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'I think it's one of those horrid Benetton ads.' T he Government moved to give coun- cils six years to pursue those who have not paid poll tax. Councils warned that it would...

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SPECTATOR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 ROCKETING COSTS 'Nuclear blackmail' makes a good,...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY — RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £71.00 0 £35.50 Europe (airmail) 0 £132.00 0 £41.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$110 0 USS55.00 Rest of Airmail 0 £98.00 0 £49.00 World...

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The Tories get the smell of victory, and a slight whiff of moral defeat SIMON HEFFER I f you consult one of those charming Reader's Digest style home doctor encyclo- pedias,...

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LUDOVIC KENNEDY A nong the junk mail that reached me this week was a rag calling itself CARE Campaigns Bulletin. 'Let's be clear what we mean by euthanasia,' it says....

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A son of the massage parlour highlights the shortcomings of democracy CHARLES MOORE I have heard many arguments for the reform of the House of Lords, but had not previously...

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The monarchy is surrounded by some of the least attractive members of the upper classes and is getting some of the least effective advice, argues Hugh Massingberd NEXT WEEK —...

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Tony Samstag sees the lunatic results of Norway's self-inflicted isolationism Oslo IN A bitterly fought referendum 20 years ago, Norway reversed at the last minute its...

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If symptoms persist. . .

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HAPPINESS is but a pale reflection of misery. I admit that my judgment may in part be distorted by prolonged contact with my clientele; but, even after due allowances are made,...

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Boris Johnson finds out what makes the Flemish hate foreigners Antwerp BY CONVENTIONAL standards, Antwerp is the most right-wing city in Europe. Imagine if more than a quarter...

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Michael Frayn savours the tedium of old-fashioned money-changing NO MORE Wechsel. The last of the sum- mer Cambio. The real sadness of the Sin- gle European Currency is that...

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Charles Haughey is the chieftain of the how he has inspired such loyalty IN DEMOCRACIES, electorates get the leaders they deserve. The Irish got Charles J. Haughey. The...

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Sandra Barwick meets the people who want to declare independence from Cumbria THE PARISH councillors of Appleby-in- Westmorland debate the affairs of the town surrounded by...

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Dominic Lawson writes: Three years ago we appealed to our readers to buy half- price subscriptions to The Spectator, which we undertook to send to people in Poland. The scheme...

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Taxes and the Labour death-wish PAUL JOHNSON L abour seems fated to lose the coming election, as it has lost the last three — indeed it has won only two decisive victo- ries,...

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The Spectator

Sid needs the Belgian dental treatment it's time he was in bonds CHRISTOPHER FILDES B elgian dentists relax in their chairs, while bond salesmen lean over their wallets and...

Tax-free zone

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SO NOW, which will be the first company to offer Sid a bond? All that is missing is retail distribution. Imagine an ICI bond with a two-figure yield, offered in £500 units,...

Little and Large show

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ANDREW Large endeared himself to me by putting John Thorn, who taught me his- tory, on the board of the Securities Associ- ation. That regulatory body had quite enough people...

War of the rosés

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KING Charles II Street runs between the Treasury and the Foreign Office like a chasm. The Treasury is roundheaded, the Foreign Office cavalier, the Treasury is par- simonious...

Reduced to clear

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IN THE week since I floated it here, the idea of a Budget-time cut in bank base rates has caught on. It is more and more obvious that the Bank of England, on the Chancellor's...

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Officer's arrest Sir: I read Joanna Coles's article on the 'Little Hitlers of the permanent way' (11 January), with peculiar interest. Some two years ago, I endured the...

Big brain, small heart

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Sir: In his diary of 4 January (which only reached these parts recently) A.N. Wilson is still expressing his heretical views, dis- missing two millennia of the Church as no more...

Obvious, really

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Sir: In her splendid piece on the absurdities of Japanese translation, (The garbled phrase as frozen music', 4 January), Debo- rah Boehm admits to being particularly baf- fled...

Left bankers

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Sir: It was generous of James Buchan to write that he found After the Fall, the col- lection I have edited on the failure of com- munism and the future of socialism, to be 'by...

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Somebody cares

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Sir: Mathew Parris, (Politics, 25 January) unwittingly highlighted an essential factor in the failure of policy towards Northern Ireland when he said: 'In seven years as a...


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Sir: Why the surprise that testicles are eaten in Kenya and in Wyoming? (Letters, 18 January). Here in France, 20 or 30 years ago, they were often on menus under the euphemistic...

Also sprach Jeeves

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Sir: How could you permit your reviewer of P.J. Kavanagh's Book of Consolations (18 January) to begin with a reference to Jeeves finding Schopenhauer 'fundamental- ly unsound'?...

Missing years

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Sir: Thanks to my personal publicist Jeffrey Bernard, your readers are doubtless aware that I am writing his biography for Christo- pher Sinclair-Stevenson, who is otherwise...

Sir sincerity

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Sir: I do not know whether Simon Cour- tauld underwent army officer training (`To Sir or not to Sir', 4 January), but if he did do so, he would be well aware of further nuances...

Annoying noise

The Spectator

Sir: Candida Crewe's interview with me Nods and angels nowhere', 18 January) took place, as she describes, on a train — and not an empty one. She says that our...

Sir: Concerning Enoch Powell's proposal for the integration of Northern

The Spectator

Ireland with Great Britain: 1. Is abortion to be legalised in Northern Ireland or banned in Great Britain? 2. Is trial by jury to be reinstated in Northern Ireland for...

Exhibit A

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Sir: As any golfer knows, and so would P. D. James (`The Mistletoe Murder', 21/28 December) if she had hefted the clubs, a driver is not the club to use to bash in any- one's...

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BOOKS Not quite ghastly enough

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier Nature [Max wrote] had in some corner of the earth produced two large brown diamonds, of which she was very proud; and it had seemed to her that Andrew Lang's...

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The adventures of her sane mother

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Margaret Forster HIDEOUS KINKY by Esther Freud Hamish Hamilton, £14.99, pp.186 D o not let the silly title of this first novel put you off: there is nothing either 'hideous' or...

The sins of the fathers

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Dudley Young MINOTAUR by Tom Paulin Faber, £16, pp. 298 hat is remarkable about these essays on various poets (mostly English and American) of the past two centuries is the way...

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Some walks on the wild side

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Nigel Clive TWICE ROUND THE WORLD by John Colvin Leo Cooper, £15.95, pp. 218 J ohn Colvin was born in Japan, where his father was Naval Attache, and spent his war service in...

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The Anglican thing

The Spectator

Peter Hebblethwaite ARCHBISHOP FISHER: HIS LIFE AND TIMES by Edward Carpenter Canterbury Press, .05, pp. 820 I t would be difficult,' writes Edward Carpenter, sometime Dean of...

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By hook or by crook

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Anthony Howard NIXON: RUIN AND RECOVERY by Stephen E. Ambrose Simon & Schuster, £20, pp. 667 H e went out the same way he came in, no class' — that was John Kennedy's comment...

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Mathematics could always induce an incalculable window-gazing curl of glazed looking — to blush from, if questioned, like caught red-handed with a girl. And still a guest can...

Squalor in paradise

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Andrew Brown CRUEL AWAKENING by Chris Mosey C. Hurst, £12.99, pp. 208 h e argument of this book can be simply put: Sweden is a ghastly place, populated by emotional cripples...

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Museums No more movable feasts? James Hamilton investigates the Government's threat to touring exhibitions T ucked in at the bottom edge of the back page of a press release...

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Giselle (Covent Garden) Classic inhibitions Deirdre McMahon G iselle was 150 years old last June. Its performance history in many ways reflects the history of ballet itself....

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44 0A February rtsDiary A monthly selection of forthcoming events recommended by The

The Spectator

Spectator's regular critics OPERA Street Scene, Coliseum (071 836 3161), from 13 February. An interesting score from Kurt Weill's Broadway years, set in a Manhattan tenement....

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Angels in America (Cottesloe) Flights of fantasy Christopher Edwards T his is the British premiere of a play by the American author Tony Kushner. The piece trails a rather...


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Blame it on the Bellboy ('12', selected cinemas) Too much gravy Vanessa Letts B lame it on the Bellboy is one of the worst films I have seen. I had low expecta- tions from...

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Andrea Mantegna: Painter, Draughtsman and Printmaker of the Italian Renaissance (Royal Academy, till 5 April) Exquisite conundrum Roderick Conway Morris A idrea Mantegna...

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High life

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Broad- Taki H New York ours after John F. Kennedy thrilled the world with his rousing inaugural speech (written by Ted Sorensen), 'Let the word go forth from this time and...


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Bits of fluff John Diamond I t's been a while since TV companies dis- covered that rather than spending fortunes on paying writers to write scripts, actors to act them out and...

Marlyn Harris is away.

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Giles Auty is away.

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New life

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As Irish as blueberry pie Zenga Longmore 0 malara said a strange thing to me the other day. Well, not such a strange thing, perhaps. I mean, if you or I were to say it, it...

Low life

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In the swim Jeffrey Bernard Yesterday, I was sent a cutting of an interview I did for the Scotsman. In it the writer said that although I am 59 I look 90 and that my legs are...

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'Beautiful soup

The Spectator

THE FIRST of February: partridge and pheasant shooting ends and salmon sea- fishing begins, if the poor things haven't been destroyed by some disastrous method we seem to be so...

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e siVAS ne m

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12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY COMPETITION 12 YEAR OLD Ai SCOTCH WHISKY m-iv Secrets of the deep Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1712 you were in- vited to write a blank verse...


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Celtic binge Raymond Keene G ary Kasparov often jokes that he should be given honorary Scottish citizenship for his resurrection of the Scotch opening at world championship...

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CROSSWORD 1044: Gender-bender by Doc

The Spectator

A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers English Dictionary — ring the word 'Dictionary') for the first three correct solutions...

Solution to 1041: Nothing like a dame '0 E 2 Ni 14

The Spectator

, i OE 7 A M UR AI N GI L 'F 1 1' A T L ...- 1117101 E FI i A " 13 Ti SUHERMA0 1 EDDO S H, ER 0710 An DI RI 1E 0 1 ST E1 E L 1, 2. 1 N 0 5 ' LFRI 4 2 1.1 E 14 L 10 A B M...

No. 1715: With malice to all

The Spectator

Last year rancorous autobiographies seemed to be fashionable. You are invited to suppose that one such work, by a famous dead person of this century, has just been discovered,...

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Batting honours Frank Keating A NICE letter from an Australian friend about Colin Cowdrey's New Year knight- hood. 'With "Sir Kipper" now padded up to go in at second wicket...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. My husband is a DIY fanatic. He is cur- rently cobbling the area in front of our house in a listed village. It is a painstaking job which he is tackling with...