19 FEBRUARY 1994

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The Spectator

The Importance of Being Earnest Lady Bracknell: 'To lose one colleague, Mr Major, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose five looks like carelessness.' B ritish Steel was...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 WE ARE NOT AMAZED `N one of the worst French novels from which careful parents try to protect their children can be as bad as what is daily...

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The distinction between a poker face and an entirely blank one SIMON HEFFER T he Tories are, yet again, convulsed by scandal. They seem more concerned about a middle-aged MP...

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DOMINIC LAWSON I am sorry if some readers were shocked by the abrupt nature of the message in place of the Low Life column last week. But its absent author wanted the explana-...

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Let us raise our glasses, please, to a very happy memory AUBERON WAUGH A bout 890 people die on average every day in the United Kingdom. Nearly all these deaths are sad for...

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Alasdair Palmer discovers an appalling saga of cover-up and confusion involving infertile women, plundered corpses, the Department of Health and multinational drug companies...

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Mind your language

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MRS Peter Frencham from Cambridge has written to ask why the river there is called both the Granta and the Cam. It is an odd story. Cambridge was known in the time of St Bede...

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John Simpson says that the attitude of some Serbians reminds him of Saddam Hussein's men before the bombing of Baghdad Pale THE DISTANCE between Sarajevo and Pale, the little...

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If symptoms

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persist.. . WHEN I WALKED into the ward last week, I discovered that the patients had been divided, more or less, into two teams on opposite sides of the central aisle: the...


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Fergal Keane reports on the waning influence of Chief Buthelezi, once so assiduously courted by the West's leaders Ulundi THE MODELS entered from stage left, hands twirling...

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One hundred years ago

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THE MOST bizarre and striking object in the precincts of the World's Fair at Chicago, was the Ferris Wheel. All day, and most of the night, a skeleton circle of steel, 250 ft....

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Edward Theberton reports on the continuing success of a massive, cowardly, brutal and incompetent invasion Almost all the survivors of the Holocaust ... remember a dream ......

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British sailors and airmen in Gibraltar, en route for possible war in Bosnia, are denied the pleasures of a run ashore, says Simon Courtauld Gibraltar THERE WERE some new faces...

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Canaltopia, jigsaw dogs, missing cats and pseudo-intellectual graffiti PAUL JOHNSON W alking along a canal is to see the city undressed, in its underclothes as it were. When...

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Shopping around

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UNTIL NOW that idea had been looking less and less attractive. Bank depositors large and small, offered rates of interest that barely kept their money warm, shopped around for...


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A cold blast from the Federal Reserve blows through the world's markets CHRISTOPHER FILDES lie weather is coming from here and not just the snow. One cold blast from the...

Lawyers v. directors

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A NEW hazard for chairmen and directors here is to be sued for retroactive fraud. This happens when they say something that puts the share price down. Shareholders then demand...

Paper patterns

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THERE IS something familiar about the Essex House, my hotel here. It reminds me of the partners' dining room at Hambros Bank. That room's chief glory is its painted wallpaper —...

Remote control

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I LIKE it here, so I think I shall stay on and get myself a part-time job as a company chairman. A British company, of course. It would have a London head office, but I wouldn't...

Crossed line

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THAT PORTABLE telephones are a bane of modern life is a point on which I am happy to concur with the previous Chancel- lor. He taxed them. President Clinton has made them a...

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LETTERS The mystery of faith

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Sir: Paul Johnson's puffing and blustering in defence of Catholicism (And another thing, 5 February) will strike many as ridiculous — like a playground bully impo- tently...

Sir: I find it surprising that Paul Johnson should write:

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'No Catholic, for instance, may hold the office of Lord Chancellor.' He has evidently overlooked the Lord Chancellor (Tenure of Office and Dis- charge of Ecclesiastical...

Sir: Having at first taken Ferdinand Mount's article (`No pontification

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in this realm of England', 29 January) for a rather amusing parody of ecclesiastical paranoia, I was disappointed to discover, in this week's Spectator, that it must have been...


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12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £77.00 0 £39.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £88.00 0 £44.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$125.00 0 US$63.00 USA Airmail 0 US$175.00 0 US$88.00 Rest of Airmail 0 £111.00 0...

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Sir: Ferdinand Mount is quite right to detect something in

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the air arising from the publicity surrounding the reception of the Duchess of Kent into the Roman Catholic Church. But together with the delicate per- fume of incense, which Mr...

Ladies last

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Sir: Surely the Duchess of Devonshire is wrong and should know better (Diary, 5 February). The man should always precede the woman on both entering and leaving a restaurant....

Sex and seniority

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Sir: Regarding Taki's column last week (High life, 5 February), intense negotia- tions — verbal rather than Ugandan provided our list of Britain's sexiest men over 40 and we...

Sir: Surely more obvious omissions from The Oxford Companion to

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Twentieth - Centu- ry Poetry are Geoffrey Holloway and Eliza- beth Bartlett, both of whom have published more and better poetry than your reviewer, or, for that matter, Ian...

Rhyme and reason

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Sir: Hilary Corke incorrectly states that Peter Levi does not get an entry in the Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry (Books, 12 February). Levi's entry can be found on...

Mistaken identity

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Sir: I read John Plender's article on the forthcoming House of Fraser flotation in this week's issue with interest (`Rubbing shoulders with the Queen', 5 February). He is,...

Fighting talk

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Sir: There was another reason for Macmil- carried out some air strikes on the Ian's dislike of my godfather Rab Butler (`Centenary of a double-crosser', 5 Febru- ary). George...

Hell on earth

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Sir: Perhaps human beings have room in their minds for one heaven and one hell. The Nazi hell Anne Applebaum discussed (The lesser of two evils', 12 February) reg- istered with...

Sir: In Simon Heifer's unkind article there are various inaccuracies,

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one of which was to accuse Harold Macmillan of being osten- tatious. In fact, he spent little on himself and his clothes were the despair of his fami- ly. When he retired as...

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Cries and whispers David Caute IMAGES: MY LIFE IN FILM by Ingmar Bergman Bloomsbury, f20, pp. 442 T he first Bergman film I saw was Virgin Spring. I emerged with knotted...

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Baby, it's

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cold outside Amanda Craig OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS by Anne Lamott Bloomsbury, £13.99, pp. 272 H aving a baby is like having the most passionate, tender and absorbing love affair...

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Homer in leather

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Stephen Spender COLLECTED POEMS by Thom Gunn Faber, £20, pp. 512 T his is the poet's life which takes the reader from his youth in London to the years of his maturity, spent...

Time must have a stop

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Tim Parks THE FERMATA by Nicholson Baker Chatto, £14.99, pp. 305 A rnold Strine pushes his glasses up on the bridge of his nose and time stops, the world around him stops. But...

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Cracks in the structure

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Eric Jacobs GRAVITY IS GETTING ME DOWN by Fred Plisner Heinemann, £9.99, pp. 280 T he title of this novel — winner of the William Heinemann/Eastern Arts Award for Fiction —...

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For here we have a continuing City

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Kit McMahon THE CITY OF LONDON: VOLUME I: A WORLD OF ITS OWN 1815-90 by David Kynaston Chatto & Windus, f25, pp. 497 T he history of the City of London is a splendid subject...

Passing by on the other side

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Lucretia Stewart THE SORROW OF WAR by Bao Ninh Secker, £8.99, pp. 217 I t has taken nearly 20 years for the United States to lift the trade embargo on Vietnam and almost as...

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Down there on a visit

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Nicholas Harman B andits and soffits and exotic land- scapes were the stuff of the old travel books, written for the man in the armchair with the glass of whisky. Now you can...

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Niamh Aged 16: A Portrait

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Shyness. Delight and welcome are there also. She is content with her lot and has giving eyes. Gladly she accepts her way to grow But shows a happy hint of slight surprise,...

Auntie as Aunt Sally

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Alasdair Palmer FUZZY MONSTERS: FEAR AND LOATHING AT THE BBC by Chris Horde and Steve Clarke Heinemann, £16.99, pp. 315 I t is hard not to feel some sympathy for John Birt. He...

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When we were Jung and unaFreud

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Paul Ferris A MOST DANGEROUS METHOD: THE STORY OF JUNG, FREUD, AND SABINA SPIELREIN by John Kerr Sinclair-Stevenson, f25, pp. 608 F ew would argue with the opinion of Freud's...

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Architecture Easy lookin' Classicism Gavin Stamp pours scorn on the blunderings of Quinlan Terry W hen my old friend and mentor, David Watkin, first wrote here in praise of...

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Tony Oursler; Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler (Lisson Gallery, till 26 March) Seeing the point Giles Auty I t has been a consistent claim of my detractors that I fail to...

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Schindler's List (15', selected cinemas) The film's the thing . . . Mark Steyn W ith Steven Spielberg, the film is the star — such a sensible rule, you wonder why he's the...


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Curse of the Werewolf (Stratford East) Pere Goriot (Orange Tree, Richmond) Bad Company (Bush) Fangs for the memory Sheridan Morley lien Hill's musicals have always been a...

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The Auld Alliance Robin Holloway A hectic five days in the double life of a fully audited academic, moonlighting as composer and critic, can sometimes involve such a whirl as...

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A hymn to ordinariness Martyn Harris I was going to say the only thing I missed in Middlemarch (BBC2, Wednesday, 9.30 p.m.) was the authorial voice: something to give it a bit...


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There's no place like home Alistair McAlpine T he market in art and antiques is tenta- tively recovering, and as it feels its way upwards, it prefers lots that are untouched...

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High life

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Better a leg than one's soul Taki was dead drunk when Julia Mount rang me from The Spectator to tell me about poor Jeff. Of course I have been thinking of him ever since, but...

Low life

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Tea, toast and chain-smoking Jeffrey Bernard C ertain newspapers on the subject of my missing leg were predictably inaccurate. It was typical that a so-called up-market...


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How to save yourself 51 trips to the library . or over £30 on The Spectator If you're forced to share The Spectator with fellow students, then you'll know how difficult it can...

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Long life

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Balliol scared me Nigel Nicolson . arly in this century the Master of Bal- E 1101 would assemble the undergraduates at the end of term for what was called, and is still...

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ON THE same day last week that I lunched at

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what may be England's only Irish restau- rant, an Irish lady was telling Sophie Grig- son, on the Channel Four programme Eat Your Greens, how to make colcannon. At Mulligans the...

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SPAIN'S FINEST CAVA P)1D (0) LE0 SPAIN'S FINEST CAVA Eleven minus Raymond Keene ON 5 FEBRUARY I DISCUSSED the achievement of 14-year-old Peter Leko in becoming the world's...


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COMPETITION Diary of a Nobody Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1817 you were invited to provide entries for three days of a week in the diary of a contemporary Mr Pooter. Some...

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No. 1820: Salute to the Master

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You are invited to write a poem (maximum 12 lines) in the manner of Ogden Nash on one of these subjects: the circus, the supermarket, the seaside. Entries to 'Com- petition No....

W & J

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GRAHAM'S PORT r CROSSWORD W & GRAHAM'S PORT r A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Malvedos 1979 Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 7 March,...

Solution to 1144: Non-U

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h i1 LMAJti I '0 0 `N 0 TISITPREON I SOS* f rr . ...... AIR I ALIOLLNOWMAR . NIEIEIA ERETOFORE %RANI T E A fri Errid R A10117rESARAFIOBA 1:1 I . F 2A A Fl i a.. T 7 L 0 ii IGRE...

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Those were the days . . . Frank Keating HERE we are in Jamaica again, four years on from the very week that English Test cricket was sunning itself after dramatically beating...


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Q. The term 'Cheers' (Your problems solved, 5 February) was disparaged in Nancy Mitford's original `U and Non-U' article in Encounter. This provoked a letter to the editor from...