23 OCTOBER 1999

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T he widow of PC Keith Blakelock said she was considering a civil action against Winston Silcott, who, having been cleared by the Court of Appeal of the murder of the policeman...

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What Pakistan needs now is a Franco or a Pinochet BRUCE ANDERSON P akistan's history is a depressing spectacle. Much more homogenous than India, it should therefore be easier...

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ANDREW ROBERTS I was attacked at the Labour party con- ference and would like to show off about it. The meeting was entitled 'Delivering Mul- ticulturalism', and the speakers...

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We few, we happy few BORIS JOHNSON W e were having a tough time of it at the Oxford Union the other night. The place was stifling, jammed with well over 1,000 students — some...

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Kim Fletcher reports from the front line of the war between women IT took time for us to learn it, but dinner- party conversation was not so very hard. The fatal thing was to...

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Mind your language

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A nice-sounding Italian called Dr Augusto Odello, of Turin, writes to make an 'attentive and long thought- out reply', he says, to my remarks on his short pamphlet Trentatre vs...

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Ken Livingstone says that he, not Tony Blair's poodle, is the only Labour candidate who can beat Archer THERE has been a lot of gnashing of teeth since the Labour party NEC...

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Edward Heathcoat Amory on the humiliating intrusion of democracy into the Upper House THE Third Way bypass is about to destroy another slice of the constitutional green belt....

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Michael Heath

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Raymond Keene on the perils of leaving your house with someone you trust THE most gut-wrenching moments can be announced by an impersonal note. Thirty years ago a college...

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Mark Steyn defends America against those who call her a rogue state New Hampshire A FRIEND in Washington called. 'Isn't it terrible.about CTBT?' he said. 'CTBT?' I echoed,...

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Medecins sans Frontieres is at the heart of the modern global establishment, says Kirsten Sellars WITH perfect symmetry, the Nobel Peace Prize ends the century as it began it,...

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Millenarianism is compatible with a logical reading of the evidence, says Felipe Fernandez-Annesto THE end of the world — even if it happens sooner than most of us think — is...

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Second opinion

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ON the whole, I am not impressed by the power of compensation to compensate. Even where deserved in the strictly legal sense, it is either insufficient or totally irrelevant...

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The fascinating affinities between William Hague and the editor of the Sun STEPHEN GLOVER L ast week something happened which has caused Alastair Campbell, the Prime...

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Dear Gordon, you've got to be able to fire them before you start hiring them CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he company chairman paid Margaret Thatcher a compliment she might have done...

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Disney derided

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From Mrs Deborah Clarke Sir: It's all very well Matthew d'Ancona going dewy-eyed and philosophical over Disney's films ('Disney is the new Shake- speare', 16 October), but he...

Cut-glass prejudice

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From Mr Desmond Briggs, JP Sir: Boris Johnson is right to draw attention to the cult of vocal correctness (Another voice, 9 October). 'Accentism' is not con- fined to the media:...

Snolching Lomu

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From Ms Jenny Macrory Sir: Maybe Isaac Bull (Mind your language, 9 October) was a footballer who resented his mother's attempts to prevent him from achieving his goal on the...

From Mr Malcolm Jackson Sir: With regard to Dot Wordsworth's

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puz- zlement as to why we use the definite arti- cle with names of some roads and streets (16 October), I strongly suspect that the answer is as follows. Names that actually...

LETTERS An Austrian Thatcher

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From Professor Reginald von Zugbach Sir: Nigel Jones's assessment of Austria's Herr Haider ('Austria's new H****r!', 16 October) is utterly wrong. Haider is anything but a...

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German virus

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From Dr L.C. Laming Sir: That Frank Johnson is intrigued by both the question and the answer in Ken- neth Macksey's book (Shared opinion, 2 October) is not surprising. Macksey's...

Perpetually incorrect

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From Mr Gilead Cooper Sir: I am extremely worried that Mr Paul Johnson may be wavering in his enthusias- tic support of Tony Blair. For the past 15 or 20 years, Johnson has...

Message from Kosovo

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From Lt P. Egan Sir: So, Taki would rather be in Kosovo (25 September). While reading 'High life' in UN Police Substation 3 in north Pristina, I was interrupted by the noise of...

Noble Rigoberta

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From Mr Philip C. Dent Sir: Stephen Schwartz refers to `the lying Guatemalan propagandist Rigoberta Mench' in his article 'Ignoble Nobel' (9 October). I don't know if Mr...

BSE docudrama

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From Mr Allan Lloyd Sir: In his splendid review rubbishing the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs (Arts, 16 October), James Delingpole affects sur- prise that the Corporation has the...

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This blessed plot, this realm, this nation of extremists, this England PAUL JOHNSON I t is a tactic of the Labour government, and of the Vichy wing of the Tory party, to call...

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How psychoanalysis will solve the mystery of the Missing Tories FRANK JOHNSON L ast week's flight of Mr Michael Hesel- tine and Mr Kenneth Clarke to a platform presided over by...

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Decline and fall Norman Lamont JOHN MAJOR: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY HarperCollins, £19.99, pp. 774 I am very obviously not the right person to review John Major's autobiography. Why...

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Always true to you, darlings, in my fashion

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Vicki Woods STREETSMART by Nicholas Coleridge Orion, f16.99, pp. 416 Y ou're not really supposed to review books by people you know in case of par- tiality, but Nicholas...

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Was there anybody there?

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John Vincent DUTCH: A MEMOIR OF RONALD REAGAN by Edmund Morris HarperCollins, f24.99, pp. 874 I f young men no longer grow up wonder- ing if they will die in uniform, the credit...

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Headlines and deadlines

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Keith Waterhouse SECRETS OF THE PRESS edited by Stephen Glover Allen Lane, Penguin, £20, pp. 317 W ho buys books on journalism? Jour- nalists? I doubt it. The reverse, in fact...

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Frustrated masters of the universe

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Andrew Barrow STIFFED: THE BETRAYAL OF MODERN MAN by Susan Faludi Chatto, £15, pp. 662 T he author of this gigantic, high-flying and rather belligerent work is one of the...

Not one but many men

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John Bowen GARRICK by Ian McIntyre Penguin, £25, pp. 678 R left his home in Lichfield to study law at Lincoln's Inn and gave it up, became a wine merchant and gave it up; he...

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A powerful queen on the chessboard of Europe

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John Jolliffe ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE by Alison Weir Cape, £20, pp. 444 W hile her achievements have always been recognised, Eleanor on the whole had an unjustly bad press until...

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Saving the sum of things for pay

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Charles Allen IMPERIAL WARRIORS: BRITAIN AND THE GURKHAS by Tony Gould Granta, £20, pp. 480 I n 1951 an acerbic former literary editor of The Spectator was commissioned by...

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A carefully cultivated personality

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Christine Verity VACLAV HAVEL: A POLITICAL TRAGEDY IN SIX ACTS by John Keane Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 532 T here are few saints in politics and with the recent retirement of...

Prince ever so Charming

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Jonathan Cecil IVOR NOVELLO by Paul Webb Stage Directions, f10, pp. 157 T owards the end of his lively study of the light composer and matinee idol Ivor Novella, Paul Webb all...

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A classic sporting hotel

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Tom Yandle A LAZY CONTENTMENT: THE HISTORY OF THE CARNARVON ARMS HOTEL by Sophia and Julian Watson Lonsdale Press, £20, pp. 82 M y family have lived and farmed near Dulverton...

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Rise and fall of a wheeler-dealer

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John McEwen GROOVY BOB by Harriet Vyner Faber, f20, pp. 317 T his is not a biography in the conven- tional sense; but that is suitable because its subject was not a...

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The cannibal of the high seas

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William Keen THE CUSTOM OF THE SEA by Neil Hanson Doubleday, £14.99, pp. 331 P icture this. You're on your way to Aus- tralia to deliver a yacht. A violent storm sinks her,...

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Some first novels Victoria Clark

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THE REQUIEM SHARK by Nicholas Griffin Little, Brown, £16.99, pp. 384 THE HARVEST by Christopher Hart Faber, £9.99, pp. 232 GEOGRAPHIES OF HOME by Loida Maritza Perez Viking,...


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wonderful town? Anne Chisholm THE THREE OF U.S: A NEW LIFE IN NEW YORK by Joanna Coles and Peter Godwin HarperCollins, £12.99, pp. 294 T his book opens badly. Accustomed...

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To do our country loss

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C. J. Tyerman TRIAL BY FIRE: THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR, VOLUME II by Jonathan Sumption Faber, £30, pp. 704 T he Hundred Years war provides some of the most memorable and familiar...

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A joker and a card

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Allan Massie FATHER, DEAR FATHER: LIFE WITH WOODROW WYATT by Petronella Wyatt Hutchinson, £15.99, pp. 244 T he News of the World billed Woodrow Wyatt as 'the Voice of Reason'....

Tales of derring-do

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Peter Levi T hese tapes are an extraordinary series, all chosen by Sue Rodwell, who deserves a medal. It is extremely hard to describe their contents and the naming of each...

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Open season for sniping

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A utumn, in the English literary calen- dar, is the season of atonement. Put away all those Keatsian fantasies about mists and mellow fruitfulness, and think instead along the...

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All passion spent Robert Turnbull is surprised to be asked to the reopening of Barcelona's opera house D elighted though I was to be invited by the Governor of Catalonia to...

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Berlin blooms

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Nicholas Powell on a series of exhibitions in Germany's new capital B erlin is in the grip of Kunstherbst or its first 'art autumn', encompassing not only the contemporary fair...

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Exhibitions 1

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Lucio Fontana (Hayward Gallery, till 9 January) Sculpting in light Martin Gayford I n 1937 Lucio Fontana, an expatriate Argentine artist of Italian extraction, met Constantin...

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Comic Potential (Lyric) Remember This (Lyttelton, National Theatre) Winning strategy Patrick Carnegy T he idiocies of television may be a soft target for a playwright like...

Exhibitions 2

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Rodin (Lewes Town Hall, till 30 October) Sussex surprise Mark Glazebrook T he late Sir Trenchard Cox once said, in his inimitable, high-pitched voice: The older I get, the...

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1%40 , a Kabanova; La Traviata (Sadler's Wells) Behaving badly Michael Tanner O pera North arrived in London, for a brief season at Sadler's Wells, bringing a trio of works...

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Tarzan (U, selected cinemas) Simply Irresistible (12, selected cinemas) King of the swingers Mark Steyn M ost of us assumed Tarzan had been buried with Johnny Weissmuller a...

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What a mishmash Simon Hoggart M chael Palin's Hemingway Adventure (BBC 1) is an extraordinary mishmash. We began with PalM on a Suffolk beach, illus- trating the kind of...


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Mind your language Michael Vestey T he history of the English language is a vast subject not easily explored on radio and television, but Melvyn Bragg is making a good job of...

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Not motoring

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Mercedes manners Alan Judd I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, to be invited by Mercedes for a day of off- roading in their new M-Class, their entry into the...

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The turf

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All's right with the world Robin Oakley C haps don't make passes at girls who wear glasses, the poet once told us. But that doesn't necessarily stop the girls in glasses, as I...

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High life

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A laughing matter Taki New York I write this slightly under the weather having just attended Barry Humphries's Broadway opening of Dame Edna Everage — The Royal Tour. We're at...

Country life Poor cows

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Leanda de Lisle Y ou can't counsel cows. They have to work their way through their feelings and that's what 50-odd cows are doing right now in a field near Lutterworth. Not so...

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Singular life

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Happiness is . . . Petronella Wyatt P eople keep asking me about my pain. A very nice woman from the Observer, Nicci Gerrard, came to interview me about a book I have written,...


The Spectator

Not Hobson's Andrew Robson HAVE YOU heard the Rolls-Royce prob- lem? You are told that there is a Rolls behind one of three doors. You select Door A (at random). Someone who...

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CONTEMPLATING my plate of sauerkraut, and a beer served by

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a pigtailed waitress with a picture of a guard dog on her lapel, I found myself humming the tune to 'Springtime for Hitler'. It comes from the Mel Brooks film, The Producers, in...

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Great tradition Raymond Keene THIS week I conclude my four-week survey of the best of current UK chess publishing. There is little doubt in my mind that Dr John Nunn, having...


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The final solution Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2107 you were invited to write a poem or piece of prose entitled 'The End of the Detective', either beginning or ending with...

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1436: Ups and downs by Dumpynose A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 8 November, with two run- ners-up prizes...

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The temptations of Paul Simon Barnes IF you happen to be a racehorse, you train for about an hour and a half every day. The rest of the time you hang about in your box,...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. I recently moved into a new flat to begin the university year. I discovered on arrival that one of my flatmates had opened the entire mail mountain formed...