15 JANUARY 2000

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At the first signs of an attack, wrap up warm and stay inside I ntensive-care beds became unavailable as an influenza outbreak swept the land. The government suddenly started...

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0 n approaching the side entrance to my high street Marks & Spencer — I needed sausages for the following day — I was confronted by the usual sight of an apparently homeless...

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Political correctness could be more of a threat than Marxist-Leninism BRUCE ANDERSON O n defence, New Labourites react indig- nantly to any suggestion that the gap between...

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There is no place more arresting, even heart-stopping, than Kilimanjaro MATTHEW PARRIS H e looked exhausted, drained, abso- lutely whacked. Stretched flat on his back on the...

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Peter °borne solves the mystery of why New Labour scandals go unreported, and exposes the journalists that Downing Street can count on SUPPOSE it had been a Tory peer and not...

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Mind your language

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On From Our Own Correspondent (which now seems to be made up of gobbets no longer than a minute, like something contrived by the National Theatre of Brent) on the wireless on...

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Robin Cook tells Boris Johnson why the government is not yet campaigning for the single currency IT IS always a pleasure to meet Robin Cook, and never more so than this week....

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Exclusive: Jasper Gerard brings you the first ever profile of Bill Blair, QC, the Prime Minister's agreeable elder brother FAMILIES are like drunks; uncontrol- lable. Swanks...

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Simon Finch meets the sons of two leading Nazis who have conflicting views of Germany's guilt HOW would you feel if your father was a criminal? No: how would you feel if your...

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The Republican presidential hopefuls are ignoring the most controversial issue of 2000, says Mark Steyn Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was not amused. He declared that the...


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Michael Heath

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Banned wagon

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A wee/4 survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit BUTCHERS and greengrocers aren't the only ones heading for a life behind bars should they refuse to obey the new...

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Peter Mullen says the new prayer book is even more sickening and banal than the last revision AFTER a mere 19 years, the Church of England has decided that its vaunted Alter-...

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What would the horses say if only they could speak? PAUL JOHNSON W hat decent person does not admire horses? They are intelligent, sensitive, sometimes headstrong, very...

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Afflictions of. . .

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From Sally Bedell Smith Sir: I am fascinated that in her review of my book (11 December), Diana: The Life of a Troubled Princess, Julie Burchill resorted to a hackneyed stunt by...

Diana mystery

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From Mr Michael Cole Sir: In yet another attempt to promote sales of his flat tyre of a book about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Martyn Gregory utters a number of...

LETTERS Sceptical about Europhiles

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From Sir Stephen Hastings Sir: What a pity that John Major followed his admirable analysis of the weaknesses and dangers of New Labour with such con- fused advice to William...

From Mr Steve Anderson, Mr Richard Belfield Sir: Martyn Gregory

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is obviously deeply upset that Neil Hamilton lost his libel action against Mohamed Al Fayed. He talked to the Hamilton team before and during the trial, but Mr Gregory's man was...

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Cruel Crusades

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From Mr Christopher J. Walker Sir: Piers Paul Read doesn't say, in the course of his boisterous defence of the Cru- sades (`The Crusades were self-defence', 8 January), why...

The other F-word

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From Mr Raymond Keene Sir: Lord Moyne's letter (8 January) about Schiller's poem 'Ode to Joy', used by Beethoven for his Ninth Symphony, raises an interesting point. For some...

Justice for Lord Jim

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From Mr CA. Latimer Sir: Does Philip Hensher (Books, 8 January) really think that 'nobody now would serious- ly condemn Lord Jim for what he did'? Has he actually read Lord Jim?...

Tyndale v. AV

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From Sir Rowland Whitehead Bt Sir: William Tyndale, in the hands of Peter Jones (The miracle of "and" ' , 8 January), gets a splendid airing. All members of the Tyndale Society...

Top breeders' choice

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From Lord Lloyd of Berwick Sir: I was delighted with Paul Johnson's arti- cle on sheep (And another thing, 18/25 December). I am especially glad that he chose the Southdowns as...

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Knowing all it does about Fayed now, would the Guardian collaborate with him again? STEPHEN GLOVER S o what do we think of the Neil Hamil- ton trial? I ask the question three...

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A nasty surprise in the taxman's brown envelope it's a better deal, but not for you CHRISTOPHER FILDES H ere comes a fast one from the Inland Revenue. 'Employers,' the taxmen...

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Objects of dubious vertu Bevis Hillier THE ARTIFICIAL KINGDOM: A TREASURY OF THE KITSCH EXPERIENCE by Celeste Olalquiaga Bloomsbuty, £20, pp. 321 Garden gnomes of the 1890s...

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Read, dispute, learn and inwardly digest

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Cressida Connolly DARWIN'S WORMS by Adam Phillips Faber, £7.99, pp. 148 T his is a book about life and the accep- tance of death in a secular age. Like every- thing Adam...

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The wizards of Oz

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Peter Porter WHEN LONDON CALLS: THE EXPATRIATION OF AUSTRALIAN CREATIVE ARTISTS TO BRITAIN by Stephen Alomes Cambridge University Press, £35, pp. 320 R ecently driving through...

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To have and to let go

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Theodore Dalrymple THE SEX-CHANGE SOCIETY by Melanie Phillips Profile Books, £12.99, pp. 370 A t least a third of British children are now born out of wedlock, and more often...

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Is it a bird?

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Is it a fish? Hugh Lawson-Tancred KANT AND THE PLATYPUS by Umberto Eco Secker, £20, pp. 464 I magine that you are an Aztec warrior confronted by the sudden arrival on your...

Two Epicurean Stoics

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George Melly BILL AND PATIENCE: AN ECCENTRIC MARRIAGE AT STOWE AND BEYOND by Harriet Hall The Book Guild, f16.95, pp. 305 T he McElwees, mother and father of the author of...

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Bucking the odds

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David Spanier IN NEVADA by David Thomson Little, Brown, £20, pp. 330 evada is on the edge, on the wire, off to one side of America. Yet its influence on the whole country has...

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Libraries: the pleasure of reading old books

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Miranda Seymour hate to read new books,' Hazlitt wrote in the essay from which the title of this piece comes. 'There are 20 or 30 vol- umes that I have read over and over...

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Outrageously extravagant spectacular James Delingpole loves and loathes the television adaptation of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast I do rather wish I were reviewing the BBC's...

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Borromini and the Baroque World (Palazzo del' Exposizioni, Rome, till 28 February) Fearful symmetry Selina Mills M ost of Rome's tourists, when enjoy- ing their 'Baroque city...


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Aida (Barbican) Verdi triumph Michael Tanner S omehow the prospect of a concert per- formance of Aida at the Barbican, present- ed by the European Academy, the Accademia...

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Tavener on top Peter Phillips F or the first time since I've been moni- toring these things John Tavener seems to be more famous than John Taverner. The playing field has not...

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Summer of Sam (18, selected cinemas) Spike's elegy Mark Steyn I n Billy Wilder's Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe beats the New York heat by keep- ing her underwear in the...

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The Mysteries (Cottesloe) The Servant of Two Masters (The Other Place, Stratford, till 22 January; The Young Vic from 4 February) Biblical marathon Patrick Carnegy T he...

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Stop agonising Michael Vestey W ho'd be left wing? There's so much to worry about in the world. Why, even being English is a source of shame and guilt that requires...


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An art and a science Lucy Malouf I once took a job in a busy Italian restau- rant in Melbourne, determined to learn all about the hospitality business. After a few hectic...

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The turf

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Paternal duties Robin Oakley T aking my son racing with me at Sandown on Saturday was a double risk. Eight days into his first serious attempt to give up smoking since the...

Food for thought

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Eclectic evergreen Simon Courtauld D uring Mary's flight into Egypt with the Christ child, which one may reasonably imagine took place in January, 2000 or so years ago, she...

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High life

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Stock watch Taki L Rougemont et me tell you a little story about Time Warner, the company that has just been bought by AOL for a piddling $147 billion big ones. It was 1965, I...

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No life

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The homecoming Toby Young I New York 'ye just returned from London where my efforts to win back my ex-girlfriend met with some success: she's agreed to go out with me again...

Country life

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Sense of identity Leanda de Lisle T here was a time when we knew that God was an Englishman. But do we now even know what it is to be English? The black journalist Darcus Howe...

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The champ Andrew Robson WOULD YOU back declarer to make 4V on this week's hand? The best reason for doing so is that he was Bob Hamman, longtime number one in the world rank-...

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Robert Hardman

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IT WAS like being the child in the tale of the emperor's new clothes. We were in Isola, the much-lauded new venture of the great Oliver Peyton, preparing to enjoy our first...

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dbec b

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The Ultimate Islay Malt. XRd b www.ardbeg.com CHESS Short shrift Raymond Keene NIGEL SHORT has made a bid to reclaim his former position as Britain's number one. He...


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Millennium Blues Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2118 you were invited to supply the lyric for a blues song with this title. I learnt today from a blues scholar that the famous...

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 31 January, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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In thong and on song Simon Barnes FIRST of all it was the thrilling news that David Beckham wears his wife's knickers, the particularly skimpy kind known as thongs. Then it...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. In submitting a first novel to a well- known literary agency I acknowledged the useful advice on presentation given in a book recently published by one of its...