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series of outbreaks of foot-andmouth disease struck in Allendale in

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Northumberland. After 27 weeks of the epidemic there had been 1,987 outbreaks with 3,768,000 livestock slaughtered. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 A LUNATIC ASYLUM POLICY W hat does this government believe in? An asylum seeker...

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I f you've never been seriously ill in your life, you indulge in little fantasies like 'If only I were stuck in a hospital bed for a few weeks I might actually get past chapter...

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If the Tories make the wrong move now, they will end up as an arid little debating society

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PETER OBORNE I t is an enormously long time since the Tory leadership went into abeyance, with the resignation of William Hague in the early morning of 8 June. Not a ball had...

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The Spectator

Peta Buscombe, front-bench Conservative spokesman in the Lords, says that if the party is to regain power it must end its sexual apartheid I DO not feel the gloom that the...

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The Spectator

John Ware discovers that rich Britons in Greece hate fresh local food and insist on fly-ups. Naff or what? WHY are the British so irredeemably naff? The Luftwaffe may explain...

Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit WHILE morality is an area where the government is best advised to tread lightly, one might expect it to make a better...

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Mind your language

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THIS is getting to be like the Venetian Republic. Toby Young has been denounced by a reader from Germany, Marc Attwood-Wood, from whom we have heard before. Mr Young's crime in...


The Spectator

Hugh Russell reports that Zambia's President Frederick Chiluba has problems with women, especially his wife. Now there is hell to pay Lusaka 'YES, it's marital mayhem for Fred...

Page 17


The Spectator

George Monbiot believes that there is a clear conflict of interest in the appointment of Chris Haskins as the 'rural recovety co-ordinator' TONY BLAIR'S policy of replacing...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

NEW Labour is evidently setting up a School for Spin headed by Alastair Campbell. In his dialogue Gorgias, Plato (through the mouth of Socrates) suggests it would better be...

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The Spectator

In October, man and machine will again compete at chess. This time, says Raymond Keene, the playing field will be level IN Arthur C. Clarke's 2001, the astronaut faces HAL,...

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A salute to a lady who played Charles Lamb to New York

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON G ood reporters who are also vivid writers and sensitive human beings are rare. I can think of perhaps a dozen of them, led by the incomparable James Cameron and...

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Only in France are car and countryside brought into perfect harmony

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FRANK JOHNSON F Near St Remy-de-Provence. leeing the yearly Notting Hill Carnival, and the four-yearly Conservative leadership election, many of us have sought the protection...

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Major prejudices

The Spectator

From Mr James Taylor Sir: Having read John Major's autobiography in which he effectively blames everyone and everything, other than himself, for his generally disastrous tenure...

From Mr John J. C. Moss Sir: We hear that

The Spectator

elections are won on 'the centre ground', but we hear little of what policies win elections when on this ground. In the 1970s and 1980s, the centre ground was Britain's economic...

From Mr Michael Lord Sir: John Major's comments on the

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current Conservative party leadership contest combined some fairly well-judged comments on the respective merits of the candidates with some by now platitudinous opinions about...

From Mr David Simpson Sin I read John Major's article

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with interest, which I thought was an excellent analysis of recent Tory history, until our former PM felt it necessary to support his friend Ken Clarke, when his arguments pro...

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Chesson's powerful pen

The Spectator

From Mr Alistair B. Cooke Sir: Frederick William Chesson (1833-88), whom Geoffrey Wheatcroft was unable to trace (Books. 11 August), was not 'the Tam Dalyell of his day'. He...

How armies evolve

The Spectator

Front Captain R.W.J. Walker Sir: Your thoughtful leading article (25 August) about Nato's latest Balkan adventure raises points that should properly be addressed by politicians....

A love of lists

The Spectator

From Mr Roland Perry Sir: The cricket correspondent Christopher Martin-Jenkins demonstrated commendable piety and indignation in the Times (13 August) when he suggested that, in...

From Sir Philip Goodhart Sir: As Frank Johnson has pointed

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out, compiling First XIs of the greatest cricketers has a compulsive fascination for many men. He also recalled our late friend, Colin Welch, arguing about the choice of a First...

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In defence of Wales

The Spectator

From Mr Ian Skidmore Sir: What a perceptive critic Deborah Ross's foul-mouthed son is (Diary, 25 August); but if she really means it. I will buy her a Regatta fleece. As an...

Patriotism a class act

The Spectator

From Mr Jonathan Norton Sir: One day, journalists in the right-wing press will not only read George Orwell's remarks in The Lion and the Unicorn about the anti-patriotism of the...

From Mr Anthony Wallace Sir: Oh God, at last! Just

The Spectator

when I thought the Conservative party was about to implode (what, tangibly, have either Kenneth Clarke or lain Duncan Smith really offered us as an electable alternative to the...

From Mr David Gelber Sir: Despite persistent declarations that he

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is an 'unreconstructed socialist', Neil Clark seems to possess little sympathy for the essence of this doctrine. By calling on patriots across the political spectrum to round on...

Citric solution

The Spectator

From Christine McCall Sir: As a follically challenged female I read Charles Moore's and Adam Nicolson's diaries (28 July and 11 August) about shampoo for their oily hair. Does...

A surfeit of dinars

The Spectator

From Mr Martin Mauthner Sir: Catherine Coley could have adduced ; , nother convincing reason for acquiring a Lo!tage or castle in Croatia (Property, 25 A igust): the country...

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Next test for the euro will it prove to be worth the paper it's forged on?

The Spectator

CHRISTOPHER FILDES L enin was transported across Europe in a sealed train — like a bacillus. Churchill said — and now it is time for the euro. Mysterious trains, unidentified...

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The Spectator

MATT BANNERN1AN THE river town is a place where people stick, like the barges that periodically beach on the shifting sandbanks of the main stream, and have to wait out the dry...

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Second opinion

The Spectator

I OPENED my Guardian the other day and saw a photograph of a man who looked like a Standard British Thug, a veritable shaven-headed tattooed monster. He was the kind of man one...

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A brave journey in thought

The Spectator

Philip Hensher THE SWEETEST DREAM by Doris Lessing Flamingo, £16.99, pp, 478, ISBN 0002261618 E very great novelist makes a characteristic noise; every great novelist is, in...

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The horror, the horror

The Spectator

Charles Mitchell THE STRANGE WORLD OF THOMAS HARRIS by David Sexton Short Books, £4.99, pp. 128, ISBN 0571208452 T hrough condescension or unfamiliarity with the field highbrow...

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Recounting the cost

The Spectator

Sam Phipps REQUIEM FOR THE EAST by Andrei Makine, translated by Geoffrey Strachan Sceptre, f16.99, pp. 262, ISBN 0340794356 A ndrei Makine has been compared to Nabokov,...

Small earthquake in Somerset

The Spectator

Nicholas Harman A HOUSE UNLOCKED by Penelope Lively Penguin, £14.99, pp. 225, ISBN 0670899542 S uccessful novelists bereft of a plot too often make literary journeys or write...

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Plagiarism and pastiche

The Spectator

Robert Macfarlane ABOUT THE AUTHOR by John Colapinto Fourth Estate, £10, pp. 272, ISBN 1841156396 THE PAPERCHASE by Marcel Theroux Abacus, .,£9.99, pp. 219, ISBN 0349114668...

Something really new out of Africa

The Spectator

Anthony Daniels MORALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL GIRLS by Alexander McCall Smith Polygon, f8.99, pp. 225, ISBN 0748662979 T his is the author's third book about Precious Ramotswe,...

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Four Methodist wives

The Spectator

Sarah Bradford A CIRCLE OF SISTERS: ALICE KIPLING, GEORGIANA BURNEJONES AND LOUISA BALDWIN by Judith Flanders Viking, £17.99, pp. 416, ISBN 0670886734 I remember with...

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Lambs and wolves together

The Spectator

Nicholas Fearn THE LEGACY OF ISAIAH BERLIN edited by Ronald Dworkin, Mark Lila and Robert B. Silvers New York Review of Books, 115.99, pp. 208, ISBN 0940322595 I t is easy to...

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The great divide

The Spectator

Katie Grant DISTANT MUSIC by Lee Langley Chatto, £16.99, pp. 256, ISBN 0701168366 R ecreating your characters in different centuries and connecting them with past...

Kicking him while he's up

The Spectator

Robert Edric FURY by Salman Rushdie Cape, £16.99, pp. 266, ISBN 0224061593 S everal weeks ago, a Guardian article asked disbelievingly why the readers among us remained in...

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A gentle firebrand

The Spectator

Peter Oborne C.L.R. JAMES: CRICKET, THE CARIBBEAN AND WORLD REVOLUTION by Farrukh Dhondy Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20, pp.205, ISBN 0297646133 C .L.R. James is cherished in...

Love beside the sea

The Spectator

Francis King A FUNNY OLD YEAR by Alan Brownjohn Dewi Lewis, £8.99, pp. 192, ISBN 1899235639 h e 'funny old year' that gives its title to this shrewd and entertaining novel is...

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The light that seems to have failed

The Spectator

Digby Anderson RELIGION AND PUBLIC DOCTRINE IN MODERN ENGLAND, VOLUME III: ACCOMMODATIONS by Maurice Cowling CUP, £65, pp. 766, ISBN 0521259606 h e Incarnation is a fundamental...

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The Spectator

he best Cary Grant finale was never filmed. Alfred Hitchcock wanted him for the role of Johnnie Aysgarth in Suspicion (1941) because he was planning a classic double-bluff: the...

Charming, romantic, ambivalent

The Spectator

The NFT is hosting a Cary Grant retrospective. Mark Steyn on the actor's enduring attraction ditch 'Archie Leach' and take the name of his character, what appealed to him most...

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Dan Flavin (Serpentine Gallery, till 23 September)

The Spectator

Pillars of light Andrew Lambirth M inimalism, the less-is-more' philosophy applied to painting and sculpture in the mid-1960s, is both popular and influential once again in...

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Experience of a lifetime

The Spectator

Michael Tanner T he first week of the Edinburgh Festival came to a close with a performance of Les Troyens a Carthage of such intensity that I was relieved to be leaving after...

Magic Wand

The Spectator

Peter Phillips T here is a new orthodoxy doing the rounds at the moment, which says that concert promoters don't need to bother with period orchestras any more because the best...

Page 45

Peggy Sue Got Married (Shaftesbury) Last Song of the Nightingale (New End) The Tragedy of Hamlet (Young Vic)

The Spectator

A lost golden age Sheridan Morley F irst there was Grease, then Saturday Night Fever and now Peggy Sue Got Married, All three are high-school prom musicals from middle America...

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Secretive betrayal

The Spectator

Michael Vestey R ick Stein is, deservedly, one of Britain's most successful chefs, bringing us delicious seafood recipes and doing his best to keep us eating fish. He's...

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Where have they gone?

The Spectator

Simon Courtauld h ere are several reasons for going to the Languedoc in August. (Auberon Waugh used to write many a summer column for The Spectator from Castelnaudary, where I...

Talent spotting

The Spectator

Robin Oakley F rance's spasm of revolutionary anticlericalism may have done for most of the magnificent Abbey of Cluny in the town of the same name, but fortunately the French...

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A moment to cherish

The Spectator

Taki H Rougemont ow does that song go? 'What a day This has been/What a great mood I'm in/It's almost like being in love — With a smile on my face/For the whole human race ...'...

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Days of

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judgment Leanda de Lisle T he pressures of writing my book and school holidays have kept me away from The Spectator recently, but the new school year now approaches and with...

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Par for the course

The Spectator

Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2202 you were given a dozen words beginning par and invited to incorporate them, in any order, in a plausible piece of prose. 'Paradox in...

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An admired enemy

The Spectator

Simon Barnes AND so on Saturday football's Hundred Years War is 35 years old. England travel to Munich to play a match they must win if they are to qualify directly from their...

Q. When I went up to Oxford my father gave

The Spectator

me his only piece of lifetime advice: to tip my scout on the first day of term, while giving him some hope that there might be more to come at the end. As a result, I had...

Q. I have moved into a smart new office on

The Spectator

the ground floor of a building in Berkeley Square. Unfortunately, the proximity to the street has encouraged a certain friend who works in a nearby office to drop in more...

Q. I was recently revolted to learn that a certain

The Spectator

elderly American friend of mine has her 'collar and cuffs' done at the same time as her hair is being coloured. As I said, I was revolted — at first. Now, for personal reasons...

Q. Time was when broadcasters bleeped out the 'f' word.

The Spectator

Now that they do not I find telly-watching rather exhausting — for someone of my generation it is like being repeatedly hit. Does an electronic device yet exist which can be...