1 JUNE 2002

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S tephen Byers resigned as Secretary of State for Transport, though

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it wasn't clear for which of his misdemeanours he was taking the jump. The Prime Minister said, pointedly, that Mr Byers had 'endured a huge amount of criticism, much of it...

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W e rejoice in the renewed appreciation of the Queen by her subjects, and give thanks for her 50 years upon the throne. She deserves every manifestation of popular devotion...

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F riends ask if one suffers withdrawal symptoms from newspaper-editing. Yet if one is a writer, there is no greater joy than to write. After an interval of 16 years, I am once...

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Why I hope England will be knocked out in the first round

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STEPHEN GLOVER W hen England won the World Cup in 1966, broadsheet newspapers were restrained in their front-page coverage. The World Cup of 2002 has not even started, yet...

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The Transport Secretary set Olympic standards of reckless incompetence and mendacity. Then he told the truth about the referendum. He had to go. Peter °borne reports IT was a...

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Mind your language

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CHARLES Clive-Ponsoby-Fane kindly wrote to me in December of last year. I have not answered him. I thought he was barking up the wrong tree, and I had not had the opportunity to...

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Andrew Gimson says that without immigration, life in London and in many other places would no longer be possible ZAD PADDA has a proposal which will make Toyah Willcox throw...

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Mark Steyn says the FBI should wise up and tackle the most obvious suspects — young Arab men New Hampshire WHEN political correctness got going in the Eighties, the laconic...

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Ancient & modern

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THOSE who normally enjoy games often feel nothing but distaste for monstrous international foulathons such as Formula One racing and the impending World Cup. Many ancients felt...

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Anti-Americanism is on the rise in Europe, but, says Paul Gottfried, so is anti-Europeanism in America Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania FOR several years now, but especially since...

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Akbar says the conflict over Kashmir pits Indian frustration against Pakistani hypocrisy, and may end in madness THERE is a certain conjunction of stars and planets over India...

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You can keep the Rock, says Colin Bostock - Smith,who remembers his holiday after eating some dodgy pork THE British Foreign Secretary's ongoing attempt to unload Gibraltar on...

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The BBC and bias

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From Mr Mark Damazer Sir: Douglas Davis ('Why I won't talk to the BBC', 25 May) gives a thoroughly misleading impression of the discussion in which he was invited to take part...

From Mrs Joy Wolfe Sir: Bravo to Douglas Davis, and

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bravo again to The Spectator for printing his piece highlighting the disturbing attitude of the BBC to the current crisis in the Middle East. The agenda of Radio Five Live and...

Irish blarney

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Front Soinbhe Lally Sir: What a silly article Martin Walton writes about the Irish ('Green with envy', 25 May). All because some shinner refused him a chair. An English accent...

Potty law

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From Mr Mick Humphreys Sir: Lord Bingham (`Top judge', 25 May) is quite right. The Misuse of Drugs Act is a stupid law: cannabis should be legal. Under Blunkett's plan, the...

Gay, and not so gay, Nazis

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From Mr Stephen Schick Sir: Diana Mosley (`Nothing queer about Hitler', 25 May) is, of course, correct in saying that Ernst Rohm was executed for political reasons rather than...

No joke, being Canadian

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From Mr John Palubiski Sir: I'm a Canadian who has family in Alberta, and I find it difficult to believe that Roger McFallon (The bride swore blue', 25 May) has ever visited...

City slights

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From Mr Edward Spa/ton Sir: While I rather agree with Matthew Parris's condemnation (Another voice, 25 May) of 'city' status being applied to good, honest towns, he is wrong on...

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From Mr Michael Fabri cant, MP Sir: Oh, how I

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normally enjoy reading Matthew Parris's always thoughtful and sometimes provocative articles in The Spectator. Last week, however, he went too far. His article on cities and...

Adult behaviour

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From Mr Norman Pridmore Sir: Mr Ross Clark (Banned wagon, 25 May) suggests that children require a different kind of discipline from adults. He seems to believe that this...

The US of E

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From Mr Herb Greer Sir: Chris Patten's appeal ('Let's get emotional', 18 May) for a European identity is touching, but way out in Left field for the following reasons: Europe...

From Mr Derek 0. Sibthorpe Sir: Chris Patten's sentiment —

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'A healthy European democracy will develop only when people begin to feel an emotional commitment to their European identity' — reminds me of O'Brien's promise to Winston Smith...

Poll tax tactics

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From Mr Rory Bowskill Sir: One of the great and abiding misconceptions of life in Britain is that it is, or ever has been, a democracy. In fact, a better description of the...

Splitting hairs

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From Mary Varela Sir: Stephen Glover (Media studies, 25 May) writes that the Times has to remain dumbeddown to hang on to its readers, and so it publishes articles about nasal...

Settling the score

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From Mr Colin Hall Dexter Sir: Regarding Michael Tanner's ridiculous review (Arts. 18 May): `Puccini's La Rondine would be a disgrace from a composer of any age. That it should...

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Bravery beyond the call of duty: the men who dared to say boo to Picasso

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FRANK JOHNSON A majority of art critics plus received Opinion — two not entirely separate groups — have declared Picasso the winner in the Tate Modern match against Matisse. No...

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'Satan, from his horrid hair, shakes pestilence and war.' Prejudice, too

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PAUL JOHNSON T he TV moguls plan to give us a surfeit of sex and violence in the shape of Queen Boudicca this Jubilee year. What interests me about the lady is her red hair,...

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To know your customer, ask for her gas bill it's all part of Queen's Regulations

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CH RISTOPHER FILDES W c must hope that the Queen does not have her Jubilee spoiled by a letter from her bank, wanting to know who she is. She may be asked to show her gas bill....

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Argumentum ad hominem

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Michael Tanner ZARATHUSTRA'S SECRET by Joachim Kohler, translated by Ronald Taylor Yale, £19.95, pp. 278, ISBN 0300092784 NIETZSCHE: A PHILOSOPHICAL BIOGRAPHY by Riidiger...

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A fragile, precocious talent

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Selina Hastings DENTON WELCH by James Methuen-Campbell Tartarus, £30, pp. 274, ISBN 1872621600 I t was during the Whitsun weekend of 1935 that Denton Welch, 20 years old and...

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Slaughtered budgerigar territory

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Sam Phipps THE MAN WHO WALKS by Alan Warner Cape, £10.99, pp. 282, ISBN 0224062948 W hen his debut novel Malvern Callar came out in 1995, Alan Warner was rightly hailed as an...

Danger: men at work

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Robert Macfarlane OUR POSTHUMAN FUTURE: CONSEQUENCES OF THE BIOTECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION by Francis Fukuyama Profile, £17.99, pp. 256, ISBN 1861972970 F rancis Fukuyama is a...

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A liberal joker in the royal presence

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John Jolliffe HENRY AND MARY PONSONBY: LIFE AT THE COURT OF QUEEN VICTORIA by William M. Kuhn Duckworth, ,f20, pp 302. ISBN 0715630652 H enry Ponsonby was Queen Victoria's...

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Trying to climb the family tree

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Charlotte Jo11 THE BLOOD DOCTOR by Barbara Vine i16.99, pp.400, ISBN 0670912743 W hen Antonia Byatt wrote Possession in 1990 she spawned a now ubiquitous genre of novels...

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Fifty years on

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Graham Stewart A VERY DIFFERENT COUNTRY by Nicholas Faith Sinclair-Stevenson, £19.99, pp. 326, ISBN 0954047643 H ow has Britain changed in the halfcentury of the Queen's reign?...

Sex and the old maestro

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Fiona Maddocks THE LETTERS OF ARTURO TOSCANINI compiled, edited and translated by Harvey Sachs Faber, £30, pp. 468, ISBN 0571196292 W hatever is meant by 'middle age' (around...

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The Randolph Churchill of Italy

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David Gilmour FRANCESCO CRISP! by Christopher Duggan OUP, 175, pp. 777, ISBN 0198206119 F rancesco Crispi is the neglected Titan of the Risorgimento. Every Italian town seems...

Bend sinister in the river

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Charlotte Moore KENTUCKY BLUES by Derek Robinson Cassell, £16.99, pp. 520, ISBN 0304361828 G eography makes history, claims Derek Robinson's big, rich, 19th-century saga. The...

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How technology became the librarian's false friend

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Nicolas Barker DOUBLE FOLD by Nicholson Baker Vintage, £7.99, pp. 7.99, ISBN 0099429039 P eople have been worried about the durability of paper since the 15th century....

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Was the Prime Minister attempting regicide?

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Jane Ridley FENIAN FIRE: THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT PLOT TO ASSASSINATE QUEEN VICTORIA by Christy Campbell HarperCollins, £18.99, pp. 422, ISBN 0007104839 C hristy Campbell has...

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Very flat, the Wash

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John de Falbe PEACETIME by Robert Edric Doubleday, £12.99, pp. 357. ISBN 0385602979 T here aren't many novelists whose new book I would read without question (Banville, Marias,...

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Jewels in the Crown

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Martin Gaylord on the remarkable royal treasures at the new Queen's Gallery n entering an exhibition of PostImpressionist paintings, George V is said to have turned to his...

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Variety and continuity

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Gavin Stamp admires and enjoys the new Queen's Gallery J ust before the first world war, the architect Aston Webb applied a new stone facade to Buckingham Palace and was obliged...

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The Genius of Caspar David Friedrich: German Romantic Art for Russian Imperial Palaces (Somerset House, till 18 August) Truthful observer Andrew Lambirth I n Britain, we have...

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Up for Grabs (Wyndhams) This is Our Youth (Garrick) Homebody/Kabul (Young Vic) A Carpet, a Pony and a Monkey (Bush) The Farm (Southwark Playhouse) No star of stage Toby Young...

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High Society (U, selected cinemas) What a way to go Mark Steyn C onnoisseurs will be arguing for decades about which is the standout horror on Robbie Williams's fascinatingly...


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Iphigenie en Aulide (Glyndebourne) Bacchai (National) Unworthy of the music Michael Tanner G lyndebourne's first new production this year is of Gluck's Iphigenie en Aulide,...

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Pop music

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God Save the Queen Marcus Berkmann nation rejoices. Flags and bunting bedeck every building. A spontaneous outbreak of street parties brings traffic to a halt. Cakes are...

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Passionate debate Michael Vestey S t Mary's Church, Putney, in south-west London, has seen much since it was built in the late 15th century. Altered through the centuries, its...

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Endearingly rich James Delingpole O h sod it. My original version of this column began with 11 unexpurgated F words, a) because I wanted to break the record for most...

The turf

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Most balanced of men Robin Oakley A second trip to Windsor within a week proved to me last Saturday that the only sure way to make money out of racing is to be in the dog-food...

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High life

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Safer in London Taki INew York f I were Jemima Khan I'd make sure my kiddies spend the coming summer months in good old London, with granny Annabel or uncle Robin if need be,...

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Low life

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Saturday night fever Jeremy Clarke H ere in the West Country, the short brown indigenous people live on the council estates, while the pretty thatched cottages and Georgian...

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Singular life

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Party nerves Pe tronella Wyatt A bout six weeks ago I made a terrible mistake: I decided to give a party. This, admittedly, excited the Hungarians in the household. There...

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Cheating, not winning

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Michael Henderson WHICH city, do you think, is the most successful sporting 'community' in the United Kingdom? We'll leave London out of this, for obvious reasons, but include...

Q. I am a writer. At a recent party I

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was detained for some time by an American couple who were questioning me along the lines of 'How do you get your ideas?' and 'How long does it take you to write each chapter?' I...

Q. I have a number of Lulu Guinness handbags which,

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I feel, have now been seen at enough parties but are too beautiful to be consigned to an attic. Have you any ideas? P.K, London W1 I A. Why not fill them with pale gravel or...

Q. 1 often have to drive to north Norfolk with a carload of disruptive children. The

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journey time is three-and-a-half hours. Electronic games are too stimulating. Can you suggest any old-fashioned ones to help keep them occupied as we sit in traffic jams? D.S.,...

Q. Which starters are currently fashionable?

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A. G., London SW3 A. Hand-grown, organic broad beans, served riede, with an oil-and-vinegar dressing and good bread. Mary Killen If you have a question, please write to Dear...