23 APRIL 1994

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D-Day revels. M r John Major, the Prime Minister, was, like most people, unsure what to do about the war in Bosnia. Mr Malcolm Rifkind, the Defence Secretary, said that it was...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 HOBBLED HARRIERS I t is not an everyday occurrence to hear Her...

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Your chance to sack large numbers of cabinet ministers SIMON HEFFER I t has been difficult to open a newspaper lately without being bombarded with inducements to enter a...

Classified: pp 51 & 54

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ROBERT HARRIS F our weeks ago it was police frogmen in the canal at the foot of our garden. Now I have another example of the rising crime rate here in leafy Berkshire. Police...

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The psycho-political structure of patriarchy controls public attitudes to handedness CHARLES MOORE P olitical correctness has made great strides in challenging hegemonic...

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James Buchan discusses the grim fate of the middle-class Englishwoman, envious if she doesn't work, envious if she does MY THEME is the unhappiness of Englishwomen, a grim and...

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One hundred years ago

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THE SIZE AND WEIGHT OF BOOKS. [TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR"] SIR. — Can you say a word to publish- ers on the size and weight of the vol- umes they sometimes issue? I am...

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John Simpson reports on the way white English-speaking South Africans are facing up to the prospect of black rule Johannesburg `WELL, IT WAS good while it lasted,' said the...

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Mark Almond reveals the less amusing side of a cuddly knight of the stage SIR PETER USTINOV is back in town. His one-man show, An Evening with Peter Ustinov, is set to delight...

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On St George's Day three writers evoke the spirit of modern England. First, Andrew Gimson on the national love of compromise IF ST GEORGE had slain the dragon sooner, would...

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If symptoms

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persist.. . IN THE good old days, social problems were swept under the carpet, where they belong. But now the Government, believing it possible to organise the health service...

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Daisy Waugh visits a town in the dead centre of England, and finds it more dead than central Nuneaton THEY'RE PAVING it over, this green and pleasant land. It's been said...

sion. It felicitates itself (with justice) on averting revolution, but

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left to its own devices it would quite soon compromise itself into extinction. It will not be left to its own devices. Events will not leave it alone (which is why Harold...

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James Hughes-Onslow's personal account of the dangers of being a good citizen in urban Britain ON MONDAY Mr Shoukat Ali met a violent death in a North London suburb. Mr All had...

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Mind your language

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I HAD meant to write about Tower Hamlets' silly sign, 'Running the East End', pasted up last weekend around the sweaty old London marathon route (which is like that water...

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The first instalment of the unexpurgated 1939 diary of Sir Charles Mappin Dominic Lawson writes.• a few weeks ago I received by post an extraordinary document sent by Margot,...

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Paternal thoughts as another little book goes down the slipway PAUL JOHNSON N ext week I publish a new book, my 29th I think. Books are landmarks in the life of a writer, but...

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West End, East End the Ken and Eddie show is keeping to the script CHRISTOPHER FILDES I t scarcely took the published minutes to inform us that Kenneth Clarke's instinct is to...

Pepper and salt

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FOREPLAY, end-play and the herd instinct: these, Gordon Pepper says, are what tickle up markets. No wonder they do not always appear cool and rational. He has known them in all...

Stunt of the week

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OF ALL the fates that might have overtak- en County Hall, it is this week's way for Richard Branson to get himself into the headlines. He is threatening it with the largest...

A rose-red city.. .

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MARRAKESH IS at its best just now, a red-walled city set against the snowy peaks of the High Atlas, where the almond trees are still in blossom. Better still if you can stay in...

. . . half as free as trade

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AT NEXT YEAR'S Marrakesh meeting, I confidently forecast, the French will be explaining why they have not done what they said they would do this year. All this Gattery doesn't...

Tell it like it is

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A CHAIRMAN of my acquaintance is in rehearsal for the shareholders' meeting. He expects to be asked why some members of the staff have been paid colossal bonuses. He will then...

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Deadly sting

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Sir: The motives behind the writing of Liz Hodgkinson's article (`The joy of illness', 16 April) quite beggar the imagination. Was it for the money? Surely not. Or merely, per-...

Addressing the issues

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Sir: Andrew Roberts's Eminent Churchillians (Winston replied that he didn't like blackamoors', 9 April) contains at least one glaring inaccuracy. Winston Churchill would not...

Sir: Kenneth Roberts attacks Noel Mal- colm, astonishingly, for being

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insufficiently well-informed about the situation in Bosnia. While I could never lay claim to a small part of Mr Malcolm's knowledge of the situation, I have visited former...

LETTERS The long view

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Sir: The assumption of Mr Kenneth Roberts's letter (16 April) is that he, having spent some time as an aid worker in Bosnia, is uniquely qualified to pronounce on the political...

Sir: In his reply to my letter on Churchill and

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racism in your issue of 16 April, Andrew Roberts contests my claim that Churchill deeply disapproved of Afrikaner policy towards black South Africans by quoting a memorandum of...

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Sir: Perhaps readers should have been spared the mean-spirited and

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offensive com- ments on Dennis Potter until we could be convinced that Liz Hodgkinson would meet intense pain and impending death in as artic- ulate, frank and humorous a...

Pass on the honours

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Sir: Enough of this self-congratulatory chat- ter from third-class Balliol men (Letters, 9 April, 26 March; Long life, 19 February). Every member of that college who is worth...

Red herring

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Sir: I read with interest the article concern- ing 'red mercury' (`The phantom red ter- ror', 16 April), as we have been offered this substance several times in the past two...

Unpalatable truth

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Sir: I notice that William Shawcross is still sulking over the critical walloping inflicted on his biography of Rupert Murdoch two years ago. In your Letters page of 16 April,...

T'werp at t'mill

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Sir: 'Twerp' was certainly being used well before the first world war (Letters, 2 April), and derives from the Lancashire cotton mill industry. When the werp got caught up in...

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OROR SUBSCRIBE TODAY - RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK CI £77.00 0 £39.00 Europe (airmail) .... 0 £88.00 0 £44.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$125.00 0 US$63.00 USA Airmail 0 US$175.00 0...

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We should beware the laptop bombardiers SIMON JENKINS ou furnish the pictures and I'll fur- nish the war,' William Randolph Hearst cabled his bemused staff in Havana in 1898....

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A great Englishman John Osborne JOHN BETJEMAN: LE1 1ERS, VOLUME 1, 1926-1951 edited by Candida Lyeett Green Methuen, £20, pp. 569 I say! What a fulsome letter . . . Gosh! I...

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More chips off the old block

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Alan Clark CHURCHILL by Clive Pouting Sinclair-Stevenson, £20, pp. 900 T hese days 'chip' means very-high- speed-integrated-circuit. But it can also (arch.) signify what a...

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With Younger People

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I've tried talking about myself, as frankly As I could, allowing for intense Digressions, casual, transparent exaggerations sometimes, A disrespect for sense, Healthy at times,...

Mr Pooter buys a computer

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Julie Burchill HUNTING PEOPLE: THIRTY YEARS OF INTERVIEWS WITH THE FAMOUS by Hunter Davies Mainstream, f7.99, pp. 256 I n every hack, a heartache, a hero we can never hope to...

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There were never such devoted sisters

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Jane Gardam ARISTOCRATS by Stella Tillyard Chatto & Windus, f20, pp. 462 R eading this book is like being caught under a sparkling waterfall on a hot and dusty day. It is the...

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Who cares who done it?

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Nigel Spivey A VICTIM OF ANONYMITY by Neil MacGregor Thames & Hudson, £6.95, pp. 48 h is is a slim volume, but its argument is stout. And although its subject is remorse-...

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Arms and the man but no women

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Nicholas Fleming THE FIST OF GOD by Frederick Forsyth Bantam Press, £15.99, pp. 512 W hile the rest of us were chucking our hats in the air to celebrate the collapse of...

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Build, unbuild, contrive to save appearances

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Hugh Massingberd THE BUILDINGS OF IRELAND: NORTH LEINSTER by Christine Casey and Alistair Rowan Penguin, 130, pp. 576 I t has been a long wait for the second volume in the...


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Moustached, beer-bellied, well able To carry a grudge with grace, He seemed like the perfect foreman — A carpenter easily assessing The grain of the men's mood, His rebuff 'I...

Cool language of webs

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Oliver Rackham THE BOOK OF THE SPIDER: FROM ARACHNOPHOBIA TO THE LOVE OF SPIDERS by Paul Hillyard Hutchinson, £16.99, pp. 196 O ver the years I have had plenty of fun with...

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A dear gazelle, then a daughter of the Nile

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Penelope Lively LUCIE DUFF GORDON: A PASSAGE TO EYGPT by Katherine Frank Hamish Hamilton, £17.99, pp. 398 L ucie Duff Gordon's Letters from Eygpt are required reading for...

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Sister Mary is a patriot

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John Mortimer DAMN YOU ENGLAND by John Osborne Faber, £14.99, pp. 272 h is is a letter of hate. It is for you, my countrymen.' So John Osborne began his passage of sustained...

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A foiled, circuitous wanderer now

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Simon Courtauld MY KENYA DAYS by Wilfred Thesiger HarperCollins, f20, pp. 224 T his book represents the final chapter of Wilfred Thesiger's remarkable nomadic life. He is...

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There's room for poets in this world

The Spectator

Michael Glover WHAT AND WHO by C.H. Sisson Carcanet, £7.95, pp. 64 T wo ancient monuments are celebrating birthdays this spring. Sir Stephen Spender enjoyed his 85th in...

Minstrel Boys

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Two boys, one aged 3 and the other 12, were killed by an IRA bomb in Warrington in March 1993 To the wars, with swords ungirt, with harps unslung, (All the sweet, silly garbage...

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Exhibitions Questions of fame Giles Auty I t is a rare event when what is, in effect, a full-scale museum exhibition is presented by a private concern. Waddington Galleries...

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Ghost From a Perfect Place (Hampstead) My Night With Reg (Royal Court Upstairs) Rope (Wyndham's) Krazy for you Sheridan Morley A Hampstead, Philip Ridley's Ghost From A...

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White Angel (`H', selected cinemas) Striking Distance (`18', selected cinemas) Beyond Bedlam (`18', selected cinemas) Tom and Viv (`15', selected cinemas) Widows' Peak (PG,...

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La Rondine (Grand Theatre, Leeds) Easily swallowed Rupert Christiansen P eople keep asking me what I think of this booing at Covent Garden business, which stems from a...


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Bibliomaniac delights Alistair McAlpine C hristie's have always been famous for their book sales, and their offering on 27 April of 'Valuable Natural History and Travel Books,...

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High life

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God save the King (and the Zulus) Taki T his Palumbo problem got me thinking. If newspaper reports are correct, grandfa- ther Palumbo has smelled a rat and asked his son...


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Two cheers for fatties Martyn Harris E ver since Minder began to invent its own rhyming slang you have had to be wary of what passes for vernacular on the box. Do customs...

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Low life

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The Bottomley line Jeffrey Bernard T he media have the natural knack of making anything, however awful, however serious, however tragic, into a bloody bore unless, with some...

Long life

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Terrors of the night Nigel Nicolson I n about 1550 a terrible crime was com- mitted in the house where I now live. The then owner, Sir John Baker, who was Speaker of the House...

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California here we come Auberon Waugh have not had a Californian offer for some time, for the good reason that while the Californians continue to make very good wine indeed,...


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dio Curzon Wine Co., 136-142 New Kent Road, London SE1 6TU Tel: (071) 277 0992 Fax: (071) 708 1962 White 1. 75 cl. 2. 37.5 cl. Red Russian River Valley Chardonnay 1990 Sonoma...

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Return to our muttons

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CRY 'God for Harry, England and Saint George, whose feast it is today, 23 April. Poor St George, another demoted saint, but nevertheless he is still the patron of England. But...

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SPAIN'S FINEST CAVA PDEYDRA SPAIN'S FINEST CAVA Another K Raymond Keene IT IS EXTRAORDINARY that so many of the world's top players start their names with the letter K....


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Bounder's song Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1826 you were invited to supply words for the song often on the lips of Beachcomber's notorious bounder, Captain de Courcy...

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No. 1829: Calypso

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You are invited to write a calypso (max- imum 16 lines) celebrating England's first Test match victory in Barbados for 59 years. Entries to 'Competition No. 1829' by 5 May.

Solution to 1153: Men of letters IRK BED 1 t

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A . a . III It a el arm. ellEIM 11011111d1 E 11111thia T . A 0 EloarliiiosAL ErbimariA rum NEIN Ellrio 'IL B 11110010111010 OnaNnE P ririeunt II104.113n sriErl L no is...


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r j GRAHAM'S PORT r W &J GRAHAM'S PORT CROSSWORD 1156: I'm there! by Doc A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Malvedos 1979 Vintage Port for the first correct...

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National institutions Frank Keating IN VARIOUS ways, for good and ill, Mr Murdoch's Sky satellite has altered our television sports watching. You really can have far too much...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. A friend of mine is a handsome and intelligent gynaecologist. When he is ap- proached at parties for free advice, he explains that his particular expertise is...