15 MARCH 1997

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The Spectator

M r John Major, the Prime Minister, delayed launching an election campaign after Sir George Gardiner, whose con- stituency Conservative party had dropped him as its prospective...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 GEORGE, THE DISTRACTOR S ir George Gardiner should not be taken too seriously....

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The Labour mood: a tense mixture of triumphalism and nerves BRUCE ANDERSON A senior BBC executive recently went to see Peter Mandelson at Labour's elec- tion headquarters in...

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I n last week's diary I mentioned that my Younger son, Jacob, has been chosen as prospective Conservative candidate for Central Fife. He spends his weekends can- vassing there...

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If women are going to dominate the world they had better shape up PETRONELLA WYATT L ast Saturday was International Wo- men's Day. I was not aware of this occasion until I was...

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. . . when they look at Europe. Francis Pike says what the rich Orient now thinks of the Continent which they once held in awe. But what does Asia think of Britain? A FEW...

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Michael Heath

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Christopher Bellamy on how an almost forgotten British thinker is influencing the Russian fight against Nato expansion `THE MOST important political question on which modern...

Mind your language

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`DIDN'T think much of that stuff about gerunds,' said my husband from behind a fascinating new paper on ablation of the hypothalamus, or something. `Better than cutting up...

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. . . even if it's only 'no comment. Sarah Whitebloom offers them the right of no reply LORD ARCHER is writing; he certainly cannot be disturbed. It was all too obvious as far...

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Charles Powell's book review is on page 41.

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Douglas Johnson explains the strategy behind M. Le Pen's conspiracy theory about M Chirac and the Jews A BOOK has just been published about Jacques Chirac, Le Roman d'un...

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David Simpson says that the position of the Tories in Scotland is not very different from that of the Vichy regime in occupied France ALMOST all nations in Europe have cho-...

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Second opinion

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I RETURNED recently from a trip to C olombia. Everyone told me before I Went that it would be dangerous, but I didn't think it would be half so danger- °us as a home visit in an...

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Peter Hitchens says that a columnist who denied that there was a stereotypical Guardian reader only confirmed it SOME PEOPLE worry endlessly about freemasons but surely the...

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Evans above! Why not speak the truth for a change? PAUL JOHNSON O ne of the penalties I pay for no longer attending Commons debates is that many admirable MPs thus escape my...

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Operation Matador

The Spectator

Sir: I read John Colvin's review (Books, 8 March) of Major-General Clifford Kinvig's book, Scapegoat: General Percival of Singa- pore. I went to Singapore with the Duff Coop-...

LETTERS Lest we forget

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Sir I am simply amazed and horrified by Takes article on the 'German contribution' (High life, 8 March). I don't want to be drawn into arguments about the Holocaust nor as a...

Fiennes points

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Sir: Sheridan Morley has made several notable errors of fact in his review of Ivanov (Arts, 1 March). Perhaps though he never saw this play himself but sent an unreliable...

Rule Britannia

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Sir: I was astonished to read Bruce Ander- son's article (Politics, 1 February), which has just been brought to my attention, in which he attacks me as the leader 'of those who...

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Our joint tradition

The Spectator

Sir: In contradistinction to Matthew Parris (Another voice, 8 March), I am very glad that we use the term - the Judaeo-Christian tradition', for it reminds Christians that the...

Forbes wha ha'

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Sir: Your correspondents prove odder and odder. How can a man whose names are Alastair and Forbes write (Letters, 1 March) 'I am neither Scottish.... Al as- tair is the Scottish...

A year's advantage

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Sir: Without doubt John Charmley is wrong to say that a war in 1938 would have been one 'in which we should have done no bet- ter than we did when we actually declared it a year...

A brutal alliance

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Sir: With reference to Anne McElvoy's arti- cle (The consequences of a myth', 15 February) on the reparations charged to Germany after the first world war, the recent opening of...

The Schlieffen Plan

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Sir: When I was a cadet at Sandhurst before the war, we were told that the Ger- mans did not win in 1914 because von Kluck who commanded the operation lost his nerve (Letters, 8...


The Spectator

12 Months 6 Months UK U £88.00 U £45.00 Europe (airmail) U £99.00 U £51.00 USA Airspeed U US$141 U US$71 Rest ofl Airmail LI £115.00 0 £58.00 World J Airspeed 0 £99.00 CI £51.00...

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Owner of top people's store says Home Secretary took bribe! No story STEPHEN GLOVER Such a charge is almost unprecedented. A million pounds! The Home Secretary! But newspapers...

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A pro-British campaign which would threaten everything that makes Britain civilised PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE W hen asking us to give sympathetic consideration to the possibility...

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n 1902 Yeats published a poem, `Adam's Curse', which strikes a new note. It is suddenly devoid of the appliqué Irishry and romantic abstractions (however seduc- tive) of the...

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Very big, Russia

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Philip Marsden RUSSIA: PEOPLE AND EMPIRE, 1552-1917 by Geoffrey Hosking HarperCollins, £20, pp. 548 T owards the end of the 15th century, Russians became increasingly aware that...

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But answers came there none

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Bruce Anderson THE POLITICS OF HOPE by Jonathan Sacks Cape, £15.99, pp. 288 • 11•1111111111•111110•1111111 T he Chief Rabbi has written an almost great book. He gives us a...

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Let them bake bread

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M. R. D. Foot FRANCE, 1814-1914 by Robert Tombs Longman, £55, £19.99, pp. 539 L ongman's launch a new six-volume history of France with a lively and original book that runs...

Wales's oddest writer

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D. A. Callard RAM WITH RED HORNS by Rhys Davies Seren, £6.99, pp. 160 T he name Rhys Davies does not count for very much on the contemporary literary map. Friendly with D. H....

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The tale of a bowl

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Ra Page THE COLLECTOR COLLECTOR by Tibor Fischer Seeker, £12.99, pp. 215 T here is one hunger, according to Tibor Fischer, almost as great as the need for sleep, food and...

Unloved and uncrowned

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Sylvana Tomaselli ALBERT: UNCROWNED KING by Stanley Weintraub John Murray, £25, pp. 478 F ollowing his biography of Queen Victoria, Stanley Weintraub has now produced a highly...

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If we shadows have offended

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Anita Brookner A NICE CHANGE by Nina Bawden Virago, £15.99, pp. 192 .1•••••• I s it unfair to suggest that television has contributed to the dumbing down of contemporary...

Here's to the widow of fifty

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David Crane GOOD GRIEF by Keith Waterhouse Sceptre, £1699, pp. 236 J une Pepper, handsome-ish, ordinary-ish and adequately well-off, with a comfortable home and happy...

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Bringing down the curtains

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Charles Powell ONCE A JOLLY BAGMAN by Alistair McAlpine Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20, pp. 273 h is is an enchanting memoir until it gets on to politics, when it turns nasty....

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A Bizarre Act of Global Philistinism

The Spectator

L ibraries gave us power. Then work came and made us free' sing Manic Street Preachers, a rock group honoured at this year's Brit Awards and currently news- worthy by reason of...

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. 4 tk.fter the State Department hired the high-profile modernist Eero Saarinen to design a new American Embassy in Grosvenor Square in London in 1955, British critics lambasted...

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Romance, Romance (Gielgud) Women on the Verge of HRT (Vaudeville) Pastime of the idle rich James Treadwell T he title of this latest musical advertis- es unabashed...

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Exhibitions 1

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The Cutting Edge: Fifty Years of British Fashion (Victoria and Albert Museum, till 27 July) No laughing matter Vicki Woods S ince the British are largely antipathetic ro .the...

Sheridan Morley is away.

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Exhibitions 2

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Modern Art in Britain 1910-1914 (Barbican Art Gallery, till 26 May) Homage to the revolutionaries Martin Bailey I t is difficult to imagine the scandal which...

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The English Patient (15, selected cinemas) The People Vs Larry Flynt (18, selected cinemas) Truly, deeply, passionately Mark Steyn T o date, Anthony Minghella's movie career...

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Opera Carmen (Welsh National Opera, Cardiff)

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Cry freedom Michael Tanner W elsh National Opera's new produc - tion of Carmen, now on tour, is easily the most brilliant that I have ever seen, and the musical performance in...

Berlin blues

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Phillip Bergson felt hungry and thirsty at the end of the Berlin International Film Festival N ot quite reduced to begging, film crit- ics, journalists and camp followers took...

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Unfit for society Ursula Buchan I n darker moments, I find it difficult to imagine why any busy person should want to take up gardening. Gardening proper, that is, rather than...

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High living Simon Hoggart S ome years ago I had a wonderful free- bie, on Concorde to New York with the famous British chefs who had devised the Plane's new menus. I had never...

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Coarse work Michael Vestey I f the forms of media are merely 'deliv- ery systems' as the BBC Director General John Birt described radio and television last year, you might...


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Every good boy ... Alan Judd aedophiles have their apologists. Armed robbers are released from murder sentences and acclaimed as wronged inno - cents. House-breakers are...

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The turf

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Table talk Robin Oakley T oo old to bother with modesty, too young in heart not to want to tweak a few political tails, Woodrow Wyatt was as pun- gent as the smoke of a...

High life

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Life isn't fair Taki Gstaad Thierry Roussel, by far the world's most successful roué, is £5,000 richer this week , while Rupert Murdoch, the world's biggest media tycoon,...

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Low life

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They're off Jeffrey Bernard O ne of the things I am missing this week — not as much as all the fluid and tea I could lay my hands on — is the National Hunt Festival at...

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Country life

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Too clean for comfort Leanda de Lisle I remember some American comedian— I think it was Billy Crystal — describing how his parents kept their sofas covered with plastic. I...


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Scramble Andrew Robson UNSELFISH bidding by Harry Dalmeny propelled partner Emma Lamarque into a dicey game contract. Fine card-reading coupled with soft defence saw her...

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y D avid Fingleton Zim is in IN HOLIDAY terms it seems that Zim is in: each elderly British Airways 747 flies to Harare and back full, and the place is crammed with tourists....

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IN-THE-STRAND Alexander the great Raymond Keene WHILE reminiscing about the last 20 years as The Spectator's chess correspondent, it struck me that a fascinating exercise...

j j , - , -E Mili KOHN ItHISEI ...,........ 1 . ..

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COMPETITION 1 ISLE OF j , ....) Si`, If 'ALI 5(0E0 1011h' Flavour of the month Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1973 you were invited to write an acrostic poem about March, the...

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1 302: Men in the street by Doc A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 1 April, with two...

Solution to 1299: Ditto

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H A ©© anima an Ein s R Eprl P lair , elt 13'1 I® 1 1313 ri A III u El la o 11 A MEM 0 13 101111112Maj o R_N_O Mat II D L 1I E IND ii iill 0 der Maim L nal. L V A R...

No. 1976: Ali Forbes Week

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You are invited to supply a piece of high- life reminiscence of the olden days which consists of only one sentence. Maximum 150 words. Entries to ' Competition No. 1976 ' by 27...

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'HIGH on the list of professional embar- rassments I have suffered is the time I was forced by a malfunctioning laptop to dictate copy to a deaf-mute copy-taker down a telephone...


The Spectator

Q• I am a 37-year-old schoolmaster at an all-girls school. Last week Alix, the 21-year- old daughter of friends, asked if I would help out by putting her onto a train at...