3 AUGUST 1996

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The Spectator

T he Court of Appeal confirmed the Home Secretary's powers to set tariffs for juveniles' prison sentences, but ruled that he 'departed from the standards of fair- ness' in...

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The Spectator

Hobbes, Rousseau, Michael Howard and the right to order BRUCE ANDERSON T here is no answer to the problem of punishing the Bulger murderers. They com- mitted an atrocious...

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D oes anyone know what I can do with the first act of an abandoned play, working title Hitting the Fan? It was to have been a dramatisation of the Alan Clark Diaries a sort of...

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Philip Hensher lists the similarities between the end of the 20th and of the 19th centuries. There is a craving for a new genius. Meanwhile, Damien Hirst is our Beardsley,...

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The Spectator

Michael Heath

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Mind your language

The Spectator

NOW, if you can tear your attention away from speculating about my age for a few minutes, spare a thought for the woes of wireless broadcasters. I don't mean the wickedness of...

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Milton Shulman punctures the tales told about the most famous postwar play, now aged 40 But in the summer of 1956 the play was admired as a splenetic spasm of rage by England's...

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Second opinion

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I ARRIVED in the hospital last week to find a new notice immediately inside the main entrance. It was signed by a man called the Complaints Manager, and he seemed to be touting...

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The Spectator

E.C. Hodgkin recalls his time on the Times, after Nasser seized the Suez Canal forty summers ago I RECALL two occasions when, as a jour- nalist, I heard people talking...

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. . . but it's not always done by those PR people, says Brian Basham — one of the original City PR men IN HER good and overdue article about how City pages are influenced by...

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A painful poke in the eye for some nasty left-wing Oxford dons PAUL JOHNSON T he donation of £20 million by Wafic Said to Oxford University to expand — in effect to transform...

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The taxman is neutral, so Sharon and Darren get down to a spot of research CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he scene is the stockroom of the Cen- tre for Policy Studies. Sharon and Darren...

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A grandson speaks

The Spectator

Sir: Poor Alistair Forbes! Most people grow mellow with the passage of time but in his case, as is evident from the disjointed ramble that passes for a book review (27 July),...


The Spectator

Loquacious apes Sir: Most of the points raised by Claudia Parsons (`The wrongs of rights') and Victo- ria Elliot (`Sheep may not safely graze') in your issue of 27 July might...

Sir: Dominic Prince is right to say that a disproportionately

The Spectator

large amount of money goes to charities which have enough already, compared with unfashionable char- ities. For example, although of the cancers prostate cancer is now the...

Charitable behaviour

The Spectator

Sir: I was very concerned to read Dominic Prince's article about royal patronage and charities (`The truth about the loss of royal- ties', 27 July). I will set the record...

A case in point

The Spectator

Sir: In reply to Nicholas Kenyon's letter (20 July), I am not sure where my disingenu- ousness may be said to lie. I was making a general point about the BBC monopoly, which it...

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Of monks and nightingales

The Spectator

Sir: It is agreeable to say that Father Daly and Taki are both right up to a point about La Badia, near Orvieto (Letters, 27 July). The ancient Abbey of Ss Severn and Martirio...

British courtesy

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Sir: May I mildly protest at Mr Lawrence Rickard's statement in his letter (13 July) that not since he was a young man has he seen a young person offer an elderly person a seat...

Rights issues

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Sir: Paul Johnson (And another thing, 6 July) claims that 'we have to overthrow the doctrine of universal rights. . . . Only God has rights'. But Paul Johnson surely does not...

Safety in tumblers

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Sir: I hope I am never invited to join Anne McElvoy on one of her modest picnics, for when she serves me wine in a long- stemmed glass, as her article (Wine and food, 13 July)...

Not the good old days

The Spectator

Sir: Alan Watkins (Wine and food, 13 July) is puzzled that he was able to drink Chablis, Vosne-Romande and other such bur- gundies for strangely little money at El Vino in the...


The Spectator

Sir: I am surprised that Patrick Higgins denies that the Butterfield archive contains evidence that Sir Herbert Butterfield visit- ed prostitutes (Letters, 6 July). Some years...

Infinitely refined

The Spectator

Sir: I can confidently assert, as one of the literary executors of Nancy Astor, that nei- ther version of the quip about the tango can be ascribed to her (Leader, 1 June and...

Fit for a prince

The Spectator

Sir: As the aunt of a real-life Sharon Queen (`Be a constitutional expert', 20 July) might I say that the Prince of Wales could do much worse than to consort with a real woman...


The Spectator

Sir: Regarding Aldeburgh town council's preference for a birdbath to a statue of Benjamin Britten (Leader, 27 July), it might have helped the composer's cause if he had kept a...

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The Spectator

The women come and go Mary Warnock SOMERVILLE FOR WOMEN: AN OXFORD COLLEGE, 1879-1993 by Pauline Adams OUP, £40, £17.99, pp. 394 P auline Adams is Librarian and Archivist of...

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Bat out of heaven

The Spectator

Roy Jenkins BRADMAN by Charles Williams Little, Brown, £20, pp. 336 I have only once previously reviewed a book about games-playing, and that was also in The Spectator. It was...

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Rapture on the lonely shore

The Spectator

Anita Brookner THE STORIES OF VLADIMIR NABOKOV edited by Dmitri Nabokov Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 663 T his handsome volume reprints all of the stories in Nabokov's four collections,...

They do care too much for money

The Spectator

Fiona Maddocks WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS by Norman Lebrecht Simon & Schuster, £16.99, pp. 455 N a average scoop-crazed journalist would choose classical music as a subject on which...

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Just like a woman

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Main de Botton LOST PRINCE: THE UNSOLVED MYSTERY OF KASPAR HAUSER by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Simon & Schuster, f16.99, pp. 254 I n Nuremberg in 1828, there appeared a...

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Dangerous at the time

The Spectator

Richard Dorment ABOUT MODERN ART: CRITICAL ESSAYS, 1948-96 by David Sylvester Chatto, f25, pp. 448 A bout modern art? I suppose you can call Brancusi, Lkger, Matisse and...

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It'll never be the same again

The Spectator

Raymond Carr SPANISH HOURS by Simon Courtauld Libra Mundi, £16.95, pp. 192 `S pain', the tourist slogan of the 1960s proclaimed, 'is different.' Its unique qualities as a...

Watches of the night

The Spectator

James Teacher LONGITUDE: THE TRUE STORY OF A LONE GENIUS WHO SOLVED THE GREATEST SCIENTIFIC PROBLEM OF HIS TIME by Dava Sobel Fourth Estate, £12, pp. 176 n 22 October 1707...

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Composed, solitary and observant

The Spectator

Frances Partridge THE COLLECTED LETTERS OF KATHERINE MANSFIELD: VOLUME IV, 1920-1921 edited by Vincent O'Sullivan and Margaret Scott Clarendon, £45, pp. 362 I t would be...

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Apprehension of the

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good Tim Parks HISTORY AND UTOPIA by E. M. Cioran, translated from the French by Richard Howard Quartet, £7, pp. 118 W hatever his qualities,' writes E. M. Cioran, opening an...

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Images and language of the time Barry Millington responds to last week's article about Wagner and anti-Semitism here are the Jews in his works?' asks Michael Tanner with...

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Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, till 18 August, and at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, from 21 Sept till 12 Jan 1997) A rollicking good...

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Royal Ballet Mixed Bill (Royal Opera House) Sheer pleasure Giannandrea Poesio A n all-star cast performing an evening of bravura dances is every balletomane's ultimate dream....

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Theatre Voyeurz (Whitehall)

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Promises Promises (Bridewell) The Lights (Royal Court) Here we go again Sheridan Morley L ike the Habsburgs, producer Michael White forgets nothing and learns nothing; 30...

Cinema La Regis du Jeu (PG, Riverside Studios)

The Spectator

Denise Calls Up (15, selected cinemas) Crossed lines Mark Steyn F or anyone seeking shelter from Twister and the other summer smasheroos, the best bet is revivals. I can...

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Pop music

The Spectator

Take the money Marcus Berkmann T here's nothing like a good short-list to stir the blood. The nominations for this year's Mercury Music Prize for the best British album are as...

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The Spectator

Sporting mania Simon Hoggart T hank goodness the athletics is under- way. The first week of an Olympics is devoted to the sports nobody enjoys except the participants. (Polo...

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The Spectator

Rude talk Michael Vestey P oor old Brenda, the farmer's wife from Warwickshire. She made the mistake of telephoning an awful drip called Tommy Boyd on Talk Radio UK's daily...

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The turf

The Spectator

We'll miss you Robin Oakley T he blues composer W.C. Handy once observed, 'It may well be that true riches are laid up in Heaven. But it's sure nice to have a little pocket...

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High life

The Spectator

Going for gold Taki Gstaad Just before he left for Atlanta and the masking agent games, I had a drink with ICing Constantine of Greece, and he expressed his concern about the...


The Spectator

What a swing! Andrew Robson AN 'advance sacrifice' is an effective strat- egy whereby a player with excellent sup- port for partner but a weak hand makes a spectacular jump in...

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Aubergine and La Tante Claire • .

The Spectator

THERE MAY be no such thing as a free lunch, but it is certainly a less expensive meal than dinner, especially if taken in one of London's gastronomic pinnacles. Take those two...

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The Spectator

• UNITED KINGDOM • THE PHEASANT INN Bassenthwaite Lake, Nr Cockermouth, Cumbria Quiet situation between forest and lake. 20 Bedrooms with private facilities. NO television or...

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The Spectator

ISLE OF i U RA 111..1 StllICII IOW COMPETITION Point of departure Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1943 you were invited to take the first line of any popular lyric since 1930...


The Spectator

IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN •T HE•STRAND CHESS Rois fainéants Raymond Keene DURING THE PERIOD of Soviet domi- nation of world chess from 1948, when Botvinnik won the title,...

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The Spectator

A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1989 Port for the first correct solution opened on 19 Au g ust, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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The Spectator

The quest for flight Simon Barnes I HAVE a theory that all non-confronta- tional sports are about one thing — flight. I once dined with an ex-gymnast who told me she dreamed...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . . Q. Someone rather glamorous has invited Me to stay in Scotland this month. I accepted With the proviso that I would have to leave on a certain day in order to...