29 AUGUST 1998

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The Spectator

M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, visited Northern Ireland and then announced that Parliament would be recalled next Wednesday to enact a law designed to make it easier to...

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The Spectator

The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 THE PRICE OF FRIENDSHIP T here has always been a vein of anti- Americanism...

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How the death of a princess assisted Mr Blair BRUCE ANDERSON T here are signs that the cult is in retreat. Twenty-five thousand people had been expected to process along the...

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RUPERT CHRISTIANSEN F Edinburgh or the nth time in my life I'm up at the Edinburgh Festival, primarily to review opera for the Daily Telegraph. The weather is filthy, the city...

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Why form-filling is a form of body-piercing MATTHEW PARRIS 'ace: please tick box (white/non- white).' In South Africa in the 1960s, when the lunacies of Afrikaner race theory...

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Mark Steyn searches the rubble in Washington for the next American president `Presidential', like 'federal', is one of those words grievously misused in Britain. Tony Blair,...

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How to save yourself 51 trips to the library .

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. . or over £41 on The Spectator If you're forced to share The Spectator with fellow students, then you'll know how difficult it can be to track a copy down. Now you can save...

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The Forces should ACCORDING to the army's new gender- free physical fitness tests — which I took recently — I'm as fit as a fiddle and quite able to be a combat infantry...

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Firm but unfair STOP PRESS...STOP PRESS...STOP PRESS The Spectator website has arrived http://www.spectator.co.uk Log on now to discover what's in this week's issue, find out...

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Within ten years, the world will begin to run out of its principal fuel, says James Srodes Washington DC MOST news analysts got it wrong when they attributed the $43 billion...


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Michael Heath

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Mind your language

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`HAS it got John Hunter?' asked my husband as I sat on the other side of the hearth with the New Oxford Dictio- nary of English (the Node) uncomfort- ably on my lap. `Yes,...

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The Countryside Alliance, says Janet George, its former chief press officer, may have been ruined by the success of its march THE PEACEFUL invasion of London on 1 March this...

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The Scots are too busy with their own nation to hate the English, argues Magnus Linklater Edinburgh THERE is a streak of fear and more than a touch of loathing in the way...

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Germany's Chancellor-in-waiting has changed his tone on Europe, but not his mind, says Andrew Gimson Berlin GERHARD SCHRODER, who is tipped to become the next chancellor of...

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What Edward II, Diana and Russia's last tsar had in common PAUL JOHNSON I am amazed that even benighted Calvin- ists, like the two Sunday-school teachers, could say she is in...

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Classic columns to order MARY KENNY I t is a truism that there are many more columns in newspapers than there used to be. I remember sitting on a street bench in Paris when I...

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Italian ice

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Sir: In his letter of 22 August, Gordon Richdale complains of the coldness shown towards him by Vittorio and Bruno Mus- solini when he met them at Christmas 1936. Surely it was...

Vital statistics

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Sir: Michael Scott's claim (Arts, 8 August) that he was the first to quote Maria Callas's birth date accurately is nonsense, and, as `the New York friend' who looked up her...

Gilt complex

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Sir: Edward Heathcoat Amory's dismissal of gold (`The Gold Rush in reverse', 22 August) is a trifle abrupt; an obituary is not in order, rather an understanding of its...

Early contacts

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Sir: I am perplexed by your second leader of 22 August, asserting that the first contact lenses were produced in 1961. In 1959, my family's local optician in Yorkshire...

LETTERS Light at last

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Sir: I am sorry that Chapman Pincher feels `blackguarded' at my suggestion that he searched the flower bowls at the Ecu de France for bugs pugs in the banquette', 22 August). As...

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Batting for Labour

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Sir: In writing about cricket under the heading 'Politics' (15 August), Bruce Anderson fails to draw the obvious conclu- sion: namely, that it can only be a matter of time...

Playing safe

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Sir: You state (Portrait of the week, 22 August) that Tony Blair broke off his holi- day to visit Omagh. I understand that this is not true and that he stayed within the secu-...

To fee, or not to fee

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Sir: In his Diary (22 August) Sir Peter Hall asks, a little self-righteously, 'Does any other profession reduce fees to help stan- dards?' The answer is yes: many doctors often...

A giant leap for mankind

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Sir: If we can put a man on the moon, why can't it be Taki? Nick Hobart 5632 Indiana Avenue New Port Richey, Florida, USA

Leg pull

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Sir: Years ago, I used to dine at Brooks's with Philip Delves Broughton's kinsman, Sir Evelyn. He had one bad leg and I was generally legless. But I decline to have my leg...

Free and unabridged

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Sir: I read with great interest the article written by Peter Levi (`Books on tape', 8 August). Much of the frustration he expressed with the tapes to which he lis- tened is...

The point was to win

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Sir: It was surprising to read (Arts, 22 August) that Sheridan Morley apparently holds the — I thought — outdated view that Haig was 'murderous'. Surely he was typical of...

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How rock-ribbed Republicans make political correctness fun PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE A t least during the summer months, when Maine is largely taken over by old- fashioned families...

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The subject of virtue Philip Hensher DEATH IN SUMMER by William Trevor Viking, £15.99, pp. 213 I n every one of William Trevor's novels, and in many short stories, there is...

All books reviewed in The Spectator are available through THE

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SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Tel: 0541 557 288

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Patches of darkness

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David Crane PIECES OF LIGHT by Adam Thorpe Jonathan Cape, £16.99, pp. 488 F or the first 136 pages Adam Thorpe's new novel seems just about as good as fiction gets. The book...

Clerihew corner

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Marconi As a joke once signed a cable 'Macaroni'. Ah, they had many a good laugh In the early days of the telegraph. James Michie

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Saying goodbye to Proust

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Anita Brookner CHARLOTTE GRAY by Sebastian Faulks Hutchinson, f16.99, pp. 393 C harlotte Gray is a young Scottish girl who comes to wartime London to work as a receptionist to...

In my lady's chamber

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Peter Vansittart T he historical novel has notorious pit- falls: mock-period dialogue, contrived bawdiness, over-exotic decor, and indeed the extensive research guaranteed by...

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DIARY 19 9 9

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£14 Plain £15 Initialled The Spectator 1999 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the diary is 5"...

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Transcending a small world

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Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy LIFE REGAINED: DIARIES, 1970-72 by Frances Partridge Weidenfeld, £18.99, pp. 288 T wo years ago the writer Paul Binding decided to take 'English...

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A goal pursued and scored

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Michael Tanner HERBERT VON KARAJAN: A LIFE IN MUSIC by Richard Osborne Chatto, £30, pp. 851 T his is a most impressive achievement, if not exactly the one its author intended....


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12 Months 6 Months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK CI £97.00 U £49.00 Europe ❑ £109.00 0 £55.00 USA CI US$161 0 US$82 Australia ❑ Aus$225 ❑ Aus$113 Rest of World Cl...

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Recent first novels

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Victoria Clarke T he Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden is a gripping tale of tropical corruption, 'a history of blood, misery and foolishness' set in Uganda during the...

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The best of the worst

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Moralising thus on the awful warning implicit in the shelf-life of books once deemed luminous with eternal verities, I dusted off my old Everyman of Edward Bulwer Lytton's The...

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Music and melodrama The 'Schiller and Verdi' theme has been an enormously valuable enterprise, says Michael Tanner T his year's Edinburgh Festival has so many 'themes' that one...

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The Winter Queen (Scottish National Portrait Gallery, till 4 October) William Gillies (Royal Scottish Academy, till 11 October) .. Portraits of a lady Martin Gayford T he...

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Fringe follies

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Renata Rubnikowicz finds the highs and lows during a frenetic week in Edinburgh A r audience in search of a show mills around on the corner of Victoria Street. A red car pulls...

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Design and democracy

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Gavin Stamp questions the reasoning behind the proposed Scottish Parliament building T he buildings which constitute the glory of Edinburgh, and which entitle it to be called...

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Tarry Flynn (National) The Best of Times (Bridewell) Village people Sheridan Morley I nto the National Theatre, though only until the end of this week, from the Abbey in...


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The Horse Whisperer (PG, selected cinemas) Mr Nice Guy (15, selected cinemas) Poor old Kristin Mark Steyn N ice horse, shame about the whisper- er. The Horse Whisperer is a...

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Love story Michael Vestey T he reason I tend to avoid films based on historical events and people is that they leave me with impressions I cannot shake off however hard I try....

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What's the point? Marcus Berkmann T wenty years ago it was politics, ten years ago it was journalism, but these days all the best and brightest young brains head straight for...

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The turf

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Tough school Robin Oakley B efore last Saturday's Colonel Draper Cup, runners from the 'Epsom' and `Ascot' stables paraded along with those from Ecurie Fok and Ecurie...


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Who sings now? Alan Judd I worked briefly in two factories many years ago, one making televisions and the other cricket bats, and I don't suppose I've been in another since....

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High life

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Old school ties Taki Gstaad Well, I never! As odd as it may sound, I've always found Osama bin Laden rather a good fellah. Osama bin Laden may be in CIA lingo the `world's...

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Country life

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Driving ambition Leanda de Lisle Friends who arrived for the weekend in people carriers would refer to them fondly as 'the flower van' and I'd smile, as if we were discussing...


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De mortuis Andrew Robson I THINK it is a shame when postmortems are discouraged. There is frequently much to be gained from a constructive discussion of what has just...

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Eccentric rich uncle Auberon Waugh THIS OFFER, which is simplified by the inclusion of three old favourites in the Combe de Grinou( 1 ), the Sours Rose( 3 ) and the Domaine de...


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c/o Corney & Barrow Limited 12 Helmet Row, London EC1V 3QJ Tel: 0171 251 4051 Fax: 0171 608 1373 Price No. Value* White La Combe de Grinou 1997, AC Bergerac 12 bots...

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Dining at the Edinburgh Festival

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THE LAST time I visited the Edinburgh Festival half a dozen years ago, eating out was a distinctly limited affair. The big hotels had their restaurants, there were a few...

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High Church hotel eating Victoria Mather The Ritz has always had a good cast. During the war Emerald Cunard lived there, attended by her faithful maid, Gor- don; when King Zog...

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Brevi manu Raymond Keene HAVING BEEN berated in the correspon- dence columns of The Spectator for trans- lating mens sana in corpore sano into English, I shall resolutely...


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Bizarre books again Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2048 you were given two authentic titles of books of poet- ry — Pooh! Pooh! Pooh! Pooh! and The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Terrier...

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No. 2051: Pen(al) colony

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You are invited to provide extracts from the diary of someone who is undergoing the ordeal of a stay at a 'writers' colony'. Maximum 150 words. No names, no pack drill. Entries...


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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 14 September, with two run- ners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers,...

Solution to 1374: Court order

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nalli3111.111311 amble ll I- E MillerlaE El 0 0 ID ill al T R MI El 11 iirli31:110 CID PIE 0 R 0 13111311/01111 T MilEldelarl on s riT L A 0 11R jea n r Illimnin P an R a T...

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Sweet and sour Simon Barnes IT IS a feeling we are all familiar with: the Reverse Midas Period, a time in which everything you touch turns to shit. It is reassuring to note...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. My heart goes out to your correspondent from Wiesbaden on the subject of disputes over decoration (15 August). The only flaw Ican see in your advice is the...