19 OCTOBER 1996

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The great Parliamentary sleaze crash of '96 M iss Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker of the House of Commons, told MPs on their first day back after the summer recess that `very...

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The PM is going to raise the issue of class, but this is not inverted snobbery. It's inverted socialism BRUCE ANDERSON T he Prime Minister raised the issue of class last week...

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FRANK JOHNSON A a cause celebre, the struggle between Mr Neil Hamilton and Mr Mohamed Al Fayed has something rare about it. It now entirely hinges on whether something did or...

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I would like to say something on behalf of a man who has been left to sink MATTHEW PARRIS I t can happen to a columnist that he wants to write something, then, discretion...

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Once upon a time, disgraced spooks went quietly. Now Anne McElvoy finds they take their grievances to court and threaten to divulge state secrets It surprised no one very...

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As another Motor Show opens in Birmingham, Alan Judd charts the fortunes of the British car industry IS THERE a British motor industry? Up to a point, Lord Copper. In fact,...

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Mind your language

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THAT silly bishop who ran off with a woman who admits to being 41 and has a 24-year-old son told a press confer- ence, which he held in the garden of his Lake District hideaway,...

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Steven Norris and Gavin Stamp put the opposing arguments Steven Norris, who has worked in the car retail business, ZS a former Transport Minis- ter, and whose autobiography,...

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Neil Hamilton, writing about it for the first time, denies there were any money-stuffed brown envelopes — and much else `WELL DONE, thou good and faithful servant.' So Stewart...

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The press's victims need the protection of the law, not Lord Wakeham's popgun, says Earl Spencer LORD WAKEHAM and Virginia Bot- tomley have reached the same sorry con- clusions...

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Kate Hatch was sent to meet men, Simon Sebag Montefiore met Mongolians - two last impressions of the conference season Kate Hatch writes: THE EDITOR asked me to go to the...

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There is nothing new about this form of treatment, says Milton Shulman. He recalls an operation he saw over 30 years ago THE SIGHT of Barbara Castle jabbing her finger...

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What's it like, John, down there in the class-war sewer? PAUL JOHNSON I t was not only immoral of John Major to try to breath fiery life into the dying embers of the class war...

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Vision and boundless hope and optimism there's a lot of it about CHRISTOPHER FILDES New York Here on Wall Street, these are heady days. The world's biggest economy, as val-...

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The good courtier's craft

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Sir: As a participant in the famous, or noto- rious, Chequers seminar on Germany, may I add to the comments already made by George Urban, Lord Dacre and Lady Thatcher (Letters,...

Rewriting history

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Sir: Keeping track of the extraordinary things written by Mr Panagiotis Theodora- copulos (Taki for short and he is) is never easy, but when he states (High life, 12 October)...

LETTERS The trouble with Tootsie

The Spectator

Sir: The point of interest is whether we should feel sorry for Mr Fayed, as your Fayed article (`The case for Mohamed', 12 October) invites us to do. Is Mr Fayed the solution to...

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Unreliable observer

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Sir: A search of the Commentary files has failed to uncover a single article by a 'New Right Cold War warrior' urging the West to push the nuclear button, as Peregrine...

In praise of Jeremy

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Sir: I am so glad that you printed an article denouncing the vicious attack by two jour- nalists on Jeremy Thorpe (No new insight', 12 October). I always think of him as the...

A dazzled Dane

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Sir: That Jens Mommsen was so called in his family is no mystery (Books, 5 October): the man was a Dane, born in Slesvig. His first serious research, in Italy, was under Danish...

All wrong

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Sir: In his Media studies column of 5 October, Stephen Glover commented on the Guardian's efforts, by forged fax, to obtain a copy of my Ritz hotel bill in 1993 and went on to...

Comfortable outrage

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Sir: In Theodore Dalrymple, Melanie Phillips has found her perfect reviewer (Books, 12 October). They both share a comfortable state of outrage at the appalling condition of...

A drink problem

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Sir: I was intrigued to see A.A. Gill's attempt to write down a conversation in a restaurant in which Harold Pinter took part (Harold pauses, Antonia is silent', 28 September)....

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My advice to ambitious politicians worried about whether they'll ever be PM: keep your 'air on! STEPHEN GLOVER E eryone knows that this is the media age, and that television...

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Not always happy and glorious David Sexton THE QUEEN: A BIOGRAPHY OF ELIZABETH II by Ben Pimlott HalperCollins, £20, pp. 651 T he Mouse in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...

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The nearest run thing

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Richard Lamb PLOTTING HITLER'S DEATH: THE GERMAN RESISTANCE TO HITLER 1933-1945 by Joachim Fest, translated by Bruce Little Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 419 T he 20 July 1944 attempt...

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A hermit with a handful

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Teresa Waugh THE WITCH OF EXMOOR by Margaret Drabble Viking, 116, pp. 276 A ppealingly named The Witch of Exmoor, Margaret Drabble's new novel is not about a witch at all....

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Living and partly living

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Colin Thubron BAD LAND by Jonathan Raban Picador, £15.99, pp. 326 F rom a mosaic of diaries, photos, personal conversations and research, Jonathan Raban has resurrected in Bad...

Make me good but not Yeti

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Tom Hiney ESAU by Philip Kerr Chatto, £15.99, pp. 356 T here is a healthy fashion at the moment for informative novels. It is the shared propensity of such bestselling writ-...

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Looking on the bright side

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Raymond Carr EMERSON AMONG THE ECCENTRICS by Carlos Baker Liking, f25, pp. 608 A las, if we arc to understand the ide- als which still infuse the American mind, we must face...

. . . plus c'est la meme chose

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Nicholas Harman WINDS OF CHANGE by Trevor Boyle John Murray, £19.99, pp. 308 I t is hard to describe what fun it was get- ting rid of the African empire. We danced and laughed...

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Saying goodbye to the islands

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Alan Campbell THE ADMIRAL'S BABY by Laurens van der Post John Murray, £19.99, pp. 322 ho now remembers the Dutch East Indies? The third largest empire in the world, jewel of...

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Serious fun and dangerous games

The Spectator

Thomas Blaikie BEYOND THE FRONT LINE by Tony Geraghty HatperCollins, £20, pp. 355 B eyond the Front Line's sensational sub- title, The untold exploits of Britain's most daring...

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Looking back in good humour

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Jonathan Cecil SCRATCH AN ACTOR by Ned Sherrin Sinclair-Stevenson, £1 5.99, pp. 322 N ed Sherrin's entertaining comedy- thriller takes us back to 1953: to a London dulled by...

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Another false dawn

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Liliana Brisby CAFE EUROPA : LIFE AFTER COMMUNISM by Slavenka Drakulic Abacus, £6.99, pp. 213 I n How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, a collection of essays pub- lished...

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A far cry from Savile Row

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Andrew Barrow THE TAILOR OF PANAMA by John Le Carte Hodder, £16.99, pp. 410 T ailoring is a subject close to my heart. I love its terminology and old-fashioned practitioners,...

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A selection of recent paperbacks

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Fiction: Journey to Ithaca by Anita Desai, Minerva, £6.99 Primary Colors by Anonymous, Vintage, £6.99 Difficulties of a Bridegroom by Ted Hugh- es, Faber, £6.99 The Double...

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A painter partial to pigs

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Patrick Skene Catling SOWA'S ARK: AN ENCHANTED BESTIARY by Michael Sowa Thames & Hudson, £12.95, pp. 71 M ichael Sowa, a German painter of superlative technical skill and a...

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Just Say No

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I don't absolutely believe this myself, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that all book reviewing — some would say all reviewing full stop — is essentially an ephemeral...

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Driven by a tortured imagination Roy Strong believes that the stage designer Leslie Hurry deserves reappraisal I was unable to go to Leslie Hurry's memorial service at St...

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Exhibitions 1

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Grand Tour: The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century (Tate Gallery, till 5 January) Cultural exchange Martin Gayford F or anyone interested in art and archi- tecture,...

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Exhibitions 2

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Sir William Chambers: Architect to George III (Courtauld Gallery, till 5 January) Robert Adam: The Creative Mind (Sir John Soane's Museum, till 1 March) Georgian rivals Ruth...

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Grand old man of taste

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Isabel Carlisle talks to Sir Brinsley Ford, the doyen of Grand Tour studies T o say that Sir Brinsley Ford is a relic of the Grand Tour could be construed as impertinent....

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Siegfried; Gotterdammerung (Covent Garden) It's got to go Michael Tanner A ter the lows of Die Walkiire, with some weak casting and a ubiquitously try- ing production,...

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Pop music

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A question of timing Marcus Berkmann T hey're in the shops now. The brand new greatest hits packages, the best-sin- gles-of-the-year CDs, the live Oasis videos, the...

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The Lodger (Stratford East) The Alchemist (National Theatre) Accommodating Eva (King's Head) Sinister happenings Sheridan Morley A t Stratford East there is a rare chance to...

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Tin Cup (15, selected cinemas) Bunker mentality Mark Steyn H alfway through Tin Cup, one of the PGA golfers mentions that he once took part in some `pro-am shit for some...


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An acolyte writes James Delingpole I hope you don't mind,' said my friend Liz, who's in charge of this column, `but we were rather hoping you might do Two Fat Ladies this...

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Can't avoid them Michael Vestey E ven Colditz had its escape route but while the radio is on we remain prisoners of freedom, unable to tunnel ourselves out. I do not just...

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Bugatti beauties Alan Judd I drove a Bugatti the other day. Actually, I didn't but I came closer to it than I've ever been and this is probably my one and only chance to use...

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The turf

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Armchair racing Robin Oakley T hree weeks around the party confer- ence circuit, listening to fine speeches from Robin Cook and Ken Clarke and a great deal more which were the...

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High life

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Heroic subjects Taki Alistair has just finished his book on Napoleon's last years as emperor, an opus I can't wait to get my hands on. Written by the best about the best. Napo...

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Country life

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A new man in my life Leanda de Lisle The bathrooms in the main house are more conservative, although the mirrored walls in our own took a bit of getting used to. It can be...

AI A 0 I It A

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BRIDGE Suit yourself Andrew Robson WHETHER to lead partner's bid suit against 3NT or to prefer your own is a recurring question. Sadly there is no clear cut answer. Apart...

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Fair and interesting Auberon Waugh A most untypical Longford offer with Only one wine from the Burgundy region and nothing from the Rhone, but many of the wines are...

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Down-under tucker

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`I SHALL entice them to eat me speedily.' The writer of these words was St Ignatius of Antioch who had been condemned to death for his faith and was about to be thrown into the...

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SIMPSON'S rs•THF•STRAND Talebanned Raymond Keene c R. hrorr, numerous reports. tsar, militia. the new hardline Aighanistan. has banned has often o‘ercome ; go\ - erned by...


The Spectator

II)RA Old story, new twist J aspistos ,N . aYMPI: i*li.)N NO 3954 riding with the — ' , c oz's 'Conclusion'. k. J (substitutine. ' her r - • aashed with an ingenious ; -...

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CROSSWORD A first prize of £2.5 and a bottle of

The Spectator

Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 199(1 Port for the first correct solution opened on 4 No) ember, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK solvers, the latest edition of The...

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A triumphant victory Simon Barnes ON THIS cold and damp island of the north, we might describe a particularly good smile as 'like the sun coming out'. But that doesn't really...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . Q. In Zimbabwe we have a problem with insecticide-resistant fleas which some peo- ple have difficulty in controlling on their pets. Often these pets go into rooms...