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Latest tome on New Labour - Jane's pop-up book of fighting egomaniacs T he Home Secretary said that he was going to change the law to force oil com- panies to deliver oil in the...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 PROPER POEMS There is no one on the planet who can write a symphony in the manner...

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The problem is simple: Tony's a pretty straightforwardly devious sort of guy PETER °BORNE I t is rare for a government's reputation to fall as fast and as far as Tony Blair's...

Bruce Anderson returns next week.

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ALEXANDER CHANCELLOR P eople have many different images of New York in their minds, but the one I like best — because it is so surprising — is that of the late Claud Cockburn,...

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his service with the RAF, his battles with the tax collectors and bureaucrats, and his admiration for his British disciples Tarbes, South West France PIERRE Poujade, the man...

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Derek Draper says an advertising gimmick has outlived its shelf-life, and is corrupting his party's image CAST your mind back to before the mis- handling of petrol prices, the...

Mind your language

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ON the question of what we should call the years up to 2010, several readers have suggested 'the noughties'. Mr George Rufford, on the hunch that zero is becoming a more common...

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Michael Heath

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Boris Johnson talks to the Colombian Ambassador about the US defoliant that destroys coca — and all other crops `IT IS like that,' says His Excellency Victor Ricardo, the...

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Robert Peston has some bracing thoughts for the millions suffering losses on their mortgages AGONISED conversations are taking place in semis and maisonettes all over the...

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WATER DOWN THE WHINE The petrol strike brought out the Beeb's should whack the whingers IT'S been everywhere in the last ten days; we have heard it with every hyperbolical...

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Patrick West on how ideology makes enemies of allies, especially in fan clubs IF the recent internecine feuding on the Shankill Road between the Ulster Defence Association and...

Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit WILLIAM Hague has been busily posi- tioning himself this past week as the motorist's, and particularly the truck-...

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NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR FREEDOM Michael Padilla warns that the euro would mean huge tax rises and the end of democracy in Britain IF the UK were to decide to join the euro,...

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Why the Financial Times couldn't give a brass farthing for small businessmen STEPHEN GLOVER T he attitude of some broadsheet papers towards last week's protests was not exces-...

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Jobs, Aids and race

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From Mr R.W. Johnson Sir: I was astonished to read Margaret Legum's letter (16 September) which seems to have virtually no contact with reality at all. She says that it is...

From Mr Andrzej Zaluski Sir: I normally enjoy Petronella Wyatt's

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writing, so I was particularly saddened by her recent remarks about Poles. Miss Wyatt makes much of the Hungari- an side of her family. Unfortunately, per- haps because she is...

From Dr Carole Caldwell Sir: Your leading article states that

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the public instinctively recognises that the tax on fuel is a 'bad' one which has failed in its purpose to make people use their cars less. I am pleased that you acknowledge...

Oil sanctions don't work

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From Mr John Lidstone Sir: Your leading article (16 September) recalls the misplaced self-confidence of another socialist prime minister, Harold Wilson. In 1965 he tried to...


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Fawley some mistake From the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Court of St James's Sir: Having read Petronella Wyatt's column of 9 September, I thought it might be...

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Illiteracy is a handicap

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From Mr Tom Burkard Sir: Alexander Wade is quite right to point out how the feminist bias in primary educa- tion may leave active, unreconstructed boys at a disadvantage (The...

`Terry's' error

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From Joanna Gray Sir: If Toby Young's cleaner is Polish, why does he insist on calling her by a Russian name (No life, 9 September)? Her calling him Terry instead of Toby could...

Our Jewish allies

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From Mr John Colvin Sir: To 'Kosher Cossacks' (16 September) one might add that Joselewicz's light caval- rymen in 1809 were not the only Jewish troops to fight for Poland (see...

Generation drain

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From Mr Chris Smith Sir: Re 'Too busy to have babies'. Yes, but do they ever add . . but thank God our mothers and fathers weren't'? Eleanor Mills's friends are clearly...

Wrong totty

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From Mr Nicholas Ridout Sir: Poor old No Dawnay's adolescent brain (`Enough of these frightful swots', 16 September) must have been more befud- dled than he thought — 'that...

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Never in the field of human conflict has one man taken on so many RAF pilots FRANK JOHNSON P eterborough, in the Daily Telegraph, reported this week that, as well as farmers,...

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Superior wisdom

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TRUST a Balliol man to know better. In the college's Annual Record, Randall Pardy writes: 'Fortunately the Economist could not have been more wrong and oil did not go to $5 a...

First-class business

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BANKS are being gobbled up like egg sandwiches at a picnic, but I never thought to see the Morgan bank go straight down without touching the sides. It is disappear- ing into...

Stem nej, stem ofte

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OLDER and wiser persons told Nicholas that there could not possibly be a frog in his bread and milk. Nicholas (who appears in a story by Saki) knew better. He had put it there...

Par for the course

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THE latest McKinseyite in place is Roger Holmes, chief executive apparent at Marks & Spencer. He is said not to be brilliant with people and knows no more about sell- ing...


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A popular win as the City's farmers and truckers see off the McKinseyite nannies CHRISTOPHER FILDES G rangemouth has come to the City, says the merchant banker happily. The...

A law of gravity

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THERE are some offences so grave that, when they are suspected, the rules have to go by the board. Treason? Terror? Mur- der? No. Insider trading, or running a slush fund, or...

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Money-speak means that bonking can lead to a forecourt mentality PAUL JOHNSON T he French-speaking Swiss, not to speak of the French authorities themselves, are furious with...

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Land of the free, home of the British THE time will soon come when North America is more British than Britain, and the ideas, beliefs, customs and language of these islands...

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are fat and ugly, but they live in a dynamic society that knows when not to change New Hampshire A YEAR or two back, the esteemed editor of the Literary Review, Auberon Waugh,...

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Julia Reed says they do things differently in Dixie, with guns, God and 'Yellow Mama' New Orleans MY favourite American newspaper page is the daily wire-service round-up in...

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Lewis Lapham says the Americans are wanderers, always hoping that the next mall will bring happiness New York AS is customary in a presidential election year, the upscale...

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the American Revolution will turn out to have been more harmful than the Russian THE reason so many people today can't remember where they were when Kennedy was shot is that...

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John Micklethwait on why he has no time for the Americaphobes on the Right WHAT on earth has got into the British? I returned to London this spring, having spent much of the...

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loves the United States for her ribaldries, harlotries and buffooneries THERE is no country on the face of the earth wherein a man roughly constituted as I am — a man of my...

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Pretending not to pretend Philip Hensher ALL HAIL THE NEW PURITANS edited by Matt Thorne and Nicholas Blincoe Fourth Estate, £10, pp. 204 H ere is an anthology of stories by...

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Groping and growing

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Kate Grimond THE FLIGHT OF THE MAIDENS by Jane Gardam Chatto, £15.99, pp. 278 T hree clever girls entering adulthood, emerging from the war, all learn that they have won state...

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From gothic gloom into light

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Jane Ridley L orna Sage is a well-respected critic and professor of English literature at the University of East Anglia. Her academ- ic cv is detailed in Who's Who, but Bad...

Darkness at noon

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John de Falbe ECLIPSE by John Banville Picador, £15.99, pp. 214 J ohn Banville's work is so consistently good that a new novel by him must be approached with a flutter of...

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A romantic utopian looks forward in anger

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John Vincent THE EDGE OF NOW by David Howell Macmillan, £18.99, pp. 392 T his is a young man's book, assertive, pugnacious, lashing out in all directions, decidedly fierce, and...

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The anatomy of an obsession

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David Profumo THE LONGEST SILENCE: A LIFE IN FISHING by Thomas McGuane Yellow Jersey Press, £17, pp. 280 by Thomas McGuane Yellow Jersey Press, £17, pp. 280 W hen the late...

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A thorn in the side of the desert enemy

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Philip Warner JOCK LEWES: CO-FOUNDER OF THE SAS by John Lewes Leo Cooper, £19.95, pp. 266 I n July 1941, when the Germans had occupied Europe from Scandinavia to Greece,...

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In pursuit of the unspeakable

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William Scammell IN THE SHAPE OF A BOAR by Lawrence Norfolk Weidenfeld, L16.99, pp. 322 T he first and by far the most daunting section of Lawrence Norfolk's third novel is set...


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Postcode: E-mail; ❑ I enclose a cheque/postal order made payable to The Spectator Bookshop. ❑ I wish to pay by MasterCard/Visa Name: Address: I 1 1 L 11111111111 r 1 TO...

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The woof and warp of Wantage

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Candida Lycett-Green SECRETS AND LIVES by Mary Loudon Macmillan, £16.99, pp.392 O ther people's lives are all that rivet us. In this extraordinary social document, Mary Loudon...

Poor wandering ones

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Belinda Ryan IN THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN: A JOURNEY AMONG NOMADS by Stanley Stewart HarperCollins, £17.99, pp. 266 M ongolia is becoming the new Viet- nam for adventurous...

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Show me the way to go home

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Zenga Longmore THE ATLANTIC SOUND by Caryl Phillips Faber, £16.99, pp. 240 S ome time ago, I entered a darkened New York jazz club at the same moment as a man whose face seemed...

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Small is beautiful

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Henry Hobhouse ZEN GARDENING by Sunniva Harte Pavilion, £19.99, pp. 160 Z en originally meant 'meditation', from the Sanskrit dyana, then the Chinese ch'an. Meditation in turn...

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The new curiosity shop

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David Cunningham In spite of the material with which it pro- vided him, Orwell seemed to regard his bookselling days with scant affection. It wasn't the cold, dusty air or the...

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Raising art's profile Mark Glazebrook on a show which should be viewed with both seriousness and humour T here is an impressively death-like wax- work and mixed-media...

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Tai-Shan Schierenberg (Flowers East, 199/205 Richmond Road, London E8, till 14 October) The thing itself Laura Gascoigne A t the London Contemporary Art Fair three years ago,...

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Brief Encounter (Lyric) Conversations After A Burial (Almeida) My Zinc Bed (Royal Court) The Car Man (Old Vic) Cerebral surgery Sheridan Morley A t the Royal Court, David...


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Queen of Spades (Welsh National Opera) Tosca (Royal Opera) Obsessive passions Michael Tanner W elsh National Opera's new produc- tion of Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades...

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Planning perfection Ursula Buchan G arden designers are perfectionists, in my experience, so it must be painful for any who write or talk about garden design to the public....

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Auto thrills Giannandrea Poesio G oodbye male swans, hello greased beefcakes! Once again, Matthew Bourne is the toast of the dance world, and deserved- ly so. This time he has...

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Over-egging the pudding James Delingpole H urrah, I have just had a baby girl and even though there's clearly not a shred of Delingpole in her — she looks all pretty and...


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Savagery and snobbery Michael Vestey R eturning last weekend from a sublime break in Italy, it was comforting to find the class war in full swing, both on the radio and in the...

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The turf

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Traffic problems Robin Oakley C abinets have their ups and downs, but the most dangerous stage is when they start becoming a joke. 'What's the difference under this government...

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No life

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A joke too far Toby Young F ew people have any difficulty recalling the most embarrassing moment of their lives. For me, it was giving the Best Man speech at my friend Sean...

High life

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Gentlemen and players Taki The festivities began on Friday night with dinners hosted by George and Claudine Pereira and the Laphams. Next came a lun- cheon given by Paul and...

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Country life

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Cold comfort on the farm Leanda de Lisle A t 11.30 on the night the fuel protest was to end I telephoned David Handley, chairman of Farmers for Action. I read him the...

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Singular life

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Speaking out Petronella Wyatt T he bods from the Mencken Society were looking at me with suspicion. I had arrived in Baltimore half an hour before and had been asked by Arthur...


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One of the old school Susanna Gross THEY don't make them like Tony Priday nowadays. He's one of the last survivors of the old gentlemanly tradition of bridge play- ers —...

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DIARY 2001

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£15 Plain £16 Initialled The Spectator 2001 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available at the same price as last year. Laid out with a whole week to view,...

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Mrs Grundy's version Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2154 you were invited to supply a mealy-mouthed précis of the plot of a Shakespearian tragedy for the eyes of innocent...

Rd be www.ardbeg.corn

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CHESS Nerves Raymond Keene IN the run-up to the World Championship clash between Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik in London I shall be considering great moments in chess....

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 9 October, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

Solution to 1479: Doughnut

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Seven circuit ligh s, and ten radials clued without definition, are coins, the theme of the puzzle being NUMISMATIC. First prize: Gordon Fowler, Manchester. Runners-up: Hugh...

No. 2157: Myself when young.. .

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William Hague's pint-swilling reminis- cences set me thinking as well as grimacing. You are invited to supply an imaginary boastful confession of juvenile naughtiness by a...

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Deborah Ross FIRST off, I think you should know that my preoccupation with Nigella Lawson has now shifted into full-blown obsessional mode. Isn't she beautiful? Isn't she...

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Stroke of genius Simon Barnes HE IS that rarest of phenomena, a person whose shoe size is the same as his age that is to say, 17. He speaks with the strange other-worldly...


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Q. When giving a dinner party, how can one prevent greedy guests from helping them- selves to too much of a shared dish? The other night I served blinis with sour cream and...