21 JUNE 1997

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Heavy bombardment T he Conservative Party elected a new leader; the second ballot had given Mr Kenneth Clarke 64 votes, Mr William Hague 62 and Mr John Redwood (who then had to...

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Mr Clarke and Mr Redwood do have something in common themselves BRUCE ANDERSON O n Wednesday morning, Alan Clark was triumphant. The outcome of Tuesday's second ballot...

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BORIS JOHNSON A last. For hours we had seemed to tramp the cobbles, and there it was: the warm lights of the 'M and M' coffee-house, the cheerful decor of sci-fi heroines in fur...

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I suspect that the Foreign Secretary has been warned off the turf PETRONELLA WYATT T here may have been a few dukes and earls and peers, but for what was probably the first...

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A railway pressure group with no apparent political axe to grind is not as unbiased as it claims, says Ian Brown Save Our Railways is an umbrella group set up to co-ordinate...

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Mind your language

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`SURELY it should be fine-tooth comb (one with its teeth finely spaced)?' asks Martha Crewe (Letters, 14 June). 'Only a baleen whale needs a "toothcomb". ' So one might think,...

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Douglas Johnson on the real meaning of France's moves in and out of Brazzaville Paris THE HEADLINE was not unexpected: `The first test for cohabitation'. M. Jospin and the...

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Nicholas Farrell's guide to the theories as to why McVeigh did it (or who else did too) Washington, DC TIMOTHY McVeigh's trial may be over, but the conspiracy has only just...

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Simon Blow on belonging to a people who are lonely, but are unable to be alone WHAT is the purpose of friendship? I often hear someone say, 'I wouldn't have expected that of a...

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Time to fasten seat-belts as the Giant Panda takes over the flight deck PAUL JOHNSON T his summer season is the most glitter- ing I can recall. London is the place in all the...

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If you take my advice, you'll pay for it the man from McKinsey is here CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he McKinseyfication of Britain takes a step forward with William Hague. The...

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Sir: Bruce Anderson (Politics, 31 May), on the subject of the servicemen executed for cowardice during the first world war, states: `In the second world war, by which time...

Executions for cowardice

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Sir: The letter from G.J. Norman in your issue of 7 June severely criticises — rightly Its marijuana. — Bruce Anderson for his denigration of the British Army's fighting quality...

Ha'away, no way

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Sir: I have lived for most of my 71 years within a mile or two of the River Tyne and consider myself to be a 'Geordie', which is perhaps why I particularly enjoyed Anne...

Sir: Lord Tebbit used to have a sense of humour

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when he was my Member of Parlia- ment. He was also the least vain and pompous of men. Elevation to the House of Lords appears to have changed him for the worse: he not only...

Philosopher's introduction

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Sir: No one would guess from Nigel Spivey's review of my book Confessions of a Philosopher (Books, 14 June) that it is an introduction to philosophy, acquainting its readers...

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Perry Worsthorne ha ha ha!

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Sir: I note with interest that both George Melly and Peregrine Worsthorne are now writing letters to your paper and it appears that they were both at Stowe together. I was also...

You read it here first

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Sir: Several of your correspondents have recently castigated the films of Alfred Hitch- cock. None has mentioned that a dismissive judgment was delivered 61 years ago by Gra-...

Saintly sub-editors

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Sir: If Alastair Forbes (Letters, 14 June) wants to know why his articles occasionally contain printing errors, I can tell him. It is because he writes barely intelligible sen-...

Philosophical influences

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Sir: Alice von Schlieffen criticises me (Let- ters, 7 June) for not replying to her claim made in April that 'where the Kaiser failed Kohl has triumphed' in achieving Ger-...

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The Observer's editor is larger than life but, alas, his paper isn't STEPHEN GLOVER T wo weeks ago the Observer boasted on its front page that it had sold an average of...

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The case against Bratler PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE Curious to see for myself what beguiling bait Nicholas Coleridge had devised to catch new young readers, I bought a copy of...

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Their heroes moved among them Alberto Manguel THE VICTORIAN WORLD PICTURE by David Newsome John Murray, f25, pp. 310 A t the end of this rich and readable hook, which seems so...

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He's a loser, and he is what he appears to

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be Tom Hiney SAVAGE ART: A BIOGRAPHY OF JIM 'THOMPSON by Robert Polito Serpent's Tail, £15, pp. 560 But afterward, after she had gone back to her own room, depression came to...

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Books do furnish a life

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D. J. Taylor SELECTED LETTERS OF LESLIE STEPHEN: VOLUME I, 1864-1882, VOLUME II, 1882-1904 edited by John W. Bicknell Macmillan (two-volume set), £90, pp. 570 G etting on for a...

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Freedom's just another name for nothing left to lose?

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Andro Linklater DREAMS ON HITLER'S COUCH by Vitali Vitaliev Richard Cohen Books, L12.99, pp. 277 T he background of the furniture in question is complex, but easily unravelled...

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You can't go home again, and stay

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Isabel Quigley PROUD GARMENTS by Barbara Anderson Cape, £14.99, pp. 224 T he guest who won't shut up. The guest who takes over, won't leave, has too strong a presence, fills...

Port after stormy seas, ease after war

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Allan Mallinson A WORLD OVERTURNED: A BURMESE CHILDHOOD, 1933-47 by Maureen Baird-Murray Constable, £15, pp. 224 T his compelling story begins, like Carmen, in a cigarette...

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Iron bars do not an author make

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Peter J. M. Wayne MY LIFE AS A GIRL IN A MEN'S PRISON by Kate Pullinger Phoenix House, £15.99, £9.99, pp. 222 I n these difficult times of post- Howardian penal austerity,...

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Though God cannot alter the past, historians can

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Anne McElvoy THE PEOPLE'S PARTY: THE HISTORY OF THE LABOUR PARTY by Tony Wright and Matt Carter Thames & Hudson, £18.95, £12.95, pp. 192 T ony Wright is the perfect New Labour...

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Life without father

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Kate Hubbard EASY PEASY by Lesley Glaister Bloomsbury, L14.99, pp. 256 E asy Peasy is a novel about the price paid for silence, for the unvoiced guilts, or secrets, beneath...

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Artistic mayhem on the lagoon Martin Gayford is disappointed by what he finds at the Venice Biennale T he most apt emblem for the 47th Venice Biennale is a vast painting by the...

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Exhibitions 1

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Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life (Moma, New York, till 26 Aug: Hayward Gallery, London, from 9 Oct to 4 Jan) Very good and bad, bad, bad Roger Kimball T he good news...

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Exhibitions 2

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Landscapes by Charles Knight (Chris Beetles Ltd, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, St James's, SW1, till 4 July) Harmonising the accidental Andrew Lambirth L ooking at the work of the...

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The battle of Brunswick

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Should the Centre be redeveloped? Alan Powers weighs up the arguments M ecldenburgh and Brunswick Hanoverian titles — have made their home among the humbler Corams and Doughtys...

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From the House of the Dead; Simon Boccanegra (Welsh National Opera, Birmingham) A spark of the divine Michael Tanner I n the sedate setting of an underpopulat- ed Birmingham...

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Always (Victoria Palace) Adieu Jacques (Jermyn Street) Closer (Cottesloe) Wallis and Vomit Sheridan Morley N ot perhaps the greatest of weeks for stage musicals, what with...


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The Devil's Own (15, selected cinemas) Private Parts (18, selected cinemas) Marvin's Room (12, selected cinemas) The killing streets Mark Steyn H ere we go again: another...

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Woolly monsters Michael Vestey T here are 300 wild boar roaming Kent. They were tame before they escaped from farms but now they've discovered freedom we must assume they are...


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My kind of guy Simon Hoggart I don't like using this column to whinge because there's an awful lot of good stuff on television. Take Harry Hill (Channel 4). As a huge fan of...

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The turf

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The caring touch Robin Oakley Y ork must be the cleanest, neatest course in Britain. The painted 'barber's poles' and fretwork façade of the County Stand, the hanging baskets...

Not motoring

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Urban nightmare Gavin Stamp R MS Queen Mary is now permanently berthed at Long Beach, California, close to the geodesic dome in which Howard Hugh- es kept his huge and...

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High life

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Hypocrisy rules Taki I don't know if Liverpool had a mistress — few weaklings do — but the Prince Regent had the Fitzherbert woman, and, of course, so did Fox as well as...

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Country life

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Growing pains Leanda de Lisle AI t the end of the month my eldest son is going to be 11, an age when children begin to develop expensive tastes. The one thing he really wants...

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Another point Andrew Robson CHINA has suddenly become a major force in world bridge, due largely to the support of Deng Xioping, the world's most famous bridge player. Several...

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Wiltons, Livebait, Pescatori and Zilli Fish

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IN WARM weather fish slips down more easily than red meat, so this seemed the right time to try some of London's fishy establishments and see how they did. I started, price-wise...

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URA liSLE OF SINGLE 44LT SCOTCH E1171$11 COMPETITION Local prejudice Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1987 you were invited to describe scurrilously, in the verse-form of...


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IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND Staunton remembered Raymond Keene HOWARD STAUNTON was Britain's greatest 19th-century player and the man after whom the modern chess...

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A first prize of 130 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 7 July, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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Creators of England Simon Barnes AND so your guest from abroad wants to touch the heart of England, to reach out and grasp something of the essential rural dream, the English...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. I spend much of my business week in a crowded office in the Midlands. The office is 'open plan' with adjoining double desks crammed together. A lovely young...