29 JULY 2000

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T he government was defeated in the Lords by 270 votes to 228 over its attempt to repeal Section 28 of the Local Govern- ment Act, which prohibits local authorities from...

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SPECTAT T HE O R The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 TRIMBLE AND BARAK T here was a time when the future of the planet seemed to hang on these Arab—Israeli talks at Camp David, and...

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The only thing Tony Blair has to fear is fear itself and by God he's scared BRUCE ANDERSON R obin Oakley was treated shabbily, but the BBC did at least send him off with a...

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ne reason for my being here is to find out how the place is policed. In the course of the past seven years, almost every form of crime in New York has fallen. Between 1993 and...

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Melanie Phillips suggests that the Prime Minister's dithering is explained by pressure from his intellectually formidable and ideologically rigid wife CHERIE Booth, QC is an...

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The British Army can't be expected to go on protecting the Kosovar Albanians `HOW long do you expect KFor and the British Army to stay with you in Kosovo?' I asked. A few...

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Michael Gove on the sinister human-rights agenda that is spreading from Northern Ireland to the rest of the nation IRELAND has always been John Bull's vulnerable flank. In...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit THE government has pulled back from stricter measures against motorists who drive too fast; perhaps this is because it...

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Jasper Gerard discovers that the opposition has a new secret weapon — Hague's Babes THERE used to be a poster, plastered across every student union, depicting a deli- cious...

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Philip Delves Broughton says that the Americans would vote for Bill Clinton again if the Constitution allowed them to New York IT is going to be tough when Bill Clinton leaves...

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Sion Simon says the Tory health spokesman's policies are fine, but his politics aren't THERE'S something of the leprechaun about Liam Fox. Though I'm not quite sure what. He's...

Mind your language

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SCOPE is a 'national disability organisa- tion whose focus is people with cerebral palsy'. It used to be called the Spastics Society. The word spastic refers to uncontrolled...

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Impoverished days ahead if the novel is truly dying PAUL JOHNSON A dinner the other night, the convers- ation was about the novel, or rather its demise. It was pronounced...

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LETTERS In and out of Europe

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From The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke, QC, MP Sir: In his article 'Westward look, the land is bright' (15 July), Conrad Black proposed that Britain should join Nafta and renego- tiate...

From Mr Aaron Schneider Sir: I was quite impressed by

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Conrad Black's ideas on Britain's potential place in both the EU and Nafta. I do not, however, feel that he goes far enough. In his autobi- ography The Measure of the Years, Sir...

From Mr John Sabin Sir: Conrad Black continues to propagate

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the myth of Eurosocialism used by Eurosceptic journalists in their ceaseless efforts to discredit the European Union. His references to 'sluggish socialist economies' and 'more...

From Mr Neil R. Balfour Sir: I agree with Conrad

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Black (`Britain should request a Nafta invitation from the USA'), and Boris Johnson in the same issue ('Why not have our cake and eat it?'). It would be a triumph for us to be...

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Not for sale

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From Mr Andrew Neil Sir: The more open and honest you are with Stephen Glover, the more he peddles his own fantasies. I told him categorically that there had been no approach...


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From Mr D. Raby Sir: On the QE2 the other day I met an American. Impossible not to, really. He was not a happy bunny: couldn't wait to get safely home to America. What he does...

Absolutely barmy

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From Mr Dan Clark Sir: The ex-National Servicemen whose let- ters you published (15 July) seem to have experienced two years that were totally unrecognisable. In my National...

Internet evolution

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From: Mr Michael Lodge Sir: I strongly disagree with Paul Johnson's views on the decline in human intelligence and memory loss (And another thing, 1 July). In fact, the human...

Stephen Glover — Page 25

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How a media mogul ruined the peace of my perfect summer's evening STEPHEN GLOVER I t was a perfect summer's evening. All was well with the world. The birds were twittering and...

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Open goal, own goal

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THE House of Lords found against them, and, giving judgment, Lord Steyn slapped them down: 'Final bonuses are not bounty. They are a significant part of the considera- tion for...


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There goes the vintage of 1762, as Equitable Life is made to honour its promises CIIRISTOPHER FILDES F or the City of London, 1762 was a vin- tage year. Francis Baring set up...

It's question time

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THIS will surprise those who have fallen for its advertising campaign, with the ambiguous slogan: 'It's question time: the Equitable Life.' Its message is that the Equitable is...

The National's interest

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WHEN bills on London financed the trade of the world, this was the first joint-stock company formed to deal in them, and its home had to be appropriately grand. (By the Francis...

From boom to blow-out

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I WAS the first to point out that the British economy was overeating. The great gas- trodome boom, so I warned, would lead to inflation and would end (appropriately) in a...

iX is a fiX

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THE Stock Exchange has brought its shares to market and I think that I shall buy some. Down from £28 to £19 after two days of trading, the price must be telling us some- thing —...

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The other Fab Four David Hughes THAT WAS SATIRE THAT WAS by Humphrey Carpenter Victor Gollancz, £19.50, pp. 378 wonder why I find the Satiric Sixties depressing. Is it because...

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The Invention Of Peace by Michael Howard As Michael Howard, one of Britain's most respected historians, thoughtfully picks his way through the complex negotiations throughout...

Advice and dissent

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Caroline Moorehead ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME by Jessica Douglas - Home Michael Russell, £16.95, pp. 231 W at they are doing is like using tanks to crush butterflies,' a Czech...

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The importance of being Eleanor

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Hugh Brogan ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: VOLUME TWO 1933-1938 by Blanche Wiesen Cook Bloomsbury, £30, pp. 686 E leanor Roosevelt is a fascinating but intractable historical subject. She...

Covering the waterfront, without jokes

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Mary Wakefield THE BOTTOM OF THE HARBOR by Joseph Mitchell Jonathan Cape, £12, pp. 295 C ritics fell on Joseph Mitchell's last book, Joe Gould's Secret, two pieces origi- nally...

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Asking for more Oliver

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Jane Gardam LOVE, ETC by Julian Barnes Cape, £15.99, pp. 249 S o here they are again, the three loqua- cious loonies, the three endearing floun- derers, the three knowledgeable...

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When the fighting has to stop

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Philip Ziegler THE INVENTION OF PEACE by Michael Howard Profile Books, £10.99, pp. 113 M ichael Howard is arguably Britain's greatest living historian: 'arguably' being a...

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It might have been curtains

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GUILTY VICTIMS by Hella Pick I. B Tauris, £24.50, pp. 246 O nce, in the late 1980s, I took an Aust- rian Airlines plane from Prague to Vienna. Lunch arrived. Having just left...

Subscribe NOW!

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Please enter my subscription as indicated above 0 I enclose my cheque for (Eurocheques, US$ and AusS cheques also accepted) 0 Please charge my credit card: £ (credit card...

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Searching for mother

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Elisa Segrave IN A DARK WOOD by Amanda Craig Fourth Estate, £14.99 pp. 276 B enedick, a recently separated out of work actor, is invited to Marine Ices by a single woman....

Enjoying her trip

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Roger Lewis HIGH SPIRITS by Joan Sims Transworld, £16.99, pp. 212 T he Carry On films saved my life. A few years ago, after I got divorced, my para- mour ran away to Maidstone...

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Waking up with a hangover

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Sara Maitland PROMISE OF A DREAM: A MEMOIR OF THE SIXTIES by Sheila Rowbotham Allen Lane/Penguin, £18.99, pp. 320 I t is now fashionable and therefore (since we are all fashion...

A selection of recent paperbacks

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Fiction: The Lives of Animals by J.M Coetzee, Pro- file, £4.99 0 is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton, Pan, £5.99 The Memory Box by Margaret Forster, Penguin, £6.99 Music and Silence by...

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Time to stop the brickbats L ast week I happened to be looking at a piece of furniture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in The Hill House, near Glas- gow. In function, it was an...

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Zoran Music (Estorick Collection, 39a Canonbury Square, N1, till 17 September) A life of wandering Andrew Lambirth Z oran Music is one of the great undis- closed secrets of...

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DIARY 2001

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£15 Plain £16 Initialled The Spectator 2001 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available at the same price as last year. Laid out with a whole week to view,...

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Grand Hotel (Guildhall School of Music and Drama) Mucking about with Mozart Michael Tanner G lyndebourne's Mozart account is now so desperately in the red that it will need a...


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The Witches of Eastwick (Drury Lane) Three cheers Sheridan Morley W ho really knows anything about new musicals? When Oklahoma! opened on the road in 1943, a Boston critic...

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Bright and whimsical Robin Holloway T his month's second season combining opera at the Almeida Theatre in Islington with new music days centred around the Old Music Hall in...

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The Perfect Storm (12, selected cinemas) Heavy weather Mark Steyn W hen Sidney Lumet was directing Murder on the Orient Express, he hired the world's greatest authority' on...

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Tough at the top Michael Vestcy B ill Clinton for First Gentleman. Oh no, please. As I listened to the excellent four-part series First Ladies on Radio Four (Thursdays) it...

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Not motoring

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Journey's end Gavin Stamp A l journeys eventually come to an end. They are, I suppose, often like life. On the long hauls from London to Glasgow by train, I find that the...


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Waging class war James Delingpole T his week marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and our television programme commissioners have missed a trick. Even the...

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The turf

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Japanese challenge Robin Oakley A s they watched a large, white, pyja- ma-clad karate expert ritually beating hell out of two smaller pyjama-clad figures whose function was...

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High life

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Private paradise Taki S Porto Helli toying on a friend's private island off the Peloponnese can easily become a habit. There are no wake-up calls and no regi- mentation...

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Country life

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In a bait Leanda de Lisle W omen have always been given the gross jobs: wiping babies' bottoms, getting the lunch, nursing the sick or cleaning the bathroom. 'Swallow hard'...

No life

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Weighty matters Toby Young The only time I have got down to my ideal weight was in New York two years ago when, for a magazine article, I hooked up with a personal trainer...

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Singular life

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Naming and shaming Petronella Wyatt O nce I took three sleeping pills by accident. They were mixed up in a bottle with some other tablets for indigestion. The pills turned out...


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Toil and trouble Susanna Gross A DOUBLE is potentially one of the most lethal weapons in bridge. If the opponents have overreached themselves in the bid- ding, the rewards are...

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HONESTLY, what to do about fruit and vegetables? The other day I went to Tesco, spent a terrifying amount, got home, and only then discovered that the cucumber was rotten, my...

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Thinking man's sport Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2146 you were invited to supply a description of an event in which the sports writer's tendency to intellectual pretension is...

'ItdbeCi The Ultimate Islay Malt.

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CHESS Rdbeq www. ar dbe s .com Grand Prix Raymond Keene ENGLISH players in the past developed a tendency to avoid the main lines of the Sicilian Defence and to go for a...

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Solution to 1471: Twin towns

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andinannenanagn einmg r ownr .1 ....„......, or . prilierleMalin- D E a 0 I 0 [ 1 1 L E Riming 0 0 Dila Mr' 0 U Ild kien kirl.1 G 1115 . Mann a ' n a MI m , an 0 11...

No. 2149: Acrostic

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You are invited to write a rhyming poem in which the first letters of the lines form the phrase THE SILLY SEASON. Entries to `Competition No. 2149' by 10 August.


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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 14 August, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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Ambition that burns bright Simon Barnes THAT sport reveals rather than builds char- acter is the basis on which modern profes- sional sport has its being. What, then, did we...


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Q. I am about to move into an old rectory In a lovely part of the country and will shortly be interviewing people to help with the garden. I have very clear ideas about what I...