27 MAY 2000

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The Spectator

M rs Cherie Blair, the wife of Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, gave birth to her fourth child, a son, Leo, weighing 61b 12oz. Mr Blair took a fortnight off from Ques- tion...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405

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1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 TWO NATIONS I t is fashionable to blame the 'guilty men' of the Dome, the politicians and fixers who have tip-toed away from disaster and left Bob...

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Unionists should vote to stay out of the wilderness BRUCE ANDERSON impossible to predict the outcome of Satur- day's Unionist Council meeting. Many of the delegates were still...

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CHARLOTTE EDWARDES R eturning to my hotel with a female friend on Tuesday night, we see a man illu- minated in the doorway. He approaches us. He is slim, olive-skinned, in his...

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London and is shocked by rocketing house prices and the blind pursuit of profit MAX BEERBOHM once drew a carica- ture of George Bernard Shaw standing on his head, with Max...

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Romano Prodi tells Daniel Hannan that if Britain joined the euro, it could always junk it IT is not easy being the most powerful bureaucrat in the world, and Romano Prodi is...

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Second opinion

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WHAT a glorious thing it is to be a British taxpayer! And how reassuring to know that the half of one's life one devotes to earning taxes is used to bring a little succour to...

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Jasper Gerard on the three right-on women who will play a leading role in choosing who sits in the House of Lords ONCE it was kings who nominated peers of the realm. Now it is...

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Mark Steyn on why he believes that the unknown Rick Lazio can beat Hillary Clinton in New York IT was supposed to be Godzilla v. King Kong. But then King Kong announced that...

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Peter °borne reviews the strategic thinking of Sir Charles Guthrie, who is about to step down as CDS WHEN General Sir Charles Guthrie steps down as Chief of the Defence Staff...

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Mind your language

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I PROMISE not to mention the Amises after this, but the footnotes to the new volume of letters have become some- thing of a family joke in our household. Even my husband, who...

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Michael Heath


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Julian Manyon talks to the only man in Serbia with the moral authority to challenge the Milosevic gang Belgrade THE hopes of many Serbs now rest on the fragile shoulders of a...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit STAND by for the socio-economic cleansing of the shires. In its submis- sion for the government's forthcoming White...

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What is the real great tradition of the novel? Snobbery PAUL JOHNSON F erdinand Mount, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, has published a spirited defence of his uncle,...

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Why the government is putting the frighteners on servicemen who talk to the press STEPHEN GLOVER T his government is no great lover of press freedom. I have written before...

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LETTERS Baby blues

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From Mrs Davina Fernyhough Sir: While I agree with many of Alice Thomson's sentiments in 'New Labour's war against the childless' (20 May), I should like to respond to the...

Mrs T's industrial action

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From Mr John Lippitt Sir: Ian Gilmour's review of Margaret Thatcher's biography (Books, 13 May) sug- gests that she 'meekly accepted, or agreed with, the interventionist...

From Mrs E. Hewison Sir: Well said, Alice Thomson. Many

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of us share her views, and find the over-worship of 'kids' repellent but have been watching our backs since the Thought Police started to stalk the land. As I am a parent of two...

From Mr Michael McManus Sir: New Labour is pro-kid? I

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have to support two children at university, for which there is now no financial assistance, even though I'm on only a teacher's wage. Accommodation and fees take £6,000 a year...

Fayed's mistake

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From Mr Matthew J. Steeples Sir: A reading of Boris Johnson's interview ('Why Gaddafi is a better man than Blair', 13 May) surely would convince all 'those ordinary people' who...

Ear-bashing King Hussein

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From Mr Michael George Sir: What a delight it was to read of Eliza; beth Spalton's pride, alongside that 01 Queen Noor, at their respective son's Com - missioning parade at RMA...

Academies of nogoodniks

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From Mr George Rafael Sir: Regarding the privatisation of universi- ties (Not one of us', 20 May), Justin Marozzi does not go far enough. Why stop at universities? With the...

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We poor prosecutors

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From Mr Edward Bowles Sir: In your leading article (20 May) you refer to the legendary incompetence of the Crown Prosecution Service, and allege that it finds 'public interest'...

Endless knights

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From Mr Jeremy Taylor Sir: We are being told quite often that Sir Anthony Hopkins must give up his knight- hood when he becomes a US citizen ('Why I am proud to be a subject of...

Communist crimes

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From Mr Andrew Wilski Sir: Mr Nemec's complaint (Letters, 6 May) about Taki's call to remember and not to deny the enormity of communist crimes is totally unjustified. At no...

PC Australians

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',coin Mr Ron Brunton The most endearing quality of Aus- tra lia's self-righteous intellectuals is that their arguments are easily punctured. Bob Ellis (Letters, 13 May) is so...

Imperial Leo

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From Mr Henry Algeo Sir: In any of the press coverage, have you noticed the weight of Leo Blair in other than good old pounds and ounces? We haven't lost the war yet! Henry...

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The good news is that Mr Leo Blair may not be as New Labour as his father FRANK JOHNSON B y the time this article appears, Mr Leo Blair will have been in Downing Street almost...

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Middle and off

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BARCLAYS has forced Peter Middleton to quit his position as chairman — hey, hang on a moment. He was there the other day, but this is what EasyJet says, so we must have Peter...


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Dot.coms go up in smoke, cash is the best fire-break, keep close to it now CHRISTOPHER FILDES e must go on learning in life, and W backing dot.com companies has its own...

A whiff of crackling

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SOMEONE in the Stock Exchange's slabby tower must remember what happened when the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Naviga- tion Company bid for Bovis the builders. P & 0 had run...

Doing the splits

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I SEE the dauntless Judith Mayhew as the circus artiste in a frilly skirt who can ride two horses at once. She has one foot in the saddle of the Corporation of London, where she...

Friday job map,

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, dismal figures from British Airways St rUggling to retain altitude, weighed OW a a dividend it ought to jettison, and R ob a fuel bill far over budget — but Ili ttA is is his...

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Making a name for oneself Julie Burchill EXPERIENCE by Martin Amis Cape, £18, pp. 401 I t might be fair to say that the foremost practitioners of the English literary novel...

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HAM 12 months 6 months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK 0 £97 0 £49 Europe 0 £109 0 £55 USA 0 US$161 0 US$82 Australia 0 Aus$225 0 Aus$113 Rest of World 0 5119 ❑ £60 Please enter my...

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Doing all

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the voices Charlotte Mitchell young Anglo-Irish peer published in 05 at his own expense a thin volume called The Gods of Pegana, purportedly the sacred books of some unknown...

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An outsider par excellence

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William Scammell READING AND WRITING: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT by V. S. Naipaul New York Review of Books, £9.99, pp. 80 V S. Naipaul has been taking a bit of a hammering lately. Or...


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Was that all there was?

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Helen Osborne MAINLY ABOUT LINDSAY ANDERSON by Gavin Lambert Faber, £18.99, pp. 302 T he price of repression is extremely high,' Tony Richardson observed of Lind- say Anderson...

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Credible because possible

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Jane Gardam THE QUEST FOR THE TRUE CROSS by Peter Thiede and Matthew d'Ancona Weidenfeld, £18.99, pp. 320 n T he publication last month of the great Jewish scholar Vermes'...

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The heights and depths of Maida Vale

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Harriet Waugh GRASSHOPPER by Barbara Vine Viking, £16.99, pp. 406 I n recent years the novels that Ruth Ren- dell writes under this pseudonym have far out-stripped her other...

Talking about C. K. Stead

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John de Falbe TALKING ABOUT O'DWYER by C. K. Stead Harvill, £14.99, pp. 245 A ll habitual readers know the plea - sures of bingeing on an author previously unknown to them....

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They came, they saw, they left

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Peter Vansittart THE VISITORS: CULTURE SHOCK IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN by Rupert Christiansen Chatto, £20, pp. 272 T he Victorians welcomed and appre- ciated the alien with...

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How to move and shake the world

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Nigel Spivey THE TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Gladwell Little, Brown, £14.99, pp. 279 T his is a small book. The size is impor- tant, because the argument here is that small things...

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Leave our museums alone Martin Gayford on why government-sponsored populism just isn't popular E very cliché eventually meets its neme- sis. Sooner or later — in fact quite...

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Dealers hold the right cards

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An y reader of the American press may be forgiven for considering Sotheby's and Christie's a duopoly. Ever since the story broke of the US Justice Department's investigation...

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Lowry's People (The Lowry Centre, Salford, till 4 Sept) Heads by L.S. Lowry (Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, London SW3, till 3 June) Disarmed by Lowry David Lee L...

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Seeing but not believing

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Andrew Lambirth on how films about real artists often distort their artistic qualities H ow the advance guard becomes accepted and acceptable! With news of fashion-world...

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Love and power Michael Tanner R adamisto may well be one of Handel's finest operas. Despite the convoluted absurdity of its plot, in which respect it is admittedly in severe...

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A class act

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Sheridan Morley remembers John Gielgud, who died this week aged 96 . . . T he voice on my telephone about five years ago was unmistakably the voice of Hamlet, and faintly...

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One glorious voice

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I find myself singing a Sammy Cahn par- ody of 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World' in which 'John Gielgud' rhymes with 'He's real good'. Stephen Sondheim used the same rhyme...

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Finishing touches Robin Holloway nfinished works of music, like unfin- ished paintings, sculptures, buildings, nov- els, have always exerted potent fascination. The two...

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Political leanings Michael Vestey O ne innocent pastime when I worked for the BBC, striving to live up to its demand for impartiality, was to observe the Political bias all...

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Not motoring

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Swiss elegance Gavin Stamp I could not have gone to the now-notori - ous opening party for the Tate Modern had I been invited (which I wasn't) as I was away that day with the...


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Artificial effects Simon Hoggart T he most amazing fact I learned in Reputations: Liberace (BBC 2) was that the pianist had had his lover's face surgically altered to look...

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The turf

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Newbury tonic Robin Oakley 0 n those days when you are a glass or two short of being in the best of spirits there is no better place to be than the race- course. Being bundled...

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High life

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Party priorities Taki I was sad to leave the Bagel, in the way one's sad to break up a party late at night while having a grand old time. Nat Roth- schild got things going...

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No life

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Bar talk Jeremy Clarke as we'd hoped it would be. Twinned with S tockport, Lancashire, and dating back to the 1970s, Torremolinos today has some . - Iiiing of a quiet,...

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Country life

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Common concerns Leanda de Lisle M y days as a cub reporter on an East End newspaper seem far off. However, I had lunch yesterday with the chap I used to share a desk and a few...

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Singular life

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Singing in the rain Petronella Wyatt I don't know what it was that prompted me to say yes when it was suggested I give a recital at a charity ball in Hungary, my mother...


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Best woman Andrew Robson WHILST there would be considerable dis- agreement as to who is the best male bridge player in the world today, there would be much more certainty...

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CHESS Rdbeig The Ultimate Islay Malt. www.ardhes.corn British league Raymond Keene FOR many years the club championships in Germany, Holland and France were the envy of the...


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Dear Brutus Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2137 you were invited to provide an imaginary correspon- dence in modern idiom between two char- acters in the same Shakespearean...

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Solution to 1462: Foresighted

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E11111141111111111111401N 11 M The coterie of contemporaries suggested was Words/worth (13/25), Cole/ridge (19/21), Long/fellow (38/1) and Tenny/son (43/6). First prize: Mrs...

No. 2140: Lead balloon

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In a recent Spectator Toby Young described (and quoted from) a speech he made as best man at a wedding which did not amuse the audience. You are invited to supply an extract...

CROSSWORD A first prize of £30 and a bottle of

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Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 12 June, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the latest edition of...

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Vae victoribus! Simon Barnes THE Zimbabwe cricket team must feel as if they have been torn apart by a ravening, howling, salivating pack of pugs and Pomera- nians, toy poodles...


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Dear Mary.. . M Y son ' s fourth birthday party looms and Me problem with party bags. I think that today's children have too many toys ' and, in L iv case, I am reluctant to...