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Nasty mugging on Brighton seafront A fter falling behind the Tories in opinion polls, Labour was under pressure during its party conference in Brighton over its policy on fuel...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 65 IS YOUNG THESE DAYS T hey may not yet be picketing the nation's day-centres...

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BARRY HUMPHRIES R egular readers of my Who's Who entry will know that I am president of the Jan Frans de Boever Society (Belgium). It is a small society — its total membership...

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Labour may spend more. The Tories must promise to spend better BRUCE ANDERSON T he Tories have been warned. On Tuesday, Tony Blair not only attempted to halt his party's slide...

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I invested heavily in Blair-bashing. Now it's time to put my money somewhere else MATTHEW PARRIS H ad the Old Testament prophets been required to register their interests as...

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It's a hateful moment when the prime minister is found out to be a liar: Peter Oborne on how Blair reinvents reality to suit his own purposes IN HIS profoundly important work...

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft says the Tories are no longer stupid — and that's why they look like losers THIS week's clucking and scolding at Brighton gives way to next week's gloating....

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Second opinion

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MOST doctors are irritated beyond mea- sure by at least one category of patient. For some it is alcoholics, for others it is drug addicts, for yet others it is depres- sives....

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Colin Bostock-Smith reports from Zambia on the primitive beliefs that are helping to spread Aids THERE are three of them. An old woman, a younger woman and a man. I don't see...

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Phil Craig compares the generation of 1940 with the young people of today IN October 1940 Edith Kup was a 21-year- old RAF volunteer, one of those young women who pushed...

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Tessa Keswick advises the Tory leader to give his wife a tongue sarnie at Bournemouth `GIVE me a kiss, and to that kiss a score; then to that twenty, add a hundred more. . . ....

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit The government recently abandoned its target to double cycling by 2002 in the face of mounting evidence that few...

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Mark Steyn says that George W Bush is not honkers — which is why he will win the election New Hampshire TWO weeks ago I predicted in the Daily Telegraph that Dubya would win...

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Mind your language

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I HAVE nothing against tea-towel wis- dom. My husband gave me one of my favourite tea towels, which bears the legend: 'Do dry up, dear.' Another in my kitchen has that thing...

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Stephen Fry tells Jasper Gerard why he's upset by Labour's illiberal family values A MASTER actor, terribly famous and utterly charming. Oh, and a bit of a toff. No figure...

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Branson doesn't play games of chance with the red tops STEPHEN GLOVER L ast Thursday in the High Court Mr Justice Richards said that the Lottery Com- mission's decision to...

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From Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North Sir: Petronella

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Wyatt's article 'Pole posi- tion' has caused great offence to many of my constituents. She is quite entitled to her architectural views, but to state that Poland was parti-...

To Poland's defence

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From Z.K Chodzko-Zajko Sir: In her abusive article 'Pole position' (Singular life, 9 September) Petronella Wyatt describes the all-day event at Fawley Court as 'an uncomfortable...

McCarthy and tyranny

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From Mr Michael Marcus Sir: Jonathan Cecil, reviewing Arthur Miller's book of essays The Crucible in Histo- ry (Books, 9 September), uncritically regur- gitates the left-liberal...


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Fact-free fantasy From Dr Essop Pahad, MP, Minister in the Presidency, South African Government Sir: `R.W. Johnson reports from South Africa' trumpets the cover of The...

Winners of the drugs war

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From Dr Perry Sir: The Colombian ambassador CA stupid LETTERS war', 23 September) makes an excellent and informed case, but misses one impor- tant aspect. The money-flow in...

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From Mr John Dege Sir: In the 1950s I was

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running a one-man tailoring business in London's West End. One day, into my humble establishment strode a handsome young man with a mane of fair hair soliciting my custom for an...

To serve us all our days

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From Mr N.D. Worswick Sir: In view of the Prime Minister's last two public utterances, is it not time that the gov- ernment should be reminded that govern- ments are elected to...

Man about town

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From Mr Martin Russell Sir: I was amused to read in Michael Vestey's column (Arts, 23 September) that, in a radio interview with Susannah Simon, Mr Hesel- tine had attributed to...

Time for rhyme

The Spectator

From Jayne Osborn Sir: Oh, what unbounded joy! I could not contain my excitement on reading your leading article 'Proper poems' (23 Septem- ber) At last, at last . . . someone...

Fight for Blighty

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From Mr Allan Robertson Sir: Peter Hitchens (`Land of the free, home of the British', 23 September) may want to move to the USA, but what about those of us who are not able to...

Deborah the divine

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From Mr David Orpwood Sir: As an irregular reader of The Spectator, I feel driven to write to you to congratulate Deborah Ross on her won- derful piece (9 September). It is one...

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The Spectator

Why the Iron Duke never reposed in the Great Bed of Ware PAUL JOHNSON T he Great Bed of Ware, which has now been made up with new mattresses, sheets, blankets and pillows,...

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GLOBAL AND SUBURBAN Writing in The Spectator's special Finance Issue:

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Brian Williamson is chairman of Liffe, the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange. George Trefgarne is the Financial Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph....

Page 39


The Spectator

Brian Williamson says that there's more to life (and Liffe) than the Stock Exchange ION Snow, opening Channel 4 News at seven o'clock on 5 April this year after the London...

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At the IMF, George Trefgarne escapes the protesters but still gets ambushed Prague WHEN it came, we were all looking the wrong way. Speculation about a combined support...

Page 44


The Spectator

So fai; the mobile Internet is GREAT powers are again struggling for dominion in Europe; except that it is a curi- ously modern, even 21st-century, conflict. It does have many...

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Martin Feldstein believes that only George W Bush can reform America's creaking tax system Cambridge, Mass. THE task of an American presidential candidate who is seeking to...

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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,...

Page 50


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Robert Peston says the Chancellor wants to save Europe by his example (and Sarah's) THE Treasury man on the end of the phone said, 'Ever since Sarah, Gordon has become...

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The Spectator

Topaz Amoore meets Lord Macdonald, the only businessman in the Cabinet Prime Minister's inner circle. 'Just look at his moustache,' he whispers. 'How else could he hang on to...

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The Spectator

Helen Dunne names the City's prizefighters — the old hands have not lost their cunning DAVID Verey may not have won a gold medal in the Sydney Olympics, but he is definitely a...

Page 55


The Spectator

Mervyn King reveals his favourite economic reading and sets a poser FOR Thomas Carlyle, economics was not just 'the dismal science', but 'a dreary, des- olate, and indeed...

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One out, all out

The Spectator

MURPHY, you will recall, taught us that if something can go wrong, it will. (A subset of his law provides that Murphy was an opti- mist.) Just In Time management is especial- ly...

Spot the difference

The Spectator

THE state pension is one of the Treasury's proudest achievements. It may not buy much, so the mandarins say, but it buys as much as it used to, and just think what it has saved....


The Spectator

FROM Wall Street, James Grant sends me his Interest Rate Observer, garnished with a pretty drawing of an all-American family at home. The daughter (who looks like a cross...

A lot of it about

The Spectator

I AM alarmed to think that the dear old Stock Exchange has contracted Natwestitis. As we have seen, this disease can be fatal. In the incubatory stage, the patient experi- ences...


The Spectator

When Just In Time meets Murphy's Law, the machinery coughs and expires CHRISTOPHER FILDES O ne way to manage a business is Just Not In Time. We can all think of examples....

Go-faster stripes

The Spectator

MY railway correspondent, I.K. Gricer, dives for my copy of Tom Bower's Branson. Yes, he says, the Eurostar story has been going round the inner circle. Virgin was part of the...

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The Spectator

Her resistance was low Patrick Marnham MARGUERITE DURAS by Laure Adler Gollancz, £25, pp. 424 I n 1984 the writer and film director Marguerite Duras, celebrated for the...

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The inspiration for Brigadier Gerard

The Spectator

Allan Mallinson THE EXPLOITS OF BARON DE MARBOT edited by Christopher Summerville Constable, f10.99, pp. 318 T he French are not as other soldiers. The Gallic shrug and 'c'est...

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That old black magic

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling A ter the prolonged carnage of the first world war, Western civilisation seem- ing to have failed, some influential Euro- pean artists rejected what they...

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Serving the state and oneself

The Spectator

Douglas Johnson CARDINAL RICHELIEU AND THE MAKING OF FRANCE by Anthony Levi Constable, £20, pp. 327 Vis isitors to the château of Josselin in Brittany are told how it used to...

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Sex and fun at the finish

The Spectator

Elisa S egrave RHODE ISLAND BLUES by Fay Weldon Flamingo, £16.99, pp. 325 A dominatrix nurse, a hairy American film director, a Croatian refugee chauffeur, and a former dancer...

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No mere jurisprudent

The Spectator

Florence O'Donoghue THE BUSINESS OF JUDGING: SELECTED ESSAYS AND SPEECHES by Tom Bingham, Senior Law Lord OUP, £30, pp. 434 I n 1974 Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council was...

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The blood-red Tudor rose

The Spectator

Byron Rogers NEW WORLDS, LOST WORLDS by Susan Brigden Allen Lane, f20, pp. 432 W hen it came to history, the old Hollywood film-makers were honest men. A lipsticked Virginia...

Master of absence and silence

The Spectator

Steve King CALL IF YOU NEED ME: THE UNCOLLECTED FICTION AND PROSE by Raymond Carver Harvig £15, £10.99, pp. 300 R aymond Carver's first book appeared in 1976. By the time of...

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When cotton ceased to be king

The Spectator

Robert Oakeshott THE ROAD TO NAB END: A LANCASHIRE CHILDHOOD by William Woodward Eland, £9.99, pp. 374 Y ou can go a long way,' she would say, shaking her lace cap at me....


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The Exploits of Baron de Marbot edited by Christopher Summerville Why read the Patrick O'Brians of this world, when the actual participants left behind so many and such...

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When did Blair know?

The Spectator

Paul Routledge SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE by Andrew Rawnsley Hamish Hamilton, £17.99, pp. 394 W hen historians come to write the true story of New Labour, the idealism-turned-...

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The Spectator

A blast from the past Simon Hoggart on Simon Schama's televised history of Britain S imon Schama's A History of Britain, which begins this weekend on BBC 2, is an extraordinary...

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The Spectator

Apocalypse (Royal Academy, till 15 December) Queue blues Martin Gayford I s there anything down this corridor?' 'Can you get out this way?' There's anoth- er room down there,...

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The Spectator

Victorian values Robin Holloway y opportunities for sampling this year's Proms, whether live or broadcast, have been unusually curtailed. On paper the season looked as rich as...

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The Spectator

The Coronation of Poppea (English National Opera) Billy Budd (Royal Opera House) The force of love Michael Tanner I n a crowded operatic week, two produc- tions stand out,...


The Spectator

DVS (Queen Elizabeth Hall) Too much past Giannandrea Poesio S ome thirty years ago, when the last echoes of student revolution had finally managed to seep through the...

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The Spectator

Hollow Man (18, selected cinemas) Lacking substance Mark Steyn I yield to no one in my admiration for Kevin Bacon. He cheers almost any movie he deigns to show up for. He...

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The Spectator

The Cherry Orchard (Cottesloe) Julius Caesar (Young Vic) The waiting game Sheridan Morley T hough he is himself a master of epic crowd control on a wide stage, one of Trevor...

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Uncensorious Soho Michael Vestey I have always been fascinated by the bohemian world but never felt a strong enough urge to join it, except in short bursts. Listening to The...

The turf

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Brighton breezy Robin Oakley Anyway, the turnout was still good. Per- haps the delegates were only too glad to get away, as I was, from the most bureau- cratic and...

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The Spectator

Fuel's paradise Alan Judd O ne of the few downsides of the recent fuel shortage was that it delayed the planned conversion of my Range-Rover to liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Had...

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High life

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Those were the days Taki As far as I'm concerned, the last Olympics took place in Barcelona, because the Atlanta coverage did for the games what Bomber Command did for...

No life

The Spectator

Exciting times Jeremy Clarke W hether or not I took the boy to his first football match depended on whether we would be able to obtain petrol the fol- lowing morning. The boy...

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Country life

The Spectator

Pick-and-mix paganism Leanda de Lisle L ord Melehett says genetically modified crops are more dangerous than nuclear waste. A jury of 12 good men and women believed him and...

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Singular life

The Spectator

Intriguing connections Petronella Wyatt Y ou might think from last week's col- umn that the H.L. Mencken memorial lec- ture, as delivered by P. Wyatt, was a roaring...


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Best of British Susanna Gross THE WORLD's spotlight may be on Syd- ney, but to bridge fans the really important sporting showdown took place a week earli- er at Maastricht,...

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MANY moons have passed since my last restaurant column. Much

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up there is to be caught. No time for verbal trick-cycling today. I'm going to discuss, very briefly and without embellishment, some restaurants I've been to since the summer,...

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Chinese whispers Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2155 you were invited to tell a story in which the outcome depends on one 'Chinese whisper' or a series of them. The classic...


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The Ultimate [slay Malt. CHESS Great games Raymond Keene AS promised, as we approach the Kasparov–Kramnik World Championship match in London I will continue to give a...

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Solution to 1480: Woman of the Year

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1 13 Einar rim In EH ran] c IlrIrlifirl iii URN° pimps ij Onni V I min Engrapnigria I II 11 a rpnll A 0 IME1130111211MERSIA U ell 0 d PRI N E T is coronae/an H...

No. 2158: Alphabetics

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`An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,/Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade. . . . ' Most of you will know this 26-line poem which con- tinues in this mode through the alphabet. You...

CROSSWORD 1483: Great and small by Dumpynose

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vinta g e Port for the first correct solution opened on 16 October, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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Dear Mary.. . Q. I have some further ideas for L.C., the painter who wishes not to be disturbed (16 September). I too am a painter, and when painting outside I often wear...


The Spectator

Race against Time Simon Barnes STEVE Redgrave: an apology. I wrote a piece in this space a few weeks ago express- ing the opinion that you were mortal. I see now that I was...