31 JULY 1999

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Near misses T he Labour-dominated Commons select committee on transport lambasted the min- istry run by Mr John Prescott. His achieve- ments were 'largely confined to the...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405

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1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 RETAIL POLITICS It will be objected that this is not a uniquely Labour way of going about things. The use of advertising techniques and the employment...

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No bike for young John then, no bike for old

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John now BRUCE ANDERSON I t has been a typical week in the life of the government. The PM and his ministers appeared to address a range of difficult questions, tried to take...

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en years after his barnstorming success with the play, Peter O'Toole, with the origi- nal cast, is reviving my Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell at the Old Vic. Early on in rehearsals...

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Peter Chadlington on new, and old, ways of preparing for death MY father's death a few months ago removed what seemed the last protection between me and eternity. The walkway...

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Mind your language

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MY husband had fallen into a ster- torous doze in a garden chair. I hope he intended it as a tribute to the hospitali- ty of my fellow word-watcher, the learned Nicholas...

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Herb Greer says the IRA's refusal to disarm is to do with crime, not politics THAT 'process' in Ulster has little or nothing to with 'peace'. Announcements of this admirable...

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Nicholas Farrell on the Italian response to claims that their menfolk can no longer cut the mustard Predappio ITALIANS take in their stride most taunts from other Europeans...


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Michael Heath

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Serena Bridgeman says there is something about the Eddisbury result that has not been publicised THE Battle of Eddisbury in Cheshire may not go down in the annals of political...

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HOW THE TREASURY MADE GORDON RELAX Sion Simon on the real reason why the Chancellor is less keen on the euro STRANGE rumours about the Chancel- lor's attitude to the euro have...

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Simon Caldwell on Roman Catholic priests, the police and child sex offences (alleged) AT least four Jesuit priests and five teach- ers will soon stand trial on charges of...

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Hugh Thomas talks to the Crown Prince of Yugoslavia about his next step THE Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, Alexan- der Karageorgevitch, was born in Clar- idge's in 1945, and has...

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Second opinion

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THERE is, wrote Browning, an inmost centre in us all, where truth abides in ful- ness. Gosh! Either the poet didn't know what he was talking about, or else people — to quote a...

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The Pope wises up a dumbed-down world, but silence is golden too PAUL JOHNSON N ow that I am in my seventies, I do not work as hard as I once did. I see from my diary that...

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A word of respect

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THEY could start with a word of respect for Gordon Brown's bold decision. If that is too much for them, they could credit the idea to a Conservative chancellor, Nigel Lawson,...


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Never mind the Declaration of Independence the Old Lady is still in danger CHRISTOPHER FILDES R oyal Commissions, Harold Wilson said, take minutes and waste years, so Fran-...

Not a study group

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IT WOULD be no service to the nation or the Bank to re-engineer it as a machine with a single purpose: to whirr once a month and set interest rates. Burning up stacks of data...

Look out for lesbians

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THE Bank got its charter from William III because he had a war on his hands and needed to borrow money, as our rulers often do. The loan was a part of the deal. From then on the...

Euro on the menu

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EAT up your nice euros, says the Depart- ment of Trade and Industry. We know they taste disgusting, but they're good for you. By way of forcing them down, the DTI can- teen has...

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A true Hemingway From Mrs Sandy Forsyth Sir: As a

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fan of Ernest Hemingway since long ago, I enjoyed Edward Docx's article on the great writer's centenary (Nick Hornby he wasn't', 24 July). But there are two points on which I...

Spookish paranoia

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From Mr David Turner Sir: Alex Woodcock-Clarke (Letters, 17 July) indicates that the granting of a knight- hood to Rudolf Peierls in 1968 is no guar- antee that there was not...

From Mrs Barbara Griffiths Sir: I have no special interest

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in the Kennedys but your front cover and the related article (`The real victims of the Kennedy curse', 24 July) strike me as being in incredibly poor taste. Don't sack Mark...

From Jeananne Crowley Sir: Of course we Irish have a

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vested interest in Kennedy self-mythologising hype and spin but the clan's pathetic attempt to shift the blame on to Lauren Bessette left even the most susceptible of us...

From Mr Simon J.B. Pratt Sir: The wickedly amusing diatribe

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by Mark Steyn forgets the most recognisable and adored lady — the gorgeous Marilyn Mon- roe — whose widely publicised infatuation with JFK and subsequently his younger...

From Mr A.A. Gill Sir: Might I impose on the

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hospitality of your correspondence column to pass a mes- sage to Taki: Go fuck yourself, you smelly dago lesbian. A.A. Gill The Sunday Times, London El

Picking a fight

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From Mr David Watkins Sir: I - agree with most of what Taki has to say about A.A. Gill and the Germans, but am surprised that he still has not learned that to confuse Scotsmen...

LETTERS A cover too far

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From Sir Anthony Kershaw, MC Sir: I yield to no one in my contempt and hatred of the Kennedy Clan. But I think the use of the word 'Assassination' on the front cover of The...

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LETTERS Error that proves a point,

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From Mr Sion Simon Sir: In my article of 17 July Mill this eagle fall?') before last arguing against annual reshuffles, I made an unpardonable error of fact. I wrote: 'It makes...

Master of manners

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From Mr William Shawcross Sir: Paul Johnson speaks kindly and rightly of my father's great courtesy (And another thing, 10 July). But he makes a small mis- take in quoting him...

Winston, Belgian-baiter

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From Lord Hartwell Sir: Frank Johnson's masterly appreciation (Shared opinion, 17 July) of the lessons of military history regarding the organisation of an alliance to fight a...

Tory homophiles

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1From Mr Alistair B. Cooke, OBE Sir: Clause 28 of the 1988 Local Govern- ment Act hardly deserves the gay venom which Ivan Massow reports with absolute accuracy ('Why I, a...

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A Tina triumph? Or tears within 18 months? TOBY YOUNG New York ext Monday, 800 people will gather on New York's Liberty Island to toast the first issue of Talk, Tina Brown's...

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Thoughts from a dying star Hugh Lawson-Tancred ALMOST LIKE A WHALE: THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES UPDATED by Steve Jones Doubleday, £20, pp. 402 T o the scientific conception of our...

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Greed is the lure

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Benjamin Yarde-Buller THE BIG CON by David W. Maurer Century, £14.99, pp. 280 T he Big Con was written and first pub- lished in 1940. The golden age of the American confidence...

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0 Lucky Man

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Robert Taylor LIVING ON THIN AIR: THE NEW ECONOMY by Charles Leadbeater Viking £17.99, pp. 244 T he dust jacket of this book says it all. `Charles Leadbeater is an...

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Chosen for us

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Stephen Logan THE HARVILL BOOK OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY POETRY IN ENGLISH edited by Michael Schmidt Harvill, £20, pp. 728 C .S. Lewis said of the Bible that the more it was...

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Search and destroy

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Peregrine Worsthorne UNVANQUISHED by Boutros Boutros-Ghali I.B. Tauris, £19.95, pp. 352 C onsidering that this book is written by a former Secretary-General of the United...

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12 months 6 months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK 0 197 0 i49 Europe 1111.109 0 £55 USA El uss16i 0 US$82 Australia El Aus$225 El Aus$113 Rest of World El .£419 El E,6o Please...

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God did make little green apples

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Henry Hobhouse APPLES — THE STORY OF THE FRUIT OF TEMPTATION by Frank Browning Penguin Press, £14.99, pp. 172 Wil d apples are widely dispersed in the northern hemisphere...

Hopes too high

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Herb Greer SHADOW — FIVE PRESIDENTS AND THE LEGACY OF WATERGATE by Bob Woodward Simon & Schuster, £20, pp. 592 S peaking for the Telegraph, Bob Wood- ward called this book...

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There is a divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity,

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chance or death Stuart Wheeler TAKING CHANCES — WINNING WITH PROBABILITY by John Haigh Michael Joseph, £12.99, pp. 304 ho is this book for? Who on earth wants a book about...

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NVANQUISHED A US - UN SAGA by Boutros Boutros-Ghali Boutros Boutros-Ghali - was Secretary General of the United Nations for five years, yet the Americans defied the entire...

All but passed by

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Teresa Waugh UNDUE INFLUENCE by Anita Brookner Viking, £16.99, pp. 220 ost of us, on picking up a novel by Anita Brookner, will feel that we are embarking on familiar...

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Sculpture amidst the spires Salisbury is the setting for an ambitious exhibition. Andrew Lambirth takes a look T he city of Salisbury is currently playing host to a highly...

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Chuck Close (Hayward Gallery, till 19 September) Face to face Martin Gayford N o picture,' the American artist Chuck Close remarked the other day at the Hayward Gallery,...

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. Ondine; Triple Bill (Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells) New look Giannandrea Poesio G iven the ephemeral nature of the art form, the history of ballet is mostly a histo- ry of...


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Surprising direction Robin Holloway B y now, its tenth year, the short annual Almeida season of experimental chamber- operas has established itself, despite a per- sisting...

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Smetana's diversions Michael Tanner S metana is so loveable and stirring a fig- ure in the history of music, and especially of opera, that I wish I could enjoy his most famous...

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Open Air, Regent's Park) Last Dance at Dum Dum (New Ambassadors) Home Body/Kabul (Chelsea Centre) Roman follies Sheridan...

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Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me (12, selected cinemas) Celebrating naffness Mark Steyn I f memory serves, I believe I hailed Austin Powers, International Man of...

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Don't drop it Michael Vestey A ter one of her Sunday lunches had gone into extra time, a close friend asked me how she could retune her car radio from Radio Four long wave to...


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Mob rule Simon Hoggart T he Sopranos (Channel 4) is the first mob soap opera, and combines favourite elements of both genres. You can charac- terise a soap by the worst news a...

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Rugged beasts Alan Judd T hey're not fast, but fast enough. Their horsepower is not always what you think but their torque and gearing is such that they put awesome muscle...

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The turf

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Trouble and strife Robin Oakley I don't much like swagger in the human race but I adore it in horses. Watching the parade for this year's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth...

High life

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A talent to abuse Taki Oh, how I envy Paul's talent to abuse: `His face says it all: ugly but conceited; dim and unimaginative but not without low cun- ning; obstinate and...

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Country life

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Spelling it out Leanda de Lisle S ummer schools are in short supply in the country — at least they are for dyslexics and my dyslexic son is my summer project. How am I going...

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Singular life

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Bad habits Petronella Wyatt W hen I was a child I used to look for- ward to the snooker on television. I liked the atmosphere of knife-edge smoulder. I liked the way in which...


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Sudden death Andrew Robson A BRIDGE hand usually has a 'kill point' — a term introduced by Danish interna- tional Jens Auken. A kill point is a pivotal point in the hand...

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KENSINGTON PLACE By Al ice Thomson WE were playing a drunken, late-night game of charades on holiday a few years ago. One of the party acted out Diana, a duck and a cake....

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A cruel creelful Christopher Howse IN COMPETITION NO. 2095 you were invited to incorporate 12 words in any order under the title 'A Fishy Story' — at least that was the...


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Tsar wars Raymond Keene GAMES-players love to compare them- selves with their competitors. However, only in a very few games — for example, bridge, memory, chess, go and...

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 16 August, with two runners- up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the...

No. 2098: It's a gas

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Centrica is closing all 243 gas showrooms in our high streets. A song, please, to a well-known tune to celebrate their passing. Maximum 16 lines. Entries to 'Competition No....

Solution to 1421: Ascot

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earmaari hm ei ism rirunwi rinriniiiiiilei A Nei E R sriamptio , , . den . . d orm n111110 . I ISM E . IIIMIESIWIT I_ nil El ii H MIL dal kid w , c . 111111 I MEI ,:....

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Down and out in St John's Wood Simon Barnes In St John's Wood did Thomas Lord A stately pleasure-dome decree, Where deep the sacred tube-line roared Through caverns desolate...


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Q. I live with a man who turns out to be maddeningly mean in lots of little ways. We share ownership of a house and (in theory) each pays half of all household costs, food, etc....