26 OCTOBER 1996

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The moral high ground: The Three Wise Men T he Catholic bishops of England and Wales circulated a pre-election booklet called The Common Good, which Labour supporters claimed...

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CHARLES HINDLIP I ran to work this morning; work is at Christie's in St James's. I am not sure it did me much good, as London is now more polluted than New York. This is sad,...

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If Mr Blair's lead in the polls continues to fall, what will become of all his supporters a la mode? PETRONELLA WYATT T he other day I was sitting in a café with a friend who...

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Bruce Anderson argues that Sir James Goldsmith's opinion of politicians should be taken seriously; he knows whereof he speaks SIR James Goldsmith used to have consis- tent...

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Lady Powell banished her from one party, but Anne McElvoy found another. There was also a third one in the hall SIR JAMES Goldsmith emerged from the Grand Hotel pursued by...

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Michael Heath

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Jonathan Holborow, Mail on Sunday editor, justifies printing prosecution evidence against Colin Stagg which was never put to a jury I FIRST met Andre Hanscombe on a bright...

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So on to Dan Quayle in 2000. Michael Vestey reports Washington IT IS easy to be influenced by the media's portrayal of a public figure. 'What a jerk — the guy can't spell...

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Second opinion

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FROM TIME to time I am asked by a newspaper to express my outrage at some more or less disgusting aspect of modern life, and usually I am only too happy to oblige. Indeed, I...

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Andrew Roberts warns against any modish blaming of Britain for German failure to overthrow Hitler BRITISH reviews of a new book about the German resistance serve as a warning...

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WE'RE NAS Kathy Marks tells the untold story about the classroom violence issue: it's good for a certain union (and its leader) IT IS 1979, and the National Association of...

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Mind your language

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WE ARE making some progress, if only speculative, on the origin of the phrase spending a penny. For those of you who missed the story so far, it certainly pre- dates...

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If EMU does go ahead in 1999, argues Mark Archer, the consequences could be disastrous for all involved `C'EST magnifique, mais ce n'est past reconornie' — such might have...

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Simon Courtauld meets the Countess of Listowel: writer, Hungarian, and present in Budapest 40 years ago SHORTLY after her 92nd birthday last year, Judith, Countess of...

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Simon Blow recalls a strange meeting with the novelist whom television has just made newly famous SATURDAY'S superb BBC 2 dramatisa- tion of Henry Green's novel, Loving, took...

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Jimmy restores a bit of life to a moribund conference season PAUL JOHNSON L ast week I broke my new rule and went briefly to Jimmy Goldsmith's Refer- endum Party conference....

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Sir Alastair gets himself out of a hole it wouldn't have happened without him CHR ISTOPH ER FILDES H is last week at Eurotunnel finds Sir Alastair Morton in Tokyo. He is...

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LETTERS Truth is on the march

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Sir: Stewart Steven certainly hit the bull's- eye, judging by the reaction of Neil Hamil- ton and Tiny Rowland to his article 'The case for Mohamed' (12 October). As Stewart is...

Sir: Some time in the 1970s when I was associate

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editor of the Daily Mail, Mr Robert Dunlop, then a main board director of Lonhro's with whom I often lunched, gave me some wonderful detail about a titanic battle for the...

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Sir: I was amused to read once more the lies

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of Neil Hamilton (Payed paid me noth- ing', 19 October). Most of these were con- tained in his witness statement for the trial we were expecting to begin on 1 October. He...

Sir: Mr Mohamed Fayed could use his new publishing company

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to close the gap in the market identified by Frank Johnson in his Diary (19 October) and produce an Egyp- tian equivalent of Debrett — perhaps to be entitled Tales of the...

Three cheers for Matthew

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Sir: I commend you for printing Matthew Parris's article on Ian Greer (Another voice, 19 October). Not many journalists would be as free-thinking and outspoken. Matthew Parris's...

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The truth about Mr Neil's Sunday Times: it went down (in both senses) STEPHEN GLOVER H as the Sunday Times declined as a newspaper? The question arises with the publication of...

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The great talking shop Philip Hensher THE LITERARY COMPANION TO PARLIAMENT edited by Christopher Silvester Sinclair-Stevenson, £30, pp. 605 T he House of Commons, alas, never...

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Breaking out in spots

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Charlotte Moore LISTENING TO THE ORCHESTRA AND OTHER STORIES by Susan Hill available from booksellers or post-free from Long Barn Books, Ebrington, GL55 61VW, tel: 01386...

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A poseur with a purpose

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Victoria Glendinning HAZEL: A LIFE OF LADY LAVERY 1880-1935 by Sinead McCoole Lilliput, f25, .E15, pp. 242 he Irish colleen depicted on the first Irish Free State banknotes...

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A shooting star

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Michael Scott MY PARABOLA by Titta Ruffo Baskerville,$38, pp. 490 A ffixed to the inside of the front cover of the baritone Titta Ruffo's autobiogra- phy, originally published...

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Words fail him

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Craig Brown CHANGING TRAINS by Steven Norris Hutchinson, £16.77, pp. 273 I am told that the sales reps were hawk- ing this book with the promise that it would be the next Alan...

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A happy surprise

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Tom Hiney ENGLISH WEATHER by Neil Ferguson Gollancz Originals, £9.99, pp. 319 S tranded at a railway station, few people in their right mind would head for the Con- temporary...

I think I'll be clever for ever and ever

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Anthony Storr THE AGE OF HERESY: YOU CAN ACHIEVE MORE, NOT LESS, AS YOU GET OLDER by Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene Ebuly Press, £12.99, pp. 184 n the 1940s, educational...

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The Boys' own papers

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Patrick Skene Catling THE BOYS: TRIUMPH THROUGH ADVERSITY by Martin Gilbert Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 511 T his is an important book. There was a Holocaust. Fewer than 100,000 Jews...

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Trapped in a tragic pattern

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Anne McElvoy THE AGONY OF THE RUSSIAN IDEA by Tim McDaniel Princeton, £19.95, pp. 212 T he Russian Idea is a hardy if abstruse construct. It stalks Gogol's Dead Souls which...

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Blue misremembered hills

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Main de Botton THE BEND FOR HOME by Dermot Healy Harvill £14.99, pp. 307 T he Irish poet and novelist Dermot Healy has written his memoir. As we approach the end of the 20th...

Mothers and lovers

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Anne Chisholm I n fiction as in life, many brave colonial boys and girls have made the journey from Australia to the mother country in search of fame, fortune, reputation or...

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A long way from Home

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Antony Lambton ALEC DOUGLAS HOME by D. R. Thorpe Sinclair-Stevenson, £25, pp. 562 M r D. R. Thorpe has written a care- less, repetitive, unstructured book littered with bad...

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Old kid on the block

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Charles Moore FULL DISCLOSURE by Andrew Neil Macmillan, £20, pp. 481 W hy should I give my energy, my ability and my experience and one more minute of my time to this man...

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A hard act to follow

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Nigel Spivey CANAAN by Geoffrey Hill Penguin, £7.99, pp. 72 S lim volumes of contemporary verse are not normally honoured with notice in these pages. What is there in this new...

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Tangles with the Taste Police Leslie Geddes-Brown criticises planners for their negative approach to listed buildings C harles Wingfield, the elderly owner of Grade 1 listed...

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Making & Meaning: Rubens's Landscapes (National Gallery, till 19 January) Artist of power and poetry Martin Gayford A little while ago I wrote about painters who don't travel...

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As he was going to St Ives . . .

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Andrew Lambirth found much that was fascinating on his visit to the Tate Gallery in Cornwall I f you have the energy and enthusiasm to travel down to Cornwall, you would be well...

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Victor Horta (Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, till 5 Jan) Exuberant trend-setter Martin Bailey V ictor Horta, the architect of swirling lines, is being honoured with an...

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The Cunning Little Vixen (Coliseum) A zany look at life Michael Tanner I t occurred to me while I was watching, in a slightly detached way, the ENO's latest revival of...

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Batting for Bruckner Robin Holloway W hen the impossible question 'Who is your favourite composer?' comes up, my instant unthinking answer is 'Bruckner'. When compelled...


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Art (Wyndham's) Old Wicked Songs (Promenade, New York) Rent (Nederlander, New York) Cabaret Convention (Town Hall, New York) But is it art? Sheridan Morley T he snob hit of...

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Twelfth Night (PG, selected cinemas) He can take it Mark Steyn hat veteran wordsmith has been kept busy recently turning out screenplays for such mainstream motion picture...

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Royal Ballet (Royal Opera House) Mal Pelo (The Place) Mark Baldwin Dance Company (The Place) Sublime elegance Giannandrea Poesio T he relentless, yet fatuous search for new...

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Arts diary

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A study in spending John Parry T here used to be a time in the arts when actors acted, singers sang, dancers danced and administrators, well, adminis- tered. While the arts...

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The right voice Michael Vestey M usic lovers hate music, said Sir John Drummond, a former Controller of Radio Three. This startling remark was made two Sundays ago in the last...


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Mean streets Simon Hoggart I used to live in Manchester, in Burnage actually, which I believe is where the Gal- lagher brothers from Oasis were raised. The old place doesn't...

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The turf

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(Nearly) Heaven on earth Robin Oakley T here is nothing quite like that tingle of anticipation as you slalom (slowly, of course, officer) through Six Mile Bottom and catch...

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High life

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As good as it gets Taki D ear, oh dear! Why can't the hacks ever get it right? Andrew Pierce in the Times breathlessly reported how Alan Clark was at Carla Powell's Referendum...

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Low life

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Bigheads beware Jeffrey Bernard I hope to God that my worries about the future of Frankie Dettori are completely unfounded, as on too many occasions I have seen successful...

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Country life

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Back and the future Leanda de Lisle B ad backs are as common in Leicester- shire as bad consciences in Westminster. Every town and village has an army of quacks to manipulate...

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BRIDGE Find the lady Andrew Robson THE stakes were high and South was play- ing a vulnerable grand slam. He reached the crucial decision point and did the wrong thing. He had...

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La Porte des Indes, Ragam and Deedar

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ACCORDING to Peter Harden, whose invaluable guide, London Restaurants 1997, has just appeared, there are some 3,000 Indian restaurants in Greater London. This makes the...

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IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN•THE•STRAND In Staunton's honour Raymond Keene THE WORK of the Howard Staunton Society, with Nigel Short as its president, is proceeding apace....


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i U RA SAGA vc, ,o101 XXIA1 ISLE OF j U RA SINUF MI, UN .111511 COMPETITION Books and life Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1955 you were invited to supply a piece of prose...

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A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1990 Port for the first correct solution opened on 11 November, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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Life and works Simon Barnes Thus a hagiography becomes by easy stages a hatchet job. The biographer who feels his love has been betrayed by the life of his love-object reacts...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. Every time I come to London I find other pedestrians bump into me in the street rather a lot. How can I go about pre- venting this annoyance from happening?...