31 JANUARY 1998

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Tricky Dicky M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, made a strange telephone call to President Clinton telling him that 'he was thinking of him'. The Ulster Freedom Fighters admit-...

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SPECT THE AT OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 FOCUS ON LEADERSHIP B ritain is moving into a new era of Political communication, where politicians communicate...

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Robin Cook has always been an implausible Foreign Secretary and the doubts are growing BRUCE ANDERSON R obin Cook may well be the cleverest member of the government. He is one...

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DAVID WELCH N ot many people can say that their Office in the middle of London looks out on a stable with working horses in it, but I look after the Royal Parks and the clatter...

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What the President's situation tells us about lying in politics (and life) MATTHEW PARRIS S uppose the President of the United States were secretly left-handed. Suppose...

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Noemie Emery on American females who need Mr Clinton's power for reasons political rather than erotic Washington, DC ONCE MORE, organised feminism's Silence has been heard...

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Mark Steyn watches Mr Clinton try to bore his way back, but says it won't save him in the history books New Hampshire FOR six days, Bill Clinton kept his head down, a position...

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Mind your language

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'HOW HAVE you remained pertina- cious in ignorance about this for so long?' asked my husband, with a little pause expecting laughter. He was remarking upon a pile of let- ters...

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Natasha Garnett talks to Cubans during the Pope's visit Havana 'LET ME tell you why El Papa is coming to Cuba,' explained Jose Larrinaga, a tour operator at one of the hotels...

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THE MAYOR David Walker predicts big trouble between Labour grandees and the Prime Minister YOU ARE a Labour councillor slaving away running Greenwich, Hillingdon or Enfield....


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RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £93.00 0 £47.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £104.00 0 02.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$151 0 US$76 Rest of Airmail 0 £115.00 0 £58.00 World J Airspeed . .0...

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Nicholas Farrell on the composer who, though dead, may be about to make a personal appearance LAST Saturday, the BBC 2 series The Great Composers did Giacomo Puccini. The...


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Michael Heath

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An entertaining evening finding out how Professor Pinker's mind works PAUL JOHNSON , The rising power and popularity of the Darwinian fundamentalists is one of the most...

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Hornby Trains

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EVEN now (fumes I.K. Gricer) Mr Prescott's advisers are explaining how splendid it would be to bring the Eurostars to Stratford-atte-Bow. Then their passen- gers could stroll...

The Gricer report

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THERE is nothing wrong with this railway (I.K. Gricer writes) except for the commit- ments taken over from the previous own- ers. Its counterpart in France runs from the coast...


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What a nice set of Eurostars to play with all they need now is a railway CHRISTOPHER FILDES I t is no fault of London and Continental Railways that they do not at present have...

Box-checkers' bane

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THERE are bridge players who sit down with their heads stuffed with conventions, in the dim belief that these artificial aids will do their thinking for them. Directors can be...

Saver in the wars

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HE IS getting a bit of an old soldier now. I imagine him coming home from the wars, 52 years ago, and like a true patriot invest- ing his gratuity in His Majesty's Govern-...

Ministry of Thought

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IT IS disturbing to see Japan's minister of finance standing down after reports that banks had been bribing his ministry. Banks in Japan are there to do what the ministry says....

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LETTERS Reckless Porn

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Sir: Kim Fletcher ('New south wails', 17 January) should know that one Australian tradition is alive and well: we don't like whingeing, patronising Poms. There have been 29...

I remember it well

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Sir: The Duke of Devonshire (Letters, 24 January) takes issue with an anecdote about his father's ashes in my article, 'With Uncle Harold at Petworth', (17 January). I said that...

Credit where it's due

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Sir: If your correspondent Stephen Glover (Media studies, 24 January) really believes Master MacKenzie was a brilliant headline- writer on the Sun, he chose two unfortu- nate...

Sir: The Julie Burchill spoof was too over- the-top to

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be entirely convincing (as a com- parison with the genuine Burchill Diary piece in the current edition of Private Eye will confirm). But have a care: any more of this, and she...

Out of fashion

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Sir: As a fashion model I was forced to wear many hideous and badly made frocks, but I cannot agree with Paul Johnson (And another thing, 24 January) that the designs of...

In at the deep end

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Sir: I'd like to thank Julie Burchill for her kind invitation to come and visit her in Brighton so she can give me 'a few tips on how to get sex off youngsters' (Diary, 24...

Sir: Robert Rhodes James's story of Macmillan receiving a disappointing

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tele- phone call recalls an analogous episode which I witnessed in 1957 when Churchill was forming a new administration. Colonel Walter Elliot, a gentlemanly and charming...

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The message of Martin Bell's fate: don't mess with New Labour STEPHEN GLOVER K lvin MacKenzie, who has been run- ning Mirror Group's newspapers for little more than a week,...

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If Ike was allowed his golf, why not Bill his sex? PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE A most everybody lies about sex. As Suetonius could well have said, 'the prick has no conscience'. One...

Travel Special Classifieds — 58-62

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Carry on camper van in Australia Edward Heathcoat Amory I fell early in life under the spell of the American road movie. Gripping the han- dlebars of my Harley, I roared into...

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South Africa

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Cape Town caprice Petronella Wyatt P eople will tell you that Cape Town has become the cynosure of all modish eyes; that bacchanalia and scandal are as common there as the...

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Georgia on his mind Michael Church T bilisi netted a grand total of 25 British holidaymakers in 1996; it's not what you'd call a tourist trap. And the passengers on my plane...

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The Carribean Church and steak Camilla Roberts F ourteen years ago food shopping in Nevis, a former British colony in the Caribbean, was a haphazard and exciting experience...

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Mum needn't have worried Derek Draper M y mum was worried. While I was in Mexico the country hit the British head- lines twice. First there were reports that it was snowing,...

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Rajasthan Stiff upper lip in the Raj Frederick Forsyth O f course, it all became completely absurd. Sally Burton heard that Sandy and I were going on a quick tour of...

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Let the chips fall where they may Philip Hensher COD: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE FISH THAT CHANGED THE WORLD by Mark Kurlansky Cape, £12.99, pp. 294 o many post-modern novels have...

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A three-faced historian

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Maurice Cowling LIBERTY BEFORE LIBERALISM by Quentin Skinner CUP, £6.95, pp. 156 O f the 12 Regius Professors of Modern History at Cambridge since Kings- ley's appointment in...

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Magician of the humdrum

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Anita Brookner TOWARD THE END OF TIME by John Updike Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp. 342 h e year is 2020, and certain changes have taken place. War between the United States and...

Revisiting troubled waters

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James Michie WINTER SEA: WARS, JOURNEYS, WRITERS by Alan Ross Harvill, £14.99, pp. 152 B efore Winter Sea I had never read a travel book by Alan Ross, indeed any book about the...

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Too private for public consumption

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Christopher Howse THE FIELD OF THE STAR: A PILGRIM'S JOURNEY TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA by Nicholas Luard Michael Joseph, £1 7.99, pp. 242 W arning: this is not a guidebook....

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Lady Peter Wimsey at home

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Harriet Waugh THRONES, DOMINATIONS by Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh Hodder, £14.99, pp. 313 W riters rarely keep their masterpieces hidden away, unpublished, to be...

Keeping an eye on the boss

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Michael Carlson EDWARD HOPPER: A JOURNAL OF HIS WORK edited by Deborah Lyons W. W. Norton/Whitney Museum, £17.95, pp. 105 E dward Hopper's place among Ameri- can artists is...

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They learn in suffering what they teach in song

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Hugo Williams BIRTHDAY LE 1 I hRS I remember wondering vaguely why the Faber catalogue was shy of poetry this season. The first I heard of the shotgun publication of Birthday...

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Don't be seduced by the camera Margaret Leclere on the new relationship between novelists and the cinema I n a discussion on Channel 4, Martin Amis, Gore Vidal and Salman...

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Remembering two composers Robin Holloway on Robert Simpson: 1921-1997, and Michael Tippett: 1905-1998 T o lose its two senior living composers within two months, even if they...

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Exhibitions 1

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Alex Katz (Saatchi Gallery, till 12 April) Thomas &hiitte (Whitechapel Art Gallery, till 15 March) Gigantic puzzle Martin Gayford T here are tracts of American art, just as...

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Exhibitions 2

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Builder of Towers: William Beckford and Lansdown Tower (Christie's, 8 King Street, until 3 February) Wayward child of fortune Ruth Guilding S ome people drink to forget their...

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Journey's End (King's Head) Do You Come Here Often? Meat on the Bone (Vaudeville) The pity of war Sheridan Morley B ack in the late 1960s, when he was still fuming the...

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The real shocker Mark Steyn O ne of the more irritating aspects of President Clinton's current travails is the defence that 'everyone does it'. Really? I like to hit on babes...

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Sweeney Todd (Opera North, Leeds) Le Nozze di Figaro (Royal Opera, Shaftesbury Theatre) Gruesome pleasure Michael Tanner W holly unfamiliar with Sweeney Todd, or indeed any...


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Moving times Michael Vestey W hy are radio people mesmerised by television? The size of the audience, per- haps; the feeling that if television perform- ers present radio...

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Why do they bother? James Delmgpole W henever I ring up Carlton to ask for preview tapes, I feel like the man who goes into the pet shop to buy a cute little fluffy bunny,...

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The turf

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Winning streak Robin Oakley W hen the BBC wanted to broadcast the Queen Mother's wedding in 1923, the Dean of Westminster was having none of it, John Birt revealed this week....

Not motoring

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Maps and things Gavin Stamp A few weeks back, I devoted this col- umn to maps — how they can lie, how they are stylised, what they tell us about ways of apprehending...

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High life

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Moving the goalposts Taki O Gstaad n Sunday night, when things looked extremely bleak for the occupant of the Oral Office, I offered 5-1 odds that he would keep his job. I was...

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Country life

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Bedroom fantasy Leanda de Lisle I 've been fantasising about setting up a camera in my bedroom and playing the resultin g film on the Internet. There's a teena g e girl in the...


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Squeeze Andrew Robson TOUGH defence by East was countered by a brilliant rescue operation by declarer. here is the hand: Dealer South Both vulnerable 4A8 6 5 • K 0104 • A...

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Making old men weep Auberon Waugh I am proud to have discovered Simon Wrightson in his North Yorkshire fastness. His wines are good and his prices reason- able. He produced...


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c/o Wrightson & Company Manfield Grange, Manfield, Near Darlington, N. Yorks DU 2RE Tel: (01325) 374134 Fax: (01325) 374135 White Château Pechaurieux, Price No. Value...

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IF JUSTICE prevails at Michelin HQ, then the 1998 Guide

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to France, due out shortly, Will restore to Alain Ducasse at his Louis XV restaurant in the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo the third cooking star which was inexplicably removed...

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Drama at the workplace Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2018 you were invited to describe a 'leaving present affair' at some imaginary organisation. The story of 'The Watkins...


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We must think again Raymond Keene A NEW BOOK by international master Byron Jacobs, Analyse to Win: Visualising Victory (Batsford, £14.99), makes the fasci- nating point that...

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's

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Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 16 February, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the latest edition of The Chambers...

No. 2021: Dome pome

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You are invited to write a poem (maximum 16 lines) in praise or mockery of the Millennium Dome being prepared at Greenwich. Entries to ' Competition No. 2012 ' by 12 February.

Solution to 1344: Barred

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I 1 1 si NV 2 t&4_,51L D WHEEL 9 R ,.. UL L Li N PYFIJI}R1 1 %H5SURE R'ADO 7 E 1 ,S 41. _yri 1 6PENENDE011A1 L HAtA TAN ti AR KA ? S TR E H S I1 T A...

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A golden couple Simon Barnes STRANGE to say, I don't think football has reached its peak. I think it has a few more months to go. But all the same there really is no doubt...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. The other day my wife and I were invit- ed by a successful but absent-minded bio- chemist and his wife to their elegant apart- ment for a drink at 6.30 or so....