28 AUGUST 1999

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Asylum seekers? Absolutely not! Just decent British cricket fans trying to get out of the country.' T he government said it was considering imposing visa requirements for...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 DON'T GIVE IN S ome things seem to remain stubbornly granite-like in their...

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MAX HASTINGS 0 ur annual pilgrimage to the High- lands was as wonderful as ever, but we heard appalling tales about the persecu- tion of landowners by the new Scottish ruling...

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If you want to know about pain, feel the lash of New Labour's Leninists MARK SEDDON `Modernisation is changing millions of lives for the better. . . it is making a pro-...

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Kirsten Sellars says that war-crimes tribunals advance the global aims of Western leaders WHEN the Swiss attorney-general Carla Del Ponte takes up her post as chief prose-...

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Michael Heath

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Toby Young on Martin Amis at fifty MARTIN AMIS, the enfant terrible of English letters, was 50 last Wednesday. For many, it will be one of those unwel- come reminders of just...

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Second opinion

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A FEW years ago, a colleague of mine considered writing a medical textbook to be entitled Diseases of the Rich. There was — and as far as I know there still is — a crying need...

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Felipe Fernandez-Armesto on the futility of apportioning blame for the Turkish earthquake UNTIL last week, the West's worst earth- quake was the Lisbon quake of 1755. It...

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Mind your language

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THE man from Railtrack said a surpris- ing thing on the wireless the other day. He said that to avoid broken rails and accidents they were relaying track. It was as if he were...

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Michael McMahon on the sinister implications of `school contracts' SUMMER is slipping away now and in the educational calendar a new year is about to begin. We used to call...

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Charles Pretzlik investigates the high-street coffee-bar explosion WE all laughed when Steve Martin ordered a 'half-double-decaffeinated-half- caf with a twist of lemon' in LA...

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Petronella Wyatt on the secret sex appeal of Mr Hague POOR William Hague. His spin doctor, Amanda Platell, is at it again. Having slipped up earlier in the summer over the...

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Candidates are requested to write clearly and not to defy the computer PAUL JOHNSON he publication of this' year's spectacular A-level results has been greeted predictably...

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It will be some time before the first national newspaper goes up in cyberspace STEPHEN GLOVER O n Sunday the Sunday Times carried some very exciting news: Britain was to have...

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Academe and the state

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From Dr Alan Stacey Sir: The hostility of Oxford University to Lady Thatcher, described by Terence Kealey (`She's too good for them', 21 August), has been at a far greater cost...

Jennifer's American fans

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From Mr David A. Stephens Sir: You might be interested to know that America's TV Food Network, which had aired the various Two Fat Ladies shows, worked overtime to pay her...


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Tito, Klugmann and SOE From Lady Maclean of Dunconnel Sir: I have only just returned from a long visit to ex-Yugoslavia, so am late in joining in the Mihailovic/Tito...

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Basta a basta

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From Signor Carlo Ungaro Sir: In his article 'Foul!' (14 August) Michael Henderson has elegantly, elo- quently and succinctly expressed the thoughts of a great many people on...

PC zealotry From Mr John Dennehy Sir: Sadly, I have

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to tell Alan Cochrane that neither California nor the burgeoning Peo- ple's Republic of Scotland can yet lay claim to being the 'most politically correct society on God's earth'...

From Mr Nicholas Dunne Sir: Alan Cochrane's description of Scot-

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land's polluted political atmosphere brings to mind Sir Thomas Roe's estimation of Danzig in 1629. There he found 'a mixed government where suspicion and jealousy are wisdom'....

Cant and cannabis

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From Mr Harry Ambrose Sir: So, Matthew Parris is tempted to vote Liberal Democrat because of Mr Charles Kennedy's promise of an open review on whether to legalise cannabis...

Attracting the Lefties

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From Mr A. Clive Elliot Sir: `Remote Control' (21 August) demon- strates beyond doubt that the BBC is domi- nated by the Left, a training ground for Labour spin doctors, but...

Blair's holiday touch

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From Mr J. Peter Rauch Sir: I have scoured your Classifieds — Hol- idays & Travel — to find a cheap holiday in Italy, to no avail. Even the cheapest advertised was considerably...

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Hamlets' revenge

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GONE are the days when the great Arthur Trinder, general manager of the Union Dis- count Company of London, would arrive at his desk at 11 o'clock for a smoked salmon sandwich...


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Wait for it, but the time will come to move out of houses and into the Ritz CHRISTOPHER FILDES I am getting ready to sell my house and move into the Ritz. No hurry, of course,...

It's Superalan

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ALAN Greenspan has dropped the other shoe and, in the room below, the markets can relax. They have been waiting restlessly for him to raise dollar interest rates for the second...

Shortage of stock

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ON an island almost entirely made of coal and surrounded by fish, Aneurin Bevan said it would take a government of genius to cre- ate a shortage of both fish and coal. Gov-...

Called to account

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IT IS selfless of Tom King to argue that Brussels should no longer be a dumping ground for politicians. Under happier stars, Mr King — a minister for 15 years, an MP for nearly...

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Outlaws and Blackshirts Philip Hensher THE WILLIAM BOOKS, VOLUMES 1-20 by Richmal Crompton Macmillan, £3.99 each (boxed set, f25) L ooking for an accurate literary por- trayal...

All books reviewed in The Spectator are available through THE

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Boom and bust

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Robert Oakeshott DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST: A HISTORY OF FINANCIAL SPECULATION by Edward Chancellor Macmillan, £20, pp. 386 Although short-sellers are invariably blamed for the...

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The unscrambling of Africa

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Ronald Mutebi AFRICA IN CHAOS I n May 1963, Africa's leaders gathered in Addis Ababa to put their signatures to the charter that established the Organisation of African Unity....

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From police force to national army

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Allan Mallinson THE ARAB LEGION, 1923-1957 by James Lunt Constable, £18.99, pp. 178 Gay, swaggering, dusty and nonchalant, incredibly cluttered with garments, these were the...

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Camelot moves north

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Byron Rogers ARTHUR AND THE LOST KINGDOMS by Alistair Moffat Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20, pp. 320 D isbelief will be the first reaction to this piece of fascinating historical...

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Creator of his own image

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Raymond Carr THOMAS HARDY: INTERVIEWS AND RECOLLECTIONS edited by James Gibson Macmillan, £47.50, f17.99, pp. 252 J ames Gibson has edited a fascinating collection of the...

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Proving the Jeremiahs wrong

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Hugh Massingberd BURKE'S PEERAGE AND BARONETAGE edited by Charles Mosley Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, £295, pp. 3,347 (2 vols) H ow fatally easy it is to succumb...

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Human flotsam and jetsam

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Francis King OCEAN SEA by Alessandro Baricco Penguin, 110.99, pp. 241 T he difficulty of describing a novel as idiosyncratic as this is illustrated by the fatuous quotation...

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Signposts pointing the wrong way

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Anita Brookner DESTINY by Tim Parks Secker, £15.99, pp. 249 F acts emerge slowly from the matrix of this excellent novel, slowly because its unreliable narrator, Christopher...


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D RYING CAESAR Churchill, Chamberlain and the battle for the Tory Party What were the political machinations that kept Neville Chamberlain in office during the 1930's and...

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A sultan and Scott in Edinburgh But Martin Gayford searches in vain for a blockbuster show at festival time O h Caledonia!' exclaimed Sir Walter Scott, 'Meet nurse for a poetic...

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DIARY 2000 £ 15 Plain £ 16 Initialled The Spectator 2000 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the...

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Against the tide Alan Powers N ineveh on the Clyde is the title of a new film about Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, who went a long way towards transforming the expanding city of...

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Laughs, tears and punch-ups

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Renata Rubnikowicz finds some rich pickings on this year's Edinburgh Fringe I t's become a tradition to moan about big-name comics taking over the Fringe and treating it like a...

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Selling up

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John Martin Robinson on the dispersal of a monastic library T he sale of the monastic library from Fort Augustus is a sad end for a great his- toric collection, and a cultural...

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Prom pleasures Robin Holloway I n an uncharacteristically uncharismatic season, the resplendent highlight so far has been Rameau's last ancien regime fusion- of-the-arts...

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Irma La Douce (Watermill, Newbury) Chicago (Adc1phi) Cabaret Verboten (New End, Hampstead) Musical magic Sheridan Morley I n a truly stunning summer for long-lost musicals,...


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They're in the money Mark Steyn S outh Park, based on a cult cartoon series that runs on an obscure US cable channel, is what they call a 'gross-out com- edy' — and, this...

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The bottom line Michael Vestey M easuring women's buttocks with a sextant in the spirit of scientific inquiry sounds a bit like a dodgy dentist asking his female patients to...

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It ain't easy Alan Judd A m I wrong in believing that the dogs of my childhood and youth came free, or nearly free? Lots of people seemed to have puppies and kittens around;...

Simon Hoggart is away.

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The turf

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Taxing questions Robin Oakley Perhaps regular gamblers will forgive me here if I summarise the situation for those who have only an occasional bet on the Grand National or...

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High life

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The age of the common man Taki female friend of mine passing through Siena three weeks ago had an interesting tale to report. I will not name her because she's asked me not...

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Country life

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Listen up, Prince Charles Leanda de Lisle D r Evil is stalking the earth once more — and not just in the world of Austin Pow- ers. We are told he is running Monsanto and is...


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Poles apart Andrew Robson OCCASIONALLY news filters out, via the bridge press, of a truly outstanding play or defence that has occurred somewhere in the world. Italy, who have...

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Robert Hardman

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THE cookbook, the polenta, the quiz, the New Labour grandees — what would Lon- don be without the River Café? Head west of Kensington, darling, and where else can one find a...

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Tourists Raymond Keene THE FIDE (World Chess Federation) Championship in Las Vegas has now reached its final stage. Sadly, the accidental nature of the abbreviated knockout...


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Self-deprecating Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2099 you were given a choice of three opening lines of self-deprecation and invited to carry on in your own humble way. As a...

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w. & J . GRAHAM'S A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 13 September, with two run- ners-up prizes of £20 (or,...

Solution to 1425: Modelt

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II'OMNI annaniallan h, on N I B 0 WI ri il 00111311 CM Moen in i 0 ii A a Erur T fol'071R D A N PI LI A I a TIE a m i .A s-, , I A M li MI A ri R I 9 Is 0 ri mi ne...

No. 2102: Studied irreverence

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`Full fathom five thy father lies:/ His aqualung was the wrong size.' You are invited to follow this famous short example by taking the first one or two lines of a well-known...

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Simply the worst Simon Barnes WHEN I worked on the Dorking Advertiser, the phrase 'and that's official' was banned, as in 'Dorking is the dirtiest town in Britain — and that's...


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Q. During the appropriate, mutual greeting on being formally introduced to a complete stranger, should not wearers of non-pre- scription dark glasses briefly remove them? Th ere...