Y ou would expect to find Mitford girls in the Hons' cupboard, but it is not the...

Rocco and Robert .

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I WORRY about this Honnery. Dynasties have their place in business life — you expect to find Rothschilds at Rothschild and Hambros at Hambros, and there are enough of them to...

Space salesmen

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MR YELTSIN'S men read City and Sub- urban. I was arguing last week that Tom King has gone to the wrong shop. Instead of buying a bespoke tank from Vickers, he should go for the...

. . . and Simon too

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GEC, though, has let time go by and left the succession open while the Hon. Simon has been given the chance to train on. That has a touch of the British electrical industry as...

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Christian charity

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Sir: A little over a year ago, you published an article on Christian Aid. At the time, I visited Christian Aid to discuss a political murder involving organisations they fund....

Sir: William Cash (7 September) quotes Father Tracy SJ as

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saying that those who reject the Papacy's teachings on birth con- trol have failed to provide any evidence that contraception is morally justified. It is this kind of...

Dirty blow

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Sir: How sad that John Simpson (17 August) should join President Bush and our own unctuous Foreign Office in rub- bishing General Aoun for his 'mindless campaign to destabilise...

LETTERS Misconceptions

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Sir: William Cash (7 September) is proba- bly broadly right in implying that the Catholic Church's objections to 'artificial' contraception are increasingly ignored by the...

Chartered citizen

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Sir: Joanna Coles (31 August) could have saved herself a lot of trouble, and space in your journal for matters of greater sub- stance, if she had agreed to the conductor's...

Slim chance

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Sir: Why, if there is supposed to be such a shortage of food in Russia, are most of the people queueing up for it so fat? Ruth Milner 40 Milford Street, Salisbury

Fellows travelling

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Sir: The collapse of communism in Russia — where does that leave Burgess and Maclean and Blunt, who made such sacri- fices for it (if their expenses were paid)? Still more,...

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The Spectator

Always a political being Anthony Quinton A LIFE AT THE CENTRE by Roy Jenkins Macmillan, £20.00 pp.658 R oy Jenkins has written a number of excellent political biographies,...

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Come to spy out the land?

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Anne Somerset GIORDANO BRUNO AND THE EMBASSY AFFAIR by John Bossy Yale University Press, £16.95, pp. 294 T he 1580s were tense years for Queen Elizabeth I. Protestant...

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Europe's odd man out

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Nigel Clive ALBANIA'S NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLE: THE BITTER VICTORY by Reginald Hibbert Pinter, £35, pp. 269 R eginald Hibbert's career in govern- ment service began as a...

Right from the start

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Richard Lamb STALIN: BREAKER OF NATIONS by Robert Conquest Weidenfeld & Nicholson, £18.99 pp.346 R obert Conquest, a former Spectator Literary Editor, is the arch hard-line...

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Charles I was the problem

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John Kenyon THE FALL OF THE BRITISH MONARCHIES 1637-1642 by Conrad Russell OUP, £40.00, pp. 550 W e now know that under James I John Pym, a future leader of rebellion, rented...

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Pretty bubbles in the air

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Francis King A LANDING ON THE SUN by Michael Frayn Viking, f14.99, pp. 249 S ince Harold Wilson was as full of gimmicky wheezes as a freshly poured Pepsi of bubbles, it is in...

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School for scandal

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Harriet Waugh A PRIVATE PLACE by Amanda Craig Hutchinson, f13.99, pp. 246 A manda Craig's second novel A Pri- vate Place is set in a progressive co- educational school strongly...

Acid reign

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motored homeward with the crowd That sits on tails and queues up hills When all at once, — I cried aloud Another slab of daffodils; Despite the salt, beneath the trees,...

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Circumstance and language

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C. H. Sisson THE ENEMY'S COUNTRY: WORDS, CONTEXTURE, AND OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES OF LANGUAGE by Geoffrey Hill OUP, £19.95, pp. 153 M ontaigne had, from the age of 36 . . ....

Trouble with the rates

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John Grigg ODYSSEY OF AN EDWARDIAN LIBERAL: THE POLITICAL DIARY OF RICHARD DURNING HOLT edited by J. Dutton Rocord Society of Lancashire & Cheshire, £24.00, pp. 136 L loyd...

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Death and corruption in Bath

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Anita Brookner THE SUMMER OF THE ROYAL VISIT by Isabel Colegate !famish Hamilton, f14. 99, pp. 219 T he jacket illustration of Isabel Cole- gate's distinctive new novel shows...

This bodice is not for ripping

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Anne Chisholm WALLIS: THE NOVEL by Anne Edwards Macmillan, £14.99, pp. 480 I t must have seemed such a foolproof idea; to rewrite the love story of the century, the tale of...

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Architecture Far pavilions Gavin Stamp finds the buildings as interesting as the exhibits at the Venice Architectural Biennale V enice, the ultimate heritage centre, keeps...

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The Proms

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Programmed to please Peter Phillips programme. It is perhaps remarkable that such a thing ever happens, given that top star soloists have their repertorical patch for the...

Next week: Giles Amy on Pop Art.

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Clarissa raped again Robin Lee on the BBC's travesty of an English classic his winter the BBC will be screening its £2 million adaptation of Clarissa, with Saskia Wickham in...

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True Identity (`15', Odeon Leicester Square) Schlock appeal Harriet Waugh L enny Henry, the star of True Identity, is mostly known as an English black televi- sion...

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The Winter's Tale (Young Vic) Great late Shakespeare Christopher Edwards avid Thacker and his Young Vic Company have created a superb, stripped- back production-in-the-round...


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Nota bene Ursula Buchan My first reaction was to suspect it of apomixis — the capacity to reproduce asex- ually. I used to think that this propensity was confined to...

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Mrs T and sympathy Martyn Harris I did not learn a great deal that was new from Thatcher: The Final Days (ITV, 9 p.m., Wednesday), but it was not nearly so dire as preview...

High life

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Plane tales Taki Olympic Airways continues to be by far the worst airline in Europe, although the gov- ernment is trying its best to get rid of the fat accumulated during the...

The Aqua Scribe is available from Hawkins and Manwaring, Westborough,

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Newark, Notts NG23 5HJ at £5.47, inclusive of VAT, postage and packing.

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Low life

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Rice with everything Jeffrey Bernard A t long last the Westminster Hospital has fixed me up with some home help. The said help is a very pleasant woman, origi- nally from...

New life

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Down on the farm Zenga Longmore W henever the city seems grimmest, beset by concrete and car fumes, a whole- some whiff of pig reveals that city farmers are at work nearby....

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Don't steal my basil pot

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I HAVE just returned from the splendid wedding in the depths of Shropshire of that wild hunting man Rory Knight Bruce to the enchanting grotto-builder Belinda Eade. A perfect...

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Various shades of red Auberon Waugh The last offer was memorable for a won- derful Gigondas 1989, here repeated° and two brilliant Beaujolais of which one, the Brouilly...


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c/o Longford Wines, Spithurst, Barcombe, Lewes, East Sussex BNB 5ED. Tel: Barcombe (0273) 400232 Fax: (0273) 400624 Pierre Andre Reds Price No. Value Domaine de Castelas...

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Baltic bonanza Rayrriond Keene I t is a happy coincidence that just as Latvia has regained its independence Olms, the prestigious Swiss-based chess publishers, have reprinted...

i myas RE

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12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY COMPETITION 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY Songlines Tom Castro I n Competition No. 1693 you were asked to provide a company song for The Specta- tor...

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A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a Copy of Chambers English Dictionary — ring the word `Dictionary') for the first three correct...

No. 1696: Biography

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You are invited to compose a sonnet (any type) whose first line is either 'A shilling life will give you all the facts' or 'He grasped the cosmic oyster while it gaped'. Entries...

Solution to 1023: 7-Up

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The unclued lights are the seven hills of Rome. Winners: A. Bryson Gerrard, Abingdon (£20); E. G. Cowieson, Nairn; C. Taylor, Northwich, Cheshire. SESE5 1 19 1 ! 6 :÷ A T E...

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Prime target Frank Keating WITHOUT ceremony, the new committee suddenly dropped Michael Parkinson's name from the World XI which played at Scarborough this year, even though...


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Q. I have a problem with my daily. She started a month ago, supposedly comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but each time she seems to do less work than the time before. The e...