20 AUGUST 1994

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M r Michael Portillo, the Secretary of State for Employment, got into summer- time hot water in a controversy about the European Community and the disabled. He had ruled...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 SACK THE LOT M any rail users will by now have decided that they do...

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Mr Portillo sh )11i d y et up earlier in the morning if he wants to defvai the **** Dixons of Brussels Br,R S JOHNSON I t is not just a desire to be different which tempts me...

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STEVE JONES I have been indulging in nostalgie de "escargot. My work on the genetics of snails began exactly 30 years ago (can that really be true?) and has never really...

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People must come to recognise the malignity of state power AUBERON WAUGH S mart-card driving licences carrying a photo, blood group and endorsements are a brilliant idea. But...

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Martyn Harris believes that sexual activity in marriage is a relatively rare phenomenon, despite all the latest statistical surveys which purport to prove the contrary...

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Anne Applebautt. I, Central Europe and finds that the communists have quietly f led to power Warsavaudapestl,. THE OFFICE of the Polish parlia,1 Speaker is nearly empty: there...

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Ross Clark foams with rage at the absurdities and iniquities of the British quarantine system WHETHER they arrive by sea or air, the first thing which greets visitors to...

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The Government proposes to shift the care of geriatrics from the state to the family. Alasdair Palmer reveals the likely consequences `DEAR DAUGHTER,' begged King Lear, when...

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Britain's undertakers, as one of the biggest falls under American control IT WAS a quintessentially British, if some- what incongruous, event. Under the blue skies of Beaulieu,...

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If symptoms

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persist. . AS IS well-known, the English have three characteristics which distinguish them from lesser nations: (a) their sense of humour, (b) their love of fair play and (c)...

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Victor Hugo's machine and the philosophical problems it raises PAUL JOHNSON W henever possible nature should be allowed to take its course. This applies to the old as well as...

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Trader in the woodpile

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INVENTIVE as ever, Wall Street has come up with its own 0J. In California, the black football hero O.J. Simpson somehow finds himself charged with murder — just one of those...


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The economy's potent, the Treasury's paralysed Whitewater gets into the works CHRISTOPHER FILDES M y fact-finding tour of American financial markets (racing at Saratoga and...

Ken and Alan Show

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GUIDED BY hindsight, Mr Greenspan's critics complain that he started too late, and that his easy policy last year fuelled the boom in the bond markets which has been so...

Ben, Jerry, Giles and Rocco

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THERE IS a sit. vac. at Ben & Jerry's, the idiosyncratic ice-cream men from New England. Looking for a chief executive, they assume that if you like the job, you'll love the...

Not so stupid

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I AM encouraged to think that nothing was the right thing to do. It often is, even though ministers and mandarins are unlike- ly to include it in their job descriptions. There...

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Sir: I agree with all that Paul Johnson had to

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say in response to the Guardian's igno- rant attack on senior commanders and their official houses, including his assessment of the public view of minister and politicians as...

Sir: I agree with every word of Paul John- son's

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article. In the last year of my service in the army I commanded a Territorial division and was also Deputy Constable at Dover Castle and required to live in Constable's Tower,...

General outrage

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Sir: Whereas, as one of the clan, I am not the 'someone' Paul Johnson suggests (And another thing, 6 August) should rise to the defence of our more senior service officers,...

LETTERS Disgusted, Sarajevo

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Sir: I have just read your leading article of 6 August, saying that my first reaction to the killing of Corporal Bottomley on 27 July, 1994 was `to apologise on the Serbs'...

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Sir: There is a simple answer to Miss James's cri

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de coeur referring to the curse of mobile telephones. A friend of mine, plagued on a railway journey by incessant ringing followed by inane chatter to which the whole com-...

How right I was

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Sir: It would have been interesting to learn from Jeremy Paxman CA little local diffi- culty', 13 August) how 12 inner city primary schoolchildren would pass the time of day (or...

Strange disability

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Sir: Nigella Lawson (Television, 13 August) sounds like a stickler for accuracy, and would wish it pointed out that the hapless Keith Floyd got even his quotation wrong. Gerald...

General woofiness

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Sir: Your music critic Peter Phillips (Arts, 13 August) must indeed have cloth ears if he 'doubts that the singing of our choral societies has changed significantly in the last...

True brats Sir: Martin Vander Weyer's piece ('We really haven't

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had it so good', 13 August) is a welcome antidote to the gloom of John Mortimer (Diary, 19 March) and others. To our fellow human beings we British must seem among the most...

Don't ring us

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Sir: P. D. James (Diary, 13 August) asks for a form of words to silence 'poser' phone pests. I suggest: Did you know that exces- sive use of mobile telephones causes deaf-...

RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK U £80.00 0 £41.00

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Europe (airmail) D £91.00 0 £46.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$130 0 US$66.00 USA Airmail 0 US$175 0 US$88 Rest of Airmail 0 £111.00 CI £55.50 World Airspeed 0 £91.00 0 f46.00 Students:...

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That's enough princesses Mark Steyn THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF THE MUSICAL THEATRE by Kurt Ganzl Blackwell, £150, pp. 1,536 T he Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre costs £150,...

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Mind the Gap

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It's difficult to find your way around In London. I was smart. I brought a map. Now I am standing in the Underground; A tinny voice is saying 'Mind the Gap'. Is it referring to...

The future lies ahead for an Islington man

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Kenneth 0. Morgan FRUSTRATE THEIR KNAVISH TRICKS by Ben Pimlott HaiperCollins, £20, pp. 417 E diting the magazine Samizdat in 1988, Ben Pimlott saw himself as one of the...

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But not as good as our Jill)/

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Guy Philipps LOVERS I n producing her latest work in the summer when the Special Relationship between the British and the Americans was laid to rest and replaced by a no less...

Repenting at leisure

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Cosima von Billow THE EVENING OF ADAM by Alice Thomas Ellis Viking, £14, pp. 192 F r those of us approaching 30 unmarried, a good dose of Alice Thomas Ellis is the perfect...

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Beyond the reach of our own understanding

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Patrick Skene Catling OUT OF CONTROL: THE NEW BIOLOGY OF MACHINES by Kevin Kelly Fourth Estate, £16.99, pp. 521 I n bee-swarm mode, the Internet computer hackers may...

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Grubbier and grubbier

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Francis King PARTIAL ECLIPSE by Lesley Glaister Hamish Hamilton, £14.99, pp. 216 T he narrator and protagonist of this dis- comforting novel, Jennifer, is in prison for a crime...


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A Vintage Subscription Offer Give a Spectator gift subscription to a valued friend or relative, and we will give you a gift in return - a bottle of Moet & Chandon 1986 Vintage...

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Some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe

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Nigel Spivey FLESH AND THE IDEAL: WINCKELMANN AND THE ORIGINS OF ART HISTORY by Alex Potts Yale, £25, pp. 294 F or the sake of a sojourn in Rome, he converted to Catholicism....

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Casting a cold eye

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Peregrine Hodson FELICIA'S JOURNEY by William Trevor Viking, £15, pp. 224 M any people revere William Trevor as one of our finest writers. Reading his latest work, Felicia's...

The Grange

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There are people down by the gates, eating each other's talk. So what have they to do with me, counting the bites I've taken from an apple? I'd have gone by now and should have...

Ode to a Bluebottle

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It never is quite summer Till you're splattered on the sill: Oh, we don't want all of summer. Much of it we kill. It never is quite summer Till you fizz around the room, Drone...

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Architecture The complete Classicist Giles Worsley says that Soane can do without the approval of the Modernists P ellwall, Sir John Soane's last country house, is to be...

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A New Order from Germany Ursula Buchan A a nation, we have a proud tradition of horticultural imperialism. Examples of English garden style have been found from Simla to...


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Puzzles of the Proms Robin Holloway F ar the most puzzling as yet amongst this year's Proms novelties was the British premiere of Alexander Goehr's Colossus or Panic (2...

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Under Their Hats (King's Head) The Sisters Rosensweig (Greenwich) Gnice gnew tribute Sheridan Morley T he trouble with most anthology shows is that they are nearly always...

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The Mask (`PG', selected cinemas) True Lies (`15', selected cinemas) Ineffective FX Mark Steyn T he great Hollywood joke shortage continues. In The Mask, Jim Carrey gets to...


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British Abstract Art Part 1: Painting (Flowers East, till 11 September) Hermetic Society Giles Auty L ast week I praised London's private art dealers for frequently putting...

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DIARY 1995 £12 Plain £13 Initialled The Spectator 1995 Diary, bound in soft black leather, will shortly be available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the...

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Dance it yourself Sophie Constanti S olo artists who specialise in chore- ographing and performing their own dances are rarely possessed of equal — or outstanding — talent in...

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Bleak • • vision Ian Hislop T o place as complete a model of the universe inside one's head as possible'. That is the highest aim of an individual human life, according to...

High life

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Meeting my heroine Taki Gstaad So, while Sir Denis plied us with gin and whiskey, the greatest Prime Minister of this century and I discussed why there are so few heroes left....

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Long life

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Crime and punishment Nigel Nicolson permissible extension of the hand is one that reduces its impact. I suggest a loofah. I was quite often caned at school, but only once...

Low life

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Greece or Groucho? Jeffrey Bernard I know it sounds horribly like an adver- tisement, but there is no substitute for Vera. Her stand-ins, waiting on the substi- tute bench,...

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1111111.1111111111W 114i,

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Albero & Grana I AM never quite sure about Spanish cook- ing. Having eaten, over the years, in most regions of Spain, dined cheaply in small provincial towns and expensively in...

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JURA SI■GLE WALT SCOTCH WIIISC1 COMPETITION liS LE OF J SNG11 MALT SCOTCH %NMI Bananas Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1843 you were invited to provide a lyric in the...


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SPAIN'S FINEST CAVA SPAIN'S FINEST CAVA Qualifiers Raymond Keene Last week I explained the respective states of both the Fide and PCA World Championship cycles. Now I will...

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W. I J. GRAHAM'S —. PORT A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Malvedos 1979 Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 5 September, with two runners-up...

No. 1846: Great train-spotter

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`Although virtually unknown to the general public, Stanley Porritt was a giant in his own specialised sphere....' You know the sort of thing. You are invited to write an...

Solution to 1170: Round the clock

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0 l ii 0 I 0 Expo II illa D I Eli3EMEICICIEliMiOnla CI 0111E1 I 1301210C10 13 id 0C jam 1 a A E D©©© i47 ° El R S EWE le i IOC 13 rn la C T MI LI Eirlarlar MI A an....

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Inspired by genius Frank Keating WHILE Warwickshire's sudden springtime signing of Brian Lara was certainly a volup- tuous coup for county cricket, it has to be said that the...


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Dear Mary. . Q. I have a problem. We often invite friends for dinner and serve caviar. One of our friends has a wife who, on seeing caviar, behaves more like a JCB than a...