26 MAY 2001

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The Spectator

I n preparation for the election on 7 June, politicians spent the week being driven about in coaches. The Conservatives proposed detaining all asylum-seekers. Labour declined to...

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The Spectator

T o compare a democratically elected politician seeking a fresh mandate through the ballot box to a brutal dictator is generally a cheap trick. Yet over the last days the...

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Antipathy will combine with apathy to keep the voters at home

The Spectator

BRUCE ANDERSON T his election is unlike any other one that I have observed. On previous occasions, one obviously encountered electors who had decided not to vote. But they...

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The Spectator

BERYL BAINBRIDGE L ast week I went to watch my grandson Albert — known, after the Prince, as Darling Bertie — performing in a play at Ackland Burleigh School in north London....

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The Spectator

Andrew Gimson says that what New Labour has to fear is not apathy but the boundless disgust and contempt of its natural supporters — which in the end will do for the...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

LLOYD EVANS ('We're getting much verse', 19 May) and Paul Johnson (And another thing, 19 May) have been wondering what poetry is. Ancient Greeks argued over it too. For our...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

'I'VE suspected it for a long time,' writes Mr Andre Bosset from somewhere in Powys. You have little or no sense of humour.' I do not know if he is in the habit of writing in...


The Spectator

Peter Oborne on how British bankers have yielded to terrorism and dumped the Huntingdon animal laboratory SINCE the beginning of this month it has been impossible to trade...

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The Spectator

Norman Tebbit has uncovered an intriguing story about a possible link between Europe and the security services I HAVE heard more than a few conspiracy theorists telling me of...

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The Spectator

It's not polygamy, says Mary Wakefield. It is stem moral rectitude and a determination not to touch alcohol, tobacco, tea or coffee AFTER Tom Green, the self-styled Mormon....

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The Spectator

Martin Vander Weyer tells a story of how local heroes re-established their arts centre in the face of bureaucratic insensitivity IT was Groundhog Day in Helmsley a fortnight...

Banned wagon

The Spectator

A week6l survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit NEW Labour was elected to government four years ago on an anti-sleaze platform, promising that it would no longer...

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The Spectator

DJ. Taylor says he will be voting for Tony Blair even though the prospect of a second Labour term fills him with horrible foreboding ONE of my sharpest memories is of sitting...

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Second opinion

The Spectator

I WAS browsing in a second-hand bookshop last week when a title caught my eye: Man's Ascent to Civilisation. Appropriately enough, the book was in the section devoted to ancient...

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The Spectator

Stuart Reid struggles with his feelings of white, middle-class guilt after a strange encounter with a member of an ethnic minority RACIAL prejudice is a very bad thing. It is...

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The Spectator

Theodore Dalrymple looks at the Labour and Tory advertising campaigns and discovers a deeply Hegelian mess THERE are advertising hoardings opposite the entrance to my...

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Why does the Times no longer thunder against the euro?

The Spectator

STEPHEN GLO\ ER I n the 1997 general election campaign the Times singled out Europe as the most important issue facing the electorate. Antieuro editorials came thick and fast....

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A writer's study can tell strange tales of creative agony

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON L oking around my study, after completing a long and difficult book, I am filled with disgust. It is small and overcrowded at best, but during a titanic struggle...

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Mr Woodward should not question our democratic right to butler jokes

The Spectator

FRANK JOHNSON M r Shaun Woodward this week told the Daily Telegraph that Tory press 'vilification' of him has 'begun to backfire'. He added, 'Local people never did get the...

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Death of the -Tories

The Spectator

From Mr Geoff Harrison Sir: Peter Hitchens (`Too rich to care', 19 May) comes close to an uncomfortable truth that all Conservatives should fear. However, he misses an even more...

Left or Right?

The Spectator

From Mr Michael Steed Sir: Matthew Parris (Another voice, 19 May) should know better than to claim that the LibDems have lurched to the left. He is absolutely correct to point...

No laughing matter

The Spectator

From Sir Edward Heath Sir: With reference to your interview with me CA sly grin from Sir Edward', 12 May), I should like to point out that I did not call Mr Hague a 'laughing...

Bosnian confusion

The Spectator

From Mr John Laugh/and Sir: Mr Wolfgang Petritsch (Letters, 19 May), High Representative in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, defends Nato's brutal raid on Hercegovacka Banka by...

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Unintelligent design

The Spectator

From Dr H. Robert Johnston Sir: The fundamental errors and misunderstandings in Elizabeth Nickson's article (`The odds are on God', 12 May) perfectly illuminate the intellectual...

A Davies replies

The Spectator

From Mrs Julia Davies Sir: I find it amazing to discover two columnists in The Spectator (12 May) being obsessional about my family (my son, Tristan, is the good-looking one in...

Wittgenstein was right

The Spectator

From Mr Michael Jones Sir: As someone who was taught, and not corrupted by, some of Wittgenstein's most gifted pupils, I was disappointed to read Paul Johnson's article (And...

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Janata caretakers

The Spectator

From Mr J. Alan Smith Sir: David Gardner's article on India (Tear and loathing in India', 19 May), mentioning the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), reminded me of the innocent...

The importance of privacy

The Spectator

From Mr Alistair B. Cooke Sir: Sheridan Morley (Letters, 19 May) admits his 'schoolboy howler', and, since he is unable to supply a new, correct version of the anecdote in...

Wanted: Tory Balls

The Spectator

From Mr Brian Basham Sir: Bruce Anderson was right (Politics, 12 May) to point out that the Tories are in disarray largely because they 'have failed to lay the ground over the...

When a spirit passed. . .

The Spectator

From Mr Denis Shaw Sir: I greatly enjoyed Paul Johnson's article on what makes a poem (And another thing, 19 May), and was indescribably thankful to see such a subject treated...

Oxford lows

The Spectator

From Mr J.L.A. Hartley Sir: Professor Richard Dawkins (Letters, 19 May) repudiates the notion that 'Oxford University would ever give an honorary degree to Michael Jackson'. Why...

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By popular demand

The Spectator

Raymond Carr THE FIRST WORLD WAR: VOLUME I: TO ARMS by Hew Strachan OUP, £30, pp. 1139, ISBN 0198208774 O ne's vision of the first world war depends on when one was born. I was...

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A far from deserted village

The Spectator

Elisa Segrave INSIDE NOTTING HILL edited by Miranda Davies and Sarah Anderson Portobello Publishing, £9.99, pp. 257, ISBN 187342941X W hen I was 22 and living in Hackney I...

Ill fares the land

The Spectator

Henry Hobhouse A COUNTRYSIDE FOR ALL edited by Michael Sissons Vintage, £7.99, pp. 188, ISBN 009942889X THE GREAT FOOD GAMBLE by John Humphrys Hodder, £12.99, pp. 306, ISBN...

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Camels and white elephants

The Spectator

Jeremy Swift SOUTH FROM BARBARY by Justin Marozzi HarperCollins, £17.99, pp. 365, ISBN 000257053X T he Libyan Sahara is now the least known part of the great desert that...

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Well done, old mole

The Spectator

Nicholas Fearn TUNNEL VISIONS: JOURNEYS OF AN UNDERGROUND PHILOSOPHER by Christopher Ross 4th Estate, £12, pp. 178, ISBN 1841155667 T he word 'philosopher' is applied today to...

Doggerel masking caterwaul

The Spectator

Philip MacCann LOSING IT by Ranjit Bolt John Murray, £9.99, pp. 154, ISBN 071956025X E ighteen-year-old Lucy is still a virgin -inauthentic as this may sound today, we are...

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A question of identity

The Spectator

Anne Applebaum THE AUTHOR OF HIMSELF by Marcel Reich-Ranicki Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 407, ISBN0297646680 H ere is a book which is almost impossible to sum up in a few words,...

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Mid-life moral crisis in Holloway

The Spectator

Vicki Woods HOW TO BE GOOD by Nick Hornby Penguin, £16.99, pp. 244, ISBN 0670888230 I t's odd looking back now, but in the genderquake Seventies and Eighties the loudest...

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Climbing the social ladder

The Spectator

Allan Massie UNGENTLE SHAKESPEARE by Katherine Duncan-Jones Arden Shakespeare, £20, pp. 322, ISBN 1903436265 P reliminary puffing in the press suggested that Katherine...

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Glittering splinters of genius

The Spectator

John Bayley THE UNDISCOVERED CHEKHOV translated by Peter Constantine Duck Editions, £14.99, pp. 224, ISBN 0715631063 W rite me a story about this ashtray.' Just the kind of...

Unrewarded loyalty to the wrong cause

The Spectator

Oleg Gordievsky KITTY HARRIS: THE SPY WITH SEVENTEEN NAMES by Igor Damaskin and Geoffrey Elliott St Ertnin's Press, £18.99, pp. 260, ISBN 1903608015 D espite its promising...

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Whatever happened to melody?

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier THE FABER COMPANION TO 20TH-CENTURY POPULAR MUSIC by Phil Hardy Faber, £20, pp. 1,236, ISBN 057119608X B y the time I went up to Oxford, in 1959, meritocracy had...

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Red or blue or neither?

The Spectator

Is modern art a leftist conspiracy or elitist nonsense? Martin Gayford investigates W ho likes modern art? The attendance figures at Tate Modern, opened a year ago this month,...

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Catalan treasure

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth wanders through the streets of Barcelona what is now termed 'an aesthetic industry professional', I have been subjecting myself to novel stimuli in the form of...

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A world of illusion

The Spectator

Laura Gascoigne talks to Peter Randall-Page about his latest exhibition B ricks may have been introduced to Britain by the Romans, but we've never grown out of our primitive...

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Dramatic upheaval

The Spectator

Susan Moore on what happens when Sotheby's and Christie's cosy duopoly is challenged I t was naive of me. When the long-fermenting scandal over auction-house collusion and...

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The Spectator

Ravel's struggles Robin Holloway A beautifully performed new CD of Ravel's three cantatas for the Prix de Rome (EMI) has recalled a droll and entertaining tale of how...

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The Spectator

Marriage Play; Finding the Sun (National) A Perfect Gentleman (King's Head) Noises Off (Piccadilly) Chance discovery Sheridan Morley heatrical fashion, like God, moves in...

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Ope r a

The Spectator

The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House) Royal success Michael Tanner A aout the musical side of the new production at Covent Garden there can be no two views: it is in...

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The Spectator

The Dream; Song of the Earth (Royal Ballet) Unhappy pairing Giannandrea Poem T heoretically, both the artistic choices and the reasons for the creation of double, triple and...

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The Spectator

Blow (18, selected cinemas) Ups and downs Mark Steyn F or those few Spectator readers not reading this column under the influences of narcotics, 'blow' is a synonym for...

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The Spectator

Something must be done . . . Michael Vestey W hat a silly old windbag Robert Redford has become. The Hollywood actor appeared on Broadcasting House on Radio Four last Sunday...

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The Spectator

Foreign affairs James Delingpole Q uite possibly I am the only person in the whole of Britain not to have seen Survivor. This is because I have been in Botswana, researching...

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The turf

The Spectator

Battling on Robin Oakley I f you ask me, Craig Evans was lucky to get away with one left jab from John Prescott. I remember once hearing the deputy prime minister discuss his...

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High life

The Spectator

Happiness is variety Taki INew York 'm off to Rome for a grand wedding and — if I survive the three balls and innumerable parties — to Antibes to check on my sailing boat, and...

No life

The Spectator

Hef's Bunnies and me Toby Young S ince I gave up drinking I've stopped going to nightclubs. If you're not drunk, the prospect of standing in a smoke-filled basement listening...

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Country life

The Spectator

Rural poverty Leanda de Lisle C an you imagine Tony Blair's reaction if you had told him, as he entered Downing Street four years ago, that ordinary country people would...

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An alien on the pitch

The Spectator

Simon Barnes IT was one of those perfect moments. Football can do that sort of thing. It was the last minute of the last game ever to be played at the Dell, ancestral home of...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . Q. My old school has decided to organise a dinner for old boys living in France. I would very much like to attend, but am worried that I might have my evening...