16 NOVEMBER 1996

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The Spectator

John Major demands Britain be exempt from the 48-hour week T he European Court of Justice ruled against a British government challenge to the European Commission's Working Time...

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A bad shepherd resents an inexperienced Whip. The outcome: an enthralling farce BRUCE ANDERSON T he Tory Whips' Office is much mythologised and little understood. There is a...

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FRANK JOHNSON I suppose some readers will think that the only reason I have advertised, on this week's cover, Jennifer Paterson's Spectator cookery column is because television...

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Why nobody knows, and nobody cares, how many children are missing MATTHEW PARRIS S imon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP for Southwark and Bermondsey, is a good and kind man....

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Britain's aristocracy did not decline and fall in our century. On the contrary, it rose and rose — doing well even under Labour; says John Martin Robinson To the historian, the...

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Anne McElvoy meets the Arkansas ex-state trooper who is a key witness against Clinton THE Washington Post, irked by the eclectic range and shrill tenor of allegations against...

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John O'Sullivan is the British editor of an American conservative magazine who forecast, here, Mr Clinton's defeat New York MY ARTICLE of exactly a year ago ('Why Clinton...

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Alistair Home, author of the latest book about him, speculates as to what he would make of our modem age IN LESS than 20 years we shall be cele- brating the 200th anniversary...

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Michael Heath

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Simon Sebag Montefiore wonders why Oxford rejects Mr Said, when it still has a Chair endowed by the original Merchant of Death THIS IS a cautionary tale of two secretive,...

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THEN JOIN IN . . . that was the sort of advice offered by Marjorie Proops. Mary Kenny deplores reactions to her death WHEN the 'Queen of Agony Aunts' Marje Proops (a...

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Mind your language

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A GOOD sea captain of 30 years' sail- ing has written to me from Haifa asking me the true origin of port (`left). That will be easy, I thought, let's have a look in the...

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Alex de Waal deplores the Zaire deaths, but doubts if there will be as many as we've been told IN APRIL and May 1994, as the Hutu extremists in Rwanda implemented their `final...

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Victoria Schofield has chatted on the phone to her famous contemporary ever since Oxford, and even did so the other day EVEN ON a good day, it is never easy to telephone the...

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When the quality papers splash about happily in the gutter PAUL JOHNSON T he Financial Times is the archetype non-investigative newspaper. I cannot remember it ever exposing a...

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Let dons delight to bark and bite it's all in the way of business CHRISTOPHER FILDES I like the idea of the Hebdomadal Coun- cil of Oxford University, suitably got up in gowns...

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LETTERS Stating the facts

The Spectator

Sir: May I join Richard Lamb (Letters, 2 November) in demolishing the ill-informed and wrong-headed views of Andrew Roberts about the German resistance (Danger! new myth ahead',...

Sir: Tom Sutcliffe says that I reprimanded Anne Atkins for

The Spectator

her comments about the service for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement at Southwark Cathedral. As a matter of fact, my concern was with the BBC, not with Mrs Atkins. She used...

Reviewer rebuked

The Spectator

Sir: One hesitates to criticise a critic — it is so easy to appear churlish — but I suggest that Philip Hensher, one of your two lead book reviewers, is guilty either of...

Dangerous ignorance

The Spectator

Sir: The Irish language is not 'a patois' (Leader, 9 November) because a patois is defined as 'having no literary status'. The earliest manuscripts in Irish go back at least to...

Biblical authority

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Sir: Tom Sutcliffe illustrates well (The modern Mary Magdalene', 9 November) the danger of rejecting biblical authority in matters of faith and morals. He is right to assert...

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Irish largesse

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Sir: One missive was conspicuously absent from the testimonials produced on behalf of Sir Nicholas Scott (`Braying in Manor Street', 9 November): a note from his doc- tor...

Innocent bedfellows

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Sir: I very much enjoyed Jonathan Keates's review of Julie ICavanagh's superb biogra- phy of Frederick Ashton (Books, 9 Novem- ber). However, I think Mr Keates is mistak- en in...

A difficult son

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Sir: I remember Suez (`Canal running through London', 9 November) because Paul Johnson's mother taught me history in 1956. She also talked about her 'difficult and Red son'. Mrs...

Wonderful entertainment

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Sir: Can I through your columns sincerely thank Messrs Al Fayed, Hamilton, Steven, Rusbridger, Rowland (it's great to see him rejoining the battle) and even the bit play- ers...

Our perfect model

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Sir: Curiously, the last two or three times I have seen Petronella Wyatt at parties she has seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. As the publishers of Encore magazine so...


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Sir: Petronella Wyatt's article (Another voice, 26 October) was based on an inaccu- rate premise. I have to date stayed well clear of party politics and have not 'come out' for...

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A few more issues like this of the Independent on Sunday, and Ms Boycott will suffer a real crash STEPHEN GLOVER P icking up my Independent on Sunday last week and turning to...

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Books of the Year The best and most overrated books of the year, chosen by some of The Spectator's regular contributors child (oh, grow up), French novels in which the hero was...

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Soft and hard romance

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David Sexton A SECRET AFFAIR by Barbara Taylor Bradford HarperCollins, £9.99, pp. 224 THE BONNY DAWN by Catherine Cookson Bantam, £9.99, pp. 192 T he Booker's a bluff. Barbara...

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Forgotten changer of history

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John Grigg A THIRST FOR GLORY: THE LIFE OF ADMIRAL SIR SIDNEY SMITH by Tom Pocock Aurum, £19.95, pp. 261 W hen Napoleon, exiled on St Helena, said of a British officer who had...

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More than just William

The Spectator

Kate Grimond MARTHA'S ARK by Charlotte Moore Arrow, £5.99, pp. 359 T here is an Aga here — let that be said. It is old and gives off fumes and the cats sit near it and the...

Obscure object of desire

The Spectator

Max Egremont THE KISS by Hugo Vickers Hamish Hamilton, £15, p. 233 hen he was a schoolboy at Eton in the late 1960s, Hugo Vickers met Joan and Christian Kappey, two spinster...

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Having the last word

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Laurence Lerner THIS WILD DARKNESS: THE STORY OF MY DEATH by Harold Brodkey Fourth Estate, £14.99, pp. 177 The poetry of being recognised and accepted as an important writer...

Splinters and doodles

The Spectator

Francis King CRUISING PARADISE by Sam Shepard Seeker, £15.99, pp. 242 A few writers — Chekhov, Pirandello and Maugham at once come to mind have achieved equal distinction in...

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Very fair, could do better

The Spectator

William Scammell THE PRACTICE OF WRITING by David Lodge Seeker, £12.99, pp. 340 T he question is rather plonkingly for- mulated,' remarks David Lodge in the course of an...

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Good soldiering on

The Spectator

P. J. Kavanagh FORD MADOX FORD: A DUAL LIFE, VOLUME II by Max Saunders OUP, £35, pp. 696 F ord Madox Ford in his mid-fifties; his behaviour towards young women, observed by the...

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The gloom beneath the glam

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Peter J. M. Wayne CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD: DIARIES, VOLUME I, 1939-1960 edited by Katherine Bucknell Methuen, £25, pp. 1048 The literary erstwhile Left well-wisher would Seek...

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Many needs, many names

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Elizabeth Lowry GEORGE ELIOT: A LIFE by Rosemary Ashton Hamish Hamilton, f25, pp. 465 I n 1991 Rosemary Ashton published a compelling life of George Henry Lewes, the Victorian...

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Dicing with global life

The Spectator

A. F. Gaudi LABORATORY EARTH: THE PLANETARY GAMBLE WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE by Stephen H. Schneider Weidenfeld, £11.99, pp. 184 E nvironmental issues and problems are not new....

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Progress through diversity Felicity Owen on the Courtauld Institute of Art, Britain's leading art historical centre T he Courtauld Institute of Art, housed since 1989 in the...

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The Ways of the Woodcock (Holland & Holland, till 22 November) `Game-bird of the half-light' Simon Courtauld T o have assembled the work of more than 30 artists from six...

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The power of page three

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John Parry on the search for the new voice of Middle England 0 ne of the most influential jobs in Britain is about to be awarded. It -isn't often that a theatre critic can wield...


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Martin Guerre (Prince Edward) I told you so Sheridan Morley I t was Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, in an American magazine interview with me last month, who said that in his view...

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The First Wives Club (PG, selected cinemas) Fading stars Mark Steyn he First Wives Club opens with an old Burt Bacharach/Hal David number, one of those songs for swingin'...

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Survival tactics Peter Phillips T he glamour of travelling is often referred to, but not, I think, in the context of month-long concert tours of the United States. It is a...

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Pop music

The Spectator

Solo mistakes Marcus Berkmann O ld people make records too. Phil Collins has one out, full of the usual plinky ballads and those resolutely unfunky fast ones that sound a bit...

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La La La Human Steps (Peacock Theatre) Doug Varone and Dancers (Queen Elizabeth Hall) The Prince of the Pagodas (Royal Opera House) Been here before thannandrea Poem A...

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Sour grapes James Delingpole 'The thing I normally recommend to a young man in your shoes,' said my universi- ty careers adviser, 'is to become an invest- ment banker.' That...


The Spectator

A genuine character Michael Vestey T he Radio Lives programme The Real Life of Brian, about the late Brian Red- head, on Radio Four last week (Thursday) was not exactly the...

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Soothing thoughts Alan Judd C onnollys make all manner of stylish leather goods but are best known for what we sit on in our Rolls Royces, Jaguars, Fer- raris, Aston Martins,...

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The turf

The Spectator

Eleven to watch Robin Oakley R eaders of this column were advised on 19 October to back Gay Kelleway's sprinter Astrac next time out over six fur- longs, after his...

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High life

The Spectator

Unfashionable thoughts Taki I n the summer of 1975 I was on board Stavro Niarchos's massive gin-palace, the Atlantis, lying off the coast of Spain. We were a jolly little...

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Low life

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So long, Soho Jeffrey Bernard They were certainly better days. But somewhere I suppose there are people who are complaining that Swiss Cottage isn't what it was: The casting...

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BRIDGE Indirect entry Andrew Robson FREAK deals are usually more exciting than they are instructive. Here we feature a hand that was both — in large measures. Dealer East...

Country life

The Spectator

Eating babies Leanda de Lisle Foxes get very hungry in the winter time. We lost 30 piglets to them last year. They sneak up to the outdoor huts and snatch the first piglet...

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Goods from the greats

The Spectator

WE HAVE another saint from across the Atlantic this week, Frances Cabrini, the first American citizen to be canonised. She died in 1917 and was canonised in 1946. In fact she...

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SI,GLE .1.1 SCOTCH %NMI ISLE OF ;IAA u RA 415615 Y4115(010 MHISAI COMPETITION Un-English Archery Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1958 you were invited to supply part of a...


The Spectator

IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND CHESS Champagne victory Raymond Keene AT THE highest levels chess is no longer what it used to be. Now, it is a fiercely com-...

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CROSSWORD 1287: Your starter for 10 by Doc

The Spectator

A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1990 Port for the first correct solution opened on 2 December, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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Boys on tour Simon Barnes MICHAEL Atherton, the England cricket captain and a bachelor, has asked that play- ers do not bring their wives and children out to join them at any...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. On a recent trip to England from the Lot, I visited my brother-in-law (of whom I am very fond) in his rolling acres, and was given a chair to sit on round the...