21 APRIL 2001

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A fter eight weeks of the foot-and-mouth epidemic, 1,073,000 animals had

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been slaughtered, 540,000 awaited slaughter and 419,000 carcasses awaited disposal; there had been 1,344 outbreaks. More than a million sheep and lambs, some starving in mud but...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 LAND OF THE FEE F ew spectacles have been more depressing, for parents, than the...

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A government that cannot tell the truth can't cope in a crisis

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BRUCE ANDERSON A ccording to the latest polls, about half the public are satisfied with the way the government has handled the foot-andmouth epidemic. They must be easy to...

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I arrived at Madrid airport, a traveller from an unclean land. A notice, written in English, blocked the way: Anyone arriving from the United Kingdom, because of the dangers of...

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Eating our fellow-mammals may not be wrong, but it is not very nice

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MATTHEW PAR RIS T here can hardly be a thinking person in Britain who has not, over the last few weeks, thought again about eating meat. For me the pause for reflection began...

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The Tory party is not quite daft enough to start a feud a few weeks before an election; Peter (Thorne reveals that the Portillo—Clarke axis was dreamt up by a failed...

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Mind your language

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A READER from Munster (in Germany, not Ireland) with the pleasantly reduplicative name of Attwood-Wood has suddenly written to me to ask if Sir Peregrine Worsthome was...

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Peter Mullen, an Anglican priest, says that memorial services have plumbed new depths of banality MEMORIAL services are not what they used to be in the City of London. Not...

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Turkey's woes have been caused by a desire to be respectable in the eyes of Brussels, says Norman Stone Ankara FOR the past year and more, the IMF has regularly been in Ankara....

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Mark Steyn on the humbug of the liberal campaign against George W's tax cuts New Hampshire THE search for victims of George W. Bush's '$1.6 trillion tax cut for the rich'...

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Ancient & modern

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THE 'triumph' of science, particularly genetics, has again raised the issue of a purely materialistic, and therefore godless, world. The argument is nothing new. In his life of...

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Nigel Farage can't believe that the Conservative party is serious in its opposition to a European superstate THE day I became an MEP, a Tory friend said to me, 'You're making...

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Jonathan Freedland says that traditional conservatives are increasingly disturbed by US materialism GEORGE W. Bush won't be surprised to learn that he has won few friends on...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit MPs' attempts to ingratiate themselves with yoof culture may have given the impression that the teenager's clumsy and...

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Robert Baker says that even if the pharmaceutical companies gave their drugs away Africa would still be ravaged by Aids THE South African President, Thabo Mbeki, is right to...

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Which writers have charm?

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And does it matter? PAUL JOHNSON M ost writers have the egotism of actors with none of the good looks or charm.' I say, I say: is that true? The author of the quote was...

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Nasty Bruce

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From Mr Joe Haines Sir: I buy The Spectator for the quality of its writing. It is a literary oddity that reactionaries make the best writers. However, I gave up reading Bruce...

Muslims and Jesus

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From Mr David Watkins Sir: You are mistaken (Leading article, 14 April). The discovery of Christ's body might benefit Judaism, but certainly not Islam, any more than proof that...

EU could lead to war

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From Mr John R. Holiday Sir: My earliest memory (aged two) is of being bombed, so I am at least as interested as Franz Metzger (Letters, 7 April) in `no more wars within...

FMD is not from us From Mr Narend Singh Sir:

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As the cabinet minister responsible for agricultural matters in the South African province of KwaZulu/Natal, I have to correct the statements on foot-and-mouth disease by...

Grand National safety

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From Jane Davies Sir: The photograph of the mud-spattered, exhausted winner of this year's Grand National appears to have upset Simon Barnes (Sport. 14 April). Neither jockeys...

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Common misunderstanding

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From Mr Paul Giles Sir: John Major takes Alastair Campbell to task for describing comprehensive schools as 'bog-standard' (`Vote Labour — if you want to be ruled by lies', 7...

What Scotland needs

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From Mr Bruce Leeming Sir: Tim Luckhurst ('Scotland the terrified', 14 April) makes the Englishman's typically wrong deduction from his experiences in Scotland about the...

Lacklustre Lib Dems

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From Mr Marshall Billot Sir: Peter Mandelson is correct ('What Hague must do now', 14 April). The Tories have not provided effective opposition, thereby enabling the Labour...

Fairyland forlorn

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From Mr Michael McMahon Sir: The answer to the question posed at the head of Paul Johnson's column 'What would Shakespeare have said of the footand-mouth mess? (And another...

Unfair to Wessex girl

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From Mrs Jennifer Miller Sir: Re Stephen Glover's 'The Countess yielded to blackmail and behaved like a chump; conspiracy theorists are in heaven' (Media studies, 7 April)....

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Just when you thought the News of the World could

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not get any more disgusting. . . STEPHEN GI OVER M uch ink has been spilt concerning the News of the World's entrapment of the Countess of Wessex. But, so far as 1 can gather,...

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Nothing matters more than prose

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Philip Hensher THE WAR AGAINST CLICHÉ by Martin Antis Cape, £20 ,pp. 352 ISBN 0224050591 C ritic' is a title of honour, heavy with implications of eminence, and not a plain...

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The great escapers

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Robert Kee THE COLDITZ STORY by P. R. Reid Cassell Military Paperbacks, £6.99, pp. 222, ISBN 0304358126 Y ou do not need to be a prisoner of war to want from time to time to...

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Troubadour of the golden age

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Grey Gowrie DOWN THE HIGHWAY: THE LIFE OF BOB DYLAN by Howard Sounes Doubleday, £17.99, pp. 527, ISBN 0385601255 F ive years ago, Bob Dylan was a contender for the Nobel...

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A king in fits and starts

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Raymond Carr PHILIP V OF SPAIN by Henry Kamen Yale, £25, pp. 283, ISBN 0300087187 K ings and queens, in those European states where they survive as heads of state, are now...

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pop muse-biz Julie Burchill BLACK VINYL, WHITE POWDER by Simon Napier-Bell Ebuty Press, 116.99, pp. 390, ISBN 0091869927 h ere is something of Oscar Wilde about Simon...

How much blood was taken from Germany?

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Frank Johnson HALL OF MIRRORS by David Sinclair Century, £16.99, pp. 324, ISBN 0712683895 T he author intends The Hall of Mirrors as metaphor as well as place. It is the great...

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Too narrow the way

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Anita Brookner STRAIT IS THE GATE by Andre Gide, translated by Dorothy Bussy Penguin Modem Classics, £6.99, pp. 128, ISBN 0141185244 A ndre Gide died 50 years ago, after a...

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Lessons of lepidoptery

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John Fowles THE AURELIAN LEGACY by Michael A. Salmon Harley Books, Martins, Great Horkesley, Colchester, Essex CO6 4AH Tel: 01206271216, £30, pp. 432, ISBN 0946589402 THE...

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Homing in on Wales

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Jane Gardam THE RAM IN THE WELL by June Knox-Mawer John Murray; £16.99, pp. 223, ISBN 0719555876 A t first I wondered if this was going to be just another love-song to the...

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Bringing Proust to the Village

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Rupert Christiansen I THOUGHT OF DAISY by Edmund Wilson University Press of Iowa, £10.95, pp. 278, ISBN 0877457697 W e all know that novelists draw on their own experience, and...

Comeback against the odds

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Charles Allen THE 0 1 1ER AMONG US by James Williams Tierce' S.B. Publishing, 2 Mill Wallc, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8 DT, Tel: 01582 832182, £26, pp. 184, ISBN 0953200221 F...

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Rushing to judgment

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Tim Congdon DID THINGS GET BETTER? by Polly Toynbee and David Walker Penguin, £6.99, pp. 273, ISBN 0141000163 T he fashionable answer to the question 'what were the effects of...

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More dead butterflies

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Judith Keppel THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF ALLUSIONS edited by Andrew Delahunty et al OUP, £15.99, pp. 576, ISBN 0198600313 F ascinated though I am by learning the derivations of...

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Howl came to be lawfully wed

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Anton Chekhoi A fter we had finished the punch, our parents murmured a few words to each other and left us alone. 'Go ahead!' my father whispered to me on his way out. 'Say...

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Milton: national saviour

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In times of crises, Harry Eyres believes we should remember this mighty poet T he condescending statement introducing Blake's illustrations to his poem 'Milton' in the recent...

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Serge Chermayeff 1900-96: The shape of modern living (Kettle's Yard, Cambridge. till 6 May)

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Revitalising talent Gavin Stamp F ew of us, I suspect, had ever heard of Grozny before the dreadful events in Chechnya over the last decade brought it notoriety. It was...

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French connection

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Stuart Nicholson F rance has occupied a rather ambivalent position in jazz. Despite producing the most important non-American jazz musician in the history of the music (Django...

Bridget Jones's Diary (15, selected cinemas)

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The cad v. the stiff Mark Steyn F or a few weeks a couple of years back, I used to come on top of Bridget Jones in the Saturday Telegraph — that's not a kinky sex act, I...

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Ghosts (Albery Theatre) Beau Brummell (National Tour) The Coming World (Soho Theatre)

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Victorian shocker Sheridan Morley A n open drain: a loathsome sore unbandaged; a dirty deed done publicly.' 'Unutterably offensive; an abominable piece.' A repulsive and...

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Mind the gap

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Ursula Buchan I cannot be the only person for whom a 'gap year' between school and university has opened up unsuspected, but very welcome, opportunities. I don't mean my gap...

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Defeatist nonsense

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Michael Vestey I was rather pleased when Helen Boaden, the controller of Radio Four, announced that she was bringing back a children's programme, admitting that her...

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Muddling through

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Simon Hoggart S o two weeks ago I was going on about how much good stuff there is on television, and then along comes Dog Eats Dog (BBC 1). This game show combines all the...

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Use and lose

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Alan Judd F or sufferers of compulsive car buying syndrome there are few more mortifying marks of decay than the discovery that one can no longer read Exchange & Mart or...

Plumpton pleasures

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Robin Oakley T he Americans do worry so, don't they? In Lambourn the other day an American couple were due to view a cottage for sale. But so alarmed were they by the signs...

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Cartoon character

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Talu T New York he bloom having gone off her ugliness, Barbra Streisand is suddenly a very unhappy female. She can no longer crash in the Lincoln Bedroom, the draft-dodging...

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Please help the patriot

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Jeremy Clarke I n a couple of months time, I'm to take part in a Radio Four programme called A Good Read. All I have to do is nominate a favourite book then discuss it on air....

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Marathon of indulgence

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Simon Barnes I WILL not be running the London Marathon this year. That makes it the 21st London Marathon in a row that I have managed not to run; a 100 per cent record. It's...

Q. Have you any suggestions for dealing with the annoying

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and surely unhealthy practice of reading newspapers in the lavatory? Some of my office colleagues retire to the cubicle for an inordinate amount of time with the office...

Q. Having entered my early fifties, I have come up

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against a new social problem. Conversation with some of the most glamorous men I know has become frustrating since, most having been Shooting Hoorays in their youth, a lot of...

Q. Can you suggest a novel present for a seven-year-old godson who has everything? I am short of money.

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D.M.C.C., Notfolk A. No, I can suggest a traditional one. All you need is a length of wood, a length of rope and a drill to knock up your own swing. If your godchild's parents...