27 NOVEMBER 1999

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L ord Archer withdrew as the Conser- vative candidate for Mayor of London, and had the whip withdrawn from him, after admitting he had persuaded a friend, Mr Ted Francis, to lie...

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It may be repugnant, but the Unionists are not going to get a better deal BRUCE ANDERSON Eighteen months later, those solemn pledges which formed the basis of Unionist...

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ANTONY BEE VOR L Moscow uba Vinogradova, my wonderfully irreverent translator, was waiting at Sheremetevo airport to collect me in her four-wheel-drive Lada. Her driving has...

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I cannot prove it, or tell you why, but John Prescott is to be killed MATTHEW PARR IS T urning points are just that: locations rather than landmarks. A stone by the road-...

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What with one thing and another — that baby, those Archer lies — it's not much fun being a Tory today. But is all lost? Boris Johnson says the party has a fighting chance...

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Mind your language

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I DO not know whether it is something to do with my maternal instincts, but I find the growing of vegetables far more satisfying than making a flower garden. Yet I assume it is...

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It's not difficult, says Stuart Reid, who like Mr Blair found himself with child in middle age MY advice to Tony is: act your age. I know I didn't. When in my middle years I...

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Rhineland capitalism is being ditched by businessmen in favour of the Anglo-Saxon model says Geoffrey Owen THE Vodafone bid for Mannesmann, and the German reaction, have given...

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Nurses today have neither the time nor the training to care for their patients, says consultant geriatrician Mary Bliss WHEN my 85-year-old cousin went into hospital for the...

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THE BLAIRS Michael Heath

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Frank Johnson wonders when Mr Al Fayed will call a dozen red-bearded dwarfs in his defence THOUGH no lawyer, I assume that all precedents and points of law touching upon...

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The Blairite Third Way is not liberalism, but a fascist threat to freedom and democracy, argues Michael Diboll IT seems unlikely that there were many Spectator readers among...

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Craig Brown on how the art of parody is made more difficult by those who parody themselves PERHAPS every profession sees its own reflection in the world beyond. Does the...

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Andrew Kenny on how his liberal conscience cannot suppress the thought that Dr Verwoerd is owed an apology Johannesburg IT SEEMS to be a season for apologies, or at any rate...

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Fergal Keane 's reports tell us far more about his own feelings than about the facts, says Michael Vestey GOD save us from our sons. If they are like the BBC broadcaster Fergal...

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A nation of shopkeepers falls on hard times — there's

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poverty in the midst of plenty CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he first Ho-ho-ho of the season can only be around the corner of the High Street. Cotton-wool beards are being glued into...

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The Nimbys are impoverishing us and destroying freedom, says Ross Clark JOHN PRESCOTT must wish he could hitch a lift in a time-machine back to the 1940s. The moment he stepped...

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Parliamentarian of the year: the winners THE 16th annual Highland Park/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards, spon- sored by Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky and...

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A woman's life-history is written in her handbag grunge PAUL JOHNSON A n investigation into the contents of women's handbags reveals that some contain as many as 44 items....

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There's more to Lord Archer than you will read in the Evening Standard STEPHEN GLOVER Will this do? I'm not sure. Over at the London Evening Standard our old friend Sir (if I...

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The Knights and the Craft

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From Mr Desmond Seward Sir: Neither Damian Thompson in his article ('Out of order', 30 October) nor I in my book The Monks of War queries the magnifi- cent work done by the St...

Interned by Winston

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From The Hon. Mr Jonathan Guinness Sir: Paul Johnson calls General Pinochet Britain's only political prisoner since the 18th century (Another voice, 13 November). He forgets...

In praise of Palumbo

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From The Hon. Mrs James Butler Sir: Sadakat Kadri should be more careful with his flimsy accusations ('Ministry of drugs', 30 October). Young James Palumbo is an entrepreneur,...


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De haut en bas From The Rt Hon. the Viscount Cranbome Sir: I always read your magazine's conspira- cy theories about the House of Lords with huge amusement. Even by the low...

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From Sir Ludovic Kennedy

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Sir: What is the Speccie coming to? A mini- sermon from Paul Johnson on what he calls the 'truth' of Christianity one week (And another thing, 30 October) and another from...

BBC's barbarian leader

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From Dr Sheridan Gilley Sir: It is sad to discover that the director- general of the BBC talks and writes such appalling English (`My vision for the BBC', 20 November). Even...

When politics was religion

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From Captain ft W.J. Walker, BW Sir: In his excellent article ('Jesus is not a Tory... ', 13 November) Charles Moore refers to the portrayal of politicians in 'Christian...

From Mr Bernard Bolton Sir: While reading Daniel Hannan's article

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1 was reminded of a question that I was recently asked here in Germany. If a per- son who speaks three languages is trilin- gual, and a person who speaks two lan- guages is...

Sceptical Europhile

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From Mr J.M. Dyson Sir: Presumably Peter Jones did not read Daniel Hannan's excellent article (`They don't know what they're talking about', 13 November) before writing last...

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Dickens's responsibility for the disappearance of mighty conceptions and the rise of Gerrards Cross PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE T he utopian dimension, at any rate for the...

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Christmas Books II

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Books of the Year A further selection of the best and most overrated books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors David Hughes I look every year for books...

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An orchard you can take on your lap

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Philip Hensher NIGHT AND HORSES AND THE DESERT by Robert Irwin Penguin, £25, pp. 462 T his is called 'an anthology' of classical Arabic literature, but I don't quite know why....

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What's the

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problem? Main de Botton BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON by Helen Fielding Picador, £12.99, pp. 421 A ny man reading Helen Fielding's new book will laugh but end up feeling...

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Singing in the rain

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Nicholas Harman THE FALLING ANGELS by John Walsh HarperCollins, £16.99, pp. 282 W e grow used to being fondly patron- ised, here in the west of Ireland. Our peo- ple — and...

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Porridge and

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macaroni Antony Rouse MR BLUE by Edward Bunker No Exit Press, £16.99, pp. 408 L ike many a man in his late sixties, the American Edward Bunker looks back to the good old...

The fate of the flightless

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Norman Lamont THE GREAT AUK by Errol Fuller Cheques payable to 'Errol Fuller', 65 Springfield Road, Southborough, Kent, £385, pp. 448, also available in a reduced edition of...

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Early to, bed, early to rise . . . ?

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Paul Routledge THE POWERS BEHIND THE PRIME MINISTER by Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon HouperCains, £19.99, pp. 388 A fter the fashion of the day, this book about the...

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A choice of recent gardening books

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Mary Keen E r the gardener who has everything monographs never come amiss. Like all the best presents, they flatter. Giving someone a monograph implies that only the last word...

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Too much Hutch

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Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy HUTCH by Charlotte Breese Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 364 P rominent among the four pages of acknowledgments (plus a further six at the end) in Hutch is the...

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Call to adventure

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Patrick Skene Catling LITTLE TIM AND THE BRAVE SEA CAPTAIN and TIM AND LUCY GO TO SEA by Edward Ardizzone Scholastic Press, £9.99 each N ow that children's most daring adven-...

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The feeling above

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the line William Keen ACTING UP by David Hare Faber, £9.99, pp. 276 D avid Hare was invited by the Royal Court Theatre to write one part of a trilogy of plays about Israel...

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A choice of humorous books

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Olivia Glazebrook N o, how do you do — I didn't quite catch your name? Oh, The Esquire Hand- book for Hosts — a pleasure to make your acquaintance, so charmed... I really...

A selection of recent paperbacks

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Fiction: I Dreyfus by Bernice Rubens, Abacus, £6.99 If Morning Ever Comes, Searching for Caleb and Earthly Possessions by Anne Tyler, Vintage, £6.99 each Triangulation by Phil...

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A shortage of Turkish delight

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A mong the worst aspects of modern warfare is the difficulty for non-combatants of escaping it. As we have witnessed in Kosovo, East Timor or Chechnya, the innocent civilian is...

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Portrait of a lady Mark Glazebrook is enchanted by a Leonardo painting in Cracow Y ou do not need to be versed in Italian Renaissance studies to fall in love with Leonardo da...

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Rinaldo (Barbican) Handel addiction Michael Tanner T he strange phenomenon of Rinaldo fever has swept London during the last few months, with no fewer than four produc- tions...

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Exhibitions 1

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Sir Edward Borne-Jones: The Legend of the Briar Rose (Agnew's, 43 Old Bond Street, London Wl, till 17 December) Awake to the world John Spurling 'The Legend of the Briar...

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Exhibitions 2

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Honore Hauraki. (Grand Palais, Paris, till 3 January) Great outsider Nicholas Powell T he Honore Daumier prints currently on show in the Grand Palais as part of the first...

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Theatre 1

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Collected Stories (Theatre Royal, Haymarket) The Chiltern Hundreds (Vaudeville) Pupil power Sheridan Morley W e have been here before, and often: Donald Margulies's Collected...

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Cambridge diversions Robin Holloway K ttle's Yard, Cambridge: my memo- ries of this miniature cultural mecca go back to distant student days when most undergraduates (a male...

Theatre 2

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Macbeth (Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon) Natural justice Patrick Carnegy I s there a better theatre than the Swan for projecting the actors into the auditori- um and for...

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Dealers' dilemma Susan Moore W hat do you do if five days before the sale of your property at auction, a third party steps forward and offers you double the auction estimate?...

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The World Is Not Enough (12, selected cinemas) Onegin (12, selected cinemas) Millennial Bond Kim Fletcher T hank heavens Peter Mandelson got his role as special agent to...

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Winners and losers James Delingpole W arriors (BBC 1, Saturday and Sun- day) was undoubtedly one of the most bril- liant TV dramas this year and possibly one of the best of...


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Romeo and Juliet (Sadler's Wells) Traditional lovers Giannandrea Poem T here is little doubt that Michael Corder is one of the few present-day repre- sentatives of what was...

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Politics of change Michael Vestey N ot everyone agrees with me about this but one of the glories of the Westmin- ster Parliament is Prime Minister's Ques- tions. I love it,...

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The turf

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Some consolation Robin Oakley I ought to have known that it was not going to be my day when, halfway through the morning shower, my wife informed me (well, she did put it a...

Food for thought

The Spectator

Soup for all seasons Simon Courtauld Mr Partington's favourite way with this distinctive vegetable was sorrel soup, which he enjoyed almost to the exclusion of all other...

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High life

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What a ball Taki H New York ere's one that will take your mind off such unpleasant subjects as opportune pregnancies, low-life Egyptians making outrageous allegations against...

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Country lite

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Dangerous mix Leanda de Lisle J ack Straw's recent statement on hunting was just a puff of wind in the doldrums in Which hunting people find themselves. Some find it so...

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Singular life

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A brace of bounders Petronella Wyatt L ike Christmas it comes round once a year. Or, as some wag said, like Halloween. I refer, of course, to my late father's diaries. Those...


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Well played Andrew Robson WHO IS the greatest declarer in the histo- ry of bridge? Many would argue that it is likely to be an expert of yesteryear; with the bidding more...

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IT can't have escaped many people's atten- tion that many

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of London's newer 'dining experiences' are little but nightclubs mas- querading as restaurants; post-modern gin- palaces that also attempt to sell food. The Metropolitan Hotel...

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Citizen Crane Raymond Keene IN the past year or so there has been a strange tendency towards eliminating classi- cal grandmaster tournaments (everyone plays everybody else —...


The Spectator

COMPETITION Molto serioso Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2112 you were invited to write a serious poem entitled 'Childish Fears'. I am five, on a Scottish holiday. It is a...

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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 13 December, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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Safe to love him Simon Barnes A FLYER flies through the door. It comes from the BBC: they have got Muhammad Ali for their Sports Personality of the Centu- ry programme. They...


The Spectator

Q. When we bought our house last year it was conditional upon the usual South African voetstoots disclaimer — that is, sub- ject to all defects, visible or not. True, we had...