29 JUNE 1996

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Advantage Blair M r John Major, the Prime Minister, rejected criticisms by 'a few grumpy people' of an agreement by heads of state and gov- ernment from European Community coun-...

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SPEC I ATOR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone:

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0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 NUCLEAR TONY M r Blair allowed his shadow Home Secretary to declare war on squeegee mer- chants and welfare scroungers. He...

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The Prime Minister just has to hope that he will only have to fight one chancellor at a time BRUCE ANDERSON In the 17th century, our forebears burned witches, and we wonder...

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E very Labour government that has last- ed more than a few months has suffered a financial crisis. This has occurred two years after its election, as in 1931, 1947, 1966 and...

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At heart, I think papers shouldn't print such stuff. But I'm glad the Times had that lover's wife's tale MATTHEW PARRIS S tephen Glover is surely wrong (Politics, 22 June)....

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. . . not to Labour, that is. It could well go Conservative now Anne McElvoy explains changing Tory attitudes to homosexuals, and changing homosexual attitudes to Tories IN...

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After Fitzroy Maclean's death, Noel Malcolm on the effect, for good and ill, of young adventurers now gone, or grown old REBECCA WEST used to tell a story about an...

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Michael Heath

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. . . is one of several questions about Libya satisfactory answers from Whitehall I FIRST came into contact with the illog- icalities of Britain's policy on Libya when...

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Mind your language

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WHEN LOVELY woman stoops to folly you know it's Ladies' Day at Ascot again. The event also proved illustrative of a matter in which you (dear readers) took some interest a few...

The author is Conservative MP for Southend East.

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. . . and his wife, Kamilla. Jan Morris on a ducal couple's happy life had the Hanoverians not come to reign over us Celle, Germany NOW and again, I am told, Prince Charles...

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. . . among modish Canadian academics, students and newspapers, says Michael Coren, but only if the paedophile is all Left Toronto MORE THAN half a century ago, Hilaire...

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When the honourable estate of marriage is underestimated by dishonourable men PAUL JOHNSON L ast weekend I attended one of the most delightful and moving weddings I can...

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Sir: My congratulations to Peregrine Worsthorne on his excellent article

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and, more importantly, on being one of the few journalists or commentators (if not the only one) to question the motives of Republic of Ireland governments for retaining...

LETTERS Misguided on Ireland

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Sir: Peregrine Worsthorne's polemic (`The real Irish nationalism', 22 June) is powerful in parts, but his gloomy assessment that nobody but Conor Cruise O'Brien has the...

Sorting letters

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Sir: I doubt if last week was the first occa- sion on which you have published a letter rejected by the Times. You do not, howev- er, normally boast about it (front page, let-...

Sir: Peregrine Worsthorne insults the thou- sands of Ulster Catholics

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who want North- ern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom in perpetuity by equating Protes- tantism with Ulster Unionism — or rather what he refers to bizarrely as...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY— RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK LI £88.00 0 £45.00 Europe (airmail) I] £99.00 U £51.00 USA Airspeed CI US$141 0 US$71 Rest of l Airmail ❑ £115.00 ID...

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Once bitten . . .

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Sir: Mr Hockney is right about quarantined dogs and rabies (`Britain: a dog's life for so many', 15 June). California has, as he says, plenty of rabies among its wildlife. But...

Pleasantly brutish

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Sir: If I am not mistaken, Alan Watkins not long ago used the phrase 'genial brutality' in your pages to describe the manner of Yorkshiremen in general and Denis Healey in...

Italians can take it

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Sir: How interesting to see The Spectator belatedly following in the footsteps of one of its great confreres (Politics, 22 June). The non-quoted Senor Westendorp apart, it was...

LETTERS Bill's Bill

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Sir: Bruce Anderson clearly has not read or comprehended my speech on my Referen- dum Bill (Politics, 15 June). This is all my fault. He conveniently overlooks the fact that the...

Sir: A less than attractive aspect of The Spectator is

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its tendency to fawn over celebrities. David Hockney's pathetic little whinge about his pet dogs and the imagined terrors that could be inflicted on them is just the latest...

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Who is Piers Morgan? An unfunny young man whom the Mirror's management has cruelly miscast STEPHEN GLOVER No doubt there was anti-German feeling during the Fifties and...

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Why I am no longer Thatcher's child PETRONELLA WYATT I have felt it coming for some time now. It has crept up on me like the symptoms of flu. First a few irritations that I...

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BOOKS A Paris Review interviewer once asked Philip Larkin: 'Is Jorge

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Luis Borges the only other contemporary poet of note who is also a librarian, by the way? Are you aware of any others?' Larkin replied: `Who's Jorge Luis Borges?' James Woodall...

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The case of the navy blue raincoat

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Michael Bywater THE YEAR OF THE TIGER by Jack Higgins Michael Joseph, £15.99, pp. 248 I was lent a house for a holiday. A villa in Portugal. Not a house. A villa. It was...

The influential touch of a vanished hand

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Nicholas Haslam NANCY LANCASTER: HER LIFE, HER WORLD, HER ART by Robert Becker Random House, £25, pp.426 O ne evening in the 1930s Nancy Lancaster dined with Lady Colefax....

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Navigation must be taught

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Andrew Barrow T he author of this pamphlet-size book has for a long time been an influential figure behind the scenes — or on the mar- gin — of contemporary life. He has...

To order this book at the special discount price of

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f20, call The Spectator Bookshop on 0181 964 9640.

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You are what you read

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Tom Hiney ADVENTURES IN CAPITALISM by Toby Litt Secker, £12.99, pp. 228 After I won the Lottery and jacked in my job at the Lab, I decided, in a spirit of scientific...

Reckless actions, terribly punished

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Ian Buruma HUNGRY GHOSTS: CHINA'S SECRET FAMINE by Jasper Becker John Murray, £19.99, pp. 352 I t takes a peculiar talent, a kind of lunatic imagination, and a moral blindness...

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We ought to be ashamed of ourselves

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Nigel Spivey REFLECTIONS ON VIOLENCE S chopenhauer once threw an old lady down a flight of stairs because her natter- ing outside his door rasped upon his concentration. This...

To order this book at the special discount price of

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£16.99 call The Spectator Bookshop on 0181 964 9640. 'That child's far too big to be in our bed now, Mavis.'

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A memory of yesterday's pleasures

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Anita Brookner THE ORCHARD ON FIRE I t can be no accident that on reading the first few pages of this haunting novel one is enveloped by a feeling of nostalgia, not for...

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Their interest's from the dangerous edge of things

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Andrew Brown FEET OF CLAY: A STUDY OF GURUS by Anthony Storr HarperCollins, f18, pp.253 A nthony Storr has a generous mind. He believes that people should make sense; and he...

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A secret poet

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Peter Levi NOT ENTITLED: A MEMOIR by Frank Kermode Collins, £18, pp. 264 T his book is not memoirs but musings, a curious and in some ways an enigmatic mixture, but Frank...

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Looking through the glass Simon Courtauld talks to the octogenarian glass engraver Laurence Whistler G ood Lord, I thought he died years ago,' has been the most common reaction...

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Verdi Festival (Royal Opera House) Turkish delight Rupert Christiansen G arsington Opera, staged annually in the exquisite garden of a beautiful Eliza- bethan house near...

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An irresistible invitation

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Alan Powers boldly goes into the debate about the V&A's Boilerhouse extension T he call from the command spaceship came late at night but was irresistible. Next morning I was...

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Eclectic artistry Giannandrea Poesio E nglish National Ballet is one of the few companies -of international repute that tours extensively in its own country as well as abroad....

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Female bonding Mark Steyn S ummer is meant to be the time for all- action blockbusters in which hunky guys blow away large numbers of extras. This year, for some reason,...

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Sweeney Todd (Holland Park) Private Lives (Lyric Hammersmith) Cutting edge Sheridan Morley A sk any local about London's open-air theatre and they will invariably point you...

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James behaving badly James Delingpole I have been living in a state of shock these last few weeks. My girlfriend, who used to work with me at home, now goes to an office every...

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Bowled over Michael Vestey W hat's the score? I enquire, having been away from Test Match Special on Radio Four long wave for some minutes. My partner Katie 'tells me that...

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A la recherche . • • Alan Judd I pressed my nose against the window of a classic car showroom recently and was suffused with nostalgia, not for what I saw directly before...

The turf

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Small animals on large ones Robin Oakley His new book Hitting the Turf: a punting life (Headline £14.99) is full of sound advice for those as irredeemably hooked by the...

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Robin Oakley is political editor of the BBC.

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High life

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Respecting tradition Taki T he impromptu coalition of profession- al lesbians, gays and leftist scum that hurled obscenities at the Pope last Sunday in Berlin should have been...

Low life

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Sago and spirits but no tomatoes Jeffrey Bernard I have been given clearance by a dieti- cian at the Middlesex Hospital to eat all the tapioca and sago that I can lay my hands...

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Country life

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Let them eat carrot cake Leanda de Lisle M any people still believe that if one is tired of London one must be tired of life. They also assume that if you live in the sticks...


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Take two hands Andrew Robson Dealer South 4 • 10 9 8 3 2 • J 9 3 2 +K 109 3 4 A Q5 K 5 • Q 108 Q 6 5 Both vulnerable 4 2 4 10 8 6 4 3 IP Q J • 7 6 5 +1 8 7 N w...

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r ikh Monks , mullet and moulds VISITORS to Reggio nell'Emilia in

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Italy will be surprised to discover that the city's most famous saint, Bishop Prosper, is com- memorated not by the great cathedral but by the little church of San Prospero,...

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SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND GARRY KASPAROV is beset from all sides. In terms of the two rival world cham- pionship cycles, that of the Professional Chess Association (PCA), held...


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ISLE OF J )1141.f MALI 51.01■ 11 %,1131,1 URA COMPETITION Ask 1 ISLE OF Ffia RA i1417 S VILLA H1S1,1 IN COMPETITION NO. 1938 you were invited to provide a poem in the...

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No. 1941: Hype tripe

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Let us suppose, if it hasn't happened already, that a publisher is hyping a title under the challenge: 'The Book You Dare Not Read!' You are invited to supply an appropriate...


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A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1989 Port for the first correct solution opened on 15 July, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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The death of real sport Simon Barnes AND SO I walked through the streets of south-west London towards the tennis. Not a ticket tout stopped me to mutter his ritual incantation...


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Q. I have a three-bedroomed maisonette in Chelsea, but I spend most of my time with my boyfriend in his flat in Notting Hill. Consequently, I saw no reason not to allow a rather...