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London Fashion Week D r Robin Pearson, director of post- .graduate studies at Hull University, and Vic Allen, formerly professor of economics at Leeds University, were both...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 POOR LOGIC W hat an extraordinary number of poor children there are, according to...

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I am writing this in the far' north of Scot- land, the point at which mainland Britain topples into the north Atlantic and the next stop is the Arctic. Up here, they lump...

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The diary of a nobody tells us nothing about John Major BRUCE ANDERSON U ntil her premature death, Judith Chaplin had been a lucky politician. She had the knack of attaching...

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The creeps and bullies who persecuted Wodehouse are with us today BORIS JOHNSON I f anyone thinks P.G. Wodehouse was a Nazi collaborator or, as the Independent described him...

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Peter Oborne on how Mr Blair's press secretary has recruited `useful idiots' from the Conservative party to serve New Labour's interests FOR all the outward veneer of...

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Mind your language

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A DOCTOR of medicine, Franklin M. Phillips, of Midland Park, New Jersey, writes to ask how a current craze began and if it can be stopped. The craze is the use of famously. On...

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Charlie Methven and Andrew Sim on the Jockey Club's shameful failure to clean up racing TO be read in tones of mounting hysteria: `And as they come now to the Canal Turn, it's...

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The National Trust should dismiss the country lobby and return to its urban roots, says Ross Clark IT'S one of the first rules of politics: never mind your enemies, it's your...

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Michael Heath

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Jasper Griffin calls on Left and Right to stop trying to dictate who gets into Oxbridge THERE are few things on which mankind is so well agreed as on the unfairness of...

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Sion Simon shows that the Chancellor is taxing and spending by stealth WILL flash Gordon blow his billions on a bumper bonanza of big public spending? Or will he give them away...

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Robbie Millen today launches a competition to find the silliest apologies for train delays IT is one of those great British moments of togetherness, of collective feeling,...

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Daniel Hannan is surprised by the powerlessness of the European Parliament ONLY now, as the European Parliament settles down to some routine work, is the grisly truth...

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Julian Manyon sees gangsters and thugs mug Robin Cook's `ethical foreign policy' Dili THE death of the Financial Times corre- spondent Sander Thoenes, shot in the back by...

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Second opinion

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IF I were a government minister charged with the duty of reducing fraud on the social-security system, the first thing I would do would be to trace all those peo- ple in receipt...

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William Cook on the tyranny that stifles the truth about the World Wide Web TONY Blair is not a man easily humiliated, which is as well, but the other day he con- fessed to...

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The English are not very suicidal, they are just not good at it IN THE 18th century, suicide was regard- ed, particularly by the French, as an English disease. 'The English...

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When the sweet smell of success becomes moral incense PAUL JOHNSON I f 'I could have my time again I would start my own business. This is the advice I now give young people...

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Of course Lord Gavron has exercised editorial influence over the Observer. Here's how STEPHEN GLOVER T wo weeks ago I wrote about the case of Bob Gavron, chairman of the...

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LETTERS Not-so-brief encounter

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From The Rt Hon. Lord Tebbit Sir: Frank Johnson is entitled to have some fun at my expense by misrepresenting my views (Shared opinion, 18 September), so let me make it plain...

Improper Tories

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From Mr W. Cameron Sir: Peter Hitchens may wish us to accept that he is a 'proper Tory' (Tortillo is not a Conservative', 18 September). I don't believe it. He is a parvenu,...

Weasel words

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From Dr Timothy Kidd Sir: Bruce Anderson's quotation of the stanza from Kipling's Recessional (Tatriot's progress', 11 September) as being prophet- ic of Britain's decline is...

Road rage

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From Mr David Wainwright Sir: Gavin Stamp really does take the biscuit (Arts, 11 September). I don't know where Mr Stamp has been living this year, but the almighty row over the...

Bonjour Bretagne

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From Mr David Woodhead Sir: It's even more peculiar than the great Peregrine Worsthorne thinks (As I was say- ing, 4 September). It is, for example, com- mon to find Europhobes...

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Vanishing tin

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From Mr James Forsyth Sir: I would like to take up the challenge that Alan Walters lays down in his article on the IMF ('Let's put the IMF out to grass', 18 September) to name...

Stop, thief

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From Mr Patrick Walsh Sir: Christopher Montgomery (The police- man's lot is not a happy one', 11 Septem- ber) is squeamish about the use of force in defence of property. He...

From Mr Brian Glanville Sir: Alan Clark's repugnant praise of

The Spectator

the Liverpool 'fans' who caused the death of 39 Italian spectators at Heysel Stadium in 1985 might be ascribed to ignorance. Bruce Anderson should certainly know better. The...

Bring back Jamie

The Spectator

From Mr A.R. Reid Sir: Night after night for a couple of months, Jamie Shea managed to put a pos tive spin on the casualty rate during Nato ' s Serbian episode. The way that the...

Why not Widmerpool?

The Spectator

From Mr David Lindsay-Rea Sir: The name of Widmerpool has yet to surface from within the Mitrokhin Files. I s there an ongoing cover-up? David Lindsay-Rea 43 Kensington...

Canine lore

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From Lord Grantley Sir: What a pity that the late Monsignor Alfred Gilbey was not around to explain to Alan Clark the implications of St Thomas Aquinas's views on dogs which,...

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I don't want to be remembered as the man who wanted Val Doonican destroyed FRANK JOHNSON hat's selling at the moment? That is what most people, irrespective of whether they...

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The Spectator

Farmers' ruin it's happened to the industry where governments think they know best CHRISTOPHER FILDES O f the three recognised ways of losing money, racing may be the quickest...

Short circuit

The Spectator

THIS week, on the Chancellor's orders, the Bank of England sullenly unloaded another pile of the nation's gold. It would have done better to have kept the gold and lent it out....

The Captain's Chrysler

The Spectator

ROBERT Maxwell came up before the Takeover Panel and its first director-gener - al, Ian Fraser, spotted a familiar face. Sure- ly this was Captain Maxwell, MC, who used to drive...

Soane rangers

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THE City continues to turn itself into a theme park, and the pillared banking hall of National Westminster's head office in Lothbury is now a gallery. (Well, we didn't really...

Notice to quit

The Spectator

THE model for us to copy is New Zealand, which was such a good supplier to this coun- try until we joined the CAP and shut it out. In the end a market-minded government decided...

Liquid assets

The Spectator

AN unexpected victim of the Princeton 'tiger is Edmond Safra, whose bank, Repub- lic New York, got too close to it and has been bitten. Republic pleads ignorance and disclaims...

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Public policy and private feeling

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Philip Hensher A GOOD PLACE TO DIE by James Buchan Harvill, £15.99, £10.99, pp. 320 J ames Buchan is so good a novelist one wonders why his books aren't known by every...

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Why did he leave out E. M. Forster?

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier THE PENGUIN BOOK OF TWENTIETH CENTURY ESSAYS selected by Ian Hamilton Allen Lane, £20, pp. 555 I agreed, by telephone, to review this book, and before it arrived...

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Flight of the enchanter

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Raymond Carr IRIS AND THE FRIENDS by John Bayley Duckworth, £16.95, pp. 200 T his book has a misleading title. It is not primarily about Iris Murdoch, the pop- ular novelist,...

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The ghosts of trees

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Jane Gardam THE HAUNT by A. L. Barker Virago, £16.99, pp. 185 T he Haunt is the novel that A. L. Barker had just finished, over a year ago, when she was struck down by a...

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At the least half a hero

The Spectator

A. N. Wilson KARL MARX by Francis Wheen Fourth Estate, £20, pp. 431 T his is a magnificently lively, compul- sively readable book about a man who was, by any standards, of huge...

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A damned messy business

The Spectator

Giles Foden THE NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM BOOK OF THE BOER WAR by Field Marshal Lord Carver Sidgwick, £25, pp. 280 T h e spectacle of the writing general is not always a happy one....

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A love story against all the odds

The Spectator

Julian Mitchell BASIL STREET BLUES by Michael Holroyd Little, Brown, £17.50, pp. 306 O n the first page of Basil Street Blues, Michael Holroyd says he took up biogra- phy from...

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The houses of Mammon

The Spectator

Gavin Stamp THE RISE OF THE NOUVEAUX RICHES by J. Mordaunt Crook John Murray, £25, pp. 354 A rchitectural history can be rather a limited pursuit. Much of it is little better...

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A botched demonisation

The Spectator

Paul Johnson HITLER'S POPE: THE SECRET HISTORY OF PIUS XII by John Cornwell Viking, £20, pp. 448 P ope Pius XII was a real, though dis- tant, person to me. I recall vividly,...

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The daisy-chain effect

The Spectator

Gilbert Adair THE FABER BOOK OF WRITERS ON WRITERS edited by Sean French Faber, £20, pp. 216 I n his introduction to this book Sean French does a rather charming and clever...

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Skulduggery in high places

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Jonathan Mirsky THE SEARCH FOR THE PANCHEN LAMA by Isabel Hilton Viking, £20, pp. 335 I n 1995 one of the most important kidnappings of the 20th century occurred in Tibet. It...

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• • •

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His final bow or perhaps not Harriet Waugh THE REMORSEFUL DAY • by Colin Dexter Macmillan, £16.99, pp. 374 • by Colin Dexter Macmillan, £16.99, pp. 374 I doubt whether there...

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He's a real Nowhere Man . . .

The Spectator

making all his nowhere plans James Buchan THE FABER BOOK OF UTOPIAS edited by John Carey Faber, £20, pp. 531 U topia, which began its existence as an imaginary island in the...


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Basil Street Blues: A family story by Michael Holroyd Bestselling biographer Michael Holroyd turns his attention upon himself and his family. Born into a family rich in...

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The Spectator

S o Huw Edwards has settled in comfort- ably with the BBC's re-vamped Six O'Clock News. Trevor MacDonald struts his stuff half an hour later for ITV. Jon Snow leads his merry...

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Exhibitions 1

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Neurotic Realism 2 (Saatchi Gallery, Boundary Road, NW8, till 5 December) Who cares about labels? Martin Gayford A s I walked through the Saatchi Gallery the other day I felt...

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Exhibitions 2

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John Soane, Architect, Master of Space and Light (Royal Academy, till 3 December) All things to all architects Alan Powers F ew architect members of the Royal Academy have...

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Analyze This (15, selected cinemas) Couch comedy Mark Stcyn A nalyze This, directed by Harold (Groundhog Days) Ramis, is one of those clash-of-cultures pictures, like...

Exhibitions 3

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Kim Lim (Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, NW3, till 7 November) Meditative calm F or so long has stone sculpture been seen as a memorial or celebration of a dead individual...

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The Spectator

Cloudstreet (Riverside) Nixon's Nixon (Bridewell) The Sinking of the Titanic (Riverside Studio) 50 Revolutions (Whitehall) In search of an identity Sheridan Morley P erhaps...

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Porgy and Bess (Royal Festival Hall) Orfeo (Coliseum) Power and glory Michael Tanner E NO should have begun its season with its virtually flawless production of Mon-...

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Proms charisma Robin Holloway W ith the second half of this summer's Proms lustre and charisma were restored. It was a season rich above all in late- Romantic Austro-German...

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Happy families Michael Vestey adio can be a marvellous medium for dramatising diaries and letters and so it proved last week in Radio Four's Afternoon Play — Dear Gerald...

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Our own fault Simon Hoggart T he BBC takes its regions very serious- ly, though this often means that, for no apparent reason, a programme or a series will be made in...


The Spectator

Thinking big Alan Judd W as it Mr Norris, formerly a minister and latterly would-be mayor of London, whom I first read of as insisting that the three As of automotive luxury —...

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The turf

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Northern lights Robin Oakley E n route to Harrogate to watch Chat Show Charlie beginning the process of turning himself into Kennedy the Careful as the Lib Dems' new leader...

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High life

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The joys of PC Taki The irony is that, had I made it, I would have gone to Aspinall's immediately follow- ing dinner — I am told the Prince goes early to bed — and would have...

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Singular life

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Cult couture Petronella Wyatt I t was described as the sartorial encounter of the decade — the night that Tony Blair met fashion's monstre sacre, Alexander McQueen. Their...


The Spectator

Intra-finesse Andrew Robson GABRIEL CHAGAS is a Brazilian of diminutive stature, but he has been one of the most colourful characters in the world of bridge for over 30 years....

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THE sensation of truly fresh fish in one's mouth is

The Spectator

a tribute to the glory of God. Even I, who don't hold with the Almighty, can discern the sublime when I swallow it. Sadly, it is now almost impossible to find except in good...

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The Spectator

ON Tuesday 28 September a blue plaque will be unveiled in honour of Howard Staunton at 117 Lansdowne Road, London W11 at 11.30 a.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. The blue...


The Spectator

M'lud Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2103 you were told that a motorist was recently repri- manded by the police for wearing welling- ton boots filled with baked beans in tomato...

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No. 2106: Sick joke

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You are invited to provide a prose narra- tive with this as a title, incorporating 12 words or phrases normally associated with hospitals but using them in a non-medical sense....

Solution to 1429: Tyre

The Spectator

TYRIAN PURPLE (10 19) was A NOTABLE DYE OUT OF A PLACE IN ANCIENT PHOENICIA, i.e. Tyre. Other circuit lights were shellfish from which the dye was obtained. First prize: G.A....


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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 11 October, with two runners- up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the...

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The Spectator

LAST weekend Brian Clough was adored once again: emotionally labile and seeming older than his 64 years, he stepped on to the Nottingham Forest football pitch as a stand was...

YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED Q. A generous member of my club

The Spectator

offered to repair my croquet mallet at no cost — an offer gratefully accepted. But while it was away in his workshop I used another mallet which has improved my game. By the...