2 JANUARY 1999

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The Spectator

DIARY 1999 £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...

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The Spectator

M r Stephen Byers, until then the Chief - Secretary to the Treasury, took up the post of Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, from which Mr Peter Mandelson had resigned....

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2L Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 SPINNING IN HIS GRAVE h is page can claim to have been pre- scient about Mr...

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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN S easonal flu and the sudden resignation of Peter Mandelson conspired to curtail my attendance at this year's hectic round of Christmas parties. Illness kept...

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Despite Mandy, the Tories still have a lot of work to do BRUCE ANDERSON For 18 months, Tony Blair had charmed the voters while his press spokesmen intim- idated the media....

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. but Gordon will have to stop dreaming. Sion Simon on who wins and loses from Mr Mandelson's departure THE king of spin is dead. Yet no young pretender shall put on his...

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Second opinion

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A FRIEND of mine recently said that I am the disgusted in pursuit of the dis- gusting. This is not .quite accurate: the disgusting pursues me remorselessly without any activity...

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Robert Taylor on the birthday that Mr Blair would prefer to forget WE ARE 13 months away from what should be Labour's 100th birthday, but nothing much looks like being done by...

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THE SHIVA NAIPAUL MEMORIAL PRIZE 1999 Shiva Naipaul was one of the most gifted and accomplished writers of our time. After his death in 1985 at the age of 40, The Spectator...

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Susan Crosland on what it was like to spend Christmas in an NHS hospital MARYLANDERS drink a lot. Sunday brunch in the Green Spring Valley consist- ed of sausages, crispy...

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Mark Steyn says it is no longer extreme Republicans who are guilty of foaming at the mouth New Hampshire I THINK I speak for most right-wing bas- tards when I say that we take...


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Michael Heath

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Mind your language

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ON 17 DECEMBER, in front of his Christmas tree in Downing Street, Mr Tony Blair gave an airing to what sub- sequently became a favourite word in discussing the war against...

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The Spectator

Does the Pinochet mess mark the end of New Labour? PAUL JOHNSON For instance, under the absurd terms of the Extradition Treaty, there was a legal obligation to read out to the...

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Bob's your grandfather

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Sir: Your issue of 12 December contained much interesting stuff about the Cecils' influence in politics over the past 500 years, but made no mention of the behind-the- scenes...

Standard deviation

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Sir: I must take issue with Alistair Home's criticism of Eurostar (Disturbed by Eurostar', 12 December). Yes, we had a problem that resulted in a delay of three hours and 44...

LETTERS Spanish practices

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Sir: Richard Crosfield writes from Madrid (Letters, 19/26 December) to complain about articles by me and three other con- tributors offering various views on the Pinochet...

Sir: Your correspondent Richard. Crosfield is quite right to praise

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the Spanish judge Garzon for his imprisonment of drug traf- fickers in Galicia, ETA terrorists in the Basque country and the former minister of the interior, Jose de...

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Just deserts

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Sir: Oh dear. Have I neglected my old friend Michael Gove so much that he can draw such erroneous conclusions about me? (`The doctor of Bray', 19/26 Decem- ber). I did indeed...

Own worst enemy

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Sir: In your Letters column (19/26 Decem- ber), Veronica Bellers quite rightly takes Taki to task for misrepresenting the casual- ties suffered during the course of the Mau Mau...

Sir: As long as the Mary Killen column lurks at

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the very end of the magazine, I sup- pose it can be tolerated — just. But when it intrudes into the 'Letters' pages with com- plains about RSVPs and thank-you letters, it is...

Royal pardon

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Sir: Karen Robinson draws attention to the current conceit of failing to RSVP (No return to sender', 28 November). I am reminded of the delightful (but, sadly, probably...

Line of least resistance

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Sir: Professor Charmley can hardly be seri- ous in alleging that I argue that Neville Chamberlain should have taken 'a gamble' on Romania's single-line railway (Letters, 12...

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They had their motives, but I do not judge these editors by those STEPHEN GLOVER I t seems years ago — before Christmas and the Mandelson drama — that I ended my last column...

Classifieds — page 51 and 54

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The Spectator

The need for a chilling frisson Philip Hensher GOTHIC by Richard Davenport-Hines Fourth Estate, £20, pp. 438 I have never heard a good explanation or, come to that, any...

All books reviewed in The Spectator are available through THE

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SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Tel: 0541 557 288

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Way out of control

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D. J. Taylor GLAMORAMA by Bret Easton Ellis Picador, £16.99, pp. 482 here comes a time in the life of any self-respecting thirty-something when the struggle to keep up with...

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A vade-mecum, but not quite a sine qua non

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John Jolliffe THE CONCISE DICTIONARY OF FOREIGN QUOTATIONS edited by Anthony Lejeune Stacey, London, £25, pp. 332 T he idea of this dictionary, ranging over Latin, French,...


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AudioBookOffer The Chronicle `The secret of these selections... is that half of them are what you would find in an average upper-middle class library, the rest are not... I...

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A grand painter who loved horses and hats

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Patrick Skene Catling JACK YEATS by Bruce Arnold Yale, £29.95, pp. 418 T he Irish genius traditionally has been expressed best in words. In Jack Yeats's time (1871-1957), as...

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The grateful dead

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Juliet Townsend MY BOY JACK: THE SEARCH FOR KIPLING'S ONLY SON by Tonle and Valmai Holt Leo Cooper, L19.95, pp. 256 A couple of years ago I first read that the grave of...

How we wonder what you are

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Jonathan Cecil WOODY ALLEN by John Baxter HarperCollins, £19.99, pp. 488 W oody Allen is a tonic. Rarely have I left a cinema after watching one of his films without feeling...

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A good baker's dozen

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Antony Rouse ADULTERY AND OTHER DIVERSIONS by Tim Parks Secker, £14.99, pp. 184 T im Parks is a writer who has earned our careful attention. He is the author of two successful...

12 Months 6 Months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK 0

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£97.00 CI £49.00 Europe 0 £109.00 U £55.00 USA CI US$161 0 US$82 Australia ❑ Aus$225 ❑ Aus$113 Rest of World ❑ £119.00 CI £60.00 Please enter a subscription to The Spectator I...

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A great, complicated melody

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C. D. C. Armstrong MEMOIR by Conor Cruise O'Brien Profile, £20, pp. 460 1' hat a prodigy is Conor Cruise O'Brien! Consider the offices and appoint- ments he has held: he has...

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Why was the blind pulled down?

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Ian Dunlop MARK ROTHKO by David Anfam Yale, £95, pp. 708 H ad Mark Rothko ended his life in 1949 as opposed to 1970 he might be remembered as a minor symbolist painter with...

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The call of the wild

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P sst! Heard the one about the Frightful- ly Grand Writer and the Terribly Famous Actress? FGW lives in Italy, dividing her time between one of the less Blairised cor- ners of...

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An adventure of discovery

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Colin Campbell BRITISH WOOD-ENGRAVED BOOK ILLUSTRATION, 1904-1940 by Joanna Selborne Clarendon, £70, pp. 432 S tigmatised by its association with craft, 20th-century...

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Prize-winning novels from France

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Anita Brookner M y choices: La Maladie de Sachs by Martin Winder (P.O.L.) which won the Prix Inter as long ago as January 1998 and has been in the bestseller lists ever since;...

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Television's ethical paradox Confessional shows may be repulsive but they are compulsive viewing, admits Lloyd Evans I n every decade since the war America has perpetrated an...

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Act of confidence

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Four thousand Wagnerians travelled to Adelaide for the Ring. Michael Henderson was one W hen the possibility of staging an Australian Ring cycle was mooted five years ago it was...

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Thinking Aloud (Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, till 3 January) Die Young Stay Pretty (ICA, till 10 January) Doodles and birds' nests Martin Gayford W hat is an exhibition?...

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The Spectator

Hansel and Gretel (Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera) Carmen (Opera North) Haunting charm Michael Tanner H ansel and Gretel in Cardiff was so delightful that it may have...

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Theatre 1

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A Month in the Country (Swan Theatre, Stratford) Alas, poor Turgenev Patrick Carnegy I saiah Berlin, who translated Turgenev's A Month in the Count?) , for the National...

Theatre 2

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Pre-millennial breakdown Sheridan Morley e s, yes, Mrs Lincoln, we know all about that, but how did you enjoy the play? It has, in essence, been one of those years; the...

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My wish for 1999 Mark Steyn I f I have a moviegoing wish for 1999, it's never to see Robin Williams in anything ever again. I've seen him play a divorced dad (Mrs Doubtftre),...

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Pop music

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A spot of advice Marcus Berkmann W hat do you buy for The Spectator reader who has everything? Obviously this is not a problem that has troubled you in the past few weeks, but...


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Getting away from it all Edward Heathcoat Amory L ike George Washington, I have trou- ble telling lies. So I shall be honest, and admit that, before beginning this review, I...

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The Spectator

Hostility in the air Michael Vestey A last, - they've done it; they've wrecked the one radio programme that threw verbal hand grenades through the great metal doors of...

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The turf

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Looking ahead Robin Oakley D oes anybody in racing know Geoffrey Robinson, so aptly titled, it seems, when he was still the Paymaster General? After the bad news about the...

High life

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Sins and vices Taki I threw two parties in order to end the year on a good note. One at Annabel's for Paul Johnson, the other at the Eagle Club in Gstaad for 100 of my nearest...

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Country life

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Nightmare time Leanda de Lisle T his is the first year I've had night- mares about Christmas presents. These dreams didn't have any kind of storyline attached. They were like...

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Singular life

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No laughing matter Petronella Wyatt T was the season to be funny. Only nobody ever is. They bear down on you, those vile bods at Christmas and New Year parties, eyes...


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Early error Andrew Robson ON this week's deal Carlton's Michael Green had the perfect credentials for a successful defence. As West, it was Michael's perception of declarer's...

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IF YOU spend a great deal of time cook- ing,

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with all the perfectionism and the labo- rious attention to detail that good food demands, you will find in the end that you have turned into a cook. There is nothing wrong with...

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FLORIANA by Alice Thomson

The Spectator

RESTAURANTS at Christmas can be gruesome affairs. In one corner the office groper is fondling his turkey leg and the secretary's thigh while trying to pull a cracker with the...

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The Spectator

Christmas travel Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2065 you were asked for a poem in which one of the three Wise Men, or Kings, describes the trip to Bethlehem. We three Kings of...

Game of the year

The Spectator

Raymond Keene WHAT WAS the best game of 1998? In my opinion it was Shirov's turbulent win against Kramnik in the last game of their candidates match to determine a chal- lenger...

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The Spectator

A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 18 January, with two runners- up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the...

No. 2068: Trad ad

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`For old Sam Sawbridge skill is bred in the bone, For eight generations his family on the Lincolnshire coast have been gathering and treating samphire, the unique and essential...

Solution to 1391: Shady

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Eliii 111 3 P nal 'WPM Min pp al E MD E o 130000 0 lk Rear L Marl aria L A AS Ella S nE nElaCI s V E GoozwiAnoirIE I N 0131710 ita n arla I N 0 auk EALg V Lie...

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Moral victory Simon Barnes ANOTHER YEAR of sport looms, and what can we expect? Well, more of the same, I suppose. So let us look at the for- ward-moving trends of last year's...


The Spectator

Q. Apropos your correspondent V.M. Bewildered (12 December) on English hos- pitality towards foreigners in England, may I quote from Tobias Smollett writing in 1771? 'Certain it...