20 APRIL 1996

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The Spectator

T he Government's majority was reduced to one by a Labour victory in the Staffordshire South East by-election. The Labour candidate won by 26,155 votes (21,988 in the general...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 A MAN OF THE CENTURY F ifty years ago this month, someone died who...

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The way for Mr Major to win: admit error, and tell the truth about the oily vicar BRUCE ANDERSON I t is not yet impossible for the Tories to win the next election, merely...

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SIMON HOGGART I 'm just back from a week in France. Nat- urally I took a case of non-French wine over on the ferry so as to have something decent to drink. The French are...

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Those who work in television lie to each other, lie to the people who go on it, and lie to the viewer MATTHEW PARRIS S o far from tiptoeing carefully into the matter of faked...

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. . . said the Clerk of the House to the novelist on his staff Philip Hensher. But by then the author of the offending words, about homosexuality among MPs, knew that the game...

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Michael Heath

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From the prison where he is serving life, Sean O'Callaghan tells of the part that priests played in his own life, and in others' deaths I WAS born into an Irish Catholic...

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If symptoms

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persist.. . THERE WAS a lovely spring day last week, so I decided to walk from my hos- pital to the prison. Admittedly, the land- scape between these two august institutions is...

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Israel's attacks in Lebanon will be no more effective today than in 1982. But peace could come for other reasons, says Kirsten Schulze THE ISRAELI air strikes against Hezbol-...

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LORD KEYNES died half a century ago on 21 April 1946, but his spirit lives with us today still — both at home and abroad — as no other Englishman's of his time, except...

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Mind your language

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`ALL those sad anoraks', said Julie Burchill or Janet Street-Porter or someone of the kind on the wireless the other day. Anoraks I think we know about. It is a kind of...

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. . . but not the usual one. David Carlton, the only votes expert to predict the Tories' 1992 win, finds bad news for Labour in Staffs CONSERVATIVES reading an editorial in the...

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Parkinson's Law, the Amis Syndrome and the creation of the Fourth World PAUL JOHNSON T he isolation of an 'ageing gene', and its neutralisation, will eventually enable most...

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Money for Dunblane

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I AM seldom to be seen in the Hope and Anchor pub in Poplar, which may be why no one has rattled a collecting tin under my nose and asked for money for Dun- blane. That is just...


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Railtrack's quick return for Sid a share to have but not to hold CHRISTOPHER FILDES W ell, now, look who's back — it's Sid! That dauntless punter on privatisations is being...

Fast and furious

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AS Kenneth Clarke flew onwards from Verona (European finance ministers) to Sofia (European Boondoggle for Remu- neration and Disbursement), the Inland Revenue pulled a fast one...

The power plays

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AS for Sid's earlier flutters — water, gas and telephones — their managements are happily engaged in bids and deals, leaving more scope for bonuses but less for compe- tition....

Laying an egg

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NOW that ostriches have written them- selves into my Bad Investment Guide, I am reminded that the Lord gave Job an early warning: 'Gayest thou wings and feathers unto the...

Swiss roll over

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IT is rare enough to get a good laugh, or even a good lunch, out of a Swiss bank, so the Union Bank of Switzerland is not attracting the sympathy it might expect. Here is this...

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French precision

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Sir: I was interested to read Martin Bailey's excellent review of the Monet and van Gogh exhibitions in Vienna (Arts, 30 March). Whilst making a portrait of Carel Weight about...

LETTERS Subject to delay

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Sir: Your readers may recall my letter of 2 March, in which I detailed the outrageous treatment I received at the hands of the police the previous month. They may also remember...

Many questions

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Sir: I have no idea what kind of fee an Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University and a former Dean Ireland's Professor of Exegesis of Holy Scripture at Oxford...

Sir: Andrew Linzey plainly feels defensive about his Oxford grant.

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I have acknowl- edged that the total value of the grant which I quoted in your columns last year was incorrect. I was wrongly informed that £250,000 from the International Fund...

Animal rights

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Sir: In his remarkable article 'A Christian shield for animals' (6 April) the Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey, senior research fellow in the theological and ethical aspects of...


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12Months 6Months UK 0 £84.00 0 £43.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £95.00 0 £48.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$135 0 US$68 USA Airmail 0 US$180 0 US$90 Rest of Airmail 0 £115.00 0 £58.00 World...

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A dismal game

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Sir: It is not surprising that an Australian, Michael Carlton, asks about Lady Hesketh, the new rugby columnist of your paper (Let- ters, 6 April), but his assumptions about her...

God be praised

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Sir: I have seldom read such a biased book review as Rosalind Miles's spiteful splutter at Paul Johnson's The Quest for God (30 March). The probable opinion of Richard Dawkins,...

Sir: The otherwise admirable article by E.P. Sanders seeking answers

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to questions about the Resurrection makes an assumption on which his and a lot more theology hangs that is demonstrably false. He says, 'Mark • • probably served as a source for...

Wrong council

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Sir: Mr Gavin Stamp says that 'the Conser- vative-controlled, car-obsessed council has actually managed to divert yet more traffic into the Circus' (Not motoring, 30 March). In...

Soft on poverty

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Sir: Can a Christian be a socialist (Politics, 13 April)? Christ had favourites, e.g. the beloved disciple. How does this square with egalitari- anism? He liked conspicuous...

Sir: Apropos of E.P. Sanders's commend- ably honest appraisal of

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the real evidence for the Resurrection, I was forcibly remind- ed of the conclusion reached by the great German theologian, David Friedrich Strauss, who wrote of the...

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At official level, there is disappointment that the press did not behave worse in Dunblane ALAN COCHRANE 0 ne month has now passed since that dreadful day when all those...

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Don't vote for the middle class PETRONELLA WYATT T his is a golden age of the bourgeoisie. There are now no `no-go' areas for the mid- dle class. John Prescott is proof of...

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Resistance after death David Sexton THE WORLD OF SAMUEL BECKETT 1906-1945 by Lois Gordon Yale, £19.95, pp.241 W hat is a biographer to do about the previous versions of a...

To order any book reviewed please send a cheque payable

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to: Spectator Bookshop, 29 Pall Mall Deposit, Bartby Road, London W10 6BL or Telephone: 0181 964 9640 Fax: 0181 964 1254 E-mail bid@mail bogo co uk Orders over £25 Free...

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A blend of Gandhi and Boss Tweed

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Nigel Spivey A RABANTHOLOGY edited by Mollie Butler Wilton, £19.50 pp. 141 available from Lady Butler, Spencers, Great Yeldham, Essex I t is fair to speculate that Charles...

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Japan looking sexy

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Martin Vander Weyer THE MISSIONARY AND THE LIBERTINE by Ian Buruma Faber & Faber, £16.99, pp. 310 T he last time I bumped into Ian Buru- ma was at the Tory Party conference in...

Pingo after dipping into the OED

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There is no word in English for the dent In upper lips the Welsh call swch. It's strange So flexible a tongue should not invent Or steal a term, and so extend its range. But...

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A boyhood in Spain

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Euan Cameron SPEAK SUNLIGHT by Alan Jolis Hamish Hamilton, f15.00, pp.224 W e should be grateful for the survival of curiosities such as this gentle little memoir. Its...

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If I tell you that your eyes become more beautiful

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each year, then you'll bat them, cross them, tell me it's no recompense for needing contact lenses, or for all their lines. If I tell you that your eyes become more beautiful...

The disposal of exiles

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Jonathan Keates FLORENCE, A PORTRAIT by Michael Levey Jonathan Cape, £25.00, pp.498 I f sophistication is a matter of keeping the simpler moral instincts well under control,...

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Three lives in two volumes

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Anthony Gottlieb BERTRAND RUSSELL: THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE by Ray Monk Jonathan Cape, f25.00, pp. 695 B ertrand Russell died at the ages of 48, 76 and 97. Well, almost, on the...

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Her heart belongs to Daddy

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John Wells BELOW THE PARAPET: THE BIOGRAPHY OF DENIS THATCHER by Carol Thatcher HarperCollins, £16.99, pp.303 T he best anecdote in Carol Thatcher's appreciation of her father...

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Cover their faces

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David Pryce-Jones THE FATAL ENGLISHMAN by Sebastian Faulks Hutchinson, f16.99, pp. 320 H ere are the stories of three men who died before their time. They are within living...

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Despising the sham

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Carole Angier LOVE, AGAIN by Doris Lessing Flamingo, £15.99, pp. 339 D oris Lessing was once an inspiration to a generation. But this is a dreadful, utterly wrong-headed book....

A love story with compound interest

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Amit Chaudhuri DANGEROUS by Ben Okri Phoenix, £15.99, pp. 325 O movo, the protagonist of this intelli- gent and moving novel, is a painter. He lives in a lower-middle-class...

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With a grip that kills

The Spectator

Lesley Glaister IN THE CUT by Susanna Moore Picador, f12.99, pp. 180 B ret Easton Ellis told Susanna Moore that In the Cut was the most shocking thing he had ever read and ......

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The Spectator

Fulfilling a theatrical dream Martin Vander Weyer talks to Alan Ayckbourn about his new theatre-in-the-round S carborough's Odeon cinema counts as an architectural landmark...

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Identity crisis

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Giannandrea Poesio looks into the background of the soon to be revived ballet, Anastasia T he story of Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be the daughter of the last Tsar...

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Op e ra The Mask of Orpheus (Royal Festival Hall) Medea (Opera

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North) Fuss and bother Rupert Christiansen M indful of the fools intelligent people once made of themselves over Wagner, I pronounce with the utmost lack of confi- dence on...

M us ic

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Let's make a concerto Robin Holloway n New Year's Day 1981, I was breasting the broad swell of the Bay of Bahia in a small boat crowded with euphoric Brazilians and a samba...

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Smoke (15, selected cinemas) Twelve Monkeys (15, selected cinemas) Unzipped (15, selected cinemas) Without fire Mark Steyn Y ou'll never get it,' says Harvey Keit- el,...

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For culture sparrows

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Marina Vaizey wanders round Europe's City of Culture for 1996 C openhagen is Europe's City of Cul- ture for 1996 and it has just begun to get its act together, using the...

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Are you a gardennerd? Ursula Buchan N ostalgia is so much better than it used to be. In gardening at least. It bloomed some years ago in Harry Dod- son's Victorian Kitchen...


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Elvis (Prince of Wales) The Taming of the Shrew (Barbican) Some Sunny Day (Hampstead) A tawdry singalong Sheridan Morley A the Prince of Wales, Elvis The Musical is...

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Troubled waters James Delingpole 0 ne of the first things my honorary stepson James asked me to do when we met three years ago was to share a bath with him. I did but not...

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Thanks, Elizabeth Michael Vestey W e are all foodies now, as we agonise at the supermarket over red or green pep- pers, wondering if the aubergine is purple enough and...

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Take my advice, part two Alan Judd S elling cars is less fun than buying them. There isn't the anticipatory pleasure although there may be compensatory relief. Also, if you're...

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The turf

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Victim of his own success Robin Oakley A t the centre of Epsom Downs most days, at the top of the uphill sand track, you'll find the weathered figure of Reg Akehurst, with his...

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Low life

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A full house of woe Jeffrey Bernard M y little world seems to be collapsing even beyond what's left of my teeth and my gums. Dental matters have never struck me as being a fit...

High life

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Timing was all Taki I New York f Aristotle Onassis was our most famous shipowner, Stavros Niarchos, who died in Zurich last Monday, was certainly my coun- try's greatest. Both...

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Reviewing reviewers Justin de Blank T hat restaurateurs do not like receiv- ing unfavourable reviews is hardly news,' writes your restaurant critic in her column last week...

Country life

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Weekend whinges Leanda de Lisle P eople love to be invited to house par- ties in the country and they love, even more, to complain about them. How dull it would be to spend a...

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Trump trouble Andrew Robson I AM often asked when it is correct to lead trumps. The common scenarios are: when the opponents are sacrificing and have few high cards — they are...

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Imperative cooking: home pride

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IMAGINE you are a music buff. Someone tells you of this excellent new record shop, and off you go. On arrival, you find that it's arranged in rooms: one for religious choral...

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IN-THE-STRAND topk:, ■ "4 1 1 -, .im 4 ill ■ . OF ,N CHESS s.. -.... ,.; ` E 1';' ll SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND Battles on Broadway Raymond Keene BRITAIN'S number two,...


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1 ,1,LF .0,01,1.11W URA RA COMPETITION /11,LIE MALT SCOTCH MHISX) Shock confession Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1928 you were invited to provide a song lyric with the...

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Solution to 1254: Facetious claims

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2 E s t■e0rArR Sin+ 0 RBE t iODDVPALMUtJAIR P E ' R G N E 0:S E U usTa TMLR4 .. .--I u R CTA I S 0I 2 %TICA_L , I 'III I A , DILL. NE L • L 1 E A N _ LiE_ A 0 EF.11V A...

No. 1931: Telegrams and anger

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In the days of telegrams, one was reputed to have been sent which read: BASTARD REPEAT BASTARD ABUSIVE LETTER FOLLOWS. You are invited to supply the missing let- ter. Maximum...


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A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1989 Port for the first correct solution opened on 7 May, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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Dear Mary.. . Q. I am a busy working girl and have been asked by my sister to assist in decorating her new flat — a frequent family occur- rence. She has asked me to make the...


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The mystery of marathons Simon Barnes THERE is a mystery about city marathons — mystery as in mystery play. I came to this conclusion while watching a mystery play in a parish...