15 AUGUST 1998

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The Spectator

Silly season cartoon. Summer arrives at last T wo new food scares got off to a good start: rats in Aberdeen fed by Professor Arpad Purtai on genetically modified pota- toes for...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 BUFFALO AND THE OLD BILL L ike the buffalo hunters of the Ameri- can plains,...

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Why England needs gentlemen at the crease BRUCE ANDERSON Y t again, Tony Blair has enjoyed a success where John Major failed. It was a success which merely interrupted Mr...

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ALLAN MASSIE nunigration is one of the questions of the day, with riots and disruption in reception camps. Much of the argument recalls the sort of debates on the subject which...

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On how history, like buddleia, is easily lost to us MATTHEW PARRIS T he buddleia in London is fading now, but it was a fantastic July for buddleia this year — the best I can...

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Andrew Neil explains why he has become a stranger in his homeland, and suggests a remedy THOSE OF US who are proud to be Scot- tish and British have become strangers in our...

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College rivalry may have inspired Kenneth Starr to pursue the President, says Tom Link Califomia `ROSEBUD.' Citizen Kane's dying breath contained the key to the childhood...

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Robert Taylor says the Blairs have revived the old idea of what a prime minister's holiday should be MR BLAIR, luxuriating en famine in Prince Girolamo Strozzi's palatial...

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Michael Heath


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In India, Mahatma Gandhi's killer is now more celebrated than his victim, reports Jon Stock New Delhi AS INDIA celebrates the completion of its 50th year of independence, it is...

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The Brussels bureaucracy, contrary to rumour, is not only unwilling but unable to propagandise, says Stephen Bates Brussels ON THE dais, Martine Reicharts is doing what she...

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John Casey on the changing history of homosexuality under Castro LAST EASTER I attended the Saturday vigil service in Havana Cathedral. In front of me were four men, two older...

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Mind your language

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`BLAME the Ophthalmologist,' said my husband obscurely. 'The inferiority com- plex was his fault too.' Having delivered these unhelpful remarks he returned to a catalogue of...

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The Spectator

Whatever the Nanny State says, Viagra has biblical authority PAUL JOHNSON A a time when burglary in London is so common and so rarely punished that few violated householders...

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Sell the club

The Spectator

A CHAP'S club is his own business, but the members of the Royal Automobile Club have got their wheels the wrong way round. They hope to enrich themselves by selling their...


The Spectator

In August's heat, prosperity's building-blocks are turning squishy at the edges CHRISTOPHER FILDES A ugust is a sticky month in markets. The chief dealers are on holiday,...

Trade v. Industry

The Spectator

THE BOARD of Trade does not meet very often these days, because the Archbishop of Canterbury finds it hard to make the time, but it goes back to the eighteenth century. The...

British Standard Oil

The Spectator

THE ANGLO-PERSIAN Oil Company has come a long way since Winston Churchill bet on it. As First Lord of the Admiralty, he spent £4 million of taxpayers' money to buy 40 per cent...

Cold comfort

The Spectator

THE SONG is ended but the malady lingers on. We had got used to the idea that we could combine rapid growth with falling inflation, but those happy days, so the Bank of England...

Peter's pence

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A REWARDING week for Peter Suther- land, the persuasive Irish advocate and unregenerate cigar-smoker. He stepped up to be chairman of BP when David Simon disappeared into the...

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No relation Sir: I read the article by Frank Johnson

The Spectator

(Shared opinion, 25 July) suggesting a con- nection between Peter Mandelson, Jon Mendelsohn and Felix Mendelssohn. As a member of the illustrious Mendelssohn family — I am a...

Nothing to wear

The Spectator

Sir: Calvert Casey (Books, 1 August) was evidently a tortured soul: but, since Ray- mond Carr presents him as simultaneously `obsessed with cross-dressing' and with 'his...

Hit them where it hurts

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Sir: While some will have sympathy for the predicament in which gay people find themselves, a huge majority of council tax and income tax payers will strongly object to the...

LETTERS Alexander technique

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Sir: It seems a pity that Peter Jones attacked Michael Wood's television pro- grammes about Alexander the Great for containing too many interesting pictures that had nothing to...

Only connect

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Sir: As 'a pleasant enough cove', I hesitate to prolong the discussion of the misplaced `only', but since Dot Wordsworth was kind enough to devote her column to a discus- sion...

Sir: I was sorry to see that Peter Jones did

The Spectator

not like the story of Alexander the Great as told by Michael Wood on BBC 2. He makes of it the criticism I myself have often made of television programmes, especially on...

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Larger than life

The Spectator

Sir: The BBC documentary Maria Callas: A Big Destiny was not full of inaccuracies, as Michael Scott suggested in his article, `Callas: fact and fiction' (Arts, 8 August). The...

The People's Prince Sir: The Prince of Wales's cogent article

The Spectator

('Why I'm modern, but not modernist', 8 August) demonstrates once more that he has bravely accepted the traditional role of kings: the champion of the People against the...

The bluebells of Scotland

The Spectator

Sir: While your correspondent Andrew Parker Bowles (Letters, 1 August) is cor- rect when pointing out the botanical differ- ence between bluebells and harebells observed when...

Lowering the tone

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Sir: As a regular advertiser in your excel- lent publication I was somewhat surprised that you should have chosen the headline 'Macdonald's Takeaway' (Leading article, 8 August)...

A spy round every corner

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Sir: I derive some amusement from the depiction, in the latest documents released by the Public Record Office, of my old Express colleague Sefton Delmer as a mas- ter spy. The...

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Seeking after truth in a small country ALAN COCHRANE The non-appointment of Paul Routledge as political editor of the Express is a case with which everyone is familiar and,...

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Satire out of time Philip Hensher JONATHAN SWIFT by Victoria Glendinning Hutchinson, £20, pp. 324 N obody has ever written a really good book about Jonathan Swift, and I think...

MI books reviewed in The Spectator are available through THE

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SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Tel: 0541 557 288

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Inside, one-sided story

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Derek Draper GORDON BROWN: THE FIRST YEAR IN POWER by Hugh Pym and Nick Kochan Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 244 T o see the great flaw in this book one doesn't have to read it; one...

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Women of character and endurance

The Spectator

Jane Gardam THE GENTLEMAN'S DAUGHTER: WOMEN'S LIVES IN GEORGIAN ENGLAND by Amanda Vickery Yale University Press, £19.95, pp. 436 A part from one fascinating observa- tion that...

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A cow'rin' tim'rous beastie

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Ian Ousby HISTORY IN OUR TIME by David Cannadine Yale University Press, £16.95, pp. 320 T his', David Cannadine announces at the beginning of a preface which reads more like a...

Just the thing for a journey

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Kate Hubbard T ravelman Publishing is not the first company to bring out individually pack- aged short stories, priced at the painless sum of £1. But they are the first to come...

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He is no Scot who does not like this book'

The Spectator

Jonathan Sumption SCOTICHRONICON by Walter Bower edited by D.E.R. Watt and others Aberdeen University Press, IX Volumes, £35 each W alter Bower is not, nowadays, a name to...

Dancing in the dark

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Michael Hulse PLEASURED by Philip Hensher Chatto & Windus, £14.99, pp. 373 P hilip Hensher's third novel begins with `the East German snow falling on the quiet East German...

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Tumult in the clouds

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Alan Judd BLACK BOX: COCKPIT VOICE RECORDER ACCOUNTS OF IN- FLIGHT ACCIDENTS edited by Malcolm Macpherson HarperCollins, f8.99, pp. 184 COCKPIT: [Sound of a thump] CAPTAIN:...

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A selection of recent thrillers

The Spectator

Harriet Waugh S omehow I missed Nicci French's first novel, The Memory Game, but having just read her second, The Safe House (Michael Joseph, £10, pp. 310) I will certainly...


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RATES (52 issues) 12 Months 6 Months (26 issues) UK 0 £97.00 0 £49.00 Europe la £109.00 0 £55.00 USA 0 US$161 0 US$82 Australia ❑ Aus$225 ❑ Aus$113 Rest of World U...

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At the height of our powers

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Robert Taylor THE MID-VICTORIAN GENERATION, 1846-1886 by K. Theodore Hoppen OUP, i3O, pp. 787 T he 'new' Oxford History of England is gathering pace with this magisterial and...

Orders from Moscow

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Jonathan Mirsky THE SOVIET WORLD OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Kyrill M. Anderson Yale University Press, £25, pp. 416 W hen Josef Stalin...

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A meeting with Sir Steven Runciman

The Spectator

James Owen H istory and Sir Steven Runciman have long walked hand in hand. They have been sweethearts since childhood, but having turned 95 last month, the great his- torian of...

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BooksoftheWeek The Safe House by Nicci French A terrifying story about those we love. 'a strong atmospheric and intelligent thriller.' Harriet Waugh, The Spectator N is for...

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Politics and Salzburg Tom Sutcliffe sees three new opera productions at the Festival A I three Salzburg Festival operas that I caught last week in new productions by top German...

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Gang Related (15, selected cinemas) Laughs and violence Mark Steyn I 've always had a soft spot for gangsta rap, thanks to whose practitioners pop music is at last as...

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The Spectator

Theatre of Reason/Theatre of Desire: Art of Alexandre Benois and Leon Bakst (Villa Favorita, Lugano, Switzerland, till 1 November) Exotic turns Robin Simon T he scent of...

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No Way to Treat a Lady (Arts) West End wobbles Sheridan Morley A yet another Edinburgh Festival (and this at four weeks the longest yet) grinds into action, with the usual...

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Tharp (Barbican) Energy deficit Giannandrea Poesio T he second and final programme pre- sented by the Twyla Tharp Dance Compa- ny has concluded, rather disappointingly, one...


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A tale of two Yorkshiremen Michael Vestey Y orkshiremen aren't all the same, as some seem to think. Two of them occupied my thoughts on Monday morning this week. One lives in...

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Supping with the enemy James Delmgpole O ne of the first jobs I did as a journal- ist was covering parties as a stringer for the Evening Standard's Londoner's Diary. The pay...

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Not motoring

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A train, not a plane Gavin Stamp W ith a column like this, I must resist the temptation to be personal. I could, for instance, describe how the other day my train from Norwich...

The turf

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People a la mode Robin Oakley W atching the tiny figure of Michael Roberts in his black windcheater crouched above one of Neil Graham's two-year-olds as they steamed up...

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High life

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Saint and sinners Taki y mother, who died last week, was a true Christian. She forgave those who transgressed her, starting with my dad, who sure did transgress. She never...

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Country life

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Having a lovely time Leanda de Lisle Nevertheless, I was pleased that the Ger- mans outnumbered the Brits in Mallorca by about two to one. This may have been because being...


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Winning ways Andrew Robson THE enfant terrible of bridge may have turned 50 but Paul Chemla has lost little of his Gallic temperament. Yet he has a heart of gold and is...

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AN INTERESTING aspect of the London restaurant scene is how

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a restaurant can remain on the same central site and retain its name while owners, management, chefs and style all change, so that the present establishment would be...

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Mind sports Raymond Keene LAST YEAR the first Mind Sports Olym- piad was held at London's Royal Festival Hall. The strength of the entry in the first year matched its depth....


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High IQ number Christopher Howse IN COMPETITION NO. 2046 you were invited to provide a solo, duet or trio involving great men of the mind, inspired by news of the premiere of...

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1375: Wheel by Columba A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 1 September, with two run- ners-up prizes of £20...

No. 2049: Bucket and spade

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The learned Jaspistos has taken a well- earned break. You are invited to provide appropriate verses (maximum 16 lines) describing his holiday or giving his thoughts from abroad....

Solution to 1372: Sagacity .

The Spectator

IM O% A ant nil DEO la o orifirranvriorlo ormeran srin Ininarialanalla D Allude i in R lin , Tineriirrign . . din N 0 ririn oduri • parr won Jinn . el v A, a...

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Dear Mary. . . Q. Would the enclosed be a good postscript to all those awkwardly pronounced sur- names and place names? A young French- man visiting Norfolk was much mystified...


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Eeyore in flannels Simon Barnes THERE is a story about Angus Fraser bowling for England in a Test match against the West Indies last winter. He took the wicket of Brian Lara...