23 JUNE 2001

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The Spectator

Emperor Blair enjoying the cruel and sadistic spectacle of the Tories choosing a leader T he government in the Queen's Speech gave some hint about the use of private enterprise...

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The Spectator

T he reflex and unthinking leniency of our criminal justice system should not be replaced by a reflex and unthinking severity. It is an essential part of justice that every case...

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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN T o the victors, the spoils. But in caring, sharing New Britain all must have prizes. Thus Robin Cook, one of the big losers in the Cabinet reshuffle, is...

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Mr Portillo attracts the floating careerist, but there is a long, sweaty summer ahead

The Spectator

PETER OBORNE F or hundreds of years White's has been the nerve-centre of black Tory reaction. But there was a new mood at the club tent at Royal Ascot on Tuesday. As the...

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The Spectator

As Railtrack takes the rap in the Cullen report, Ross Clark attacks the widely held superstition that private enterprise puts profit above safety SO, the travelling public has...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

A READER called Leslie Frizell has been reading Eothen by Alexander Kinglake. I wish I had, because a friend has recommended it too. Kinglake, though a lawyer by profession, was...


The Spectator

In Ulster; the clock is now at five to midnight. Chaos could be imminent, and it is all Tony Blair's fault, argues Bruce Anderson THERE seem to be few limits to the power of...

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The Spectator

With David Trimble's threatened resignation, Leo McKinstry says that the Unionist movement is engineering its own destruction THE death-rattle of Ulster unionism is now echoing...

Banned wagon

The Spectator

A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit IF there is one overriding purpose of a trade union, one might imagine that it is to stand up for the right to work....

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David Davis on how the Tories can win back the trust and respect of a lost generation of voters IN every election for the last 50 years the four leading issues for the voting...

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The Spectator

Owen Matthews talks to ex-King Simeon of Bulgaria, who has just won his country's elections Sofia KING Simeon Borisov Saxe-CoburgGotha of Bulgaria sits in a beautifully...

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The Spectator

Anthony Gardner visits an enclosed order of Benedictine nuns and is surprised by joy THERE cannot be many people who have felt starved of swingometers and political punditry...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

WHEN the Nepalese prince Dipendra, who recently slaughtered most of the Nepalese royal family, was at Eton, he was excused chapel after being declared a god. Etonians were...

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Ken, for and against

The Spectator

From Mr Frederick Forsyth Sir: I cannot be the only one bemused by the continuing obsession of the Tory party with Mr Kenneth Clarke ('Why it's got to be Ken', 16 June). Every...

TGV tres OK

The Spectator

From Mr Frederic Lamond Sir: The French TGV network is not a product of Mitterrandian folie de grandeur, but a well thought-out plan (`Last tango in Paris', 9 June). By bringing...

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Riding with Tito

The Spectator

From Veronica, Lady Maclean Sir: I was glad that the Bush advisers hit on the 16th-century Castle of Brdo just outside Ljubljana in Slovenia for its venue last weekend. To me it...

Dangerous at 20mph

The Spectator

From Mr Laurence Kelvin Sir: Leo McKinstry may be correct when he says that speed cameras are a revenue-raising device, but misses the point about road safety (`Speed scam', 16...

Judicial loan

The Spectator

From Mr Alistair B. Cooke Sir: My old friend Christopher Silvester (Letters, 16 June), who sold harmless Tory secrets to the press when I employed him in the Conservative...

Movers and resters

The Spectator

From Mr Theo Theocharis Sir: Both of the recent letters on Galileo (9 June and 16 June) use outdated terminology. Galileo was 'wrong' in the 17th century; Galileo became 'right'...

Guinea wise

The Spectator

From Mr Vivian Linacre Sir: Having been abroad, I have only now seen your advertisement in The Spectator of 2 June, the text of which ends: 'Complete in its own royal blue case,...

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In the mysterious world of Tory politics 'sexuality' never means heterosexuality

The Spectator

FRANK JOHNSON A writer in one of the papers has referred to Mr Portillo's 'cruel Castilian lips'. It was unclear whether the writer considered them an asset. If so, it is hard...

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Why the newspapers broadsheet as well as tabloid continue to chase that Portillo story

The Spectator

STEPHEN GLOVER L ast week there was an editorial in the Sun that cannot have gone down well at Portillo HQ. The newspaper does not like Mr P. The reason is not his homosexual...

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Back on its old form, the Treasury is happiest when minding other people's business

The Spectator

CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he Treasury when I first knew it wanted to do everything. Asked to finance the Bognor Regis bypass, it would have views on where the roundabouts should go...

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20 million bottles can't be wrong

The Spectator

Jonathan Ray on why champagne is still regarded as the real thing R.S, SURTEES's bucolic hero, John Jorrocks, declared that 'champagne certainly gives one werry gentlemanly...

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Spirit of Kentuc

The Spectator

Mark Palmer CALL me not old-fashioned enough, but I hadn't heard of a mint julep until I took a seat in the Turf Club at this year's Kentucky Derby alongside my new friend...

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The family way

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart WE were in a pub garden in Berkshire. We'd brought beer from the tiny hatch in the bar itself out into the blazingly hot garden. There were battered...

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Way to go, cucumbers Tim Dowling I'M not much of a drinks expert, probably because of an early decision to concentrate solely on fieldwork rather than research. So when I...

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No known cure Mary Wakefield IN front of me, in a plastic beaker, sat three inches of a grey-brown liquid with the consistency of mucus: a large treble of raw, beaten egg,...

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The queen who laughed too much

The Spectator

Douglas Johnson MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY by Antonia Fraser Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 468. ISBN 0297819089 T he dust cover of Antonia Fraser's book carries a quotation from...

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Getting down to work at last

The Spectator

Frank Egerton THREE TO SEE THE KING by Magnus Mills Flamingo, £9.99, pp. 167, ISBN 0007110464 M agnus Mills goes from strength to s rength. His last two novels, including his...

A very special species

The Spectator

Graham Stewart THE EXTINCTION CLUB by Robert Twigger Hamish Hamilton, £12.99, pp. 180, ISBN 0140285040 F ew species have led a more protected life than the Milu. For a thousand...

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An embroiderer's licence?

The Spectator

Robert Oakeshott THE SHADOW OF THE SUN: MY AFRICAN LIFE by Ryszard Kapuscinski Allen Lane, Penguin, f18.99, pp. 325, ISBN 071399455X Three hours after Prince Philip, in the...

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Engaging in only one sense

The Spectator

Sara Maitland THE LETO BUNDLE by Marina Warner Chatto, £16.99, pp. 408, ISBN 0701172274 h e Leto Bundle is a novel that makes you wonder exactly what a novel is, what it's for....

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Coming home and coming good

The Spectator

D. J. Taylor A SON OF WAR by Melvyn Bragg Sceptre, £16.99, pp. 426, ISBN 0340818654 M elvyn Bragg's last novel, The Soldier's Return, was a turn-up for the form book. Lord...

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Through the hole in the wall

The Spectator

Christopher Howse DON QUIXOTE'S DELUSIONS: TRAVELS IN CASTILIAN SPAIN by Miranda France Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 243, ISBN 0297842773 A s Miranda France lay in bed with her...

Poem for a Sleeping Sooz

The Spectator

Funny, since I am a man for whom Words are the loom On which we weave our loves; The warp of agonies concealed, The weft of bliss confessed, All formed, or so I thought, a part...

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Love and famine . . .

The Spectator

Claudia FitzHerbert THE SIEGE by Helen Dunmore Viking £16.99, pp. 304, ISBN 0670897183 F ood and sex are old bedfellows in Dunmore's fiction. Now she has dug deeper, taken...

. . . and famine and hatred

The Spectator

Kevin Myers THE IRISH FAMINE by Colm Toibin and Diarmaid Ferriter Profile Books, £15, pp. 214. ISBN 1861972490 H ere is a book I opened in trepidation, not because of what I...

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Two, but definitely not of a kind

The Spectator

Philip Ziegler PATRIOT TRAITORS: ROGER CASEMENT, JOHN AMERY AND THE REAL MEANING OF TREASON by Adrian Weale Kiang, .L20, pp. 299, ISBN 0670884987 R oger Casement and John Amery...

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Marriage of intelligence and intuition

The Spectator

Andrew Wordsworth on Palladio in Vicenza and Velazquez in Rome 0 ' n the Venice skyline one church is all too familiar. Turner painted it in the golden light of dawn, while...

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The Spectator

49th Venice Biennale (till 4 November) States of bemusement Martin Gayford W hat is the Venice Biennale?' That is the question I find most frequently asked by people when I...

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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Coliseum) Potent horror Michael Tanner A ter reaching absolute artistic zero with Don Giovanni, English National Opera has redeemed itself handsomely...


The Spectator

Howard Katz (Cottesloe) A Raisin in the Sun (Young Vic) Curiously restless Sheridan Morley H oward Katz (the title figure of Patrick Marber's new play at the Cottesloe) is...

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The Spectator

Evolution (12, selected cinemas) Ambling aimlessly Mark Steyn E volution is a comedy about primitive life forms who arrive as amoebas from outer space but evolve several...

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Repulsive but compulsive Marcus Berkmann M eanwhile, in the Big Brother house, life proceeds as normal. Two inmates play table-tennis without a table. A Welsh woman leafs...


The Spectator

Confessional eloquence Michael Vestey I hate the expression 'ordinary people', especially when I hear a politician or a celebrity say it on the radio. It's just as bad as the...

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The turf

The Spectator

Style and substance Robin Oakley I have interviewed trainers leaning over five-bar gates, surrounded by pungent labradors in the front seats of four-wheel drives and in the...

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High life

The Spectator

Signs of the times Taki T New York erry Kramer is a widow, a billionheiress, a top New York, Palm Beach and Southampton, Long Island, hostess and about to become a Dame of...

No life

The Spectator

Mum's the word Toby Young G ore Vidal said there are two things in life you should never turn down: the opportunity to have sex and the chance to appear on television....

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Country life

The Spectator

Shameful behaviour Leanda de Lisle C ountry people turned their minority status into a source of strength rather than weakness under the last government. But let's face it, as...

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Singular life

The Spectator

Royal comebacks PetroneIla Wyatt S imeon II, the former king of Bulgaria who was exiled for more than 50 years, has been making a comeback in his country's politics. Simeon...

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The Spectator

DISASTER struck this week. Literally. There we were, watching telly, as ever, when lightning or something struck the aerial and the telly blew up. OK, it didn't blow up exactly,...

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Second opinion

The Spectator

ONCE, when I went to Delhi, I stayed with a general in the Indian army. His house was opposite some wasteland on which stood Moghul ruins. No sooner had I arrived than I wanted...

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England stumped

The Spectator

Simon Barnes ONCE again, England has been amazed at how much victory in one-day cricket means to the supporters of Pakistan. Last weekend, the match between England and...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . . Q. I have begun a relationship with an elderly actor who is highly strung and very bad-tempered when stressed. This can mean that, although he is always charming...