31 MARCH 2001

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A vast mass grave for half a million slaughtered livestock was

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dug at a disused airfield near Orton, Cumbria, to be filled with carcasses by army teams. The action came after Professor David King, the chief scientific adviser to the...

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W ith the advent of New Labour, it appeared that the Left had finally reconciled itself with capitalism. No more need the means of production be snatched from the snouts of t ....

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How a ministerial code of conduct was systematically dishonoured

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BRUCE ANDERSON E arly in his Premiership, Tony Blair published a new ministerial code, with a preamble. 'In issuing this code, I should like to affirm my strong personal...

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T he lop ears is my shelter; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pasta: he leadeth me beside the still watchmakers. He restoreth my soubrette: he leadeth me in...

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Peter Obome explains how the Prime Minister's obsession with the election has turned a veterinary crisis into a Whitehall shambles ROSE PRINCE, The Spectator cook, was...

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Culpable negligence

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IN all the massive coverage of the footand-mouth disaster two pretty important questions have faded conveniently into the background: where did it really come from and how was...

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Roddy Williams on how he came into some money and indulged his pianophilia to the tune of £22,400 NOT long ago, a small (and unexpected) injection of cash enabled me to...

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Second opinion

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THE gnostics knew that the world is not as it seems, and therefore they would not have been altogether surprised to learn that the public institutions of this country are...

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R.W. Johnson says that the ANC's racist policies are turning universities into production sheds for revolutionary intellectuals Johannesburg SOUTH AFRICA's education minister,...

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Well-meaning Israeli attempts to help the Palestinians only serve to highlight differences, writes Alan Philps Jerusalem A TRAGIC scene was played out in the Palestinian...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit THE government has already seen fit to issue grave warnings about the dangers of injuring ourselves while engaging in...


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Martin Vander Weyer on the woes of Marjorie Scardino as she contemplates the failure of her website WHArs a gal to do? For the past four years, Marjorie Scardino, head of the...

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Now it can be told. Tom Walker on Sir Pedi's mercy dash to the world's latest war zone Tetovo AS Balkan wars go, it wasn't a bad one; an amuse-gueule, as the French say, no...

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Theodore Dalrymple says that the administration of schools, hospitals and the social services is rotten through and through A FRIEND of mine, a consultant in one of the most...

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Mind your language

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I HAVE just put down the telephone with a realisation of something that I had not registered in the last 100 or so times I had dialled 1471. The strangely inhuman voice (I think...

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In an interview with Anne McElvoy William Hague talks about children and religion — and his one political mistake SO. William: there's an election coming; if not in May, then...

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Ancient & modern

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MR Keith Vaz, minister for Europe, is in bad odour for failing to answer a number of questions relating to various aspects of his behaviour as an MP. Whatever he did or did not...

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Why has much of the press given Labour an easy ride? Fear and jealousy are only part of the answer

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STEPHEN GLOVER L ast week the Daily Mail serialised Tom Bower's new book, The Paymaster, which is about the Labour MP and former minister, Geoffrey Robinson. (Let me remind...

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Do please accept my expressions of sympathy.

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No, no, please accept ours CHRISTOPHER FILDES 0 h, you poor, poor people, how sorry I am for you. I had been rehearsing this line all the way to New York. I grew used to...

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Men at arms

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From Mr David Todd Sir: Following the change in world order after the end of the Cold War, a reassessment of the role of our armed forces is perhaps due. While we can be...

From Mr Charles Watson Sir: The National Army Museum ('How

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to militarise your child', 24 March) was the brainchild of Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer, KT, who will perhaps mainly be remembered for being responsible for putting down the...

From E.S. Gardner Sir: Niall Ferguson (`The war against the

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nation', 24 March) does not say how old his sons are. It may encourage him to know that the sevento nine-year-old boys at a local primary school are beginning to choose books...

Unkindest cut

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From Field Marshal Sir Nigel Bagnall Sir: I am afraid that your abbreviation of my article (`The case against Guthrie', 24 March) has unbalanced it, since I originally said far...

A teacher replies

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From Mr John Turnbull Sir: I enjoyed Leo McKinstry's polemic CA tale of two inspectors', 17 March), but he was clearly swept along by his own enthusiasm. Perhaps he thought he...

Crying wolf

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From Mr Chris Smith Sir: What a good job that nobody believed the man who, according to Michael Vestey (Arts, 24 March), burst into Orson Welles's studio during a broadcast in...

Black-metal preachers

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From Mr Mikael Johani Sir: It might make D.J. Taylor (`The Church Quiescent', 3 March) happier to know that Christianity and Jesus are not the only subjects of ridicule in the...

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From Dr Michael Gtimshaw Sir: D.J. Taylor is correct to

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recognise that, while it is un-PC to offend other religions, it is basically PC to allow anti-Christian polemic. Yet this can have some unexpected results. Several of my...

Street life

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From Mr Robert Easton Sir: I was pleased to see that it is our very own Spectator and its columnists who are keeping my street neighbours in the Tottenham Court Road in their...

Suitable for adoption

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From Felicity Collier Sir: Paul Johnson's criticism of social workers as people who 'from ideology or sheer hatred of humanity make adoption so difficult' (And another thing, 3...

The best of bridges

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From Mr Peter Bazalgette Sir: I am surprised that Paul Johnson should praise Tower Bridge (And another thing, 24 March), I, too, admire Sir John Wolfe-Barry's bascules; but Sir...

Cocktails of Remsenburg

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From Mr Patrick Skene aiding Sir: Another life of P.G. Wodehouse? Robert McCrum (Plum job', 24 March) is to be applauded and deserves all the assistance he can get. In the...

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When crossing the road ceases to be a joke for some of us

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PAUL JOHNSON I cannot remember when I first laughed, but! recall perfectly the first time I heard a joke. I was five and sitting on the front at Lytham, attending the afternoon...

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Forget the film, it was American military muscle that resolved the Cuban missile crisis

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FRANK JOHNSON H ollywood's new film on the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis, Thirteen Days, is like exciting thriller fiction. Which is what it is. It is the tale of a rational,...

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Conceptions of conception

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Hugh Lawson-Tancred GRAMMARS OF CREATION by George Steiner Faber. £16.99, pp. 283, ISBN 0571206816 THE ORIGINS OF CREATIVITY edited by Karl H. Pfenninger and Valerie R. Shubik...

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With dismal stories

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Christopher Howse FAITHFUL DEPARTURES: TRAVELS WITH CATHOLIC PILGRIMS by Stephen Walsh Viking. £10.99, pp. 274, ISBN 0670879126 I t was on a Catholic pilgrimage like one...

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Rabbit is dead

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Francis King LICKS OF LOVE by John Updike Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp. 359, ISBN 024114129X M ost of this volume consists of a novella-length sequel to the quartet of novels,...

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright

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Anne Chisholm LOVE LETTERS: LEONARD WOOLF AND TREKIUE RITCHIE PARSONS, 1941-1968 edited by Judith Adamson Chatto & Windus, 120, pp. 312, ISBN 0701169273 I n his time. Leonard...

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Hey presto!

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and abracadabra David Carr-Gomm SHAMROCK TEA by Ciaran Carson Granta, £14.99, pp.308, ISBN 1862073988 S hamrock Tea is a heady brew, both as a book and as a drink. This is a...

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Courses for horses

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Peter Mullen THE NEW IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY by Duke Maskell and Ian Robinson Haven Books, £18.50, pp. 224, ISBN1903660009 H ow do you get to university in the 21st century? You...

Busy and stinging as a bee

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Richard Shone WALTER SICKERT: THE COMPLETE WRITINGS ON ART edited by Anna Gruetzner Robins OUP, £90, pp. 699, ISBN 0198172257 M any British artists, privately or publ'cly, have...

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Funny old men

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Andrew Barrow THE COMEDY MAN by D. J. Taylor Duck Editions, £9.99, pp. 308, ISBN 0715630598 I must begin this review on my usual, personal note. Between the ages of 19 and 20,...

A fall at the last fence

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Harriet Waugh DIALOGUES OF THE DEAD by Reginald Hill HatperCollins, £16.95, pp. 453, ISBN 0002258463 H aving enormously enjoyed Reginald Hill's early police procedural novels...

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0 Danny boy!

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Jane Gard= BORDER CROSSING by Pat Barker Viking, £16.99, pp. 224, ISBN 0670878413 H ere is another of Pat Barker's descents into hell. It is not the same hell as her first...

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lopsided memoir

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Robert Blake BITTER HARVEST by Ian Smith Blake Publishing, £16, pp. 449, ISBN 1903402050 T he publishers, from whom I am happy to dissociate myself, have presented this book in...

Clipping penises is so dull

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Nicholas Harman FLY: AN EXPERIMENTAL LIFE by Martin Brookes Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99, pp. 215, ISBN 0297645897 W e found the whale stinking in a cove, and paced it out at...

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He heapeth up riches and cannot tell who shall gather them

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Paul Routledge THE PAYMASTER: GEOFFREY ROBINSON, MAXWELL AND NEW LABOUR by Tom Bower Simon & Schuster, £1799, pp. 272, ISBN 0743206894 F our short, trusting years ago, who...

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The menace of musicolo

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Peter Williams regrets the decline in practical music teaching C riticising the way things are, even in something as marginal as music, looks like a mere jeremiad. But music is...

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Angels and dirt

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Martin Gayford S tanley Spencer', wrote the late A.J. Ayer in his autobiography, 'remains in my mind as the most self-centred man I ever met. His gnome-like appearance was not...

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To boldly go

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Michael Tanner T he Royal Opera may have been bolder than it knew in celebrating Hans Werner Henze's 75th birthday with Boulevard Solitude, his first fully-fledged opera,...

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The play's not the thing

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Sheridan Morley T here is something mesmeric about a beyond-belief terrible little play, especially when acted by distinguished thespians who somehow manage for two hours not...

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The business of growing up

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Robin Holloway T he world is understandably dazzled and seduced by musical precocity, especially in performers, also in composers. Nowadays when the age of consent — or do I...

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Youth appeal

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Giannandrea Poesio A s reported in every recent dance-history book, Richard Alston is a key figure within British modern dance as well as one of the fathers of that...

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Forty years on

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Mark Steyn celebrates the work of William Hanna who died last week M y traditional Oscars review is suspended this year, and perhaps indefinitely, due to the general lameness...

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Matters of opinion

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Michael Vestey S unday Service on Radio Five Live is often an engaging listen, combining news and current affairs with jokey, quirky items, balancing the conflicting views of...

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Growing pains

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James Delingpole T he other day, we finally got digital TV. It's not as expensive as you'd think — on top of the £25 connection charge, it costs me about £20 a month, which is...

View from abroad

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Robin Oakley T here are worse places than Stockholm in which to spend a working weekend. At first when people shouted 'Hey!' at me on arrival, I reacted by looking round to see...

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The Bagel beckons

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Taki J New York ust before I left for the Big Bagel, Charlie Glass (known as the London Lothario since his appearance with Goldie Hawn and her daughter at the Bafta awards)...

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Humbler hacks

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Toby Young C aroline is cock-a-hoop. She's discovered that, according to the brand new definition of social class that's going to be used in the 2001 Census, she's much posher...

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A far worse threat

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Leanda de Lisle I have supped at the village of the damned — and it's making me feel a little queasy. My entire family has eaten meat from butchers in Queniborough linked to...

Past times

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Petronella Wyatt M y life is being packed away in boxes: papers, photographs, letters, even old school reports. You know what they say about dying — that pictures of every...

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I'VE decided to take myself out for a treat. No.

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it's not because I'm worth it. I've never known anyone less worth it than me, frankly. My diet? Going brilliantly, thanks for asking, although I've yet to lose any weight. No,...

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Buy a flat, not a pension

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Paul Humphreys on how property is the best hedge against poverty in old age THERE is an enigmatic smile on the face of Nicola Horlick as she surveys the teeming Tube platform...

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Rural hell

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Jonathan Ray property, you can always move to a smaller, cheaper home when you retire and pocket a pile of cash comparable to that produced by a pension. You can then choose...

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Hot property

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Mark Edmonds WITH the stock market in turmoil, could there be a better time to put your money into property? If you use your head, the risks are low, provided that you don't...

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How to spend £5 million

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Lloyd Evans I'M BEING stalked by an estate agent. He just won't leave me alone. A couple of weeks ago, posing as a lucky codicillionaire (the surprise beneficiary of a...

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Rentally deficient

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Mira Bar-Hiliel HERE is the good news: at the moment it is more expensive to rent prime property on Hong Kong Island and Manhattan's Upper East Side than it is in central...

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The joy of wrecks

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Ross Clark A FEW years ago an old cottage just down the road from where I was then living took my fancy. It wasn't the most attractive of houses: its thatched roof had been...

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Eight men in a boat

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Simon Barnes SENTIMENT is a right and proper part of living; sentimentality is invariably the gateway to illusion. It is sentiment if you like the company of your dog; it is...

Q. You once recommended the literary conference as an ideal

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hunting-ground for those in search of new romantic partners. Bearing this in mind, I have signed up for the one-day Anthony Powell Conference at Eton College on 23 April, which...

Q. I was surprised to read that Sir lain Moncreiffe

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and others of your aristocracy do not wash their hands when using a urinal. As do most Frenchmen, I always wash my hands before using a urinal. One cannot be sure what one's...

Q. I was intrigued to see that you endorse the

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view that no gentleman washes his hands after using a urinal. In view of the fact that Wandsworth Council is reported to have installed a ladies' urinal, and that there is a...