22 JULY 2000

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The Spectator

Spinning while Rome burns A memorandum was leaked which Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, had writ- ten after Labour's bad showing in the local elections in May, suggesting...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405

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1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 MOTHER KNOWS BEST I t is conventional to make fun of Her Majesty the Queen Mother. Horrible metropolitan commentators like to say that she has an...

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Why Gordon Brown might shortly be inviting Tony Blair to dinner BRUCE ANDERSON T here is nothing intrinsically wrong with more public expenditure, as long as two conditions...

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MIRIAM GROSS B y far the most crowded area at Tate Modern, on the occasions that I've been there, is the darkened room displaying Sam Taylor-Wood's enormous video of a naked man...

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Mr Blair, Inspector Birt and the mysterious case of the leaked memo FRANK JOHNSON M r Blair entitled his leaked memo Touchstone Issues. Did he have in mind the Touchstone who...

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Stephen Glover knows why he doesn't like Labour but is interested to hear the positive reasons for bringing back the Conservatives IMAGINE that you are one of those few...

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Mind your language

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SOME of the programmes on Channel 5, which to me seems nothing but the dreariest and most tawdry porn, are dignified with the label 'erotic drama'. They say erotic, I suppose,...

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Despite brutal and sustained repression by the Chinese government, Falun Gong continues to thrive, says James Strathern Beijing `THE police made me bare and then pushed water...

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Who is behind the leaks? Campbell, Gould, the Tories — or Blair himself? Sion Simon considers the evidence WHAT's the traditional mark of a top civil-service molehunt? Easy:...

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Mark Steyn suggests that the vice-president's attitude to race is redolent of the bigotry he tries so hard to avoid New Hampshire I JUMPED in my truck the other day, switched...

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Michael Heath

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Simon Sebag Montefiore admires the wily tricks of Edvard Shevardnadze, who has survived the ravages of war, intrigue and time Tbilisi ON 7 October 1993, an exhausted Edvard...

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Lloyd Evans charts the rise of insurgency in the regions FASTER than a raging bushfire, my train sped west through London's outer suburbs. With trembling fingers, I leafed...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit IF the 1997 intake of MPs is distin- guished by anything, it is by its obses- sion with animal rights. In the general...

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Second opinion

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EVERYONE knows what doctors do: they diagnose and treat illness. First, a patient comes to the doctor and com- plains of symptoms. Then the doctor examines him and perhaps...


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A production error crept into Conrad Black's article last week about the EU and Nafta. 'There should be excessive rejoicing about the parlous state of the euro' should, of...

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Bugles softly blowing, National Service was a time to treasure PAUL JOHNSON I t is a surprise to me that so many postwar conscripts look back on their two years' National...

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LETTERS Tutors' rights

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From Mr Hugh Price Sir: I am very glad that Mr Marozzi is `soothed' by the thoughts expressed in his article (`Rejects of the world unite', 8 July). However, the idea for a...

Wobble-free bridges

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From Mr Keith Vaz, MP Sir: Senator Gramm wants to build a bridge between the two greatest trading nations in the world (City and Suburban, 8 July). But for the UK to join Nafta,...

Gaffe alert

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From Mr James Frichtel Sir: Tiring of waiting for the Mark Steyn- watchers to take him to task for his recent gaffe in the article alluding to other gaffes in re Shakespearean...

From Mr Bryan Magee Sir: Balliol turned down the young

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Isaiah Berlin twice, and it was only by switching his choice to Corpus Christi that he got into Oxford at the third attempt. On the other hand, the college from which I write,...

Baldwin's modesty

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From Mr J.B. Paul Sir: Peter Porter's review of Michael Davie's Anglo-Australian Attitudes (Books, 1 July) is bound to encourage a spirited reaction in some of your Australian...

From Mr Dominic Pemberton Sir: Perhaps Simon Featherstone of the

The Spectator

For- eign Office could explain to Spectator read- ers why Senator Gramm's proposal to con- clude a free-trade agreement with the UK is `barmy'. To a fully paid-up, card-carrying...

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Hard tax facts

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From Mr David J. Kidd Sir: Bruce Anderson (Politics, 15 July) approves of the Tories abandoning the pledge to cut taxes. Had the opposition announced that the Bank's...

Waddesdon's style

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From Mr Robin H. Mills Sir: I was dismayed to read Michael Keyte's comments on the restoration of Waddes- don Manor (Letters, 8 July). The property is owned by the National...

Duchy original

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From Mrs Muriel Sheridan Sir: As a Cornishwoman, I agree with some of the observations Petronella Wyatt made about the county and its people (Singular life, 24 June). The Celtic...

Service without a smile

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From Mr Jeremy Taylor Sir: Charles Wheeler (`The barmy army', 8 July) must be right when he claims National Service didn't make any of us who did it happy. Obligatory soldiering...

From Professor Alan Truelove Sir: To Charles Wheeler's list of

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ways of evading National Service, one could add teaching in a state school (1958 onwards). Also, unlike other countries, the UK did not punish those who emigrated — at least not...

Awful due

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From Mr Tom Reid Sir: I am surprised that there should be any mystery about the identification of what Lord Chalfont refers to as Lord lenkins's awful club (Letters, 1 and 8...

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Reclusive brothers consign to dust their dreams of a vast empire STEPHEN GLOVER All that has changed. Last week I sug- gested that the Barclays were no longer sure-fire...

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Turned off, tuned out

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TO the big boys in the television league, the three-cornered scrap now awaited in Britain — Granada, Carlton and United must look like a scramble for promotion from the Third...

Luck of the draw

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I'M in the final. Just look at this exciting envelope, with its shiny sticker. '000,000', it says. 'Double money draw. Remove silver security label immediately. Final round...

Tesco weighs in

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THE manager of Tesco's store in Sunder- land is living dangerously. The police around there are red-hot. Only the other day they swooped on a market trader who was weighing out...

Stock pile

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THE euro is supposed to be converging with the drachma and I have been to Greece to check on it. Something, I noted, will have to be done about Deka. This is the State Portfolio...


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An ecological disaster at the water-hole the elephants have taken over CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he elephants have taken over the hole. This is an ecological disaster, and Sir Leo...

Bottle that curse

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THE curse of the Confederation of British Industry has fallen upon Rentokil and Sir Clive Thompson must wish he could bottle it. For poisoning rats, which is Rentokil's core...

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A grubby story? Ronnie Landau THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY: RELFECTIONS ON THE EXPLOITATION OF JEWISH SUFFERING by Norman G. Finkelstein Verso, f16, pp. 150 I t would be hard to...

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The falsity of `True Spain'

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David Gilmour SPAIN: A HISTORY edited by Raymond Carr OUP, £25, pp. 318 S pain is different, as General Franco and his supporters used to say. Or at least 'True Spain', which...

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The emperor penguin rules OK?

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Sara Wheeler LIFE AT THE EXTREMES: THE SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL by Frances Ashcroft HarperCollins, f17.99, pp. 326 T o prepare for more than half a year in the Antarctic I once...

Was his war really necessary?

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John Lukacs CHURCHILL AND APPEASEMENT by R. A. C Parker Macmillan, f20, pp. 290 H istory is revisionist. An 'orthodox' history, Maitland said, is a contradiction in terms. The...

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philanthropy in high places Timur Moon GOAT A genuinely original, if sometimes rather bland novel, Goat is a curiosity. Comprising an essentially non-fictional, though...

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If at first you do succeed

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Francis King PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST AS AN OLD MAN by Joseph Heller Scribner, £12.99, pp. 233 M y advice to young people about to embark on literary careers is always the same:...

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His ignorance is bliss

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Michael Davie DOWN UNDER by Bill Bryson Doubleday, f16.99, pp. 319 GRANTA 70, AUSTRALIA Granta £9.99 pp. 352 B efore Bill Bryson went to Australia, he heard this story. An...

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Heading to come

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Teresa Waugh THE CHAPEL ON FIRE by Michael Levey Jonathan Cape, £16.99, pp. 268 A utobiography must, of its very nature, be a tricky, tricky genre. There you are deciding to...


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The happy disposition of plants

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Deborah Devonshire FLORA DOMESTICA: A HISTORY OF FLOWER ARRANGING, 1500-1930 by Mary Rose Blacker The National Trust, £29.99, pp. 256 l ower arranging. Oh dear, I thought,...

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Harmonious polyphony of birds Michael Church on the thrilling choral music which the Georgians produce F estivals of world music throw up all sorts of folk, but none like the...

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In a state of confusion

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John Spurling on an exhibition of work by artists from Georgia S mall as it is, swallowed up by Russia for some two centuries, birthplace of Medea and Stalin, Georgia is one of...


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The Glory of the Golden Age (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, till 17 Sept) Europe's pioneers Nicholas Powell P eter Mundy, an English traveller to Amsterdam in 1640, expressed...

M'tiebi sing at Womad in Reading on 21-23 July,

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War and Peace (Kirov Opera, Royal Opera House) Epic saga Michael Tanner T he visit of the Kirov Opera reached its climax with its performances of Prokofiev's War and Peace,...

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No error of taste Ursula Buchan I first came across petunias in the garden of the British Residence in Budapest in July 1973. (Don't ask.) I was very young and had only...

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Stuart Little (U, selected cinemas) Rodent in the ranks Mark Steyn I f your memories of E.B. White's 'chil- dren's classic' Stuart Little are rather vague, don't worry: so...

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Carmen (Watermill, Newbury) The Good Samaritan (Hampstead) Angry update Sheridan Morley T his would appear to be Carmen's year; while Matthew Bourne's new all-dancing Car Man...


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Everyday musings Michael Vestey T o listen regularly to The Archers on Radio Four is to inhabit a separate world which non-listeners sometimes find quite baffling. People who...

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An exercise in cynicism Simon Hoggart I had the gravest fears for Big Brother (Channel 4) when they started introducing the ten people who are going to share the house and be...

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High life

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Playing at being PM Taki Now switch to the complete opposite. My friend Alistair Home has just edited Telling Lives, in which Horne himself has written about a great hero as...

The turf

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Catching up Robin Oakley N obody could fail to be cheered by half an hour's conversation with playwright Ronald Harwood, one of the pleasures I enjoyed at the weekend. One...

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No life

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Fighting etiquette Jeremy Clarke I bought my black market tickets for the eight consecutive bullfights from Shaun, an elderly guy from Bilbao. He was wearing a plastic Viking...

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Country life

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Magnificent Midlands Leanda de Lisle ome friends of ours are spending £800,000 on a cottage in Hampshire. That's seems crazy, when you could buy a manor house with stables and...


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Et tu, Brute? Susanna Gross ALTHOUGH most of the people I've met in bridge clubs are extremely charming, I'm afraid there is a certain type of player every club seems to have...

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Damning with praise Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2145 you were invited to supply an extract from a review of an imaginary book, film or play in which the reviewer's enthusiasm...

Rd b

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The Ultimate [slay Malt. CHESS XRdb www.ardbeg.com Five alive Raymond Keene BRITAIN's Michael Adams has nosed into the number five slot on the latest FIDE (World Chess...

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No. 2148

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`Sir,' Charles Babbage, the 'father' of the modern computer, once wrote to Tennyson: In your otherwise beautiful poem The Vision of Sin' there is a verse which reads — 'Every...


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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 7 August, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or,...

Solution to 1470: Bank statement

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offlanoranrona II 11111 la ri hill Ia. C . nerneirlerE 1111111,11 all a A s o R Pi T 11 lel m norm t 111 a dr/ A eina . o A N . A 11 Or PI 1 1 11111 el MIA ki RR o...

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Q. At a recent lunch my neighbour suffered a fit of sneezing and had sneezed twice in quick succession before his handkerchief was in place. I was alarmed to see a gobbet of...


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Majestic in his madness Simon Barnes THE vulnerability of Steve Redgrave; the heat of the British summer; the reliability of racehorses; the strength and depth of British...