24 JULY 1999

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A street scene showing the effect of removing people with personality disorders M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, held talks with Mr Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach of Ireland,...

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SPECT THE AT OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 JOHN'S DILEMMA IS LABOUR'S t first sight, arguments whether John Prescott is working class or middle class are simply froth, or...

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The Ashcroft Affair is about honour: the Times's honour BRUCE ANDERSON N ewspapers ought to investigate wrong- doing, especially in public life. The papers are also entitled...

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JILLY COOPER S omeone should produce a television series entitled Women Behaving Beautifully, kicking off with Lady Annabel Goldsmith. Funny, glamorous, protective, warm-heart-...

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Want to be leader? Then what would you do about the following problems . . . ? MATTHEW PARRIS I went last week to watch a curiously old- fashioned event, in Oxford. The...

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. . . are not Kennedys, says Mark Steyn, but the women who have come into contact with them New Hampshire SMALL planes crash all the time in Ameri- ca. One did on Sunday, the...

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Edward Docx defends Hemingway, and laments that they don't make writers like him any more IT is not always remembered that the liter- ary gestation of Ernest Hemingway was...

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Sue Cameron spots a hitherto unnoticed amendment weakening the impartial civil service UNELECTED political apparatchiks masquerading as 'special advisers' are now deciding on...

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Owen Matthews says gangland murder in Russia has become a form of pretentious modern art Moscow ANOTHER acquaintance of mine was shot recently, which got me thinking. The...

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Mind your language

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'WHAT'S so marvellous about Nor- wich?' my husband asked, grabbing the whisky bottle with a dexterity surprising in one of his age and habits. I had begun an enthusiastic...

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Theodore Dalrymple finds fewer hypochondriacs than before in bombed Serbia THE late Professor Michael Shepherd of the Maudsley Hospital once proposed the motion at the World...

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Mr Blair's character means he AS Britain's peripatetic international negotiator, Mr Tony Blair is fast turning into a calamity. Behind the lip-trembling psychobabble and the...

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As their long summer holiday why teachers don't enjoy it FOLLOWING the example set last year by the East Sussex education authority, the government is now pondering a radical...

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The bubble bursts in Boulder, Colorado, and BestBank turns out to be BustBank CHRISTOPHER FILDES W hen the history of the great finan- cial bubble of our time comes to be...

Advantage server

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THE bright iridescent sphere now being wafted to market in London is called Freeserve. It gets its sheen from the Inter- net, is described as a provider, and was part of Dixons...

A Ponzi scheme

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NOT a hope. In the end the FDIC wrote to 350,000 cardholders to offer them a deal. If they would pay 50 cents in the dollar, it would tell the credit-rating agencies that they...

Spot the bezzle

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THEY may not worry as long as the world's biggest economy surges ahead and the values put upon assets like shares and companies and properties break every record. They should...

Plastic confetti

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BESTBANK was scattering credit cards like plastic confetti and growing its bal- ance sheet (to call it that) from $10 million to $348 million in four years. Such progress...

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Pinochet is Labour's political prisoner and Straw is his gaoler PAUL JOHNSON G eneral Pinochet is Britain's political prisoner. There is nothing judicious or judi- cial about...

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Sir Rudolf was a spy

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From Mr Nigel West Sir: David Turner (Letters, 17 July) has quoted somewhat out of context what I wrote in 1987 about Professor Peierls's liti- gation against Richard Deacon's...

From Mr Martin Russell Sir: As your radio correspondent, Michael

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Vestey, makes a friendly reference to me in his article (Arts, 10 July) about Radio Four's play Plum's War, I should like to add a few words, which stem from my having been a...

Cassandra's counterblast

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From Lord Norwich Sir: In your issue of 10 July your radio cor- respondent Michael Vestey reviewed the programme broadcast on 7 July on Radio Four about my father, Duff Cooper,...

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Pointless polls

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From Mr Andrew Cooper Sir: Bob Worcester's riposte (Letters, 17 July) to my article pointing out the pro- Labour bias in the opinion polls (`Labour poll-axed', 3 July) rests on...

Anglo-Saxon aptitudes

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From Mr Ian Lawrence Sir: Peregrine Worsthorne describes Anglo-Saxon England before the Norman conquest as 'rude and unpolished' (As I was saying, 10 July). This is simply not...

Pauline poppycock

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From Lady Cudlipp Sir: Pious, goody-goody Saint Paul Johnson (And another thing, 19 June) didn't have the guts to take on someone with the cele- brated invective of Hugh Cudlipp...

Jutland's sunken dream

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From Mr Arthur Hamilton Sir: In comparing the summers of 1914 and 1999, Frank Johnson (Shared opinion, 17 July) forgets that the navalists threw away Britain's naval supremacy...

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Reigning not ruling

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John Vincent LORD SALISBURY: A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY by David Steele UCL Press, £45, pp. 441 L ord Salisbury (1830-1903) has a num- ber of claims on our attention. He was the...

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A career broken but not destroyed

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Philip Glazebrook BAKER PASHA, MISCONDUCT AND MISCHANCE by Dorothy Anderson Michael Russell, £20, pp. 253 W ritten as fiction the life of Valen- tine Baker might appear to be...

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Going it alone

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D. J. Taylor RENEGADE OR HALO 2 by Timothy Mo Paddleless Press, £17.99, pp. 478 N ormally one tries to concentrate on the book rather than the circumstances of its...

Chicks, kicks, cash and chaos

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Jonathan Mirsky MY WAR GONE BY, I MISS IT SO by Anthony Loyd Doubleday, £16.95, pp. 320 o rdinarily, if a reviewer uses words like pathological, heroin addict, death-seeker,...

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The original cheeky chappy

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Paul Routledge GEORGE FORMBY: A TROUBLED GENIUS by David Bret Robson, £16.95, pp. 296 I t started off as an everyday story of coal in the wine-bin, and ended in fame, fortune...


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Speaking of elusive evidence

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John de Falbe VERA S hortly after the publication of Lolita, Nabokov acknowledged that 'my very kind and patient wife, she sits down at her type- writer and . . . I dictate off...

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Recent audio books

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Peter Levi shi vers of Bath have been turning out some remarkable tapes of the novels of Eve- lyn Waugh, read by Michael Maloney, who is to me a newly discovered gem. In his...


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RICKEY BOOK OFFER A Social History of English Cricket by Derek Birley `The willingness to embrace novelty and change distinguishes Birley's book from most works of cricketing...

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Disposing of an unwanted book

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Printed pages are concerned. ing honey produced by bees which had fed There they stand in the hall, reproachful on the wild azaleas. queues of displaced persons waiting to be...

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Painful weight of pretension Michael Harrington on why Stanley Kubrick was never a genius S tanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, has...

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Visions of Ruin (Sir John Soane's Museum, till 28 August) In the realms of fantasy Alan Powers S it John Soane's Museum is continuing its sparkling season of small...

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Exhibitions 1

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Abracadabra (Tate Gallery, till 25 September) On the blink Martin Gayford I n the entrance cupola of the Tate Gallery — where one is normally accosted by salesmen for the...

Exhibitions 2

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Sean Scully (South London Gallery, 65 Peckham Road, SE5, till 1 August) Positive approach Mark Glazebrook K ndinsky at the Royal Academy, Bridget Riley at the Serpentine,...

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Les Bareades (Albert Hall) All for the best Michael Tanner Ai yone in search of a happy mytholo- gy, as Richard Strauss was, but in vain, in Die Liebe der Danae, needed to...

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Raymonda (Bolshoi, Coliseum) Russian bravura Giannandrea Poesio I have often wondered how Russian bal- letomanes might have reacted to the vision scene in the first act of...

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Nights of Cabiria (PG, selected cinemas) Merry and melancholy Mark Steyn T he last time I saw Fellini's Nights of Cabiria (1957), a few years back, I was writ- ing something...


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Look Back in Anger (National Theatre) Floyd Collins (Bridewell) Eurydice (Whitehall) Man behaving badly Sheridan Morley J ohn Osborne is back in the land of the living. For...

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Bad times James Delingpole E ven though I don't get paid nearly as much as I deserve for this column, it does have its compensations. A couple of week- ends ago, for example,...

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Poetic licence Michael Vestey hen I lived in south-west London I would sometimes gaze at a large Victorian house at the foot of Putney Hill which had on its wall a plaque...

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High life

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Selfless act Taki I always have a great time chez anyone connected with Jimmy — my NBF being Ben, his 18-year-old son — the low point of the night being Princess Pushy...

The turf

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Singing fOr joy Robin Oakley It would have been impossible to pro- duce a. tableau of ten people more obvious- ly enjoying themselves. 'No, they're not all singers,' said the...

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Country life

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Birthday bites Leanda de Lisle P eter has just celebrated his 40th birth- day. We didn't have a party, preferring to save our pennies towards the costs of his being a Master...

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Singular life

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Joining the jet set Petronella Wyatt T here is a fascinating article in the August issue of Tatler. I never sneer at glossy magazines, including Hello!, because they are the...


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Not quite true Andrew Robson South West North East 1+ pass 14 pass 2+ pass 2• pass 3+ pass 5+ pass pass pass The key bid in the above auction was North's 2• bid — 'false...

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1 - 1_R By David Fingleton Prague restaurants DURING my recent visit to Prague to attend the 1999 Stage Design Quadriennale, it was refreshing to discover just how wide a...

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Gigantic Raymond Keene THE Siemens Giants tournament in Frankfurt would have been a perfect tem- plate for an event to resolve the conflicts and tensions surrounding the world...


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Going through the motions Christopher Howse IN COMPETITION NO. 2094, you were asked for a 'laureate' poem on a banal subject. The death of a corgi was given as an example and...

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Solution to 1420: Kind

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Mari" A aria CINEIO D H EMI aria El a IN il S 0 T 01 P 1 alp allinrin E illarind . A n ii Oral OMNI R BIM 0 Marl E OICAU MI rl ig Pa n IN H CI al L FIT Witham ere...


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W & J . GRAHAM'S CROSSWORD A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 9 August, with two runners-up prizes of...

No. 2097: I beg your pardon?

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You are invited to supply one side of a telephone conversation composed entirely as if with the aid of an English phrasebook for foreign tourists. Maximum 150 words. Entries to...

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Bunkered by solipsism Simon Barnes YOU don't get sense from sportsmen. It is, in a very real sense, more than their job's worth. You don't ask a sportsman a ques- tion in a...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. I am a junior lecturer at a prestigious institute in Bloomsbury. Because of poten- tial hazards in the laboratory, food and drink May only be taken in...