20 MAY 2000

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Gun-boat diplomacy T he two men appointed to inspect the contents of IRA arms dumps, Mr Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland, and Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, a former high...

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SPECT mE AT OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 JUSTICE IN JEOPARDY M r Hague's widely publicised sugges- tion that it is time to jettison the ancient Principle of English law...

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Blair is the better baby-sitter, but do you want a baby-sitter running the country? BRUCE ANDERSON Which is just as well; the Tory leader still has mountains to climb. The poll...

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RUPERT HAMBRO T he other day I felt someone kissing me on the top of the head as I sat at dinner. I looked up in surprise to find it was a chap doing the kissing; and not only...

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Couples without children have seen their income fall by as

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much as two per cent while adults who took the precaution of procreat- ing have fared veiy well. Their incomes have gone up by as much as six per cent. This new obsession with...

Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit NEW Labour has long exploited foot- ball to increase its own appeal among the masses, so it was perhaps only a matter...

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Martin McGuinness talks to Boris Johnson about his years in the IRA and his hopes for the future WHAT a place, I think to myself, as I arrive at Stormont. You drive up past the...

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Far from being anti-English, says Bill Kauffman, Hollywood has played a key role in the insidious anglicisation of the US Batavia, New York FLEET STREET is all a-twitter. In...

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Justin Marozzi on a rum appointment to the Thatcher chair of enterprise studies at Cambridge WHICHEVER way you look at it, it's an odd way to drop £2 million. If you're a...

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Mind your language

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VERONICA and I were well chuffed when we tricked my husband into taking the car on condition he picked up one or two things from Tesco. Such a use of well can be very annoy-...

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Elizabeth Spalton says she is grateful that Sandhurst had a space for her vertically challenged, state-educated son IN the stoical north of England when I was a child, tears...

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Mr Marr has been a pundit too long to be trusted as an objective reporter STEPHEN GLOVER W ould Boris Johnson, editor of this magazine, be a suitable political editor of the...

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Getting the builders in

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DO as you would be done by. The Treasury has succeeded in applying the Private Finance Initiative to itself, or rather to its impractical building. A new company called...

Dow shows how

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HE could learn something, and so could we all, from Dow Jones. The Wall Street Jour- T 1 's publishers have their own code, which, they say, is not so much a rule-book as a r...

Paradigm lost

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WHAT a pity about the new paradigm. We seem to have lost it. This reassuring doc- trine taught us that the world's biggest econ- omy could motor along at full speed without...

Life after the Lords

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NEXT week the members of the Equitable Life Assurance Society will be asked to re- elect Jennifer Page as a director. This is the unfortunate lady who, as chief executive of the...


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If he can't see what the fuss is about, he should look in the Mirror CHRISTOPHER FILDES tipping. His readers take their money seri- ously, and he should have known that they...

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English wit

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From Mr Roger Vellacott Sir: Many educated Englishmen have long believed that, as long as something is both LETTERS clever and funny, it is a good thing; no other criteria,...

How Dempsey died

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From Mr Michael Moorcock Sir: I very much enjoyed D.J. Taylor's good- natured review of my book King of the City (Books, 13 May) and I'll gladly pay his usual fee if he'd...

A good copper

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From Eve ly n Meyer Sir: Justin Marozzi's Diary (13 May) brought back happy memories of my visit to Cape Town three years ago. However, feel very strongly that the issue of his...

Steyn off-target

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From Mr Herman Volkner Sir: There is something decidedly unsavoury about seeing Mark Steyn (The loony Right', 29 April) deploy his trade- mark sarcasm not against the effluvium...

LETTERS Proud to be Little

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From Mr Michael Wadman Sir: If one is going to use a book review as a vehicle to peddle one's extremist political views, one must expect to be shot down. So, for the benefit of...

Transport of horror

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From Professor Arthur Finch Sir: 'Banned wagon' is usually a reliable source of wry amusement as well as a useful reminder of increasingly irritating govern- ment meddling....

Dante-free zone

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From Emeritus Professor G.H. McWilliam Sir: Brian Hicks (Letters, 13 May) seems to think that Shakespeare's plays were written by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who spent...

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In praise of Oakley

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From Patricia Bate Sir: How disgraceful that our (and your) own Robin Oakley should be pushed aside a year early from his post as BBC political editor — on the flimsy pretext...

From Mr David Foster Sir: Only in quite a narrow

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band of the mid- dle class is it acceptable for the best man to tell blue jokes, certainly never at upper- or lower-class weddings. Mr Young's discom- fiture was the result not...

Please help

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From Mr Bernard Jones Sir: I am a poorly funded, retired man who wonders if Spectator readers could sugges t an agreeable foreign country to relocate to, where I could build...

Female squatters

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From Mr J.H. Forster Sir: I am surprised that in response to the rather coy exchanges about whether to stand or sit (Letters, 13 May) no one has yet called attention to the...

Heath encounter

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From Mr Earle Cross Sir: I enjoyed Frank Johnson's piece on the rudest man in England (Shared opinion, 6 May), though I question his observation that Sir Edward has never been...

Asparagus tips

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From Mr Robert Booth Sir: Simon Courtauld (Arts, 6 May) admits that he doesn't have a passion for aspara- gus. He doesn't have a passion for accuracy either. Leaves from our...

From Mr lain Cassie Sir: Your readers might like to

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consider that micturating while sitting down does benefit those men who have trouble with a bad back in that it spares them the risk of injury from lifting heavy weights. lain...

Unfair to subs

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From Mr Patrick Tailyour Sir: Alistair Horne in his excellent article on the Maginot Line (The dread of body- bags', 13 May) refers to 'how ghastly it would have been during the...

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Ghosts stirring among the electronic gear in the cellar PAUL JOHNSON Y ou don't hear much of ghosts nowa- days. Will our 21st century see the final end of haunting? I ask this...

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Watch your back, Mr Dyke: the PM has to keep his middle-class Tory constituency happy FRANK JOHNSON B y the time this appears, Mr Blair may already have done it, but at the...

Classifieds — pages 68 to 70

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Smaller, safer, slower Al, the first car-registration number in Britain, was issued to Frank Russell, Bertrand's elder brother, who had stayed uP all night to get it. He was...

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British marques

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A lovely pair of Bristols William Waldegrave A SMALL boy is examining a beautiful car in the driveway of his father's house in Somerset while a local grandees' lunch goes on...

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Motoring journalists

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Oiling the wheels Eric Bailey THEY are still cluttering up the house, the gifts the motor industry gave me when I was a motoring writer — or `muttering rot- ter' as the...

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Formula One Racing pulse Rowan Pelling PITY David Coulthard. For the last five Years he's been hurtling round racetracks at breakneck speed being courageous and sportsmanlike...

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MG owners

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Seat of yearning Jasper Gerard DRIVING gloves, tweed cap, goggles: allow me, squire, to introduce you to MG Man. And now that the MG marque could become the last remaining...

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I'll take a back seat Petronella Wyatt DOROTHY PARKER, who yearned her living, used to complain about what gifts love brought her: 'Why is it no one ever sent me yet/One...

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Several bowls of cherries Geoffrey Wheatcroft TELLING LIVES: FROM W.B YEATS TO BRUCE CHATWIN edited by Alistair Horne Macmillan, £20, pp. 390 E ven after the Vatican pruned...

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Rumbling the mysterious East

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John Colvin INTELLIGENCE AND THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN by Richard J. Aldrich CUP, £22.95, pp. 524 A t Shanghai in the Thirties, the repre- sentative of the Secret Intelligence...

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Standing room only soon?

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Samuel Brittan AGEQUAKE by Paul Wallace Nicholas Brealey, £18, pp. 276 THE IMAGINARY TIME BOMB by Phil Mullan IB Taurus, £24.50, pp. 239 W , .• e have had spates of books...

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John Bull, Mrs Grundy, bug and roast beef

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Peter Vansittart ENGLISHNESS IDENTIFIED: MANNERS AND CHARACTER 1650-1850 by Paul Langford OUP, f25, pp. 389 T he debate about England continues. Some deny 'Englishness', or...

A keen wind from the north

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Frank Kermode THE BOOK OF PREFACES by Alasdair Gray Bloomsbury, £35, pp. 639 his book is both weird and wonderful' as totally sui generic as The Anatomy o f Melancho, a work...

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Moscow advances and retreat

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Simon Sebag Montefiore TO THE HERMITAGE by Malcolm Bradbury Picador, £16, pp. 498 I n October 1773, Denis Diderot, the phil- osophe and literary celebrity of his age second...


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Shakespeare the cowboy builder?

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Felix Pryor HENRY V, WAR CRIMINAL? AND OTHER SHAKESPEARE PUZZLES by John Sutherland and Cedric Watts OUP, £4.99, pp. 222 I remember the late Derek Shrub of the Sotheby's...

Perpetuating impractical jokes

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Nicholas Fearn CELIA'S SECRET, AN INVESTIGATION by Michael Frayn and David Burke faber and faber, £12.99, pp. 110 P eople who claim to have seen God whilst on hallucinogenic...

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Hybrid vigour and beauty

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Jane Lushington VISIONS OF AN ISLAND by Neville Weereratne HarperCollins, £60, pp. 223 T his book, by the Sri Lankan painter and writer Neville Weereratne, is an unus- ual...

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Building on a grand scale Michael Tanner reports on the physical and cultural rebirth of Berlin Ei erlin is, as everyone knows, the biggest building site in Europe, if not in...

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Exhibitions 1

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Ant Noises (Saatchi Gallery, till 20 August) Brave new art world Martin Gaylord L ast Summer I was interrogated in front of a Rothko. We were in the Guggen- heim, Bilbao, and...

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Exhibitions 2

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Duncan Shanks (Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, till 31 May) The Constable of Clydesdale Laura Gascoigne W atching the Nine O'Clock News on tilY return from Scotland, where I'd...


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The singers not the song Peter Phillips I wonder how many readers of this jour- nal sing in an amateur choir. I am informed that half the population of Sweden indulges in this...

Jack Vettriano At Jack Vettriano's request, we pub- lished a

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statement on 4 March 2000 which we hope clarified the position regarding certain allegations that had been made against him. We are also now pleased to record that we have...

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Out with the old Ursula Buchan A new century, a new millennium, a new marquee at Chelsea Flower Show. Gone is the old sailcloth and timber pole structure, a village fête tent...

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The Novice (Almeida) Mr Kolpert (Royal Court) A new look at Sartre Sheridan Morley T hough an otherwise informative pro- gramme at the Almeida doesn't bother to mention it,...

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Gladiator (15, selected cinemas) Dynastic drama Mark Steyn G ermania, 180 AD. Rome is at war with the, er, Germaniacs, who stand around in the Black Forest grunting like...

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Pipped to the post Michael Vestey W ho invented radio? The usual answer is Guglielmo Marconi who later shared the 1909 Nobel prize for physics. Historically he was given all...


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Animal magic James Delingpole S ince writing that depressing column about how deeply miserable I was I have had so much sympathy that I almost feel happy again. Also I have...

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The turf

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Rising above it all Robin Oakley Two years ago Luca Cumani's High Rise won the Lingfield Derby Trial and went on to win in Epsom. In 1997 Silver Patriarch won at Lingfield and...

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High life

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Perfidious Albion Taki New York M y last week in the Bagel. New York in May is as social as Gstaad in February, and the liver could do with a rest. There are four great...

No life

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The green-eyed monster Toby Young O ne of the shortcomings of making a living from writing about failure is that whenever things start to look up I worry that I'll have to...

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Country life

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Banking on beef Leanda de Lisle T he average annual bonus at Goldman Sachs is about £360,000. Some of you out there must be getting a great deal more than that, but I don't...

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Singular life

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Lessons in etiquette Petronella Wyatt A i acquaintance of mine, John Mor- gan, has just written The Times Book of Modern Manners. He had a party at the Royal Opera House to...


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Personal best Andrew Robson I AM sometimes asked whether I prefer rubber bridge, teams-of-four, or match- point pairs. Though the excitement of pick- ing up a wonderful hand...

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63 Elizabeth St. London SW1 W9PP tom - torn° SPECTATOR WINE CLUB CUBAN CIGARS Nicholas Soames IT has always seemed to me to be the chief strength of the Spectator Wine...


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HOW is the not smoking going? Fine, thanks. Marvellous, even.

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Except that I'm very depressed and cry a lot and hate every- thing and everybody and suffer from these Incredibly strong urges to run over pedes- trians (particularly elderly...

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Rdbeg CHESS Rd b e

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The Ultimate Lslay Malt. www.ardbeg.com Sheer genius Raymond Keene AS I write, the important tournament at Sarajevo is getting under way. From a British angle, the...


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Qwertyuiop. Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2136 you were asked to write 52 words of plausible prose in which the first letter of each word follows the pattern of the typewriter...

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Solution to 1461: Limes...

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E gran g lia . dn. dn. dINIGns MINN n min rinnalligarlaelnarla reerivenaeri, ilUtirlada Mem 19 EliardillrlarlallA Er 0 A., Lily 1 15111 rintirintirInd11...


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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 5 June, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or,...

No. 2139: After you, Ogden

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You are invited to supply a poem in the style of Ogden Nash on the subject of golf, the opera, or Englishness (maximum 14 lines). Entries to 'Competition No. 2139' by 1 June.

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United will fall Simon Barnes AS the Manchester United season (formerly known as the football season) moves into its brief aestivation, the thinking football person (not...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. lover uses liberal quantities of tal- m powder on his private (except to me) Parts. He thinks I find this sexy. On the Contrary it seriously diminishes my...