31 OCTOBER 1998

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Night falls on Clapham Common M r Ron Davies, the Secretary of State for Wales, resigned because he said he had made 'a serious lapse of judgement' in accepting a lift from a...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 WHY HE RESIGNED N o more euphemisms. Enough eva- sions. Ron Davies has resigned,...

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Mr Hague must get a grip, and he has one winter in which to do it BRUCE ANDERSON By the end of last week, a fierce little turf war had broken out between the Home Office and...

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T he Parliamentary buckets and spades season is over and we are all back for at least three weeks. There is something about the fir§t day which reminds me irresistibly of going...

Classifieds — pages 76-78

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He's in his eighties. Whatever he did, let him go home FRANK JOHNSON M r Bruce Anderson, of this magazine, has attained heroic status by having wine thrown over him at a party...

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. . . including his private life. Robert Taylor on the two biographies being written of New Labour's Great Intriguer — and the two biographers PETER MANDELSON is the man with...

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Andrew Gimson on Oskar Lafontaine, the only one strong enough to destroy the euro (unintentionally) Berlin THERE IS nothing pallid about Oskar Lafontaine's appetite. The new...

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Jonathan Aitken says farewell to Nicholas Budgen who died at 60 this week I've had a pretty good life. A bit dowdy and provincial compared to yours, but then I've hunted in...

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A claque is trying to 'prettify' Mrs Parker Bowles, says Graham Turner, and the Queen will have none of it FASCINATING though the titbits of gos- sip in Penny Junor's new...

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Mark Steyn says the Republicans will make Congressional gains despite their Washington leaders New Hampshire IT'S BEEN, as they say, 'politics as usual'. In New York,...

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Hugh Levinson on the favourite leisure activity of Japanese men — and increasingly of women THE PROFESSOR — an expert in medi- aeval Welsh literature — darted his chop- sticks...

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Mind your language

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MY HUSBAND goes into a sort of zombie state in shops at the best of times. This is not the best of times, it being practically Christmas Eve in shopping terms. The shops all...

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It's when politicians' beliefs are broadly THE LAST ten years have seen the politi- cal triumph of what might be called 'bour- geois-capitalist' ideas. All the main parties now...

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Michael Heath


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Nicholas Boys Smith on the perhaps surprising identity of the first British party to advocate proportional representation AS the world digests the surprising news that Lord...

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Second opinion

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I HAVE reached an age when I prefer reading about experience to experience itself. Alas, so busy am I in my daily life that my only opportunity for uninterrupt- ed reading is on...

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History's last successful cavalry charge was much more recent than the British think, says Nicholas Farrell WE ARE often told by British historians that the last successful...

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Michael Vestey thinks he might have had a part in General Pinochet's aid to Britain in the Falklands war PURELY by chance, I was involved in one example of General Pinochet's...

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Up among the Yorkshire monks who pray for their enemies PAUL JOHNSON I t is a tempting thought to retire toa monastery, and shut a heavy, oaken door in the face of the corrupt...

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See the sparks

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STILL, if that gives her trouble, it is noth- ing to the trouble facing Europe's new cen- tral bank. There it is, all ready (well, nearly ready) to roll out a brand-new currency...

Pass the parcel

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BLAME at such times gets passed from hand to hand like a game of pass the parcel. The Treasury's instinct is always to pass it to the Bank of England. We do hope, says the Chief...

Word of mouth

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A MINOR triumph this week when . I addressed a Russian delegation to the C ity of London. They asked what the mood had been like at the IMF meeting. It was full of bankers, I...


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He must have thought that if the Tories could run the economy, anyone could CHRISTOPHER FILDES I tend to lose count of Gordon Brown's budgets and budgettes, but I make next...

Hush on the Close

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ONE OF the pleasures of my work was to watch Nigel Lawson at the wicket, facing the bowling of the House of Commons Treasury Committee. Brian Sedgemore hurled bouncers at him...

Polling the don't-knows

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IN HOLLYWOOD you know business is bad when they start firing the sons-in-law. With the banks, it's the bosses, Bank of America's being the latest. Resourceful as ever in finding...

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Not guilty

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Richard Lamb (Letters, 24 October) d oes not tell us what would have stopped German forces from capturing airfields in Prance and the Low Countries for a Blitz ° n this country...

Sir: Richard Lamb reminds me that Hitler seldom spoke the

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truth. But Hitler's 1945 views about Munich were neither truth nor lies — merely opinion. And with the benefit of hindsight. The entire case against Munich rests upon a number...

Sir: Anyone else but the Queen, whose nationality was so

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constantly misrepresent- ed, would complain to the Race Relations hoard. Why should she be called German? George II, born in Hanover in 1683, was the last of our monarchs not...

Mellow men

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Sir: How right Matthew Pan - is is (Another voice, 24 October). It always seems to me unjustifiably high-principled when politicians are criticised for making U-turns. I remem-...

LETTERS Unifying influence

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Sir: Talk of a Scottish republic (Not so bonny Prince Charlie', 24 October) suggests wider questions. The Tory as defined by Dr Johnson was `one who adhered to the ancient...

Dog eats dog

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Sir: Stephen Glover, in his fourth column on the Guardian in as many weeks (Media studies, 24 October), has decided we are not crooks. We are grateful. It is certainly an...

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Sir: I was encouraged to read Stephen Glover's critique of

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my new book about the cash for questions affair, Trial by Conspira- cy. Indeed, I am very grateful for his posi- tive interest. Yet Mr Glover does not accept the findings of my...

True love

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Sir: The combined devotion of Ike and his wartime English driver Kay Summersby (Letters, 24 October) was the talk of Lon- don that even Pam Harriman couldn't equal, but no one...

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Were Radio Four's Mr Boyle a newspaper editor, he'd be sacked by now STEPHEN GLOVER Six months ago James Boyle, the new controller of Radio Four, introduced far- reaching...

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A craving for colour Philip Hensher THE UNKNOWN MATISSE by Hilary Spurling Hamish Hamilton, £25, pp. 480 h e elevation of Matisse to one of the two or three top positions in...

All books reviewed in The Spectator are available through THE

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SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Tel: 0541 557 288

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The Bob Hope of mathematics

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Anthony Gottlieb A nong the many ancient legends about Pythagoras is the story that he was sometimes in two places at once. Paul Erdos, a Hungarian mathematician who died in...

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The price the goose pays

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John Boyden JACQUELINE DU PRE by Elizabeth Wilson Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 466 T his book has a shape not unlike that of the concerto most associated with Jacqueline du Pre. In...

The lighter side of sabotage

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Anthony Rouse BETWEEN SILK AND CYANIDE by Leo Marks HarperCollins, £19.99, pp. 600 A major wartime scandal lies at the heart of Leo Marks's entertaining account of his time in...

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After protracted labour, a birth

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John Bowen FOR KINGS AND PLANETS by Ethan Canin Bloomsbury, £15.99, pp. 335 T he bed of a frozen creek in Missouri: `The wind has blown the snow into the ice, then blown waves...

Both tribute and reckoning

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Kate Hubbard G eoffrey Kendal's parting words to his daughter leaving India to try her luck as an actress in England, having spent the first 18 years of her life on tour with...

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Hitched to a malign star

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Benjamin Yarde-Buller I MARRIED A COMMUNIST by Philip Roth Cape, f16.99, pp. 323 P hilip Roth's latest novel is a complex and many-shaded work, a reality belied by the crude...

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Inspiring an unholy greed

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Victoria Clarke HOW TO EAT: THE PLEASURES AND PRINCIPLES OF GOOD FOOD by Nigella Lawson Chatto, £25, pp. 473 I know not whether it is a sign of age or greed, but as each copy...

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All fortune cookies to him

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Michael Hulse DAMASCUS GATE by Robert Stone Picador, £16.99, pp. 500 T his new novel by the author of Dog Soldiers is so unsatisfying that the enthusi- asm with which it has...

Words and silences

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William Scammell VARIOUS VOICES by Harold Pinter Faber, £16.99, pp. 205 H arold Pinter is far and away our greatest living playwright. What the plays tell us is that wherever...


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(52 issues) 12 Months 6 Months (26 issues) UK 0 £97.00 0 £49.00 Europe 0 £109.00 0 £55.00 USA 0 US$161 0 US$82 Australia 0 Aus$225 0 Aus$113 Rest of World 0 £119.00 0 £60.00...

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BooksoftheWeek How to Eat by Nigella Lawson 'I love Nigella Lawson's writing and I love her recipes.' Delia Smith 'I do believe that Nigella Lawson may have come up with the...

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A heroine who declines

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Anita Brookner THE SERVICE OF CLOUDS by Susan Hill Chatto, £15.99, pp. 271 by Susan Hill Chatto, £15.99, pp. 271 T his is an unusual novel, not quite of our time or place, as...

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The art of bathos

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I n the days when masques were all the rage at the Stuart court before the civil war, with their graceful articulations of bien - pensant propaganda from deities in designer...

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Bureaucrats and busybodies Peter Gill responds to the Culture Secretary's consultation paper on investment in the arts W hen in the 1970s I was the director of Riverside...

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A bold pairing

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T o Southwark Cathedral where Chaucer, Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Goldsmith and Bun- yan are all commemorated. A fairly literary spot then, but chosen in...

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Exhibitions 1

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Addressing the Century (Hayward Gallery, till 11 January) Just looking Martin Gayford I t is only shallow people,' as Oscar Wilde noted, 'who do not judge by appear- ances.'...

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Exhibitions 2

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Bathers (New York Studio School, till 14 November) Shocking practices Roger Kimball P erhaps the most subversive art institu- tion in New York City these days is located at 8...

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Urban treasure

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The Museum of London was relaunched this week. Felicity Owen reports O n the south-west highwalk of the Barbican above St Martins le Grand stands an ungainly building like a...

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Antony and Cleopatra (National) Amadeus (Old Vic) Jackie (Queens) Back to zero Sheridan Morley G iven how much is wrong with the National's new Antony and Cleopatra, it...

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Primary Colors (15, selected cinemas) Fading interest Mark Steyn Primary Colors opened in America a few • weeks after Monica hit the front pages in what was frankly a crowded...


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Portrait of Antwerp Robin Holloway M usic can't paint a picture or take a photograph, and the term 'picture post- card' is commonly used derogatively, implying cheap, small,...

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The Bartered Bride; II Re Pastore; Don Carlos (Opera North, Manchester) Northern lights Michael Tanner A fter Welsh National Opera in Swansea, Opera North in Manchester, the...

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DIARY 1999 14 Plain £15 Initialled The Spectator 1999 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the...

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Javier De Frutos (Queen Elizabeth Hall) A step further Giannandrea Poesio T he subtle eroticism embedded in the music of Swan Lake is one of the reasons for many new readings...

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Do as you're told Michael Vestey T he controller of Radio Four James Boyle is coming in for some heavy criticism about the changes he has made to his net- work. He has...

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In with the bad crowd Edward Heathcoat Amory T elevision is modern, it's popular, it's classless, it's Cool Britannia's chosen medi- um, bringing princesses and prime minis-...

The turf

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Yellow fever Robin Oakley I t's not quite as famous yet as Jack Berry's habitual red shirt in the parade ring. But when you see Roger Ingram on the course in his lucky yellow...

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High life

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Rural idyll Taki course, a German from Saxony, Schoen- burg country.) Oscar is the famous designer and a friend for 35 years. Anette and the mother of my children grew up...

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Country life

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Doctor's dilemma Leanda de Lisle A rural GP might once have expected to be at the heart of a close-knit communi- ty, but now it's like working in the after- math of war. No...

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Singular life

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All of a tremble Petronella Wyatt I t is one thing to keep a diary. It is one thing to sell that diary to Macmillan for publication after one's death. It is one thing to...


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Null and void Andrew Robson TOURNAMENTS with large prizes have the merit of attracting the best players, and the atmosphere is invariably highly charged. But perhaps such a...

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Obviously he has to be stopped. There are quite enough

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incompetent cooks already inflicting unpleasant and some- times downright dangerous dishes on their families and any dinner guests silly enough to accept their invitations. I...

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Alice Thomson HOW DO you write restaurant reviews without ending up as fat as a quail stuffed with foie gras and white truffles? The answer is Sharon. She first came to my res-...

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Another adventure Jaspistos IN COMPETITION No. 2057 you were invited to suppose that, besides Humpty Dumpty, Alice met another nursery rhyme character in Wonderland and to...


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Following the leader Raymond Keene LAST week I gave the game Nimzowitsch- Rubinstein, Berlin 1928 and promised to follow up with two more modern examples. The beauty of...

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w. &J GRAHAM'S PORT w. a.l . GRAHAM'S PORT CROSSWORD A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 16 November,...

Solution to 1383: Like me

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ii:, II Id nli Ad ill di cpmeirier, el% 'N LA Uri i N mon arAila 0 rim s dRerlDrils menu drinelleimi 1I©11 L R N dill Fr A C A U In 11 ii NripL u drio....ecsrido,...

No. 2060: La difference

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The differences between men and women, whether due to nature or nurture, are gen- erally acknowledged, though sometimes exp- ressed in irritatingly stereotyped ways. You are...

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Prize formula Simon Barnes THE FORMULA One motor-racing sea- son roars to its conclusion in Japan this weekend and the world's attention centres once again on Michael...


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Q : My mother, my siblin g s, and old family friends from my childhood have always called me 'Tommy' and I have learned to live with that. But since I reached the a g e of 13,...