22 AUGUST 1998

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The Spectator

The Real IRA get to recognise the enemy A 500 lb car bomb was set off among Saturday shopping crowds in Omagh, Co. Tyrone. It killed 28, including seven chil- dren and 15 women,...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 TAMING THE WILD EAST As in a western, our first instinct is to blame the baron...

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Omagh was expected, and should have been anticipated BRUCE ANDERSON Trifling woes find easy eloquence; great grief is beyond language. We should sympa- thise with the...

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U nderworld was finished when we started our seven-hour flight home — it is not suitable for hand-baggage. We flew what used to be called economy class. British Airways has now...

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For the first time in 2,800 years, THE HISTORY of the human race is the story of the use and misuse of gold. It was the first of the three gifts given by the Wise Men to a baby...

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Second opinion

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I WAS being escorted last Saturday from the prison gate to the prison hospital when I looked up at that little tent of blue we doctors call the sky. `Lovely weather,' I said to...

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Congressional Democrats, deserting President Clinton New Hampshire 'WE WERE in denial,' said one junior White House staffer. 'Not any more.' For the past seven months,...

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Chapman Pincher reveals that both MIS and the KGB taped his lunchtime conversations, with important consequences IN HIS LETTER denigrating his old Express colleagues, your...

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An established American entertainment Lowville, New York LIFE IS TOUGH and getting tougher for the world's last high-diving mules. At a county fair here in rural upstate New...

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John Weissmann imagines historical characters taking tea under the Dome, and discussing humanity's future with Alice For this year's T.E. Utley Memorial Awards, entrants were...

Mind your language

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THIS NEW Oxford dictionary is a pig's ear. But in criticising it I feel exposed. My defence of the placing of only in the natural position in a sentence (8 August) has con-...

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physically and economically from the disappearance of manufacturing PONTIFICATING on economics, Lyndon Johnson once said, was like pissing in your pants, a matter of burning...

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Nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon? I disagree PAUL JOHNSON In that marvellous moonlit scene in the last act of The Merchant of Venice, when the victors of the...

Classifieds — pages 51 and 54

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Ship of state

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Sir: Robert Taylor (`Grand Tour opera- tors', 15 August) did not mention the most remarkable of all prime ministerial holi- days. Lord Rosebery spent the entire gen- eral...

Pet hates

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Sir: Your television review on 8 August made very unhappy reading, which I found most distasteful. Mr Edward Heathcoat Amory has obviously never known the love of a loyal and...

LETTERS Scotch mystery

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Sir: With reference to Neil Drysdale's arti- cle 'Scots cry for Argentina' (4 July), in essence I was treated with absolute cour- tesy and friendliness by every Scot I met in...

Pubic transport

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Sir: With reference to your report on gay sadomasochism (Public money tied up', 8 August), the author appears to have entire- ly missed the point of the training classes or...


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Sir: In his perceptive and thoughtful review of David R. Mets's Master of Airpower (Books, 8 August), Allan Mallinson sug- gests that if the Ministry of Defence were today...

Arraigned in error

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Sir: You remark (Leading article, 15 August) on 'the endemic corruption and incompetence in the force'. That from time to time there is corruption or incompetence is not in...

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Part-time players

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Sir: Bruce Anderson's plea (Politics, 15 August) for more diversity in first-class cricket, 'gentlemen' as well as 'players', is a good deal less snobbish and more practical...

To boldly cavil

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Sir: With reference to the current contro- versy over split infinitives, the following quotation from Bernard Shaw might be of interest: Some busybody on your staff has seen...

Caledonian confidence

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Sir: I have a decade anyway on Andrew Neil (`Scotland the self-deluded', 15 August). I remember sitting at night in a Glasgow bomb shelter, he does not. The Scotland he...

When in Rome . . .

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Sir: Writing the Diary (15 August) from Italy and observing the disregard for law traditional in Romance cultures, Allan Massie immediately claims that heed for the law makes...

Ducal days

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Sir: In his very interesting article (`Tagli- atelle alla Mussolini', 8 August) Nicholas Farrell tells of his visit to the small Apen- nine town where the Duce was born and...

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The man with the stony heart David Caute BELOVED CHICAGO MAN: LE1 ERS TO NELSON ALGREN, 1947-1964 by Simone de Beauvoir, compiled by Sylvie Le Bon Gollancz, f25, pp. 575 T he...

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SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Tel: 0541 557 288

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A dopey rehash

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John Michell ALL DRESSED UP: THE SIXTIES AND THE COUNTER-CULTURE by Jonathon Green Cape, f17.99, pp. 482 I t is often said that if you read in a news- paper about something of...

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Assaulting the bureaucrats

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John Biffen THE DEADWEIGHT STATE by Russell Lewis Economic Research Council, 110, pp. 65 A t Cambridge I had a copy of the 1848 Communist Manifesto. Out of affec- tion, and...


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12 Months 6 Months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK CI £97.00 0 £49.00 Europe ❑ £109.00 0 £55.00 USA 0 US$161 3 US$82 Australia ❑ Aus$225 ❑ Aus$113 Rest of World U £119.00 0...

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Thoughts of a cockroach

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Patrick Skene Catling THE ARCHY AND MEHITABEL OMNIBUS by Don Marquis Faber, f9.99, pp. 311 newspaper columnists as their columns show often have a hell of a time filling up...

The middle ground

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Philip Glazebrook FREEDOMLAND by Richard Price Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 546 0 n an early page of one of his novels Anthony Trollope discusses the case for plunging the reader in...

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Hard to believe

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P. J. Kavanagh THE HAPPY ANT HEAP by Norman Lewis Cape, £12.99, pp. 196 W e should be grateful to people like Norman Lewis, princes and princesses of displacement, who have...

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A black hearse

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Hilary Corke THE OXFORD BOOK OF IRELAND edited by Patricia Craig OUP, £18.99, pp. 514 P ound at the turn of the century once wrote an essay On the Non-Existence of Ireland. His...

Those in peril on the sea

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Alan Judd THE HUNDRED DAYS by Patrick O'Brian HarperCollins, £16.99, pp. 352 T he creation of a convincing imaginary world, one whose power to convince rests not only on the...

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The sands of time

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Alain de Botton THE BEACH: THE HISTORY OF PARADISE ON EARTH by Lena Lencek and Gideon Bosker Secker, £15.99, pp. 286 I f you're reading this on the beach stretched out on a...

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It's too damn hot

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Andrew Barrow INFINITE RICHES by Ben Okri Phoenix House, £16.99, pp. 352 B en Okri's Booker Prize sizzler, The Famished Road, and its somewhat less cele- brated sequel somehow...


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BooksoftheWeek THE HUNDRED DAYS by Patrick O'Brian Set in.the days succeeding Napoleon's escape from Elba, on 1 March 1815, this is the nineteenth novel in Patrick O'Brian's...

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Days of wine and roses

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David Gilmour THE HAPPY SUMMER DAYS by Fulco Weidenfeld, £10.99, pp. 160 P alermo was an improbable resort for the Belle Epoque. The island capital was poor, violent and...

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The best of British

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John McEwen THE BRITISH SCHOOL by Judy Egerton The National Gallery, £40, pp. 456 T here is 'little hope of Poetical Painting finding encouragement in England', rumi- nated the...

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Power building in Paris Nicholas Powell on how President Chirac plans to add to the cultural landscape D uring his traditional televised inter- view at the no less traditional...

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Highs and lows at the Proms Robin Holloway N ovelties at this year's Proms have ranged so far between abysmal and out- standing. Startlingly dreadful was the longest and in...

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Mary Seton Watts (Watts Gallery, Compton, till 6 September) The selfless wife Martin Gayford O n a little hill near the A3 rises an extraordinary building. A startling...

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The Ballad of Baby Doe La Dirindina La Cantarina (Arts Theatre, Cambridge) One-night stands Michael Tanner C ambridge is hardly an operatic centre, but every now and again,...


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The Avengers (12, selected cinemas) The invisible men Mark Steyn P atrick MacNee, the original John Steed in the cheap'n'cheerful British telly series, turns up in the...

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Quality control Ursula Buchan on plans for a garden in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales I never met Diana, Princess of Wales, and know very little about her. I have no idea...

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Chimes at Midnight (Chichester) Oh What a Lovely War (Round House) Loot (Vaudeville) Falstaff folly Sheridan Morley B ack in 1966, Orson Welles took Shakespeare's greatest...

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Keep it simple Michael Vestey S ome years ago friends would invite me to their house in Norfolk for weekends. They were not always the most restful of respites as the days...

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Mind blowing Edward Heathcoat Amory A a small, somewhat priggish child, I was dressed by my fashionable mother in the height of flower-power fashion: brightly floral shirts...

The turf

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Sex on the brain Robin Oakley First one has to start picking up the breeder's language: a mare 'visits' a stallion or is 'covered' by him under the painstak- ing attention of...

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High life

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Where is our conscience? Taki I Gstaad will leave it to better and more serious writers than myself to comment at length about the Omagh bombing outrage. But I will ask a few...

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Country life

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A world within a world Leanda de Lisle I t never seems to rain at country wed- dings. Sitting in a ruined chapel last Satur- day, the congregation roasted under a furious sun....


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Different lines Andrew Robson HOW to play a 4 contract on this week's deal depends entirely on your trick target. Juliet Milliken reached the sound contract of 44 and played...

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By Jennifer Paterson Louisiana and lovage

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SORRY I wasn't here last month, but I was away in Wales and Scotland finishing off our new series, which returns in September, and being made to do very dangerous things for the...

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I MET SUSAN on our first day at primary school. We were only allowed to object to three items on the lunch menu and we both chose swede, liver and jelly. Otherwise we had to say...

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Inmates Raymond Keene THE STORY is told that one committee meeting of the British Chess Federation had to be cancelled because the group was inquorate. Mr Soanes turned up,...


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Bizarre books Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2047 you were given two authentic titles of published works — Teach Yourself Alcoholism and Cooking with God — and invited to...

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No. 2050: Paradise lost

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You are invited to write a poem in the style of Byron, Wordsworth or Browning reflect- ing their reactions, were they alive today, on visiting the isles of Greece, the Lake...

Solution to 1373: White House

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BelhinelEIZInand Minor 0 dielnline dna L 01B In el el el !MI E (g ER i ti ll arlil CI 0 E AC aiE N T Rilp N 0 aril u raon MO a El o El a LaMar dirlilliirlrl - D e la...

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W & J GRAHAM'S PORT CROSSWORD A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 7 September, with two run- ners-up...

Competition entries

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To enable competitors to economise on postage, entries for one or more weeks of the competition and/or crossword may be posted together under one cover marked 'Competition...

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Frankly, he hasn't got it Simon Barnes THERE is a line I remember from the play Pravda. It helps if you read it in an insane cod-Afrikaans accent and with all the spit- ting...


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Q. My husband and I have spent the sum- mer receiving lavish hospitality from a number of friends, all of whom are bound- lessly rich and extremely generous. We, by contrast,...