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The Spectator

Hot Blair balloon M r Malcolm Rifkind, the Foreign Secretary, in a speech on the 50th anniver- sary of Churchill's at Zurich, said that the introduction of a single currency...

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The Spectator

DAVID HARE T he readership of the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator only marginally overlap, but this is my sole chance to thank the hun- dreds of people who wrote to me about a...

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The Spectator

The possible explanation, which we're brought up to disbelieve, of why people kill each other MATTH EW PARRI A n unmentionable thought has long troubled me. With elections in...

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NOT UN, BUT AN That is the new kind of

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joblessness, argues Bruce Anderson. Thousands are now unemployed, not because they are out of work, but because they are outside work The notion that unemploy- ment causes...

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The Spectator

Fifty years of Radio Three: Michael Vestey celebrates its survival, and warns of battles to come IN Peter Ustinov's amusing play Beethoven's Tenth, the composer returns from the...

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The Spectator

Fifty years of Radio Three: E.C. Hodgkin says what it was like to work for the self- educated journalist who started it PREPARATIONS for an 'arts pro- gramme' had been going on...

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The Spectator

Fifty years of Radio Three: Noel Annan reviews the programme's new history, and recalls the early years NOSTALGIA wells up in the heart of aging intellectuals when the Third...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

'AND then there is the tenth meaning ' I was saying to my husband as he was getting stuck into an interesting paper in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine called 'Acedia the...

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The Spectator

Douglas Johnson shows that apapal visit has aroused both hopes and fears of a French Roman Catholic revival ON the morning of Thursday, 19 Septem- ber, the Pope was due to...

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The Spectator

Nicholas Farrell discovers that in the United States the BBC endorses unchanged a programme it had to change for Britain the History Channel on the night of Sun- day 10...

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The Spectator

Shimon Peres gives Simon Sebag Montefiore his first interview since losing office, and says Mr Netanyahu is a young man with a tired mind 'I WAS heartbroken and upset,' says...

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The Spectator

Michael Heath


The Spectator

TAXATION: IT IS A MORAL ISSUE . . . but not in the way that Labour claims, says John Major ALL AROUND the world, people ask the fundamental question — how much government...

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The Spectator

. . . incredibly, they were Christopher . Hitchens and Tariq Ali, reveals Parnab Mukherjee Calcutta CHRISTOPHER Hitchens lives in the United States and writes for Vanity Fair....

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The Spectator

Lucinda Bredin tried to arrange for an official telegram for her grandmother's centenary things couldn't have gone worse AS MY grandmother's 100th birthday approached, the...

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The Spectator

They were all Michael Sheridan found remaining of France in Cambodia NOT LONG ago, the Americans found in their archives in Washington a long-forgot- ten film about Cambodia,...

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The Spectator

Yankees should stop the cultural cringing and throw the Brit rascals out PAUL JOHNSON N ew York is at present suffering from a bout of cultural cringe, and assumes that...

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The Spectator

The people's flag is pink and white, But lo, the Euro-fleet's in sight CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he prawn cocktail offensive is now a crustacean invasion. After years of soften-...

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Sir: As a veteran Cold Warrior and an old friend

The Spectator

of Peregrine Worsthorne, I was baf- fled by his new distaste for the nuclear bal- ance of terror. Life would be very boring if we could not repent of imaginary sins,...


The Spectator

Europe after Hitler Sir: You are quite right to say that the lat- est Iraq crisis has told us that `a common European foreign policy would be impossi- ble and even if possible...

Cold War answers

The Spectator

Sir: As a member of the Nato division of the Defence Policy Staff at the time of Margaret Thatcher's accession and a stu- dent at the Royal College of Defence Stud- ies during...

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Sir: Am I alone in finding Peregrine Worsthorne's volte-face over

The Spectator

nuclear weapons truly extraordinary? To berate the New Right for their stiffness of spine at the time communism was collapsing because of its — to use the Marxist phrase —...

Sir: We are astonished that Peregrine Worsthome has only now

The Spectator

become cog- nisant of the depth of the desire of the American Right to wage and 'win' a nuclear war. CND made this point repeatedly dur- ing the 1980s when we were both staff...

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Authorised delay

The Spectator

Sir: Christopher Fildes says (City and sub- urban, 7 September) that only a brave exciseman would dun Arnold Weinstock for overdue payment of VAT. Indeed. When he took over at...

Upstaged at Epidaurus

The Spectator

Sir: My stomach turned when I read Sheri- dan Morley's review of the National The- atre's production of Oedipus at Epidaurus (7 September). The 'locals' (just a hair's- breadth...

Floreat Radio

The Spectator

Sir: I suppose I should be grateful that Michael Vestey's equivalent of pouring a pint of beer over my head is limited to words, to asserting that John Birt and I nei- ther...

Good publicity

The Spectator

Sir: It is not clear that Bruce Anderson (Politics, 14 September) or Stephen Glover (Media studies, 14 September) have known Robert Runcie or have read Humphrey Carpenter's...

Jacobs reconsidered

The Spectator

Sir: Keith Waterhouse has recently remind- ed Spectator readers of his campaign for a commemorative plaque to the author W.W. Jacobs (Diary, 10 August). English Heritage is...

Gill promotion

The Spectator

Sir: Congratulations on luring the famous A.A. Gill to the pages of your magazine ('Why they hate A.A. Gill', 14 September). Thanks to you, at least 55,475 more people have now...

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The Spectator

When they're not scratching one another's backs, they're scratching one another's eyes STEPHEN GLOVER Any suggestion that a novelist has written a roman a clef invariably...

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The Spectator

The scholar V. the friend David Sexton DAMNED TO FAME by James Knowlson Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 896 SAMUEL BECKETT: THE LAST MODERNIST by Anthony Cronin HarperCollins, £25, pp....

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The winning ways of the Tories Bruce Anderson

The Spectator

A HISTORY OF CONSERVATIVE POLITICS, 1900-1996 by John Charmley Macmillan, £16.99, pp. 296 T he Tory Party is an enduring paradox. By opposing the Great Reform Bill, it put...

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No, but I'll watch the programme

The Spectator

Barbara Trapido NOT YET HOME by Justin Cartright Fourth Estate, £12.99, pp. 191 J ustin Cartright is an exciting novelist. His imagination sparks off some of the most vital...

Where there's a will

The Spectator

Charlotte Moore THE GUEST by Charlotte Cory Faber, £15.99, pp. 224 T he guest' of the title is a corpse, a nameless visitor found dead in his hotel room in Knibden, an English...

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A stunning twist

The Spectator

Harriet Waugh THE KEYS TO THE STREET by Ruth Rendell Hutchinson, £15.99, pp. 310 R uth Rendell is a phenomenon. For many years she has been producing three novels a year,...

The Empress and I

The Spectator

Amit Chaudhuri INDIAN SAHIB by Sushila Anand Duckworth, £16.95, pp. 112 I n 1887, 24-year-old Abdul Karim, son of a humble hakim (a Muslim doctor) and scion of a family in no...

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Scotland the grave

The Spectator

Charles Maclean THE KILN by William Mcllvanney Sceptre, £15.99, pp. 277 n offer here is the memoir of a dis- mayed man sitting alone in an Edinburgh flat thinking about the...

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His glory is he has such friends

The Spectator

Deborah Devonshire FOURTEEN FRIENDS by James Lees-Milne John Murray, £19.99, pp. 256 J ames Lees-Milne was looking for a title for his latest book. We were discussing it and...

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Crime or banishment

The Spectator

Andrew Barrow COCAINE NIGHTS by J. G. Ballard Flamingo, £16.99, pp. 329 T his is the first book I have read by this prolific and popular author. I am therefore unable to say...

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Sex and oil in Argentina

The Spectator

James Simmons THE STORY OF THE NIGHT by Colm Picador, £15.99, pp. 313 I f Colm T6ibin were a singer you would say he had perfectly pitch. This novel leads you through its...

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Restored to glory

The Spectator

David Ekserdjian MASACCIO by John T. Spike Abbeville/John Murray, £72, pp. 256 T he cleaning of the Sistine Chapel ceil- ing was without question the most talked about...

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Not much of the nice and the good

The Spectator

John Whitworth THE MIDDEN by Tom Sharpe Secker & Warburg, L15.99, pp. 245 I have an affection for Tom Sharpe. My writing career began at Seeker Warburg, and it was the...

And if thou wilt, remember

The Spectator

David Montrose DISTANCE by Colin Thubron Heinemann, f15.99, pp. 218 T he protagonists of Colin Thubron's more recent novels — A Cruel Madness (1984), Falling (1989), and...

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Books that make the money or money that makes the

The Spectator

books Tobias Jones CONSUMING FICTIONS: THE BOOKER PRIZE AND FICTION IN BRITAIN TODAY by Richard Todd Bloomsbury, £12.99, pp. 340 R eading literature as merely the artistic...

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Going too far Bernard Dunstan WALTER SICKERT: DRAWINGS by Anna

The Spectator

Gruetzner Robins Scolar, 1115, pp. 96 A new book on Sickert's drawings must always be welcome. Nothing on the subject has been published for some years, and though a few of his...

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A Rose by any other name

The Spectator

Q uite the most extraordinary item in last week's newspapers had nothing what- ever to do with Dr Runcie, Saddam Hus- sein or Mrs Parker Bowles. It was a lengthy obituary in one...

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The Spectator

My first eleven Michael Henderson follows in the steps of Neville Cardus and picks his team of composers A record-breaking Proms season ended last Saturday, and it was a good...

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The Spectator

Mysteries of Ancient China (British Museum, till 5 January 1997) Obsession with death Martin Gayford T he First Emperor of China ordered all the ancient books in his empire...

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M usic

The Spectator

Personality count Peter Phillips T he subtle relationship between con- ductor and orchestra has been on candid display in recent nights at the Proms. The essence of the matter...


The Spectator

La Traviata (English National Opera) La Boheme (Royal Opera House) Das Land des Ilichelns (Barbican) A trio of tear-jerkers Michael Tanner N o doubt coincidentally, the Royal...

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The Spectator

Striptease (15, selected cinemas) The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (15, selected cinemas) Keeping abreast of Demi Mark Steyn D emi Moore's breasts hang...

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The Spectator

Romance, Romance (Bridewell) Swan Lake (Piccadilly) Kindertransport (Vaudeville) The Flight into Egypt (Hampstead) Love lost and regained Sheridan Morley T his week a...

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The Spectator

Guinness is good for you Michael Vestey T he slot on Radio Four that consistent- ly delights, and gets its choice of material right, is at 8.40 in the morning, immediate- ly...


The Spectator

Crass Rhodes James Delingpole W hen I was travelling through the Sudan a few years back, old men would often come up to me and say, 'Why did you leave us? Things were so much...

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The Spectator

In need of a navigational fix Alan Judd I 'm in the car-buying mode again. I shouldn't — I don't need one — but that never had anything to do with the price of fish. The...

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The turf

The Spectator

Rules are rules but . . . Robin Oakley B efore he received the irresistible call from Sheikh Mohammed to return to Britain and handle some of his best horses, John Gosden had...

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High life

The Spectator

Hack hypocrisy Taki 'T here is something a little chilling about the spectacle of a rich man attempt- ing to hijack British politics.' This ludicrous sentence appeared last...

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Low life

The Spectator

Sunday shocker Jeffrey Bernard L ast Sunday should have been a good and pleasant day. I had no hospital appointment, the weather was lovely and the friend who produced Channel...

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The Spectator

Hope and glory Andrew Robson THE 'GAMBLING' 3NT opening bid shows a solid seven or eight card minor suit and little else. If partner can provide stop- pers in the other three...

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The Spectator

All French and all high-class Auberon Waugh T his offer, which averages £10.25 a bot- tle on the full mixed case, may seem to announce a reckless jump up-market. If so, it...

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The Spectator

Mil 11■0 VOI(X•111511 U RA COMPETITION Snappy number Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1950 you were invited to supply a 'Song of the Wicked Paparazzo' for a modern...


The Spectator

IN•TH E•ST RAND SIMPSON'S 15•THE•STRAND CHESS Top of the world Raymond Keene THE BULGARIAN grandmaster Veselin Topalov has joined that charmed circle of players,...

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The Spectator

1279: Heads will roll by Mass A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1990 Port for the first correct solution opened on 7 October, with two...

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The Spectator

The ghosts of cricket past Simon Barnes MORE THAN most sports, cricket is the domain of sentimentalists. Each vanished decade is more precious than the one that followed it;...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. I recently took a party of six friends to the opera, and was struck by my ignorance over a certain point of etiquette. When squeezing past people in order to...