21 AUGUST 1999

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The redesigning of William Hague R ioters set fire to cars and shops and threw 130 petrol bombs at police in Lon- donderry after protests against marches by Protestant...

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ECT OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 REMOTE CONTROL T here you are, sitting in BBC Millbank or White City,...

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I t seems time to sound the alarm-bells about the threat of paralysis facing the whole system of government appoint- ments, thanks to Nolanisation and politi- cal correctness....

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A vote for Kennedy is a vote for cannabis. I'm voting Kennedy MATTHEW PARRIS 1' hat a brave and sensible start Charles Kennedy has made to the leadership of his party by...

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Michael Duffy forecasts a revolt against Australia's Chardonnay republicans Sydney THEY are certainly a formidable lot, the right-thinking corporate leaders of what we might...

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Leo McKinstry discloses the gloriously abject tradition of British cricket `ENGLAND the lowest of the low,' cried the Daily Telegraph after the defeat at Lord's. 'Sack the...

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Terence Kealey urges Lady Thatcher to spurn the dons who despise her POOR Oxford. As dinner-time conviviality gives way to post-prandial introspection, its dons could be...

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Bruce Anderson describes the problem of asylum-seekers in Dover; and elsewhere AS you leave the railway station and walk up the Folkestone Road, there are glimpses of Dover...

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Mind your language

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THERE was a good example of news- readers' English on the wireless the other day when a man in Germany was reported to have the deadly, infectious, haemorrhagic Ebola fever (it...

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I. Marwood on how Skunk can make you a better parent I NOW divide my friends into two cat- egories: those who smoke dope and those who don't get invited to my dinner parties....

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James Sproule advances an explanation for Peter Mandelson's housing difficulties POOR Peter Mandelson, victim of the curse of Notting Hill. The first house he wanted was so...

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Mark Steyn explains why Al Gore can't beat the cistern New Hampshire ON this stage,' roared the announcer at the Iowa State University basketball arena, `is the next president...

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What Stubbs and Landseer would have thought of the anti-hunting mob PAUL JOHNSON his August I have been trying hard to improve my rudimentary skills in drawing animals. It...

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READER OFFER Make a personal statement with everything you write... PERSONAL HEADED NOTEPAPER & CORRESPONDENCE CARDS Prices include postage & packing with no limit on the...

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I now believe more than ever that this war was wrong STEPHEN GLOVER Kosovo Many opponents of the bombing of Serbia had their doubts. I certainly did. For some antis the...

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Cricket's foul decline

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From Mr David Kershaw Sir: As a member of Michael Henderson's `proletarian subculture' (`Foull', 14 August), I clearly have a lot to learn from his own beloved game: the...


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Communist in the SOE From Mr David Turner Sir: Sir Ian Fraser (Letters, 14 August) is somewhat mistaken when he says that James Klugmann, of the wartime Special Operations...

Ignorant townies

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From The Duke of Buccleuch, KT Sir: It is often claimed that fox-hunting is opposed by a majority of the population. It would be surprising if it were not. After all, that...

Reith's female rival

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From Mr Michael Carney Michael Vestey needs to get to know his broadcasting history (Arts, 14 August). Once upon a time there was a woman, with- out a baby, who could have run...

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Bourgeois? Cool

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From Mr Victor Black Sir: The Spectator, of all publications, should not be allowed to get away with sloppy thinking. In the excellent editorial on the eclipse (14 August), the...

The real Kaunda

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From Mr Garreth Byrne Sir: I enjoyed Robert Oakeshott's review of a book on the life of Stewart Gore-Browne (Books, 7 August), but feel that his descrip- tion of Zambia's...

Jennifer's loo

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From Mr M.C.D. Holmes Sir: The Good Lao Guide (c. 1960) gave three stars to the gentlemen's lavatory at Scott's restaurant: 'Recommended by Miss Jennifer Paterson.' M C.D....

From Mr William Marshall Sir: In his review of Christina

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Lamb's bio- graphical study of Stewart Gore-Browne, Robert Oakeshott mentions his threatening to drop his trousers if the management of Mpika's Crested Crane Hotel refused to...

Dook's premature death

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From Mr Roderick MacLean Sir: Congratulations to Bevis Hillier on 'A master with two mistresses', (Books, 7 August), which I read with great interest despite being a lifetime...

Butlins' dolls

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From Mr Moritz Frost Sir: I fully endorse Rachel Johnson's com- ments CI love Butlins', 7 August). I have been to Butlins many times over the last 30 years and what struck me...

What about Heenan?

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From Mrs Elisabeth Evans Sir: Why does Piers Paul Read consider that having an Irish name is an impediment to becoming Archbishop of Westminster (`Hume's cardinal error', 7...

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Going with the job

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A PENSION of £19 a month is not much to show for a working lifetime, but the reader who wants my advice about it fears that she may lose it. For those who still believe in the...

Tell him, Martin

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TODAY's Chancellor readily accepts that competition is good, except in that large sec- tor of the economy for which his colleagues are responsible. Only a modest leap of argu-...


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Technology and Transit vans cross frontiers and move faster than the excisemen can follow CHRISTOPHER FILDES W atch the wall, my darling, when the Transit vans go by....

Wish list

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THE Bank of England's monetary policy committee has taken its line from the trade union whose executive wished its ailing general secretary an early and complete recovery by...

Take a stake

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THAT business now has to accommodate the government's ideas about stakeholder pensions. Nebulous in the first place, those ideas keep changing. The sixth in a series of...

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Winner of the old crocks' race Bevis Hillier ENGLISH PORCELAIN, 1745-95 by Hilary Young V&A Publications, £50, pp. 229 I n the late 1960s there was a spate of `What is ... ? '...

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Becoming a member of the oldest club

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Jonathan Sumption HENRY JAMES: A LIFE IN LETTERS edited by Philip Horne Allen Lane, £25, pp. 667 T here has never been a complete edition of Henry James's letters. The sheer...

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The most magic mother?

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Patrick Skene Catling THE ILLUSTRATED MUM by Jacqueline Wilson Doubleday, £10.99, pp. 223 Jr acqueline Wilson's books are perfect for children of the age when they begin to...


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Seasonal Receipts

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Pretences and pretensions

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Brian Masters THE MYSTERIOUS MISS MARIE CORELLI, QUEEN OF VICTORIAN BESTSELLERS by Teresa Ransom Sutton, £25, pp. 247 P rompted by A. L. Rowse, in 1976 I began researching for...

Life in the big bad city

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Anne Chisholm THE BEDROOM OF THE MISTER'S WIFE by Philip Hensher Chatto, £10, pp. 200 I t is characteristic of this clever, cool, unsettling collection of 14 stories by The...

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Where the sun rarely shines

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Kate Chisholm ISLAND by Jane Rogers Little, Brown, £15.99, pp. 261 D on't be misled by the title of this dis- turbing novel. This island is no beach- comber's paradise or...

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Consciously defying analysis

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John Vincent THE SELF-FASHIONING OF DISRAELI, 1818 - 1851 edited by Charles Richmond and Paul Smith CUP, £30, pp. 212 T his collection of eight interpretative essays by seven...

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A ticket to trouble

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Michael Carlson LUCKY YOU by Carl Hiaasen Pan, £5.99, pp. 496 I s there writing life after Demi Moore? The Hollywood star passed Carl Hiaasen's novel Striptease past her...

Sins of omission and commission

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Compton Miller THE INTERNATIONAL WHO'S WHO edited by Richard Fitzwilliams Europa, £195, pp. 1743 E diting a snobs' bible is both good for the ego and fraught with difficulty....

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Hearing the good news

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Peter Levi T here are a lot of English versions of the Gospels, none of them better than Luther's in German, and the conventional choice of the Authorised Version is proba-...

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A choice of recent thrillers

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Harriet Waugh D ead Souls by Ian Rankin (Orion, £ 9 .99) shows the continuing development of Inspector John Rebus's darkening soul. In the author's previous novel, The Hanging...


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Subscribe NOW! RATFS 12 months 6 months ( 0 52 issues) e s 0 £109 (26 issues) UK 0 £49 Europe 0 £55 USA 0 uss161 0 US$82 Australia 0 A a us i s 0 Aus$113 0 Rest of World 0...

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On the trail of a master violin maker Rafael Todes recently bought a Maggini at auction. He decided to find out more about it W hat's that, then, a Strad?' asked the bus...

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Exhibitions 2

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George Stubbs in the Collection of Paul Mellon (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, till 6 September) Anatomical obsession Roger Kimball he philanthropist, art collector...

Exhibitions 1

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Prunella Clough (Kettles Yard, Cambridge, till 26 September, then Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, 4 December till 22 January) On the edge Martin Gayford I like,' the painter...

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DIARY 2000 £15 Plain £16 Initialled The Spectator 2000 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the...

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Lenny (Queens) Of Thee I Sing (Bridewell) Nymph Errant (Chichester) The Importance of Being Earnest (Haymarket) The Darker Face of the Earth (National) Bettering Bruce...

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JOHN HIGGINS 1934-1999 THE sudden death, after a long illness,

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of John Higgins last week ends all too soon the life of the man who alone invented the modern broadsheet arts page. First at. the Finan- cial Times, and then for almost 30 years...

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Wonderful Town (Royal Albert Hall) Hugh the Drover (Cambridge Arts Theatre) Studies in contrast Michael Tanner M y operatic fare this week consisted of a determined effort to...

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Stiff upper lips Michael Vestey A though there have been many books, articles, radio and television documentaries about the evacuation of children from cities to the...

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The turf

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Old favourites Robin Oakley T he pundits had Newbury's Geoffrey Freer Stakes set up as a racing equivalent to the Gunfight at the OK Corral. The two shortest-priced horses in...


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The win-win line James Delingpole I was going to start by saying that there's nothing worth watching on TV at this time of year but I've suddenly realised that this isn't...

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High life

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Pleasure palaces Taki Rougemont 1 46 1,..ccepting other people's hospitality is a very English trait, so for the life of me I cannot understand why the press kicked up so much...

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Country life

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Snail tendency Leanda de Lisle I have started writing a novel. This fine book runs to about a page at the moment. A page that has to go in the bin. My excuse for my lack of...


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Miss and catch Andrew Robson WHEN DECIDING whether to finesse or drop to catch a missing honour, the 'Even Break Test' is a useful guide. Add up the number of missing cards,...

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Bruce Anderson

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ON the west coast of Harris, the Outer Hebrides live up to their name. There is mile after mile of heather, moor, rock, though the terrain is constantly interrupted by sea...

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It's a gas Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2098 you were informed that Centrica is closing all 243 gas showrooms and asked for a song, to a well- known tune, to celebrate their...


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Two fronts Raymond Keene BRITISH grandmasters have been active in two widely separated theatres of combat during August. As I predicted in this column two weeks ago, Julian...

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Solution to 1424:

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That ' s life 9 D Fl its 1. , ,, : ammo CIE T O._ 'E L 'A U NMI mA T T i i R E IN N OV mom a eririarinnann E Ila H T E ad n El GI I- MIR E T IAN ii • N s i g adrileln I...

CROSSWORD 1427: Over the Styx by Dumpynose

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 6 September, with two run- ners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the...

No. 2101: 1620 and All That

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On 6 September 1620 the Mayflower sailed for America. You are invited to deal with the history of that country (chronological leaps allowed) in the style of the authors of 1066...

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Wacky turned tacky Simon Barnes IT is one of those beliefs that persists into maturity despite a considerable body of evi- dence to the contrary: people in worlds other than...


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Dear Mary. . Q. About five years ago a good friend invited me to join a party fishing for salmon on the River Spey in Scotland. As a beginner, I was somewhat apprehensive, but...