23 AUGUST 1997

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Farce M r Nick Brown, the Chief Whip of the Labour party, began an inquiry into the suicide of Mr Gordon McMaster, the MP for Paisley South, amid a flurry of accusa- tions...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 CENTURY OF NO EROICA T he month of the 50th anniversary of Britain's...

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The great spin doctor allows his readers to see all the way into his soul BRUCE ANDERSON Yet now we have not only a new Labour party but a new Hattersley: Hattersley the...

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Edinburgh I lost my virginity in Edinburgh — 1972, I think it was, though the details are now vague. There must be thousands like me, happy victims of the most Rabelaisian of...

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Why the war on drugs is good for trade — the drug trade, that is MATTHEW PARRIS For too many writers, reincarnation in the Andes might prove no punishment at all. Coca (the...

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. . . which at first it opposed. Sion Simon tells the story. As usual, Mr Mandelson is at the centre of it ON 2 MAY, the Greenwich Millennium Dome looked doomed. After all, it...

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Andrew Neil on the unpublicised, but highly visible, face of Scotland's festival city A YOUNG German student spent the early part of this month having his face rebuilt by...

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Michael Heath

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Nicholas Farrell on the unmasking of the letter-writer whose erudite mischief has fascinated Spectator readers for months IT WAS in January, when Correlli Bar- nett, the...

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THERE CAN be few religious organisa- tions less historically fitted to advise Prince Charles on marriage and divorce than the Church of England. Unlike the great Protestant...

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Mind your language

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I HAVE been suffering from doubts, as the Victorians might put it. First it was Duomo. The Daily Tele- graph, in reporting that rather embar- rassing funeral for Gianni Versace...

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Simon Blow no longer enjoys going abroad because it is not as he first experienced it THE TWO- or even three-week annual trip abroad has become a necessity. So, for many, has...

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Second opinion

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IF I had to choose between spending an evening in the company of a Cabinet minister or that of a taxi driver, I should unhesitatingly choose the latter. How much broader is the...

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Jonty Summers has six ideas for those who want to be alone in Britain this bank holiday weekend SEARCHING for solitude is easy for peo- ple in big countries. Canadians know that...

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A dumpy girl from Chicago who was the toast of Naughty Nineties Paris PAUL JOHNSON R ecently I bought an alabaster bust of a woman, done (I guessed) in Paris in the sec- ond...

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On the wrong side

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Sir: As my uncle was one of the South Africans killed at Delville Wood in 1916, I would like to answer Mr Lubbock's ques- tion (Letters, 2 August) as to why South African...

Quality counts

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Sir: My friend Tom Stacey's first publishing house (he has more loving friends than most, as Taki can no doubt substantiate) was vilely treated by Private Eye, just for the sake...

LETTERS Party discipline

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Sir: Frederick Forsyth is mistaken ('Mr Blair is not nice', 16 August) if he thinks attempts totally to control its members are the prerogative of the present government. The...

No gongs for hacks

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Sir: Stephen Glover (Media studies, 16 August) shows a kindly spirit in lamenting the omission of Mr Stewart Steven from the Major honours list. Even so, he is misguid- ed. If...

Welcome interest

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Sir: We welcome the Duchess of York's interest in Parkinson's disease (Diary, 16 August). After spending a week with a person with Parkinson's, the Duchess has clearly learned...

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Come to California

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Sir: Finally we receive some good news from California! As a Spectator reader for ten years and an expat living in California for over 20, I commend William Cash for his article...

They don't give a damn

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Sir: I enjoyed Bruce Anderson's excellent article about Glasgow Labour (Politics, 16 August). Perhaps I might add some com- ments. No power on earth seems likely to stop the...

Sir: My review of James Pettifer's The Turkish Labyrinth was

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commissioned by the magazine Cornucopia (Istanbul) and an edited version of it is appearing in this month's issue. Norman Stone 22 Margaret's Road, Oxford

Turkish delight

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Sir: The learned Norman Stone's put-down of James Pettifer's ignorant book (Books, 16 August), starting with its borrowed title, The Turkish Labyrinth, was wonderful to read...


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Sir: My important and valuable attention has been drawn to the fact that the phrase `my attention has been drawn' is still alive and well and living in your correspondence...

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We must keep watch on Paxo to thwart this attempt to turn Newsnight into New Labour Night STEPHEN GLOVER I hope I will be forgiven for returning to the subject of Newsnight,...

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Scotching a myth Philip Hensher AHEAD OF ITS TIME edited by Duncan McLean Cape, £9.99, pp. 244 An yone professionally involved with literature quickly gets used to being...

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The sweetness of success

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Philip Mansel THE SWEETNESS OF LIFE: A BIOGRAPHY OF LOUISE VIGEE LE BRUN by Angelica Goodden Deutsch, E19.99, pp. 380 W ile supporters of the French revolution were learning to...

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His finest moment

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John Grigg LONG LIFE by Nigel Nicolson Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 295 T he author of this book of memoirs had most unusual parents, Harold Nicolson and Victoria (Nita')...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY SUBSCRIPTION RATES 1 Year 6 months UK £93 £47 Europe £104 £52 USA (2nd class) $151 $76 USA (1st class) $175 $88 Rest of World (2nd) £107 £54 Rest of World...

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A bizarre enterprise

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Byron Rogers TRAVELS IN AN OLD TONGUE: TOURING THE WORLD SPEAKING WELSH by Pamela Petro £18, pp. 325 A n image and a mystery have stayed with me from this book. The image is...

The lowest of the low

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Allan Mallinson THE INVISIBLES: A TALE OF THE EUNUCHS OF INDIA by Zia Jaffrey Weidenfeld, £15.99, pp. 293 H ijra, 'neither male nor female', is a word of Urdu origin, the...

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Brother of the more infamous Donald

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Richard 011ard NO I TELL A LIE, IT WAS TUESDAY. . . A TRUDGE THROUGH HIS LIFE AND TIMES by Alan Maclean Kyle Cathie, £16.99, pp. 182 T he reader will perceive from the title...

Elections and selections

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Nigel Clive ALBANIA: FROM ANARCHY TO A BALKAN IDENTITY by Miranda Vickers and James Pettifer Hurst and Co, £25, £12.50, pp. 324 T he publication of this book in May provided...

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After the Wall was over

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Teresa Waugh THE STORY OF MY DISAPPEARANCE by Paul Watkins Faber, £14.99, pp. 188 I n his robust new novel, The Story of My Disappearance, Paul Watkins tells a vivid and...

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Similarity is almost invariably a clue

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Andrew Barrow A rthur Conan Doyle and Henry Newbolt were both born in mid-Victorian times and both lived on until the 1930s. They were both highly successful, popular, fiercely...

Not quite tourists

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Isabel Carlisle A DICTIONARY OF BRITISH AND IRISH TRAVELLERS IN ITALY, 1701-1800 compiled from the Brinsley Ford Archive by John Ingamells Yale, £50, pp. 1,200 A chance...

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Recent books on tape

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Robert Cooper N ever underestimate the power of the spoken word. Because of the success of Spoonface Steinberg (BBC Radio Collec- tion, £5.99, 1 hour) — 12,000 copies sold in...

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Better, worse or different? Martin Gayford on how Edin- burgh painter Henry Raeburn measures up to his London rivals ir Henry Raeburn was an Edinburgh man and an Edinburgh...

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Fun on the Fringe

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Renata Rubnikowicz is outraged, astonished and exhilarated in Edinburgh F rom George Street to Cowgate, the word on the Edinburgh Fringe is: stand-up is dead, long live...

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Charm is not enough Michael Tanner I t seems unfair that Gorecki and Arvo Part should be credited with, if not the invention, then the major exploitation of `holy minimalism'...

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The Mysterious Mr Love (Comedy) The Bible (Abridged) (Gielgud ) Brief encounters Sheridan Morley T here is something very curious, not to say mysterious, about Karoline...


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Good companions Ursula Buchan W ho would buy a hemerocallis or a dregea, a vitex or a schizostylies on spec? Some plans are as badly served by their names as people. Clematis...

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Event Horizon (18, selected cinemas) Back to the future Mark Steyn E vent Horizon may well be the lamest motion picture title of all time, conjuring up, if anything, PR firm...

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Cut the cacophony Michael Vestey T he title of Still Waiting after All These Years on Radio Four this week (Thursday) was the give-away. It meant that the long- term unskilled...


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Know what I mean? James Delingpole F or the many Spectator readers who believe that far, far too much television space is wasted on that dread new phe- nomenon 'popular'...

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The turf

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Putting the horses first Robin Oakley W hen Sean Woods took over the run- down La Grange stables, sage heads were shaken and clucking tongues predicted his collapse within two...

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High life

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What a lark Taki Gstaad h, dear! I feel for that poor, unknown Athenian hoplite who ran 26 miles 385 yards to Athens, announced our victory over the towelheads, dropped dead...

Low life

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Cash cure Jeffrey Bernard I thought I would try giving dialysis a miss one day last week which I did without feeling ill and I keep pondering whether or not to stop altogether...

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Country life

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Tell you what they want Leanda de Lisle Fancy dress parties have always been popular, but this year there have been even more than usual. Elton John gave a large bash in March...


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Green power Andrew Robson AN overcall at the two-level should not be made lightly. Unless the suit is six cards in length or an exceptionally strong five, the risk in making...

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Snobbery has its price Auberon Waugh A certain type of Spectator reader gives a sigh of relief every time I announce an all-French offer. One has to please one's customers,...


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c/o Lay & Wheeler Limited Gosbeck's Park, Colchester, Essex CO2 9JT Tel: (01206) 764446 Fax: (01206) 560002 White Lay & Wheeler Blanc de Blancs, Cuvie Prestige C6tes de...

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THE GROUSE season has started with its usual fears of

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no birds due to the climate or some dreaded disease. Like trains with leaves or the wrong snow on the line, let us hope it is all nonsense so that we can par- take of these...

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IN•THE•STRAND CHESS :4‘4 SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND Inseparable Raymond Keene THE BRITISH Chess Championship in Hove has resulted in a shared title, the vic- tors being...


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^ ISLE OF U RA SMJY‘Hq0RH.Wq, J - ' - „,,,, R ,,,,,,,, A ..., iR• ii Local member Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1996 you were invited to present a poem, gruesome or...

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W.&J GRAHAM'S PORT A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 8 September, with two runners-up...

Solution to 1322: Spring vetch

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No. 1999: Misappointed man

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W.N.P. Barbellion wrote The Diary of a Disappointed Man. You are invited to sup- ply an extract (maximum 150 words) from the diary of a misappointed man — one who is suffering...

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Out of Africa Simon Barnes IT IS the conceit of rugby union that it is a global sport. It is, of course, nothing of the kind. It is only really played at any level of...


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Q. During the recent glorious weather, I have found it uncomfortable to wear any- thing other than flimsy cotton skirts and dresses. Perhaps you can tell me, Mary, how one can...