24 FEBRUARY 1996

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T he Irish Republican Army blew up a number 171 bus on the corner of the Strand and Wellington Street in London. One man died and eight people were injured. The dead man was an...

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The naive and sentimental judge: still, Alan Clark should never have been made a minister BRUCE ANDERSON A conspiracy is afoot to ensure that the truth about the Scott report...

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JEREMY ISAACS T he loudest noise in the office of the general director of the Royal Opera House is the sound of music — not Mozart or Wagner, but the monotonous pulse of rock...

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Where all these health anxieties are going to end AUBERON WAUGH T wo friends of mine — a nice, newly engaged, idealistic, leftward-leaning vege- tarian young couple of clean...

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Martin Bailey answers the old question: what happens to stolen paintings too famous to be sold on the open market? The diamond dealer held the Ver- meer as collateral while...

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As the IRA bombs explode again, Digby Anderson says what his fellow English really think about the Irish A LEADING teaching union has reported a spate of incidents in which...

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Fifty years ago

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NO ONE CAN feel quite happy at the news that Sir Arthur Harris, "Bomber Harris," has left this country, apparently for ever, to settle in South Africa, without any public...

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Newcastle is famous both for its classics department and its football team; Peter Jones shows the connection `YOU'RE a c—, man, a f—ing One really has better ways of spending a...

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Mind your language

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VERONICA had picked up something at school — a prejudice against zoos. `It's so cruel to the animals,' she said. This looked like putting something of a damper on the half-term...

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Mark Steyn, our film critic, has a home in New Hampshire: he was there on primary election day New Hampshire IN THE early hours of primary morning, my town received its first...

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If symptoms persist . . .

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I WALKED on to one of my wards last week to discover the television turned up particularly loud. At that time in the morning the programmes always consist of a studio full of...

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A failed attempt at character assassination by our most evil newspaper PAUL JOHNSON P robably the most evil institution in Britain today is the News of the World. It...

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We love you, Rosy, we want to believe in you Miss Scenario returns by popular request CHRISTOPHER FILDES H ere she is, ladies and gentlemen, back again by popular request, the...

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Sir: Oh, dear! You chose Paul Foot to review Tom

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Bower's Maxwell: The Final Verdict. Foot worked there for six years, Maxwell 'paying huge fees and salaries'. Six years! I'm sorry to talk money but didn't it take rather a long...

Sir: What joy to read Paul Foot's review of the

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new Tom Bower Maxwell biography; nearly as much pleasure as to read the ear- lier splendidly sycophantic biography of Maxwell by Joe Haines — like Foot, also on Cap'n Bob's...

Spare the visual arts

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Sir: It must be difficult for many of your readers to put up with Paul Johnson on any subject at all, and it would be sad if there were many who could find him harmless good...

Wicked waste

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Sir: Surely Emma Rasiel is wrong to fault Ian Hislop on biblical scholarship (Letters, 10 February). As I recall, the sin of Onan was 'spilling the seed upon the ground', and...

Media reaction

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Sir: Dot Wordsworth's defence of the use of media as a singular noun is pretty weak (Mind your language, 17 February). Omnibus has indeed a plural form but it is in the dative,...

LETTERS Maxwell's foot soldier

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Sir: Paul Foot's chutzpah (Books, 17 Febru- ary) is extraordinary. For the six years he worked at the Daily Mirror he 'marvelled daily' at the way his colleagues threw them-...

Very lowering

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Sir: What Petronella Wyatt doesn't know about smoking would obviously fill a book (Furthermore, 17 February). But let me contradict her basic premise that smoking is somehow...

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Sir: Courageous the Italian Littorio (not Littori) division may have

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been in Spain (Letters, 17 February); but where did that get them? Together with the other military units sent by Mussolini to fight for Franco, they were responsible, at the...

Sydney Smith Association

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Sir: Such has been the response to the vari- ous Sydney Smith events held during this year to commemorate the 150th anniver- sary of his death that we have been encour- aged to...

Italia ancora

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Sir: The gist, surely, of Petronella Wyatt's amusing article (Furthermore, 10 Febru- ary) is that the point of the Italians is their machismo — not in my opinion a very cred-...

In error Sir: The PA News Gallery staff a the

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House of Commons were as astonished as I was to read Simon Hoggart's article, 'The silent Chamber' (10 February). The Press Association has been reporting the proceedings of...

Distinctive style Sir: What on earth is David Starkey playing

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at (Diary, 10 February)? He still insists on putting words into my mouth. Obviously, he considers the puerile remark he invented — likening all those who took part in a trib-...

Sir: Legend has it that when marching across Lombardy the

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Grande Ann& was held up yet again by an improvised road- block, Napoleon shouted angrily at an old Italian peasant standing nearby, `Voialtri italiani siete tutti briganti!' To...

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In the end, they'll have to give him some management job. Who? Max, of course STEPHEN GLOVER So that is where I start, watching the beast at a distance, though his conduct...

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Why liking nature is unnatural PETRONELLA WYATT T he late Lord Arran introduced two Bills in the House of Lords. One was the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which legalised...

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Losing his bearings Martin Vander Weyer ROGUE TRADER by Nick Leeson Little Brown, £16.99, pp. 265 THE COLLAPSE OF BARINGS by Stephen Fay Richard Cohen Books, OD, pp. 298 T...

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The Graveyard School

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Life is no laughing matter. We entered crying and Melancholy marked us for her own. Our birth-day was the day we started dying. Urn-shaped our souls, our fate to wander sighing...

Prolix chronicler of his times

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J. Enoch Powell ZOLA: A LIFE by Frederick Brown Macmillan, f25, pp. 888 I have made it a habit for as many years as I remember to take with me on my annual holiday in France...

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A wandering minstrel, he

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Stephen Gardiner Al , 1ER PUSAN by Alan Ross Harvill, £9.99, pp. 112 S ometimes, perhaps when visiting an exhibition (Hockney's drawings did it for me), one can be suddenly...

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One day her prince arrived

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John Colvin THE SILVER DRUM: A JAPANESE IMPERIAL MEMOIR by Princess Chichibu Global Orient, £14.95, pp. 210 T he Silver Drum' was a little silver box, roughly in the shape of...

A host of qualifications

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Dot Wordsworth DICTIONARY OF APPROPRIATE ADJECTIVES edited by E. H. Mikhail Cassell, £7.99, pp. 342 T he Hubble telescope has penetrated the mysteries of Jupiter's atmosphere,...

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A hero of South Africa

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Ronald Segal SLOVO: THE UNFINISHED AUTOBIOGRAPHY Hodder, f 18.99, pp. 253 I n January last year, Joe Slovo, revolu- tionary, died and was given, in all but a few formalities, a...

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Her master's voice

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Michael Scott ELISABETH SCHWARZKOPF by Alan Jefferson Gollancz, £22.50, pp. 288 A lan Jefferson has written a first- class account of the life of the celebrated soprano Dame...

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The Water-Skier, Lemnos

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At rest in motion, shod with fibreglass, He pivots on the churning chevroned skein Paid out from the speedboat's stern. The foam-flakes pass; Clutched at, the rope is ribbon...

Books on tape

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Robert Cooper I t takes a strong mind and a steady hand to abridge any work of fact or fiction. The most nail-biting award at the inaugural Talkies 'ceremony was for the Best...

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Exhibitions 1 Frederic Leighton (Royal Academy, till 21 April) Leighton and his sculptural legacy (Matthiesen Gallery, till 22 March) Relentless Perfection (Leighton House,...

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Exhibitions 2

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William Morris Revisited (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, till 7 April) A Vision in Action: William Morris and the Crafts Today (Mappin Gallery, Sheffield, till 31 March and...

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Cinderella (Mayflower Theatre, Southampton) Old-fashioned glamour thannandrea Poesio W ithin the sugary narrative of Cin- derella lies an intricate pattern of sombre, scary,...

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The Misanthrope (Young Vic) '1953' (Almeida) A rhyming couple Sheridan Morley T wo new plays this week, both more than 300 years old, both born in France by the leading...


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Sense and Sensibility (U, selected cinemas) Jane wins through Mark Steyn Y ou can understand why Jane Austen is currently the hottest screenwriter in Hol- lywood: her plots...

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Operation Overkill Michael Vestey I wondered who would be in the first tumbril when the new BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland replaced Duke Hussey: it turns out to be Liz...


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Odd bods James Delingpole A an Bookbinder is a genius. I've never met him or spoken to him. I don't even know what he looks like. What I do know is that he's the editor at BBC...

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Hare raising Simon Courtauld h e Stock Exchange may no longer close for the occasion, as it used to in the last century, nor will there be a mass migration northwards to...

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Leave it to instinct Alan Judd M otoring correspondents also get it wrong. I've just emerged (I hope) from a glut of car-buying and money-losing, acquiring, in the process,...

The turf

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Time to go Robin Oakley W hen the jockeys' agent Peter Shoe- mark received a telephone call at 7.30 a.m. last Monday from Mark Perrett, the rider's message was succinct:...

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High life

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Come off it, Petronella Taki Gstaad Now that Carla Powell and Claus von Billow have fired the first shots in defence of Mediterranean macho man, I shall deliv- er the coup de...

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Low life

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A bonnet-load of bees Jeffrey Bernard I thought August was supposed to be the silly month for newspapers but I see that they manage to be pretty daft all the year round and...


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BRIDGE Negative vibes Andrew Robson DO YOU remember the Sherlock Holmes mystery where the key to its solution was realising that the dog did not bark in the night? In bridge,...

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Imperfections with the day Auberon Waugh A sad discovery I made recently is that the young — by which I mean young peo- ple between 22 and 30 — have gone off the chardonnay...

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Restaurant Elizabeth and Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons

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WHEN I was an Oxford undergraduate in the early 1960s, the pinnacle of dining out was reached at the Restaurant Elizabeth, opposita Christ Church in St Aldate's. The intimate...

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Imperative cooking: A rare steak

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WHAT DO husbands get up to when they are left alone in the house for the evening? `I call at the butcher's on the way home and buy myself a nice big steak, which I fry up with...

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ISLE OF i URA _,,t„,„.,,,,. COMPETITION Parody piece Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1920 you were invited to write a piece parodying any well- known prose writer active in...


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IN•THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND CHESS Fried chips Raymond Keene AFTER a slow start, Garry Kasparov won convincingly with a final spurt in his match against IBM's...

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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 11 March, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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Those were the days Simon Barnes MARCEL PROUST was never one of the great rugby players, but the entire impetus of the French rugby union team springs from la recherche du...


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Dear Mary. . Q. At a recent dinner party, a man sitting next to my husband sneezed explosively and splashily over my husband's pudding. He felt obliged to continue to eat, but...