26 AUGUST 2000

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Global warming Wimmm! yum! yum! more! slurp! mmm!' S oldiers were brought back on to the streets of Belfast as members of the illegal terrorist groups the Ulster Volunteer...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 SECRET MEANS SECRET It is, of course, perfectly right, indeed obligatory, that a...

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The peace process is still the best deal in town, but it is not safe with New Labour BRUCE ANDERSON T he Ulster Protestant paramilitaries labour under a number of related...

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MARIELLA FROSTRUP P erhaps it's the lateness of the hour but on Saturday night, driving from Heathrow to the Hampshire coast, I'm consumed with melancholy. The endless stream of...

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Politics has been replaced by marketing, says Andrew Gimson; and the Tories need something much more conservative than capitalism if they are to win votes back from New Labour...

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R.W. Johnson on Thabo Mbeki's increasing paranoia about the white liberals he calls neo-Nazis Johannesburg WHEN Thabo Mbeki opened South Africa's parliament earlier this year,...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit AS demonstrated by the emasculated Rio carnival that was the Millennium Dome's opening ceremony, multicultur- alism is...

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the courage of Londoners during the Blitz is no myth IF you live anywhere near London, try to take a walk across one of the great bridges around 7 September. Late afternoon...

Mind your language

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I WAS trying to explain to my husband how the regular interlocking border, which I had always known as the Greek key-pattern, is sometimes arranged to form swastikas. `But the...

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Michael Heath

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Ross Clark reveals that the recycling middle classes are doing nothing to repair that worrying hole at the North Pole ALONG with the Guardian, the bottle bank is one of the...

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Rowan Pelling, editor of the Erotic Review, talks to the Bishop of London . . . and her cheeks flush crimson THE Rt Revd and Rt Hon. the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, is...

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Anne McElvoy, of Islington, says you must not believe everything you read about stripped pine tables and right-on dinner parties EVERY night, at eight sharp, we sit down at...

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If you want to reunite the Two Cultures, teach drawing PAUL JOHNSON T he controversy about artists and the painting of clouds rather misses the point. All good artists observe...

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Educating the educators

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From D.V.R. Stotesbuty Sir: May I express my sincere thanks for the opportunity of reading Duke Maskell's article (The education swindle', 5 August)? It was a breath of fresh...

Safety under the jacarandas

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From Mr Andrew McGregor Sir: I live in a Johannesburg suburb called Saxonwold which borders Houghton, the suburb referred to by Simon Freeman in his article (`Guns, dogs, Aids —...

So hard on our heroes

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From Mr Andrew Telford Sir: Poor George Mallory! The man who, more than 75 years ago and nearly 30 years before Hillary and Tenzing, may well have conquered Everest clad in...

LETTERS Laura and the BBC

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From Baroness James of Holland Park Sir: I would be grateful if I might correct an inaccuracy in Mr Boris Johnson's interview with me (The problem of pain', 19 August), which...

Wrong station

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From Mr Tom Carter Sir: The incident of Lord Palmerston's cigar (And another thing, 19 August) cannot have occurred at Burnham on Sea railway sta- tion, as Paul Johnson...

From Mr David A. Dickson Sir: In his diary (12

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August) Andrew Neil claims that the rise in circulation of the Scotsman is due to it no longer being 'the mouthpiece of the Scottish blethering class- es'. No doubt he is...

Union blues

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From Mr Andrew Neil Sir: I was sorry to read that Andrew Marr (Letters, 19 August) felt it necessary to descend to unnecessary personal abuse rather than sticking to the issues....

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Medal muddle

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From Sir Anthony Kershaw Sir: You publish a letter (12 August) from Henry Keown-Boyd about foreigners who won the VC. Perhaps the best known was General Sir Adrian Carton de...

Death by sanctions

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From Andrea Needham Sir: John Laughland opens his piece on British foreign policy ('We are only obeying orders', 12 August) with a reference to the die-in for the people of...

Mad moniker

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From Mr Michael Carreck Sir: As Marcus Berkmann remarked (Arts, 12 August), perhaps more truly than he knew, the actress Calista Flockhart who plays Ally McBeal is most...

Bigotry and genetics

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From Mr Phil Rose Sir: I was interested to read R.S.F. Camp- bell's theory regarding the reasons behind Tiger Woods's success on the golf course (Letters, 12 August). I would...

From Mr Peter Armstrong Sir: Another foreign VC was won

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by Lieu- tenant Thomas Dinesen, a Dane serving with the Canadian Black Watch, in 1918. Until this award, his sister, Karen, who had emigrated to Kenya in 1913, was treated with...

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The pen was mightier than the brush Philip Hensher THE IMMORTAL DINNER by Penelope Hughes-Hallett Viking, £14.99, pp. 352 S ometimes the world, seems to play a dreadful, cruel...

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Charm is not enough

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Hugh Massingberd HUGH CASSON by Jose Manser Viking £25, pp. 398 C harm', pronounces Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited, 'is the great English blight . . . It spots and...

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Amusing when not accusing

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Frederic Raphael FELLATIO, MASOCHISM, POLITICS AND LOVE by Leo Abse Robson, £16.95, pp. 220 L eo Abse is a smiling Jeremiah who combines the capering shamelessness of a Jewish...

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Jumbos on the jumbo

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Anthony Blond MALARIA by Susan Hillmore Cape, £10, pp. 134 M alaria is a jewelled horror of a book, whose cover, a putrescent peony on a shiny black ground, indicates the gloom...

In the front line of cooking

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Hugh O'Neill KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL by Anthony Bourdain Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp. 307 nce when visiting the cavernous kitchens of the Waldorf Astoria in New York I saw a sous-chef...

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Seeing and believing

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Mary Keen THE ARTIST AND THE GARDEN by Roy Strong Yale, £29.95, pp. 288 G arden history comes of age this year. In 1979 Roy Strong and John Harris curated The Garden', an...

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A rage for respectability

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Marcus Berkmann I'M A MAN by Ruth Padel Faber, £12.99, pp. 409 H ard' though it may be to believe, some people take pop music a bit too seriously. Musicians we can perhaps for-...


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The Battle of Britain by Roy Conyers Nesbit Rather than concentrate solely on the exploits of RAF Fighter Command, this fascinating book, with many rarely published...

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Good and faithful servant

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Parviz Radji THE PERSIAN SPHINX: AMIR ABBAS HOVEYDA AND THE RIDDLE OF THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION by Abbas Milani I. B. Tauris, £19.95, pp. 346 or part of the time Amir Abbas Hovey-...

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The anatomy of abuse

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Brian Masters EROTIC INNOCENCE by James R. Kincaid Duke University Press, £16.95, pp. 368 hen I was a boy 40-odd years ago, grown-up journalists exercised their grown- up...

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Boys will be girls

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Hugo Vickers THE GIRLS OF RADCLIFF HALL by Lord Berners Montcalm, The Cygnet Press, £25, pp. 100 H ere we have a rare spoof, first 'print- ed for the author for private...

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Pride and prejudice in Edinburgh Gavin Stamp on two buildings on which the hopes and fears of Scottish architecture are centred I t is a city of contrasts, in height and in...

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Fresh from the Fringe

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Renato Rubnikowicz looks at the best and most innovative acts I n a city bursting this month with 1,350 shows in the Fringe alone, performers are becoming ever more inventive at...

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Salvador Dail's Optical Illusions (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, till 1 October) Men on the Clyde (Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, till 1...

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New York City Ballet (Edinburgh Playhouse) Dashing and coquettish Giannandrea Poesio S ince the death of George Balanchine in 1983 the state of health of his brainchild, the...

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Gossip (15, selected cinemas) Rumour machines Mark Steyn B ack when I used to spend more time swanning about London, one of the plea- sures of metropolitan life was floating...

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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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Shostakovich horrors Robin Holloway T he frenzy of performances marking the 25th anniversary of Shostakovich's death reminds me how awkward it is to be in a minority. The...


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Land of the Free, Home of the Brave (Crane Kalman, 178 Brompton Road, London, SW3, till 16 September) Brave new worlds Andrew Lambirth he Crane Kalman Gallery is gaining...

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Cavalleria Rusticana (English Touring Opera) Salvator Rosa (Dorset Opera) Loud and lusty Michael Tanner At this time of year opera, at any rate in cities, tends to be g iven...

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Pal Joey (Minerva, Chichester) Charlie Sexboots (Man in the Moon, Chelsea) Stars in their eyes Sheridan Morley A a time when most traditional West End managers seem to be...

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Crime and complicity Michael Vestey I listen to many radio documentaries; they tend, on the whole, to be better than those on television, where pictures are needed to...


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Thanks, little brother James Delingpole A part from a terrible falling-out with some friends of mine which I can't tell you about because it's too awful, my life has been...

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The turf

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Competitive instincts Robin Oakley R acing journalism may not be as tough as rock journalism, once defined by Frank Zappa as people who can't write interview- ing people who...

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High life

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Power and glory Taki Now I've heard cheers directed at me once or twice in the distant past — on the playing-field — but basking in reflected glory was intoxicating. It took...

No life

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No hope in soap Toby Young I love Big Brother. The best thing about it isn't the programme itself — though that's compelling enough — but the various par- lour games it's...

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Country life

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Seeing the light Leanda de Lisle F or members of the Northern Light- house Board, the Edinburgh Festival offers nothing like the drama on the Orkney island of Eday in which...

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Singular life

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Final countdown Petronella Wyatt E veryone was talking about the great white shark. How it had swum into the Mediterranean just north of Rome no one could fathom (good pun,...


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Pessimism pays Susanna Gross HAVING a pessimistic nature is a great advantage if you're a bridge player. Experts never play a hand without first asking: `What can possibly go...

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Robert Hardman

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ONE of the strangest sights I have seen was the 1998 World Cup opening ceremony in Paris. Spread over two days, it involved six- storey robots marching through the city's...

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The Ultimate Islay Malt. CHESS egRdbe,c; www.ardb eg. corn China syndrome Raymond Keene SEVERAL weeks ago I happened to be in Beijing and discovered more or less by chance...


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The way to the top Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2150 you were invited to write a poem offering cynical advice to a beginner on how to succeed rapidly in a profession or...

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Solution to 1475: Of course

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No. 2153: Old Roman dozen

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I shall explain this title later. Meanwhile you are invited to incorporate the following words and phrases, in any order, into a plau- sible piece of prose (maximum 150 words):...


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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 11 September, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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Peak practice Simon Barnes NINETEEN years ago my Australian neigh- bour (we were living on one of Hong Kong's outlying islands) mocked me for the poor performance of the...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. I am enjoying my retirement by doing voluntary work serving behind the counter in a busy little well-run charity shop. My enjoyment has, however, been somewhat...