1 APRIL 2000

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The Spectator

Springtime — time to decommission those hardy perennials M r David Trimble was re-elected as as leader of the Ulster Unionists by the party's council by 57 per cent of the vote...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405

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1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 THE ENGLISH PATIENCE You have to keep your eyes peeled these days to spot an old maid cycling to commu- nion through the mist, let alone a plough team...

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M id-March is a good time to be in Venice, during the uncertain transition from winter to spring. At one moment, the skies are Canaletto blue, then suddenly the mists sweep in...

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Mandelson has no grip, except on that hatchet aimed at peace subtitled the Patten Report BRUCE ANDERSON W hen John Major set the Ulster peace process in motion, he reckoned...

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Sorry, boys, but Harriet's right. It's time for a metaphorical castration BORIS JOHNSON H arriet Harman, the former Cabinet minister, has suddenly understood what is wrong...

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Rachel Johnson reveals the secret plans that have been drawn up in Belgium to make Napoleon the victor in 1815 Waterloo IF you climb the lion mound — the conical, 100-metre...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit HOW many times have you come to the conclusion that new laws are there to stop ordinary people doing harmless things,...

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example to us all IT'S time for the Five Minute Hate again, and this month's subject is that old favourite, gypsies. Bescarfed 'asylum-seek- ers' from Romania are running amok...

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Mark Steyn says that the American press won't hear a word against the vice-president New Hampshire AL GORE has a new catchphrase: 'Like John McCain'. He tried it out on the...

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Lucy Kellaway on business manuals that tell managers how to market Brand You' IN the last few months one million Ameri- cans, mostly men and mostly executives, have each...

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Robert Hardman says that Australia's republicans have gone all wobbly Canberra OUTSIDE Melbourne's Museum of Immi- gration, half-a-dozen placard-waving republicans were...

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Martin Mears interviews the former vice-president of the Law Society and finds her in fighting form THIS summer Miss Kamlesh Bahl, the for- mer chairman of the Equal...

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Michael Heath

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The Spectator

Reports of Peter Stothard's removal as editor are greatly exaggerated STEPHEN GLOVER 0 n Tuesday morning, Peter Stothard, editor of the Times, called his departmental heads...

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The Spectator

It's Saddam's fault From Peter Hain, MP Sir: I have

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corrected the nonsense that the Foreign Office 'blocked' George Gal- loway's flight to Iraq so many times that I am amazed to see John Casey repeating it in The Spectator...

LETTERS Brittan, Scots and witches

The Spectator

From Professor Carl E. Armerding Sir: Those of us who believe that the ques- tion of truth is best addressed by revealed religion have come to expect periodic broadsides of the...

From Mr Sebastian Robinson Sir: While I very much enjoyed

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Samuel Brit- tan's anti-religious set-piece, he should be aware that the figure he quotes of 4,500 Scot- tish women having been executed for witchcraft over a 100-year period in...

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Expiring perspiring

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From Mr E.S. Turner Sir: Paul Johnson muses on the conditions in which the human head can give off steam (And another thing, 25 March). There was an impressive example to be...

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Shock of the old

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From Mr Kevin Dawson Sir: Just where does one start in reply to David Yelland's extraordinary piece 'Cogi- to, Ergo Sun' (18 March)? I guess that if you've spent your entire...

The new Hancock

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From Mr Peter Smalley Sir: I must suggest to the usually reliably Michael Vestey that he is wrong about Gra- ham Fellows (Arts, 25 March). Mr Fel- lows's invention, John...

Georgian spat

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From Jacob Simon Sir: As the curator responsible for the new 18th-century galleries at the National Por- trait Gallery, I am delighted that your cor- respondent, John Martin...

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The night Lord Salisbury squirted a soda siphon down my

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trousers FRANK JOHNSON A a journalist all my working life, I was interested in what the gossip columns wrote about the way journalists behaved at the din- ner for the annual...

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The Spectator

The only way to defend ourselves against unbridled capitalism is to cleave to Europe PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE T o anyone of taste and discernment except for a small minority of...

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Orphan assets

The Spectator

LUCKIER still. I thought I had five shares in Oldham Estates and was pleased when Cazenove offered to buy them for £1.60 each. I had bought them to watch Harry Hyams, the...

Prudence and the Pill

The Spectator

GORDON BROWN has cracked it. Sex, so I noted at the time of his Green Budget, is one of the few human activities for which he had yet to provide an incentive, a regime, a...

Elephant Bill

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LIKE a crazed elephant, the Financial Ser- vices and Markets Bill barges onwards through the House of Lords. It will soon collect its 2,000th amendment — one for each of the...


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The English patient's in a bottomless hole so it's time to stop pouring CHRISTOPHER FILDES B lame drifts around over Longbridge like a big black cloud, with warring cherubs...

Norman blooded

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`NASTY Norman' seems an unkind name for British Airways News to call my colleague on The Spectator's board, Lord Tebbit. Apart from anything else, First Officer Teb- bit...

Begging on the Tube

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LONDON Underground is to be congratu- lated on its mastery of the Beggars'-Sore Technique (writes my railway correspondent, IX Gricer). In Whitehall, this is how the spending...

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Don't let Blair ruin it Roger Scruton says England must fight the devolution conspiracy LAST June, during the elections to the European Parliament, 78-year-old George Staunton,...

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The Spectator

Annabel Barber goes on a rural ride through Somerset and finds ruined farmers and fine lamb CAME into this country from the Wen, in a rather drizzling rain, with the express...

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Mind your language

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VERONICA's godmother suddenly said to her as we chatted round the kitchen table, 'Hanged, dear, not hung.' I can't say that it was the sort of advice that I had expected her to...

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Tony Blair is wrong, says William Hague: devolution can only work if England is given her voice THERE always used to be something very un-British about trying to define who...

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Michael Wharton laments the emergence of an odious, degraded and conformist country `DAMN you, England!' cried John Osborne in one of his well-publicised the- atrical...

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You wouldn't read about it: Les Patterson finds that the Poms are as dirty and dishonest as ever `IF you ever want to hide something from a Porn, stick it under the soap.'...

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WATCH OUR LIPS Paul Johnson argues that the key to the English is their words WE English are a mixed breed, difficult to categorise physically or in most other ways. We are...

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The Spectator

John Casey says the triumph of English is a cause for national mourning AT a hotel swimming-pool in Baghdad last year I found myself listening in to a con- versation between...

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The Spectator

A t a rough guess, I would say it's about 15 years too late for the publication of this book, which appears at something of a low point in Sylvia Plath's reputation. Parts of it...

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Cutting the cackle

The Spectator

P. J. Kavanagh WAR POETS AND OTHER SUBJECTS by Bernard Bergonzi Ashgate, f42.50, pp. 222 W riters write better about themselves than most critics write about writers: here is a...

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Slaughtering seals and saving souls

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Sara Wheeler THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF JOHN NICOL, MARINER edited and with an introduction by Tim Flannery Canongate, £12, pp. 198 ON THE MISSIONARY TRAIL by Tom Hiney Chatto,...

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If Cleopatra's nose . . .

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Andrew Roberts THE NAPOLEON OPTIONS edited by Jonathan North Greenhill Books, £17.99, pp. 221 W h at if Napoleon had won the battle of Waterloo? It's an old question, posed by...

A clearer but not cleaner portrait

The Spectator

Sam Phipps RASPUTIN: THE LAST WORD by Edvard Radzinsky Weidenfeld, f20, pp. 503 T he life and prolonged death of Grigori Efimovich Rasputin passed into legend almost as soon as...

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RATES RATES 12 months (52 issues) 6 months (26 issues) UK 0 £97 0 5,49 Europe 0 5109 0 555 USA 0 US$161 0 US$82 Australia 0 Aus$225 0 Aus$113 Rest of World 0 5119 0560...

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Deciding who to become

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Kate Chisholm WHEN I LIVED IN MODERN TIMES by Linda Grant Granta, £15.99, pp. 261 S cratch a Jew and you've got a story,' says Evelyn Sert, the narrator of Linda Grant's second...

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A guided tour round wisdom

The Spectator

Paul Ferris THE CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY by Alain de Botton Hamish Hamilton, £14.99, pp. 265 T his stroll through the lives and works of half a dozen philosophers is...

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Boxing clever in academe

The Spectator

Michael Carlson HUSH MONEY by Robert B. Parker John Murray, £16.99, pp. 309 T here's an old saying, repeated with increasing frequency, that academic politics are so vicious...

A selection of recent paperbacks

The Spectator

Fiction: The Happiest Days by Cressida Connolly, Fourth Estate, £6.99 The Plato Papers by Peter Ackroyd, Vintage, £6.99 Making Love by Lucretia Stewart, Vintage, £6.99 The...

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Beating the Yanks at their own game

The Spectator

Nicholas Fearn SERGIO LEONE by Christopher Frayling Faber, £20, pp. 494 S ergio Leone once described his own character as an amalgam of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The...

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Ugly is as ugly does

The Spectator

Miranda France SCARS OF SWEET PARADISE by Alice Echols Virago, £18.99, pp. 408 J anis Joplin reckoned to have lost her looks around the age of 14. From then on, she said, 'the...

Unflustered and on target

The Spectator

Olivia Glazebrook ICE CREAM by Helen Dunmore Viking £15.99, pp. 217 I ce cream is an immaculate collection of 18 short stories: each is smoothly executed, polished and well...

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The natives are revolting

The Spectator

Roger Lewis THE UNRULY LIFE OF WOODY ALLEN by Marion Meade Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 384 W ho better to disentangle Woody and Mia's primitive sub-culture — the extraordinary...

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Cock-up and cover-up

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Donald Cameron Watt WHITEHALL AND THE SUEZ CRISIS edited by Saul Kelly and Anthony Gorst Cass, £39.50, £16.50, pp. 250 T he Suez crisis of 1956 was a disaster and a humiliation...

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The Spectator

I n architecture, as in many other areas of culture, to be characterised as typically English would normally be construed as an insult. There is nothing new about this. It has...

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Today we have naming of parts

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Martin Gayford on the relaunch of the Tate on Millbank L ast week, amid a welter of champagne and celebrities, a brand-new London art gallery was launched on Millbank: Tate...

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Jacek Malczewski (Musee d'Orsay, till 14 May) Stylistic jumble Nicholas Powell P aris by night and even, one imagines, by day had little allure for Polish painter Jacek...

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Pop music

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A Danorak writes Marcus Berkmann D eferment of gratification, the psy- chologists call it, although I'd say it was just the long queue at Our Price. On the day the new Steely...


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Keep your eyes shut Michael Tanner E nglish National Opera's new Pelleas et Melisande evokes two sharply opposed reactions: the musical side is superb, in an individual way....

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Theatre 1

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The Room/Celebration (Almeida) Other People (Jerwood Upstairs) Pinter double Sheridan Morley I t is not often you get to see the first and the most recent plays by a major...

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Theatre 2

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As You Like It (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford) Verbal magic Patrick Carnegy N ever is the theatre at greater risk than when it hopes to import a touch of glamour by...

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Carmen (Sadler's Wells) Theatrical hybrid Giannandrea Poesio I n the introductory note to a memorable recording of Bizet's opera Carmen, the celebrated Spanish mezzo Teresa...

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Oscar longueurs Mark Steyn parody lyrics is to stick as closely to the original as possible, and Billy Crystal's Oscar opener was exemplary. He was using `Tonight' from West...


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Quite filthy Simon Hoggart A . people say there's nothing to watch on television. I've just been sent the thick voting leaflet — book, rather — from the BFI, which is running...

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A gentler age Michael Vestey Listening to Tony Blair being inter- viewed by John Humphrys on Today last week I was struck by the unusually deferen- tial tone throughout. It...

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Not motoring

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For the love of Gothic Gavin Stamp M y ancient Aunt Ethel, who hardly ever strayed from her home near Bristol, once told me how she had been taken for a drive in the country...

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The turf

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What a mistake Robin Oakley B ritish Airways' Lisbon to London schedules not being framed with the racing timetable in mind, I found myself arriving at Kempton Park from the...

High life

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Go for it, James Taki nlike the tabloid press, I am not about to heap abuse on James Hewitt. His speciality may be unhappy married or divorced women, but nowadays this could...

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No life

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Fecund ferrets Jeremy Clarke L ast week Fatima's and Selma's vaginas swelled up. I was dreading their coming into season this year because it is said that ferrets sicken and...

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Country life

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It's all change Leanda de Lisle S omeone was complaining to me about Paul Johnson the other day. He didn't trust anyone who was left-wing one decade and right-wing the next....

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Singular life

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The great seducer Petronella Wyatt T he other evening I was quietly sipping a drink when I looked up and recognised someone. Eh? I looked again, just to make sure. I looked a...


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Check mates Andrew Robson SAVE The Children have recently joined forces with The English Bridge Union. Their first fund-raising event was a Pro- Am held last month, in which...

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Robert Hardman

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FROM our window table I had vaguely noticed a small cluster of people in the distance looking at something. It was only after lunch that a waiter informed me that they had been...

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The Spectator

Loony aunts, etc. Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2129 you were invited to supply a poem describing the eccentricities of a real or imaginary relative. It was only last year...

RdbeCi The U kimate Islay Malt.

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CHESS London calling Raymond Keene MOVES are afoot to create a real World Championship match in London in October. The money has already been raised to pit Kasparov in a...

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No. 2132: 100 years on

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You are invited to imagine that Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell walks down Oxford Street today and writes a letter describing the experience to one of her circle in the other...


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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 17 April, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or,...

Solution to 1454: Centrepieces

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' s anion omm 011111511F1 m Ing ' 4 6 11 A de Net mourn kl A cri r le 0 chdurdehtjR All ris G MEI T A F ill CI , griNn le IA H gam In id n 0 o il 0 RDe ID II P...

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Q. I am the mother of the most enchanting 15-month-old girl twins. Part of my daily rou- tine is to strap them into their large double pram and parade up and down the King's...


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NAMES matter, especially with horses. There are all kinds of superstitions about the danger of changing a horse's name, or of changing his stable-name, his nickname. A name is...