25 MARCH 2000

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We have ways of making you walk M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, out of an annual state income of £375 billion, gave the National Health Service an extra £2...

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ANNE McELVOY T he Blairs' year of delivery may be 2000; we got ours in by the 20th-century deadline. At four months, the child's Origi- nal Sin remained uncleansed. He was...

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How Petronella broke my heart and drove me to Desolation MATTHEW PARRIS P etsy, what happened? There I was, waiting by my telephone from dawn to mid- night on 29 February....

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Christopher Fildes argues that only Gordon Brown could describe his Budget as prudent. Tax and spend did not work for Old Labour and it won't work for New Labour WE'LL tax and...

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Bruce Anderson says that the Tories now know Labour's electoral plans — but not how to counter them IT was the battleground Budget. Most Chancellors include an economic tour...

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Martin Hammond on donkeys and other echoes of the Homeric past TO make a Greek donkey start, go for- ward or accelerate, you tell it 'So'. To make it stop you say something...

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Petronella Wyatt can reveal that Michael Douglas, UN Messenger of Peace, doesn't like to be challenged' THE Oxford Research Group had never seen anything like it. This worthy,...

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Anne Applebaum says that under Putin Russia must cease its self-loathing Moscow IT IS late at night and around the table of a Moscow kitchen sits a group of people who, by...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit IT WAS to much liberal rejoicing that Kenneth Tynan first uttered the word 'fuck' on television in 1965. How quaint...

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Second opinion

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EVERYONE assumes that if there were any justice in the world, they would be better off; which is rather odd because it is perfectly clear that, if there were any justice in the...

works of art to provide substitute spiritual nourishment. But I

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am afraid this is a cop- out. There is no way in which works of art, however great, can provide the bogus feel- ings of certainty about how the universe works or how we ought to...

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Justin Maroz,zi says that Rover dealers may have to sell their camel-coloured overcoats WE don't normally feel a great deal of sym- pathy for car dealers. As a breed they...

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Mind your language

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SOMEONE wrote to me about some- thing, probably correcting an error of mine, but I have lost his letter and can- not remember his name. I apologise. I warmed to him, though,...

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John Casey discovers that the Foreign Office would rather we didn't know what's being done to Iraqi children in our name I SHOULD have spent last week in Iraq. I was due to...

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Amazing scenes when bald-pated left-wing lords got steamed up PAUL JOHNSON T he late Noel Annan was an intellectual grandee. He was a clever man and a skilful writer and, in...

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Justice will be done, no doubt, but what is good for Piers Morgan is good for the government STEPHEN GLOVER Perhaps they have grown bored with the subject of alleged insider...

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From Major General Ken Perkins Sir: Jamie Shea (Diary, 18

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March) claims that, during its intervention in Kosovo, Nato 'took maximum steps to avoid civilian casualties, even at the risk of a loss in mili- tary effectiveness'. It did...

Changing people is wrong

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From Professor Stephen Senn Sir: It may have been David Bradbury, or perhaps it was Malcolm Lodge, who drew attention to the tendency among critics and public to confuse the two...

LETTERS Our Tone's mask

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From Mr Frederick Forsyth Sir: Your columnist Bruce Anderson (Pol- itics, 18 March) was percipient to draw attention to the Blairites' deep loathing of Britain and her people....

From Mr Simon Morgan Sir: I have been watching the

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career of my erstwhile fellow student and JCR president of St Catherine's College, Oxford, the pre- sent Secretary of State for Northern Ire- land, with increasing irritation....

Newsnight's Awkward Squad From Mr Mark Mardell Sir: All of

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us hacks are occasionally asked to roast a few old chestnuts on a slow day, but Stephen Glover's thoughts on News- night (No news is bad news', 18 March) are so mouldy as to...

Nato's shame

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From Mr John Laugh/and Sir: I was intrigued by Ann Cooper's admis- sion (Letters, 18 March) that the Serb broad- caster RTS had 'played a limited role in incit- ing ethnic...

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Wine testing

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From Sir Kenneth Warren Sir: That distinguished sommelier Sir David Mitchell deserves a bar to his ribbon of office for squandering his largesse on the self-confessed soaks whom...

Banana power

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From Mr David Long Sir: Whether or not the old tale is true about Perkins diesels running on peanut butter (Arts, 18 March), Alan Judd neglects to mention another notable...

D emocratic judgment From Mr Frank A. Kelly, Jr Sir: I

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would like to comment on Mark Steyn's article of 4 March (`The rise of the FU movement') in which he decries the judicial tyranny imposed on helpless elec- torates at the behest...

Guianan escapade

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From Mr Leslie Slater Sir: 'When the last Prince of Wales visited Guyana in 1923, he caused a scandal' is the opening sentence of Robert Hardman's article ('King of Hearts', 4...

No joke

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From Sir Philip Goodhart Sir: Your correspondent, Michael Vestey (Letters, 11 March), is wrong. Lee Bhum Suk was not a Burmese foreign minister; he was the South Korean foreign...

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Fallen Women, the July Monarchy and my London Library shame FRANK JOHNSON A rt's most famous fallen woman is yet again before the London public. At Covent Garden, the Royal...

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The bourgeois revolutionary Raymond Carr LENIN by Robert Service Macmillan, £25, pp. 561 T he outstanding virtue of this book is that it is what the title states it to be: a...

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A match for Nelson

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James Delingpole COCHRANE by Donald Thomas Cassell, £20, pp. 383 n 11 April 1809, a young British sea captain called Thomas, Lord Cochrane (later the 10th Earl of Dundonald)...

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Signs of wear and tear

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Robin Deniston C OF E: THE STATE IT'S IN by Monica Furlong Hodder, £18.99, pp. 418 T his valuable and attractive account of how the Church of England developed from the...

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Moving in and moving on

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Michael Davie BAGMAN TO SWAGMAN by Alistair McAlpine Allen & Unwin, f14.99, pp. 256 I first heard the name of the eccentric figure who is now Lord McAlpine (life peer, Cr....

The talented Mr Geffen

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Frederic Raphael DAVID GEFFEN by Tom King Hutchinson, £18.99, pp. 594 W ho is David Geffen, and why? He is above all (except for Steven Spielberg, above whom there is nobody)...

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The hunting of the quark

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Hugh Lawson-Tancred STRANGE BEAUTY by George Johnson Cape, £18.99, pp. 434 I s it really coherent to speculate that science might be coming to an end, in the sense that we are...

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From defence to decoration

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Douglas Johnson LIFE IN THE FRENCH COUNTRY HOUSE by Mark Girouard Cassell, £25, pp. 352 T his is in no way a guidebook. It is an examination of an important aspect of French...

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Clueless in Shanghai

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Andrew Barrow WHEN WE WERE ORPHANS by Kazuo Ishiguro Faber, £16.99, pp. 313 K azuo Ishiguro's fifth novel is a sort of detective story. The hero is an English detective — the...

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A beauty as tough as old boots

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Henry Hobhouse PEONIES by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall Weidenfeld, £30, pp. 384 T his fine book answers several needs. It tells the history of the plant which stretched in the...

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No sex, please, we're English

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P oor old Jane's been trashed again. Here comes the blockbuster version of Mansfield Park, specially adjusted for the yoof market in a glitzy makeover, with a cast of buffed,...

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All the fun of the fair Susan Moore finds some spectacular treasures at the world's largest fair in Maastricht I f you turn left at the Place de la Con- corde, go along the...

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Speed-the-Plow (New Ambassadors) Cooking with Elvis (Whitehall) Hurting (Orange Tree, Richmond) Take two buddies Sheridan Morley A decade or so ago, Speed-the-Plow was the...


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Walker Evans (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, till 14 May) Skilful simplicity Roger Kimball M aking my way through this arresting exhibition of photographs by Walker...

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Armchair listening Robin Holloway T hanks to Radio Three I'm able to con- clude this 'Progress Report' on current contemporary concerts in London, and to throw in a couple of...

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Der Rosenkavalier (Royal Opera House) The Pearl Fishers (Coliseum) Double Bill (Guildhall School) Excess baggage Michael Tanner D er Rosenkavalier is an immensely self-...

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The Hurricane (15, selected cinemas) Liberal entertainment Mark Steyn T he moment I first heard about this film, I found myself singing: 'Here comes the story of Hurricane...

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Corporate love-in Michael Vestey P erhaps the most damaging experience to befall the BBC in the past ten years or so has been the cult of management theory and the obsession...


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I don't understand James Delmgpole R ather excitingly, I have a new lodger lurking in my basement. His name is David, The Sinister Lodger In The Basement and I expect he'll be...

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The turf

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Cheltenham charm Robin Oakley T he first Cheltenham Festival of the new millennium could scarcely have been a more glorious spectacle. The sun shone, the rain stayed away and...

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No life

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Feeling green Toby Young I spent last Sunday leafing through the Sunday Times 'Rich List' seeing how many people I know have made it into the top 1,000. I've been doin g this...

High life

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Lost cause Taki M Rougemont y last week in the Alps and it's just as well. I don't think I've ever felt as par- tied-out as I feel at present, which means it's time to go home...

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Country life

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Up, up and away Leanda de Lisle T ownies go to the country for the week- end, but country folk go to town. Usually we visit Leicester, but this weekend we wanted to see the...

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Singular life

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Come back, Matthew Petronella Wyatt I used to dream about the French For- eign Legion. I used to yearn for some char- acter from P.C. Wren, who resembled Gary Cooper and spoke...


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Let them start Andrew Robson WHEN DECIDING how best to broach a tricky combination in the trump suit, fre- quently the best advice is 'Don't'! A regu- lar at my bridge club,...

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THERE is an advertisement carried on the wireless in America promoting goods sold by someone called Crazy Eddie who offers his wares at apparently knock-down prices. There is,...

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; RdbN

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The Ultimate Islay Malt. Rdbeq www.ardbes.com CHESS Decoded Raymond Keene I HAVE received many queries from read- ers about the method of showing moves in this column....


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Telling tales Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2128 you were invited to invent comic tales which could be entitled 'The ivy-tree', 'The two scholars and one pair of breeches' or...

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1456: Gale warning by Dumpynose A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 10 April, with...

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Pedigrees of convenience Simon Barnes WHEN the South African-born cricketer Tony Greig, captain of England, was con- demned as a traitor for his part in the Pack- er affair...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. At a dinner party we gave a fortnight ago our last two bottles of claret were badly corked and we decanted instead two bottles of Valpolicella, which I had...