30 JUNE 2001

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T he Queen opened Parliament, announcing Bills to end the rule

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of 'double jeopardy', to allow the police to seize the assets of unconvicted 'criminals' and to make adoption easier; Her Majesty then changed clothes and dashed off to Royal...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 LET'S GO NUCLEAR T he newly re-elected government has made one good decision,...

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Mr Blair has virtually unlimited power. The trouble is that he doesn't know how to use it

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PETER ()BORNE T he Blair administration is set upon running Britain without reference to the institutions and common practice of state: Parliament, the monarchy and the system...

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W hen the 14th Earl of Home became prime minister in October 1963, the still fairly young William Rees-Mogg told readers of the Sunday Times that the Tories were 'turning aside...

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'Did Mr Blair need to make the promises?' asked Alice in a quiet and thoughtful voice

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MATTHEW PARR IS W hat, said Alice to the Red Queen, 'does everyone mean when they talk about - delivery - ? All the newspapers seem to be writing about it. One Sunday paper...

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The National Health Service has a great deal to learn from the French approach to medicine, argues Mary Wakefield 'THE challenge is to make the NHS once again the healthcare...

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Kenneth Clarke tells PetroneIla Wyatt how he will win the Tory leadership and beat Tony Blair SO, it had finally happened. After a week spent skulking in Vietnam, allegedly...

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Costs have soared from £40 million to £230 million and rising. Tim Luckhurst on the debacle of Donald Dewar's Dome THE architect is dead. So is the politician who...

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Bien-pensant Americans are arguing that infanticide is an understandable by-product of a stressful lifestyle, writes Mark Steyn New Hampshire WHAT do you have to do to get a...

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Rachel Johnson finds that, in spite of feminism, the media are still obsessed with how women look rather than with what they say or do THE sweetest words a freelance...

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Mind your language

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TWO books with ridiculously difficult names, considering their contents, are: Horae Subsecivae by John Brown (1810-82), better known for Rab and His Friends, about a dog, a tale...

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In their bid for `inclusivity, the Tories must not jettison the ancient, conservative archetype of Daddy, Mummy and Me, says Mary Kenny AS part of his strategy to make the...

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Ancient & modern

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IN a message for World Tourism Day, the Pope argued that the purpose of tourism should be to help people 'discover themselves and others' by experiencing 'other ways of life,...

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ONLY three weeks into the new Parliament and already some

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of our legislators are off to a flying start. None more so than Bob Russell, Lib Dem MP for Colchester. As if anybody needed reminding that the Liberal Democratic party is no...


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Irwin Stelzer advises the Conservative party to cut taxes and bring back old-fashioned conservative values IN 1964 the Republican far-right conservative presidential...

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Even a 60-a-day person might feel qualms about Ken Clarke selling tobacco to Vietnamese children

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STEPHEN GLOVER H ow we want Ken to winl We so long for him that we try to convince ourselves that his visceral Europhilia is not really a problem. There he stands in the...

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The dangers of safety

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From Mr William Barter Sir: Gerald Corbett's much-derided comment that railway safety is like a journey without an end was in fact one of the most perceptive comments of the...

Justice, not vengeance

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From S.C. Sir: Congratulations on your leading article (`Release the Bulger killers', 23 June). Recent media focus on the bereaved Bulger family has failed to take into account...

Polarisation in Ulster

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From Mr Marshall Billot Sir: In his interesting piece on Northern Ireland (`The limits of charm', 23 June), Bruce Anderson notes the belated efforts now being made by the...

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From Mr G. Jardin Sir: Leo McKinstry speaks of the

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Ulster Protestant world into which he was born and in which he has lived half his life (The triumph of the pygmies', 23 June). He may have been born into it, but his piece...

Forsterian values

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From Wendy Wilkins Sir: It was good to read Thomas Fleming's defence of E.M. Forster's 'betrayal' essay (loyalty oafs', 9 June). However, I cannot let him get away with two...

Pubs are for drinkers

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From Mr Adrian Fry Sir: On the evidence of his article (The family way, 23 June), Simon Hoggart has little liking for, or understanding of, pubs and their culture. A real pub —...

Astronomical error

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From Professor Peter Geach Sir: It is a matter of historical record that the opinion for which Galileo was suspected of formal heresy was that the sun is the unmoving centre of...

Campaign against cameras

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From Jennifer Zass-Ogilvie Sir: As one of the first victims of the new 'speed crack-down', I relished Leo McKinstry's perceptive article (Speed seam', 16 June). May I suggest a...

Caveat vendor

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From Mr James Cochrane Sir: I lost my very recently formed interest in David Davis when he announced ('We don't need a rainbow umbrella', 23 June), amid a string of other...

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Royal Over-Seas League Special half-year rates for Spectator readers Sir Evelyn Wrench, who founded the Royal Over-Seas League in 1910, later became the chief proprietor and...

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The notion that God permits atrocity is more bearable than the grim alternative

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PAUL JOHNSON am n is something that unites all humanity at times. It comes in countless different forms, in grossly unequal doses, and bears no relation to behaviour or virtue,...

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Wrong but good

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Philip Hen s her GRANTA: THE FIRST 21 YEARS introduced by Ian Jack Granta, .f9.99, pp. 383, ISBN 186207464X I n 21 years, Granta has established a position — perhaps the...

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Where the abnormal is normal

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Peter Vansittart THE EVENING OF THE WORLD: A ROMANCE OF THE DARK AGES by Allan Massie Weidenfeld, £12.99, pp.286, ISBN 0297816977 T he decayed, fifth-century Roman empire is...

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Big dividends from little magazines

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Robert Edric EDITORS: THE BEST FROM FIVE DECADES by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford www.tobypress.com, £45 and £35, pp. 1,120 ISBN 1902881362 (Tel: 020 7637 8143; also available...

January and April

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Sebastian Smee THE DYING ANIMAL by Philip Roth Cape, L12.99, pp. 176, ISBN 0224061933 I n an age of relentless ranting passing itself off as commentary, Philip Roth may be the...

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A man of many and curious parts

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Francis King THE 1300K OF DISQUIET by Fernando Pessoa Allen Lane, £20, pp. 509, ISBN 0713995270 M any of his compatriots would claim that Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was,...

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From prejudice to indifference

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Andrew Gimson CATHOLICS: BRITAIN'S LARGEST MINORITY by Dennis Sewell Viking, £20, pp. 275, ISBN 067088331X T his book starts in a more invigorating age, when the British...

A bloody learning curve

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Escaping from the boondocks

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Vicki Woods CHERRY by Mary Karr Picador, 04, pp. 276, ISBN 033048575X T he fin-dc-siècle fancy for novelised memoirs is still going strong — and very harrowing they are, too....

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A choice of recent fiction

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Paul Tebbs A CLOUDED PEACE by John Cole Weidenfeld, £12.99, pp. 265, ISBN 0297607219 BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS by Dai Sijie Chatto, £12.99, pp. 172, ISBN...

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Oprah Winfrey joins Diana, Princess of Wales

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Sara Maitland INVENTING HERSELF: CLAIMING A FEMINIST INTELLECTUAL HERITAGE by Elaine Showalter Picador, £16.99, pp. 384, ISBN 0330346695 S omething has gone wildly awry with...

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Tenderness at twenty

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P. J. Kavanagh BASIL HOWE by G. K. Chesterton New City, £8.50, pp. 189, ISBN 0904287734 B orges was of the opinion that G. K. Chesterton 'restrained himself from being Franz...

A matter of taste and choice

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John Martin Robinson MORALITY & ARCHITECTURE REVISITED by David Watkin John Murray, £13.99, pp. 169, ISBN 0719564042 M orality & Architecture was something of a cause dlebre...

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The world in the palm of his hand

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John Mole DUKE ELLINGTON AND HIS WORLD by A. H. Lawrence Rout/edge, £19.99, pp.492, ISBN 0415930I2X T here's no shortage of books about Duke Ellington, but there will always be...

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Mysterious, transcendent beauty

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Martin Gayford is enraptured by the Vermeers on display at the National Gallery I n May 1921, all Paris was flocking to an exhibition of Vermeers at the Jeu de Paurne. On the...

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Sleeping Beauty; Jewels; Manon (Royal Opera House) Breathtaking plunges Giannandrea Poem L ong live the Kirov Ballet. The first half of the 2001 summer season has proved that...


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The Rape of Lucretia (Coliseum) Innocence and corruption Michael Tanner I wish that Britten's most ardent admirers would take him more seriously, in the way that the earliest...

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Tingles of enjoyment

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Robin Holloway W hy am I waiting 90 minutes on Ipswich station for a local connection, contemplating a spent tea bag and the ruins of an Anglia rock cake? Why, shoes and socks...

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Exhibitions 1

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Vetrange et le merveilleux en terres d'Islam (Louvre, Paris, till 23 July) Winged horses, fiery haloes Nicholas Powell A Syrian friend who accompanied the Pope round the...

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Genteel bohemians

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Michael Carlson T oday, the village of Cos Cob is one of four commuter rail stops within Greenwich, the first and arguably smartest of the New York suburbs across the...

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Turning the town around

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Sheridan Morley M it a boom, and a bang, and a bangbang-a-boom, the old Broadway is back: Mel Brooks's high-strutting musical Nazis have won The Producers an historic 12 Tony...

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A kind of antisocial Pooh

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Mark Steyn I surrendered to Shrek at the moment where Lord Farquaard has the Gingerbread Man on the rack, torturing him for information on one of his fellow nurseryrhyme...

Brilliant but horrifying

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Simon Hoggart ve said before how annoying I find the phrase 'I'm afraid I never watch television', generally said with a smug little smile which implies that the speaker spends...

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The conquest of spin

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Michael Vestey L istening to that cheerful chappie Charlie Whelan, Gordon Brown's former spin doctor, on Radio Four on Monday evening, I began to wonder if one day there might...

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More beam than face

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Robin Oakley A se., , s most colourful outfit of the week was not seen out until the Saturday, when David Sullivan, publisher of the Sunday Sport, wore his fuchsia-pink jacket...

Sporting victories

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Taki D ear, oh dear. A perfect record has been spoiled. After losing one massive libel case to socialite Rosemarie Marcie-Riviere (now socialising somewhere down below) in...

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Bonfires on the beach

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Jeremy Clarke M y boy has finally lost heart (there were tears at his last lesson) and asked me if he can give up playing the piano. OK,' I said. (That's about four grand up...

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And mother came too . . .

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Petronella Wyatt T his January I acquired a Hungarian. On New Year's day, to be precise. There is a small village outside Budapest where some friends of mine live, The local...

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Space invaders

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Rachel Johnson APPARENTLY minimalism is dead — or so I read in the Financial Times's Weekend section. Finished, So last-millennium. I find this curiously satisfying. My family,...

Urban degeneration

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Ross Clark IT's summer, and urban England reverberates once more to the traditional sound of baseball bat on polypropylene riot shield. The great inner-city riot is back with a...

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Second opinion

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FROM time to time I receive letters asking me why I have nothing good to say about the human race, Don't I ever have those inspiring little moments, my conespondents ask me,...

Championing the Lions in Australia

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THE first whispers snaked their way through towards the end of the week. There had been unconfirmed sightings. Rumours, no more than rumours. It wasn't worth reacting. Not just...

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Such detested sisters

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Simon Barnes RICHARD WILLIAMS repeatedly tells the world that the reason everybody hates his tennis-playing daughters is that they are black, He is completely wrong. That's the...

Q. What is the etiquette on tipping when one is

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not staying inside a friend's house but camping outside it for a country-house opera taking place in his grounds? The position is complicated by the fact that our friend's staff...

Q. Last week I had a thoroughly enjoyable day's racing

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at Royal Ascot. Reading the racecard, I noticed under 'dress code' that service dress was acceptable, and indeed I saw some immaculately attired sailors, soldiers and airmen...