31 AUGUST 1996

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Mummy, when will it be safe logo out?' H undreds of prisoners were released earlier than they expected when the Prison Service realised the implications of a court ruling on...

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GREY GOWRIE I travelled to Edinburgh with the artists Gilbert and George, whom I had met at a friend's house the evening before. They have lived and worked together for 30...

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Bill Clinton is a tainted president. But Bruce Anderson at the Democratic convention finds that the luckiest president in histoty has proved a great one wrong Chicago BILL...

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Michael Heath

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PetroneIla Wyatt finds the Democrats sadder than the Republicans — and marginally . uglier Frank Sinatra san g . On the ri g ht was the Wri g ley buildin g , weavin g Gothic...

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Mind your language

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MR HUGH Montgomery-Massingberd has politely put me in my place, which is easy enough, and Nancy Mitford at the same time, which is more of an achieve- ment. It is all about...

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Don't knock advertisers. Their language is the only one many people understand, says Martin Vander Weyer POLITICAL advertising has acquired demonic associations in recent weeks....

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Second opinion IT is a familiar notion that euphemism is

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the handmaiden of evil. The Nazis called the killing of millions 'special treatment' (I am reliably told that one of British Airways' less successful advertising cam- paigns in...

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Angus Roxburgh met the gaze of the toughest man in Russian politics. But hard stares, he predicts, won't solve the problem of Chechnya I THINK I understand why Alexander Lebed...

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No need for Writers' Houses, they can make their own pigsties PAUL JOHNSON T he Arts Lottery Board announces it is to give £18,000 for a 'feasibility study to create what is...

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How does a broadcaster define a public service? It's what I do, old boy CHRISTOPHER FILDES T here was a time when the British Broadcasting Corporation was a public ser- vice...

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Nothing's changed

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Sir: As your leading article (24 August) reports, there has been shock, disgust and vomit-inducing emotion expressed at Mau- rice Saatchi's peerage. All of it implies that he...


The Spectator

Burger — the facts Sir: I'm shedding crocodile tears at Stephen Glover's scathing criticism (Media studies, 24 August) of my front-page story in the , previous week's Observer....

With all due respect

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Sir: Sir Alfred Sherman is right about most points expounded in his article 'The great plague of London' (17 August), particularly when it comes to tourists flouting the most...

In a paddy

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Sir: Like Sarah Whitebloom, I, too, have a credibility problem with Mr Harold Brooks-Baker, publisher of Burke's Peerage (Name-dropping for beginners', 24 August). On 24 July I...

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The unborn question

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Sir: The anti-abortionists seem to be having it all their way in The Spectator (And anoth- er thing, 17 August). Readers of Scott's Heart of Midlothian will recall how in...

A plea for humility

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Sir: Your leader of 24 August somewhat yobbishly ridicules 'niceness' in politics, suggesting, presumably, that the virtues of fair play, courtesy, humility, circumspection are...

American interests

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Sir: Congratulations! You have expressed pungently and succinctly what millions of Britons think (Leading article, 10 August). In the Seventies, I attended a debate at the...

Sir: What on earth is Frank Johnson talking about (Leading

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article, 10 August)? Amen- ca's standards are exactly the same as our own or those of any other foreign country, company or individual. They will look out for number one first....

Shifting sands

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Sir: Andrew Robson claims (Bridge, 17 August) that the odds against being dealt 13 spades exceed the world's grains of sand. The odds against the first card being a spade are...

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The BBC's washing is hung out for all to see — not a pretty sight STEPHEN GLOVER What has been true of former senior employees has also held good for those still working for...

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Who's afraid of her? Philip Hensher VIRGINIA WOOLF by Hermione Lee Chatto, £20, pp. 892 P robably more is known about Virginia WooIfs life than of just about any other...

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Away with the fairies

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Teresa Waugh FAIRY TALE by Alice Thomas Ellis Viking, .f16, pp. 212 W ith a fine use of tautology, Viking's press release for Alice Thomas Ellis's new novel, Fairy Tale,...

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Lover into elephant

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Charles Saumarez Smith PICASSO AND PORTRAITURE edited by William Rubin Thames & Hudson, £55, pp. 495 hose people who deplore the rise of the blockbuster and the extent to...

The Wall and after

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Tom Hiney DESTINY, OR THE ATTRACTION OF AFFINITIES by John David Morley Little, Brown, £16.99, pp. 298 Jens re-encountered the Romantic ideal of landscape with a sense of...

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A brighter future than the computer will allow

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David Willoughby de Broke RED FLAG OVER HONG KONG by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, David Newman and Alvin Babushka Roundhouse, P.O. Box 140, Oxford, 0X2 7FF, £12.99, pp. 208 H ong...

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Lorenzo, the partially magnificent

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William Scammell D. H. LAWRENCE: TRIUMPH TO EXILE, 1912-1922 by Mark Kinkead - Weekes CUP, £29.95, pp. 943 T he first great novelty of the 'Cambridge Biography' of Lawrence is...

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Back to the old country

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Francis King DOWN BY THE RIVER by Edna O'Brien Weidenfeld, £15.99, pp. 265 I n this new novel, clearly based on a much publicised real-life case, Edna O'Brien tells the story...

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The red smoke screen Ronald Mutebi THE AMBIGUITIES OF POWER

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by Mark Curtis Zed Books, £14.95, pp. 250 'Britain bears considerable responsi- bility for many of the horrors which have afflicted people in the Third World throughout the...

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Frighted with false fire

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Peter Vansittart THE GUNPOWDER PLOT: TERROR AND FAITH IN 1605 by Antonia Fraser Weidenfeld, 120, pp. 347 S ome interpret the Jacobean era as containing intellectual greatness...

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Ancient Greece beckons -Bruce Boucher has a cultural encounter on Venice's Grand Canal he Western Greeks is the latest in a series of 'cultural encounters' — exhibi- tions to...

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Radical Graham (Edinburgh Playhouse) Reyno — Far from the Lotus (King's Theatre, Edinburgh) White Oak Dance Project (London Coliseum) Bring back the drama Giannandrea Poesio...


The Spectator

Misplaced sniffiness Robin Holloway T his year's Proms are plentiful in new or recent specimens of the classic genres; as well as three full-scale symphonies, there are no...

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Opera Leonore (Albert Hall)

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Room for improvement Michael Tanner ‘..../f the four great religious operas, Die ZauberflOte, Fidelio, Tristan und lsolde, Moses und Aron, only one is perfect and it isn't...

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Bodies (Orange Tree) Two Gentlemen of Verona (Globe) Kiss the Sky (Shepherd's Bush Empire) Shrink power Sheridan Morley O ut at Sam Walters's Orange Tree in Richmond, there...


The Spectator

WHEN Annie Leibovitz, arguably the world's leading photographer, was in London for her marvellous National Portrait Gallery retrospective a while back, she wanted to talk not...

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Stealing Beauty (15, selected cinemas) Phenomenon (PG, selected cinemas) Topless in Tuscany Mark Steyn I 'd hoped Stealing Beauty might be a sequel to Sleeping Beauty, in...

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Royal loathing Michael Vestey T he most chilling piece of radio I have heard for some time came at the start of last week's The Moral Maze on Radio Four (Thursday). A...

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The Story is everything Simon Hoggart J ohn Ware wrote a crucial article in the latest Sunday Telegraph, assailing The Rantzen Report for an unfair, misleading and wounding...

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The turf

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Bad boy makes good Robin Oakley T he racing world has affected to be much surprised that Hemy Cecil, Eng- land's most successful trainer, should have chosen Kieren Fallon, the...

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High life

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A woman wronged Taki T .Gstaad he Princess of Wales is no longer HRH and as far as I'm concerned this stinks to high heaven. I've been at times a severe critic of Princess Di,...

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Country life

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Nanny trouble Leanda de Lisle C hildren could be a form of sex-aver- sion therapy. Demanding infants do for Passion what sticking your face in an ash- tray does for smoking....


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Balance Andrew Robson SHOULD YOU open 1NT with five cards • in a major suit? Opening 1NT conveys an accurate message both about the number of points and about the balanced...

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Religious relish — game and fish

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AS WELL as the feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist this week we have had St Augustine of Hippo and his mother St Mon- ica, who had a hard time with her wayward son until...

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IN-THE•STRA ND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND CHESS Lucky dip Raymond Keene IT IS VIRTUALLY impossible to win a tournament without a degree of luck. At Biel, where Karpov turned...

ISLE OF I $ j.lt W.101%111111 I iS LE OF I 11,11

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vA.toltx. 1 . 1 COMPETITION Utopia? Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1947 you were invited to provide a poem beginning with the words, 'In an ideal world.. . It's an almost...

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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 16 September, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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This knackering life Simon Barnes WASIM AICRAM, the Pakistan captain, sank to his knees in prayerful joy as he took the final England wicket, his 300th in Test match cricket....


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Dear Mary.. Q. For the past four months I have been looking after the business affairs of our neighbours, who have been on sabbatical in Vienna. This task, which I offered to...