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The Spectator

T he Government threatened one day to remove trade unions' immunity from civil actions. The Labour Party advised unions to seek ballots of their members to avoid unnecessary...

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The Spectator

DEBORAH DEVONSHIRE T wo foods which are prime examples of the capricious ways of Mother Nature are wild mushrooms, which taste so different from the tame kind, and grouse, which...

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The Spectator

Bishops have apostolic succession from St Peter, but Lord Runcie has chosen a different disciple BRUCE ANDERSON A chbishop Runcie is an impressive figure. At parties — which...

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The Spectator

Would the West have been right morally to carry out its nuclear policy towards the Soviet Union? Peregrine Worsthorne, once the policy's supportet; now says no understatement...

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The Spectator

It's that it's not based on anything scientific, says James Srodes. Even the pollsters admit it (privately) Washington, DC SEVEN weeks of hard campaigning are still left in the...

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The Spectator

Michael Heath

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The Spectator

Because a lot more readers have read A.A. Gill than have read his critics, says A.A. Gill I CAN see the funny side, the Schaden- freude side, the biter bit side, of a critic...

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Second opinion

The Spectator

SOMETIMES my patients put me in mind of Shakespeare: there is poetry in their utterances, and it echoes that of the Bard. To give but one small example, last week a patient said...

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The Spectator

A SNOB?' Profile: James Lees-Milne, who lives among hunting folk, but is the last of the aesthetes IT WAS appropriate that my first meeting with James Lees-Milne — elder...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

I DROVE my husband into Winchester the other day and, while he was busy duti- fully replenishing the drink supplies of the cottage we had borrowed for a week from friends, I had...

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The Spectator

Building a small cathedral to art in darkest Bayswater PAUL JOHNSON M y g reat-uncle James, an archetypal Forsyte, laid down the law on this point: 'No sensible man ever...

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The Spectator

The nerd who bust the safe at Morgan Grenfell put not your trust in trustees CHRISTOPHER FILDES R anders too libellous to mention are rotating below ground or seething above...

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The Spectator

Spengler was right Sir: I believe Christopher Coker misinter- prets the Spenglerian timetable ('What's left of the West', 7 September). Spengler equates the time, in various...

Leave it to the poets

The Spectator

Sir: T.S. Eliot has had by far the greatest influence of any poet writing in English this century, and is easily the most memorable (Books, 7 September). Publication of juve-...

Sir: Christopher Coker's acknowledgment of Oswald Spengler's Decline of the

The Spectator

West marks an informed departure from the gen- eral ignorance of his work, except for an occasional ill-informed or trivial notice such as the falsehood in several current works...

Elizabethan era

The Spectator

Sir: In his review of Antonia Fraser's book on the Gunpowder Plot (Books, 31 August), Peter Vansittart refers to interpreters of the Jacobean era for whom Macbeth is more...

Sir: In his dismissal of Conan Doyle's his- torical novels,

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier asks 'who reads The White Company today?' I do; and Sir Nigel and Rodney Stone, and the Brigadier Gerrard stories — though I find Uncle Berme unsatisfactory and I...

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The nanny's state

The Spectator

Sir: I am married to a career nanny. I was once a steady boyfriend but never a nanny- snatcher as mentioned by Leanda de Lisle (Country life, 31 August). Mrs de Lisle paints a...

The villain of the piece

The Spectator

Sir: Bruce Anderson is entitled to his opin- ions about the problems confronting the monarchy today (Politics, 24 August). But to blame these on Commander Richard Aylard is both...

Means to an end

The Spectator

Sir: Does Ronald Mutebi really think that the measures used to combat insurgency in Malaya . .. in the 1950s still rank among the worst human rights horrors in modern history'...

Significant figures

The Spectator

Sir: In defending herself against Stephen Glover's criticism of her report in the Observer on the recently reported relation- ship between the consumption of hamburg- ers and...

Another Cymbeline Sir: Jonathan Keates (Books in general, 24 August)

The Spectator

and other readers may be interest - ed to know that the copy of Cymbeline buried with Tennyson was not actually the one he was holding on his deathbed. That was volume 9 of the...

Taking a name in vain

The Spectator

Sir: I fear that Mr Burt will obtain little comfort from writing to Mr Harold Brooks- Baker for answers to his questions (Letters, 31 August). I too, received an unsolicited...

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The Spectator

Emma Nicholson and those feminists are wrong Mr Major was just being polite PETRONELLA WYATT M iss Emma Nicholson, MP, is like the common cold — you know you are going to be...

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The Spectator

Have you heard the one about the biographer and the Archbishop? It's in the Times STEPHEN G LO V ER Most journalists would say the paper was right to publish this stuff. If the...

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The Spectator

Ploys of the unemployed Philip Hensher REALITY AND DREAMS by Muriel Spark Constable, £14.95, pp. 160 R eality and Dreams is a curiously irrelevant title for this teasing, dry...

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It was sad when that great ship went down

The Spectator

Jane Gardam EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF by Beryl Bainbridge Duckworth, f14.99, pp. 224 B eryl Bainbridge's first novel in five years is a short, taut piece of historical fiction, an...

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A wretch like her Anita Brookner

The Spectator

ALIAS GRACE by Margaret Atwood Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 480 T his brilliant fiction rests on ascertain- able fact. In 1843 Grace Marks, along with a fellow servant, James...

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The plays were the thing

The Spectator

William Gaskill THE REAL LIFE OF LAURENCE OLIVIER by Roger Lewis Century, EZ99, pp. 272 T he author of this book apparently had some success with a similar work on Peter...

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You can't keep a good chemist down

The Spectator

Nigel Spivey FORCE OF NATURE: THE LIFE OF LINUS PAULING by Tom Hager Simon & Schuster, £25, pp. 608 L inus Pauling won his first Nobel prize, for Chemistry, in 1954 — the...

East, West, Mum's best Francis King

The Spectator

ADMIRING SILENCE by Abdulrazak Gurnah Hamish Hamilton, £16, pp. 224 A the start of this novel, its unnamed narrator — like its author, a native of Zanzibar — displays all the...

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Who are we?

The Spectator

Blair Worden THE STORY OF BRITAIN by Roy Strong Hutchinson, £30, pp. 700 N ever has our national history been harder to write. The specialisation of academic history by...

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Who's Horry now?

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier HORACE WALPOLE: THE GREAT OUTSIDER by Timothy Mowl John Murray, £19.99, pp. 274 Y ou don't have to believe that Judge Jeffreys was a lovable old buffer to...

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Alas, regardless of our doom

The Spectator

John Cornwell THE SONG OF THE DODO by David Quammen Hutchinson, £20, pp. 702 O nce upon a time on the island of Mauritius there lived a bird known as Aepy- ornis Maximus, ten...

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Laugh, clown, laugh Andro Linklater

The Spectator

MAKING HISTORY by Stephen Fry Hutchinson, £15.99, pp. 390 T he truism has it that comedians make us laugh to prevent themselves from weeping. And so when they fail, the...

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From `Mr Knightley' to 'George'

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling PERFECT HAPPINESS: THE SEQUEL TO JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA by Rachel Billington Sceptre, £14.99, pp. 378 R achel Billington, handsome, clever and resourceful, has...

A selection of recent paperbacks

The Spectator

Fi( non: Morality Play by Barry Unsworth, Penguin, £5.99 Fullalove by Gordon Burn, Minerva, £6.99 The Contract by William Palmer, Vintage, £5.99 Four Last Things. by William...

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The Spectator

Straight to the point What kinds of drawings do sculptors make? Richard Shone on their work in the 20th century A passionate argument about the respective merits of painting...

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Arts diary

The Spectator

Culture's new champion John Parry W e all know that there are no votes in the arts, don't we. Well, don't we? No actor or singer, let alone a bus driver, is going into the...

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The Spectator

The Magic Flute (Queen Elizabeth Hall) Circus tricks Michael Tanner O pera Factory's The Magic Flute is a somewhat incoherent production of a work which already has quite...


The Spectator

Emma (U, selected cinemas) The great neck show Mark Steyn M issed the last Jane Austen country wedding? Don't worry; there'll be another along in a minute. After Pride and...

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The Spectator

The Tailor-Made Man (Cockpit) The Heidi Chronicles (Greenwich) Blinded by the Sun (National Theatre) Design for living Sheridan Morley O ne of the most intriguing tales from...

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English caution

The Spectator

There are still no firm plans for the completion of the Cathedral in Bury, writes Alan Powers . T ime has a curious relationship to architecture. Buildings last a long time....

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German energy . .. but Dresden hopes to rebuild the

The Spectator

Frauenkirche within 10 years, says Simon Courtauld W herever you look in Dresden these days, you are likely to see the Frauenkirche. Not the real thing, of course — that was...

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The Spectator

Season of discontent Ursula Buchan there is a better instance of the malev- olence of inanimate objects than that exhibited by plastic garden netting, I should like to meet...

Passage from India

The Spectator

There is more to Indian art than temple art, says Vaishali Honawar F or the West, Indian art is synonymous with temple art. A year ago, on a visit to England, I was struck by...

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The Spectator

Off their trolley Simon Hoggart S upermarket Sweep (ITV, weekdays) is described as cult daytime viewing, which usually means that, students watch it if they're up in time. It...


The Spectator

Mutual therapy Michael Vestey T here's been a listlessness about the dying days of summer on Radio Four. George Formby, I was at first pleased to hear, was presenting Today,...

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The turf

The Spectator

Serious stuff Robin Oakley I t is the kind of morning that makes you wonder how any of us can ever bear to work in an office. The surrounding fields are stuffed with pheasants...

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High life

The Spectator

Health warning Taki Gstaad Glorious weather has finally hit the Alps, and I'm out bright and early each morning getting healthier by the minute. After a lightning trip to...

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Low life

The Spectator

The cutting edge Jeffrey Bernard Anyway, I was there preparing to go into the Merchant Navy and it was only episodes like that which made me change 'But, before I begin, be it...

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Country life

The Spectator

Careless talk Leanda de Lisle M y husband is busy sending out shooting invitations, so I must start think- ing about dinner parties again. These tend to be a more complicated...


The Spectator

BRIDGE A bold bluff Andrew Robson THE COLUMN (August 17) in which East held all 13 spades (on a goulash deal) gen- erated considerable interest. After East had chosen to open...

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11 11 111111 11 1j11

The Spectator

THE STAR at Harome (pronounced 'Harum') used to be one of Yorkshire's legendary drinking parlours, celebrated for being, at the same time, both an unspoilt village pub and a...

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The Spectator

IN•THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN.THE-STRAND CHESS Latrunculi Raymond Keene A POSSIBLE ancestor to chess hit the headlines during the past week when a 2,000-year-old board game...


The Spectator

4111) FYnl1 1.01101 1510 COMPETITION Fair is foul Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1949 you were asked for a Wordsworthian sonnet, begin- ning with the first line of his one...

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The Spectator

1278: Professor Stephen by Doc A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1990 Port for the first correct solution opened on 30 September, with two...

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The Spectator

The balance of bat and ball Simon Barnes A CRICKET match is invariably won by the side with the best fast bowlers. There may occasionally be exceptions to this rule, as in the...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. As private secretary to the ambassador of a foreign country, it is necessary to spend a lot of time in His Excellency's company. Indeed, we often breakfast...