17 MAY 1997

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The Spectator

Labour gets into its swing, hitting the ground running. T he Prime Minister, Tony Blair, told his new Cabinet to do away with formal titles and call him 'Tony', before docking...

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The Spectator

PETRONELLA WYATT colleague of mine used to describe a A certain type of Tory as HCB-positive. HCB stood for 'Home-counties banter', which included such chirpy banalities as...

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The best way to choose the next Tory leader MATTHEW PARRIS O ne misty morning in September 1809, two men who had until days beforehand sat round the same Tory Cabinet table...

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An electoral college, a caretaker leader. Bruce Anderson reports on the plots and schemes of the Tories in opposition MARX wrote that history repeats itself: the first time...

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Michael Heath

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. . . maybe that's part of what the Tories need. But Michael Howard denies Ann Widdecombe's other charges TO BEGIN with, I was not quite sure what 'to make of my former...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

IF, as is unkindly said, cliché is the poet- ry of the people, then proverbs are their rule of life, and a singularly undemand- ing one. No smoke without fire would condemn...

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The real sport of Tyneside isn't football, Anne McElvoy discovers. It's picking up footballers SHARON and Diane were wearing sleeveless halter-neck tops and skirts of a brevity...

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David Carlton disputes the ex-Irish prime minister's view of who didn't vote in Britain's election LAST week I concluded my article with the forecast that the prospect of a...

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Charles Mosley on what some people are prepared to do in order to be thought grand WITH Labour's victory it is safe to say that privilege, like a Landseer stag, will be more...

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Niall Ferguson says that, after years of unreadable historians, readable ones are back AS ALL history undergraduates know, before Macaulay began his History of Eng- land he...

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Canada's Tories face their first post-meltdown general election. Michael Coren on the lesson for Britain's Toronto A YOUNG woman from the public broad- casting service stands...

Second opinion

The Spectator

THERE are fashions in virtue as well as in dress, and some virtues are now as passé as the whalebone corset or the satin-lapelled frock-coat. Prominent among these unfashionable...

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Ruth Dudley Edwards discovers a form of killing at which IRA apologist McGuinness draws the line GERRY Adams and Martin McGuinness will not take their Commons seats, but they...

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0 wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us! PAUL JOHNSON T o Edinburgh, where my third son, Luke, was celebrating the debut of the lat- est addition to...

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Asparagus, sole, salmon, beef, bombes, wines it's the Lord Mayor's red-tie dinner CHRISTOPHER FILDES R ed tie in the morning, the City's still yawning, red tie at night, the...

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Brave signatories

The Spectator

Sir: I see that Tom Carter has turned his attentions to your Letters page (10 May), having bombarded ours with his green- inked rantings for the past six years. Mr Carter is as...

Down with pride

The Spectator

Sir: William Hague (`Energy, enthusiasm, beliefs — these I offer', 10 May) makes a fair case for his supposed primacy inter pares until he comes to the astounding statement: ......

LETTERS Understanding defeat

The Spectator

Sir: Your leading article (10 May) takes issue with the view of 'the Tory Right' that the Conservatives lost because Mr Major was not Eurosceptic enough. Yet given that the Tory...

Shifting shame

The Spectator

Sir: It was sweetly misleading of Anne McElvoy to credit me, having been spoon- fed by Central Office staff, as a reporter who had gone off their absurd 'just forget the...

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Pay up!

The Spectator

Sir: I admire Bruce Anderson's forthright admission (Politics, 10 May) 'I was wrong'. I would admire it even more if he would send me the £100 he bet me at the Spectator lunch...

Sir: I, like David Damant (Letters, 3 May), have doubts

The Spectator

if Alice von Schlieffen exists. I sincerely hope 'she' is a hoax. If Miss von Schlieffen is in fact real, what hope is there for a United Europe? The Schlieffen Plan resulted...


The Spectator

Why are they beefin' 'Bout Alice von Schlieffen When they ought to be railin' 'Gainst Maginot failin'. Leonard Green 47 Brampton Grove, London NW4

Sir: In the course of her post-election anal- ysis Anne

The Spectator

McElvoy touches upon the bien pensant outrage, or feigned outrage, at the Tory election advertisement which showed Tony Blair perched upon Helmut Kohl's knee. `Anti-German!'...

Cheeky Keegan

The Spectator

Sir: John Keegan in his tendentious letter (10 May) cheekily implies that I have had no access to the Schlieffen papers. He supports his case by exhuming the much quoted remark...

Missing components

The Spectator

Sir: David Fingleton's excellent review of the British breakfast overlooks two impor- tant components. There was no mention of kippers, nor any comment on either the variety or...

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Never heard of Living Marxism? Thanks to ITN's writ, you have now STEPHEN GLOVER L 'ving Marxism is not a magazine which will be very familiar to most Spectator read- ers. It...

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New Labour, new tone but new nothing else. I approve PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE N ew Labour is not in favour of change — apart from the cosmetic variety — but rather of stopping, or...

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The self is always with us Philip Hensher THE NAKED HEART by Peter Gay HarperCollins, £30, pp. 463 ti ter Gay's multi-volume history, The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to...

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Come fly with me

The Spectator

Kate Hubbard THE WAY I FOUND HER by Rose Tremain Sinclair-Stevenson, £15.99, pp. 358 A mongst those accomplishments on which Rose Tremain's reputation is found- ed — lucid and...

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Irritable Powell syndrome

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier JOURNALS, 1990-1992 by Anthony Powell Heinemann, £20, pp. 238 A caricature of Anthony Powell by Marc (Mark Boxer) appears on the jacket of this book. As the same...

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Never quite grasping the plot

The Spectator

Byron Rogers RAYMOND CHANDLER by Tom Hiney Chatto, £16.99, pp. 310 T he first thing I do when I have 'flu is to go to bed with Raymond Chandler. At such times a man, being...

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Moderation in all things

The Spectator

Douglas Johnson RAYMOND POINCARE by J. F. V. Keiger CUP, f40, pp. 413 I t was Edouard Herriot who was known as 'la Republique en personne.' But it should have been Raymond...

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A woman of some importance after all

The Spectator

Paul Johnson PERSONAL HISTORY by Katharine Graham Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 642 A lthough the United States has no class system like ours, ultimately springing from legal...

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Off with the raggle-taggle gypsies

The Spectator

David Pryce-Jones THE SCHOLAR GYPSY by Anthony Sampson John Murray, £16, pp. 229 W ith their wild ways, their language and music, gypsies seemed to stand outside the course of...

The high cost of cuts

The Spectator

Correlli Barnett BEYOND ENDURANCE: AN EPIC OF WHITEHALL AND THE SOUTH ATLANTIC by Nicholas Barker Leo Cooper, f19.95, pp. 244 C aptain Nick Barker RN (who sadly died on 7 April...

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. . . when it alteration finds

The Spectator

T his term my sixth form at the City of London School has been doing King Lear. A-Level English Literature is done rather than read, you understand, a process resembling that to...

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To cut or not to cut? Scholarship tells us we need `complete' plays and operas. Not always, argues Michael Tanner C ompletism', `completist' and their cognates are disgusting...

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High School High (15, selected cinemas) Moll Flanders (12, selected cinemas) School for scandal Mark Steyn D avid Zucker is the producer of Air- plane! and the three Naked...

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Gilbert & George: Fundamental Pictures (Sonnabend and Lehmann Maupin, New York, till 28 June) What an achievement! Roger Kimball I t is one of the oddities of being an art...

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Theatre 1

The Spectator

Master Class (Queens) The Seagull (Old Vic) The wrong note Sheridan Morley T here is a kind of noblesse oblige about weekly magazines not attacking each other's internal...

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Theatre 2

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Hamlet (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford) The Spanish Tragedy (Swan, Stratford) Sweet is revenge James Treadwell T his is a potentially intriguing pair of new...

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Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (The Peacock Theatre) Dutch stunners Giannandrea Poesio T heoretically, interpretation should be an essential element of theatre dance. Yet, as many...

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New Labour drama James Delingpole S tung into guilt and shame by all those nice things that darlings Leanda de Lisle, Andrew Davies and Michael Vestey have been saying about...


The Spectator

Banish the old attitudes Ursula Buchan I f you go to Chelsea Flower Show next week, you will see 'gardens' representing every style from Mogul to Moroccan, from Provençal to...

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Grammar grudges Michael Vestey T he word feedback is a technical term in electronics and biology but, as the late Sir Kingsley Amis points out in his recently published The...

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The turf

The Spectator

Happiness is . . . Robin Oakley I ate a second lunch on Saturday. As the rain bucketed down on the course that likes to call itself 'Lovely Lingfield' and two umbrellas...

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High life

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Dressing down Taki J ust as familiarity breeds contempt, informality generates disrespect. Can any of you imagine Winston Churchill in a track suit? Disraeli dressed in blue...

Low life

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Birthday blues Jeffrey Bernard O n Tuesday 27 May I shall be 65, and the only compensation about that mile- stone is the fact that this morning the DSS has sent me forms to...

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Country life

The Spectator

Something to talk about Leanda de Lisle I f you look carefully, you'll find a little iron gate, jammed up against the shrubbery on the far west of the rookery. There is no...

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The Spectator

Wrong contract Andrew Robson WHEN you have reached the wrong con- tract there is a temptation to rebuke part- ner, or to play the hand in a hurried and uninterested fashion,...

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Imperative cooking: a new Norman conquest

The Spectator

WHEN I try to discover what the socialist government is up to and turn to the left- wing newspapers for an answer, I am told it is 'modernising the state'. 'Modern', what- ever...

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IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND CHESS How Kasparov lost Raymond Keene AMAZINGLY, IBM's Deep Blue comput- er has defeated the human world champion Garry Kasparov in...


The Spectator

JORAii sISGLE .11 SCOTCH UNISKI ISLE OF JURA ,INI I, .11, . , 1:11,1,1 COMPETITION A few royal minutes Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1982 you were invited to supply an...

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CROSSWORD 1311: You have to larf by Doc

The Spectator

A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 2 June, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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Dreams of glory Simon Barnes IT IS hard to contemplate Middlesbrough Football Club without being overwhelmed by moralisings of the most banal kind. Mid- dlesbrough contest the...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. I have an old friend who has always been rather competitive with me. Just recently he has annoyed me by apologising too much about the fact that he cannot...