23 MARCH 1996

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`OK Mugsy, throw out the Kalashnikov, the Uzi, the pump gun, the Magnum, the Mauser, the Luger, the Sten gun, the submachine-gun ' T he Government released proposed ground rules...

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Just Mr Major's luck; he makes a good speech on the day the cows go mad BRUCE ANDERSON T here was once a resident of Manhat- tan called Fingelstein. Mr Fingelstein was a most...

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RUPERT CHRISTIANSEN A change in my domestic circum- stances has put me in a delicate position. Last month I moved to a first-floor flat in Clapham — and very nice it will be too...

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I don't know Dunblane, but if it's close-knit, it's no surprise that someone went mad there MATTHEW PARRIS T alking to a tram conductor in Black- pool, I asked if the town...

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. . . but a lot about the past. Bernard Capp looks at the tragedy through an historian's eyes History offers many paral- lels to the recent tragedies, even in the...

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Michael Heath

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Norman Stone asks which of two great battles would you rather we had lost — and gives his model answer TRAFALGAR or the Marne? Given the choice, which was the one for England...

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Kirsten Schulze explains the similarity between the Irish and Palestinian 'peace processes' but also the difference ONLY a year ago, it seemed as if the trou- bles in Northern...

If symptoms

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persist.. . IT IS ODD how everyone supposes nowadays that if there were any justice in the world he would be much better off. Personally, I should have thought the opposite...

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All these years, Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic have hailed Edmund Burke. Mistakenly, says Thomas Fleming TWO hundred years ago, the career of Edmund Burke was...

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Mind your language

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THE FAIRLY new kitten had just been pretending that a rather nice edition of Illustrations of Madness belonging to my husband was a hereditary foe, and he (my husband) was...

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Alistair Home says that, paradoxically, Clinton might well save Taiwan, but not somewhere much smaller offshore SURPRISINGLY, over the past days of crisis in the Taiwan...

Fifty years ago

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A LIBERAL stocktaking was more than necessary, and the committee that had undertaken the work has made a good job of it. The details of the proposed reorganisation are a...

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As world storm-clouds gather, time to light a candle in Britain PAUL JOHNSON U ntil recently it was a reasonable pre- diction that the century would go out on a high note: the...

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We have had no end of a lesson, and we're not too late to learn it CHRISTOPHER FILDES C rafty old Francois Mitterrand knew how to run a referendum. Kenneth Clarke and John...

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Gossip and error Sir: Stephen Glover evidently thinks that it

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is acceptable to continue to sound off confi- dently about my alleged intentions towards the Observer (Letters, 16 March) without taking the trouble to lift the phone and check...

Curtain lecture

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Sir: 'Churchill . . . coined the phrase "Iron Curtain",' writes Bruce Anderson (`The new threat to civilisation', 9 March), refer- ring to Winston Churchill's speech at Ful- ton...

Aubrey Beardsley Sir: For a definitive catalogue raisonnd of the

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drawings of Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), to be published by Yale Uni- versity Press, I would be grateful to know the location of drawings from museum curators, librarians,...

Larger than life

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Sir: James Delingpole's irritation with Inspector Morse (Arts, 9 March) does not allow for the whodunnit writer's desperate search for originality. Sherlock Holmes, Poirot,...

LETTERS A voice from within

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Sir: I would respectfully suggest to Andrew Roberts that the course of action against the IRA advocated by him in the Sunday Times and The Spectator (Letters, 16 March), would...

Sir: I am baffled by the inability of Andrew Roberts

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to grasp why I favour internment of Irish terrorists only if it is simultaneously introduced north and south of the Irish border. I argued at some length and in sim- ple...

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Camp sight

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Sir: While I was art editor of Show maga- zine in New York during the 1960s, I com- missioned the great Diane Arbus to photo- graph the by then forgotten Mae West (Books, 16...

Rural high spot

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Sir: Lady Hesketh (`Memoirs of a rugby- loving lady', 2 March) claims that Berwick- shire, her home county, is the only one in the United Kingdom without a set of traffic...

Leavis liked it

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Sir: A. N. Wilson accuses Rupert Chris- tiansen of being a Leavisite (Letters, 16 March). I wonder if Mr Wilson would agree that Die Fledennaus is 'both playful and serious,...

More to the point

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Sir: Pedants have to get it right, especially a self-confessed pedant (Letters, 16 March) who dared to score a point off Dot. The true rhyme by A.D. Godley eschews the omnibus....

Language barrier

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Sir: Both 'Portrait of the week' (9 March) and Time magazine (18 March) reported the death of the members of a popular Brazilian rock group when their plane crashed into a hill...

Happy motoring

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Sir: Like Gavin Stamp (Not motoring, 16 March), I am very much in favour of main- taining the Forth Bridge in good order. There is, however, a subtext in his article to the...

Collective deafness

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Sir: The Duff Cooper Prize must not be allowed to degenerate into a game of Chi- nese whispers. However, pace Joan Bake- well (Diary, 2 March), Gitta Sereny did not make a...

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Independent, Express and Mail apart, the papers did well that terrible day. Even Max was sensible STEPHEN GLOVER N ewspapers have attracted opprobri- um for their reporting of...

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Why it is better to be kept in the dark PETRONELLA WYATT I t was Francis Bacon who is alleged to have said that knowledge is power. Bacon, in the words of Bertrand Russell,...

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The food of love David Sexton APPASSIONATA by Jilly Cooper Bantam, £16.99, pp. 623 hen he was writing Love Among the Ruins, Evelyn Waugh had to do a bit of research. He wrote...

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One character actor in search of an author

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Helen Osborne MING'S KINGDOM by Nicol Wzilliamson Hutchinson, £14.99, pp. 246 S ome 20 years ago, I remember sitting in a country pub with Nicol Williamson. He was staying with...

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Letters from an anxious mother

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H ow appetising it is to embark on a volume of literary letters, weighty, well- indexed, heavily annotated! New examples arrive almost every month. The last half year alone has...

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The allure of wickedness

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Patrick Skene Catling THE EVIL THAT MEN DO by Brian Masters Doubleday, £16.99, pp. 278 B rian Masters has asked himself an unanswerable question: 'Why are some of us...

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The forgotten crisis

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Allan Mallinson THE CURRAGH INCIDENT AND THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914, VOLUME VII, A HISTORY OF THE BRITISH CAVALRY, 1816-1919 by the Marquess of Anglesey Leo Cooper, £35, pp. 288...

Two cultures intertwined

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Tobias Jones CULTURAL BABBAGE: TECHNOLOGY, TIME AND INVENTION edited by Francis Spufford and Jenny Uglow Faber, £15.99, pp. 290 I f over-specialisation is the bane of academia,...

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Recipe for disaster?

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Main de Botton THE DEBT OF PLEASURE by John Lanchester Picador, £15.99, pp .240 C onventional wisdom has it that a good novel should provide the reader with at least one...

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Of cabbages and kings

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Gareth Howell-Jones JOURNEY TO THE LAND OF THE FLIES by Aldo Buzzi Faber, £9.99, pp. 147 W hen Proust was asked who he would have liked to have been if he had not been Proust,...

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The Establishment and the Princess

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Robert Stewart THE UNRULY QUEEN by Flora Fraser Macmillan, £20, pp. 537 A woman must be mad to many into the English royal family. However long it took Diana to realise her...

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Nobody dast blame this man

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Raymond Carr A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION by Richard Pipes Harvill, f25, pp. 431 N ot so long ago, Pipes' works on the Russian Revolution might have been...

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Getting to know Vermeer Martin Bailey visits exhibitions which coincide with the great retrospective J ohannes Vermeer has opened in The Hague to the deserved fanfare. Not for...

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Jeff Wall (Whitechapel, till 5 May) Spellbound (Hayward, till 6 May) Film is for film-makers Martin Gayford P ainting and traditional sculpture are obsolete. They have been...

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Green beneficiaries Ursula Buchan O n Saturdays, like everybody else, we choose our National Lottery numbers with care. The same mixture of bizarre logic (my paternal...

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Toy Story (PG, selected cinemas) The mouse that rules Mark Steyn F ifty years ago, who would have bet on Walt Disney? He was a minnow then; the real moguls were at MGM, Fox,...

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Company (Aldwych) The Shoe-Horn Sonata (King's Head) Reduced Shakespeare Company (Criterion) Keeping good company Sheridan Morley I make no apology for returning to the...


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Pastiche paranoia Giles Worsley T hree miles away from the devastation of the Canary Wharf bomb, Bishopsgate, scene of the IRA's last 'spectacular' in the City of London, has...

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Even fairy wrens do it Michael Vestey A Broadcasting House, the new Head of Sex, HS, has called a meeting. HS: Sex. How do we do it? Deputy Head of Sex, DHS: I'd have...

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Cruelty to sitcoms James Delingpole I once read a very exciting book called Chickenhawk which described in macabre detail what the Vietcong used to do to cap- tured US gunship...

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Ups and downs Christian Hesketh B efore casting an eye over this season's Five Nations Championship, I intend to air a grievance which I am sure I share with many other rugby...

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The feel of quality Alan Judd I t shrinks around you,' the Rolls-Royce 'man said as I manoeuvred £137,000 worth of Bentley Turbo R out of the showroom, taking care not to...

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High life

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The end of the season Taki Gstaad The annual 'cloture' of the Eagle club and that of the GreenGo nightclub at the Palace Hotel are fixtures for Gstaad's goodtime Charlies. The...

The turf

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Cheltenham takes its toll Robin Oakley I n an increasingly monochrome world, thank God for glorious technicolour Chel- tenham. Every minute you hear Ted Walsh speak, racing's...

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Low life

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Brain strain Jeffrey Bernard I learnt too late and a long time ago to go down for a count of eight when in real trouble, and I still do just that when I hear a buff envelope...

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Country life

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On the trail of the toad Leanda de Lisle A bout 6,000 adult toads live amongst the poplars by our ornamental lakes. How happy they would be to learn that the team of...


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BRIDGE What a tussle Andrew Robson NO ONE has quite overcome the difficul- ties of presenting bridge on the television: to make it visually clear and attractive; to cater for...

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Imperative cooking: if you L. can't stand the hea

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ONE newspaper has reported a 'Cooks Off Club', campaigning to unshackle women from the cooker. A correspondent to the paper enthuses about the ways the modern lady can cheat —...

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IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND . il CHESS Doctors' debate Raymond Keene FIFTY YEARS ago almost to the day, Dr Alexander Alekhine, one of the greatest and most...


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J 11 , 41E VW %UICH SIrmi URA JURA 1,111141i MOIC11.110 COMPETITION Houswoman Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1924 you were invited to suppose that A.E. Housman was a woman...

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CROSSWORD 1253: Puff-ball by Ascot

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A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1989 Port for the first correct solution opened on 9 April, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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Dear Mary. . Q. Can the 6' 8" television journalist who wrote to you be the giant who regularly interviews me in the West Country? Ever since seeing myself on the screen,...


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The spirit of polo Simon Barnes THIS is the week in which I shall lay bare the secret of polo. It is, in fact, the best- kept secret in sport. You probably thought that polo...