20 JANUARY 1996

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It packs quite a punch! L ady Thatcher, a former prime minis- ter, said in a speech that the Conservative Party's 'difficulties are due to the fact that, in limited but...

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ANNA FORD I 'm fed up with all the 'things' that clutter up the house after Christmas, and I can't close the attic door against the avalanche of debris. Winter draws one's...

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It is not just Mr Blair's stakeholding that is wrong for Britain; it is Mr Blair himself says Bruce Anderson • . . I didn't work the things out very clearly at the time, but...

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Michael Heath

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A high-minded initiative to stamp out Glasgow soccer bigotry will fail, says Alan Cochrane, because that's what so many of the fans go for A FEW years ago, Alexander Hesketh,...

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There are more of them about, says Andrew Gimson; intellectuals as well as hotel porters Berlin THE GERMAN sailor who died shortly before Christmas of wounds received dur- ing...

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Mind your language

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The Northern Ireland Secretary, Sir Patrick Mayhew, was saying on the wire- less the other day how pleased he was that we were now following a 'twin- track' approach. I couldn't...

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As Lord Hartwell ends his links with the two Telegraphs, Ronald Payne remembers his old commanding officer NOT with a bang and most certainly not with a whimper — for he isn't...

If symptoms persist.. .

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NO ONE will blame me, I feel sure, for pondering the question of violent crime and how to reduce it. After all, I meet several victims each week, if not each day, and it seems...

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LIGHT-FINGERED The Oxford lecturer jailed for stealing books was only following a tradition of musical rogues and vagabonds, says Denis Stevens MUSIC at Oxford, with its...

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Alastair Forbes takes issue with those who have not had a good word to say for the deceased President `TOUTE ma vie, je me suis fait une certain idee de la France . . . '....

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Fifty years ago

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Never was there a better example of the fallacy of judging professional capacity by calendar years than is provided by Mr. W.W. Hadley, the editor of the Sunday Times, who keeps...

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Why Outraged, Cheltenham and Concerned, Hampstead must have their say PAUL JOHNSON J ournalists are following closely the efforts of Mr Richard Addis, the new editor of the...

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There's a nasty code going around, and Sir Rocco has caught it CHRISTOPHER FILDES P oor Sir Rocco Forte. Well, actually, quite well-off Sir Rocco Forte, but you see what I...

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Sir: I rubbed my eyes in amazement as I read

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your letters page (13 January) about Mr Paul Johnson's article. Though disliking Mr Johnson's discourtesies, I recall the arti- cle as presenting, with a wealth of inciden- tal...

Sir: I think Mr Paul Johnson is wrong on one

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count at any rate when he calls Lord Goderich 'the best shot in England'. Surely this accolade goes to the Prime Minister's grandson, the second Marquis of Ripon, who, I...

LETTERS Alien leaders

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Sir: 'Because he is named Portillo, as opposed to Smith or Jones, he is unlikely ever to be elected leader of the Conserva- tive Party.' Miss Petronella Wyatt is an excellent...


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Sir: Whataboutism' used to be frequently a communist technique whereby any criticism of the Soviet Union was countered by refer- ence to some Western imperfections. You dared to...

Neglected gnome

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Sir: Paul Johnson's snobbish attacks on John Major (And another thing, 6 January) may be explained by referring to Major Major, the memoirs of the Prime Minister's elder...

Whips and waiters

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Sir: Mr Bruce Anderson asserts (Politics, 6 January) that Mr William Cash is 'a world- class bore'. I have known Mr Cash for sev- eral years and I have always found him to be...

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True heir

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Sir: Lord Williams of Elvel asks 'Why was Mitterrand, that most French of French- men, such a Eurofanatic?' ('Who was Mit- terrand?', 13 January). Surely this was not...

Ancient Greek device

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Sir: I began my review of C.M. Wood- house's book on the Greek activist and martyr Rhigas Velestinlis (Books, 16/23 December) with the words: 'Greece, as we all know, was...

Brits out

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Sir: I am sorry to see The Spectator allowing its contributors — two in the issue of 11 January — to use the abbreviation 'Brits', a word ugly to look at, hideous on the...

Good mark

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Sir: Claire Boxer has obviously inherited her father's marvellous talents (Diary, 13 January). More please. Andrew Bruce 36 Lysias Road, London SW12

Social climbing

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Sir: The only entertaining aspect of Simon Blow's 'Cold hearts and pawned coronets' (13 January) is his self-inflationary view . that he is an aristocrat. Would it be unkind to...

Sir: Simon Blow's poignant description of the indigent aristocracy was

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a very interest- ing comment on the problem of this group in different societies. Until fairly recently, young men in this country from this back- ground were accommodated in...

Sir: One of the drawbacks of middle age is that

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one's memory starts to go. I am sorry to tell Anna Ford that I do not 'remember how, 30 years ago, by keeping our under- clothes on in bed we avoided making love'; but if she...

Sir: Simon Blow is far from being alone in having

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relations with more money than he has. He might try remembering that what they do with it is their business, not his. And if he could bring himself to do some- thing more...

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The Thunderer brought low; the Bradford book is a vulgarity too far, even for today's Times STEPHEN GLOVER I had thought to write about Max Hast- ings, the new editor of the...

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Shock disclosure: Disraeli not a One Nation Tory PETRONELLA WYATT W hat we are lacking at the moment is the Intelligent Person's Guide to 'One Nation' Toryism. Or, for that...

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A duplicitous, incompetent racist Thomas Fleming LINCOLN by David Herbert Donald Simon & Schuster, £30, pp. 599 I n 1862 Colonel John Basil (ne Ivan Vasiliev) Turchin led his...

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The proper study of mankind

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J. Enoch Powell ESMOND DE BEER(1895-1990): SCHOLAR AND BENEFACTOR by Michael Strachan Michael Russell, £12, pp. 74 T e Oxford University Press has produced six volumes of the...

Into His Plans

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The truth, which on my more possessive days Lurks in the background, spoiling all the fun, That I am not the only game he plays, Neither am I the most important one, I've always...

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Absolutely spot on

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Mirabel Cecil DEAR DODIE by Valerie Grove Chatto, £20, pp. 340 I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith Virago, £6.99, pp. 342 W hen Dodie Smith's 'canine classic', The Hundred...

Too true to be good

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Nick Dent PANAMA by Eric Zencey Sceptre, £9.99, pp. 375 W hen Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez Canal, turned his attention to building a canal across Panama the out-...

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Is England dumbing down?

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Robert Oakeshott THE WAY WE LIVE NOW by Richard Hoggart Chatto, £18, pp. 352 Y ou live badly, my friends. It is shameful to live like that.' The line is not the author's but...

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Don't let's be beastly to the Irish

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Patrick Skene Catling DUBLIN WHERE THE PALM TREES GROW by Hugo Hamilton Faber, £8.99, pp. 134 H ugo Hamilton is a native Dubliner with German complications. The Irish and...

My Mother's Gardener

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For some weeks absent, he tinkered at the lock Sprang open the rickety lichened gate And shuffled boggle-eyed as if in shock Across the unkempt lawn he used to cut. His...

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Do they

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need screening? Thomas Blaikie JAMES DEAN: THE BIOGRAPHY by Val Holley Robson Books, £16.95, pp. 323 DE NIRO by John Parker Gollancz, £16.99, pp. 255 TRUE MYTHS: THE LIFE...

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Who stole my heart away?

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Paul Sussman THE LOVE LETTER by Cathleen Schine Sceptre, £5.99, pp. 257 I can't remember when I last wrote a love letter, but I'm pretty sure it didn't start `Dear Goat' and...

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Outrageous of Tunbridge Wells

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Byron Rogers NAKED TRUTH by Yvonne Vinall Oast Books,12 Dene Way, Speldhurst, Kent, TN3 ONX, tel: 01892 862 860, £16.99, pp. 120 S tudents of late-20th-century social history...

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The Phone's Ring

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that it was him. And she slept on, she who had broken her wrist charging to get to the phone first Months after the boy had left home and the wonderful woman he called his wife...

Attention leading to detention

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Anne Applebaum THE KGB'S LITERARY ARCHIVE by Vitaly Shentalinsky Harvill, £18, pp. 322 W hat's your interest then?' When Vitaly Shentalinsky first began his quest to open —...

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The angel of death has been abroad

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Teresa Waugh THE HORSEMAN ON THE ROOF by Jean Giono Harvill, £8.99, pp. 374 0 nce there was a book called Regain by Jean Giono which French friends used to press on...

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And what about the singers? Michael Scott fears that in the 21st century opera singers may be silenced for ever T he 20th century has been an age of science, what with the...

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`You will work only for me' Michael Wise meets the widow of Hitler's official state sculptor, Arno Breker A sign warning about a guard dog is posted on the high brick wall...

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The Artist and the Country House from the 15th Century to the Present Day (Sotheby's, till 27 January) Gentlemen's relish Martin Gayford gentleman's park,' Constable once...

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`Use your ears like a man' Robin Holloway T his year's choice by the BBC of an individual 20th-century composer for their annual January retrospective is Charles Ives, who...


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Persuasion (U, selected cinemas) Cinderella with attitude Mark Steyn S omewhere during the opening titles of Roger Michell's Persuasion, a flock of sheep wonders in front of...

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Betjemania (King's Head) Macbeth (Lyric Hammersmith) The Duchess of Main (Wyndham's) Celebrating Sir John Sheridan Morley W hen Betjemania first opened at the Orange Tree in...

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Three wise men Michael Vestey T here are times when the buzzing of a wasp can be more absorbing than the voic- es of some radio reporters and presenters. A reader in Norfolk,...


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Solo Big Bang Ian Hislop I f you are looking for sex on television don't waste time with drama. Go straight for history. Trailers for the opening episode of the new series of...

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Not motoring

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Dividing lines Gavin Stamp I magine, if you can, London divided politically in such a way that, if you trav- elled down the City branch of the Northern Line, all the stations...

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High life

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Greek myths Taki h e Speccie's literary editor has saved me a trip to Balliol College, where I was plan- ning to visit a certain Professor Jasper Grif- fin, along with my...

The turf

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Grey matters Robin Oakley B eing grey in politics doesn't bring much of an advantage. Ask the Tory party's pollsters. In racing it is a different matter. There are stars,...

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Low life

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A film star writes Jeffrey Bernard I have been complaining about television programmes for very nearly two years now, since I was banged up almost a prisoner in this flat by...


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BRIDGE Perfect reading Andrew Robson A BRILLIANT defensive play was matched by perfect card reading by declar- er on this week's hand from a rubber at the Portland Club. The...

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Odin's and Langan's Bistro IT COULD be argued that the

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modern British restaurant, and with it our current loodie' culture, were born in Devonshire Street in Marylebone nearly 30 years ago. A young couple opened a slightly up-market...

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Jackpot Raymond Keene FOR PURELY DOMESTIC events, 1995 was very much Matthew Sadler's year. At the age of 21 he not only won the British Championship, thus becoming one of the...

ISLE OF 111 i ,,t).1,, ..,,, 1,,,,,,A I ISLE OF uRA

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SINI 11 V11I 1WI1II%/11s11 COMPETITION Centos Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1915 you were invited to write a 'patchwork' poem in which each line is taken from a different...

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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 5 February, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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Of football and finance Simon Barnes THE FIRST footballer in England to turn himself into a limited company was Terry Venables. It happened way back in his youth, and I wonder...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. We have recently installed a 'state-of- the-art' burglar alarm. Amongst an array of exciting features, it records a log of exactly when anyone has entered or...