3 JANUARY 1998

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Happy New Labour! MR DAVID Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Employment and Education, who is blind, said, in a letter to Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, which was leaked...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 A FEMINIST FOOTNOTE W hen the definitive social history of late 20th-century...

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Playing on the deeper strata of the broad masses' emotions BRUCE ANDERSON T his is the time of year when columnists try to foresee the future. This year, that is a problem,...

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I hate New Year's Eve: it is the worst example of what I call the National Days of Compulsion. I usually spend it alone in the countryside with my parents and go to bed early....

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Why the fame of anonymity is the greatest fame of all MATTHEW PARRIS N ot many years ago the obituary appeared in the Independent of the late Mr Douglas Scott. Scott was the...

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Edward Heathcoat Amory explains who made money out of you over the holiday `IT MUST be Christmas time,' wails an unidentified festive crooner over the Ham- ley's sound system,...

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Six months after the handover, Michael Sheridan argues that the real Chinese threat to Hong Kong is revolution not repression Hong Kong THERE is a Chinese saying which...

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Roy Jenkins commemorates Stanley Baldwin, the 50th anniversary of whose death passed almost unnoticed just before Christmas OF ALL the 51 prime ministers — 50 men and one...

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Mind your language

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THE winner of the Turner Prize for 1997 had made a video of some ranks of policemen standing stock-still for an hour. My less realistic ideal for 1998 would be for the...

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Simon Courtauld uncovers evidence that Laurie Lee, contrary to the latter's autobiography, never fought in the Spanish Civil War SIXTY years ago this month, the British...

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Keeping one's friendship in constant repair requires work but is worth it PAUL JOHNSON W hen I look over my diary at the end of each year, I always bear in mind Dr Johnson's...

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Sir: The quicker Richard Branson (Leader, 13 December) sells Virgin Railways and moves on the better. The last two occasions my wife has had the misfortune to use his wretched...

LETTERS Rare invitations

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Sir: I refer to your article on 6 December (Media studies) about the warrant which Wiltshire Constabulary executed at the vicarage at Donhead St Mary. You talk about the...

Counting the dead

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Sir: Count Nikolai Tolstoy is evidently as unlucky with his 17th-century history as he is with his 20th (Letters, 13 December). Monmouth's army never numbered '13,500 foot and...

Honest John?

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Sir: I do not wish to kick a man when he's down, but the headline, 'I've been vindicated' (20/27 December) covering Petronella Wyatt's interview with 'honest John' is totally at...

Up both yours

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Sir: Please kindly advise Teresa Gorman (`Water, water everywhere', 13 December) that many of the toilets in Japan do indeed have a hot-air dryer. And it doesn't stop there!...


The Spectator

12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £93.00 0 £47.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £104.00 0 £52.00 USA Airspeed Li US$151 0 US$76 Rest of) Airmail 0 £115.00 0 £58.00 World J Airspeed ... .0...

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1998 may be the year in which the 'red tops' have their sales skimmed STEPHEN GLOVER I n one respect newspapers have never had it so good. Advertising revenue has been booming...

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Those of us without enemies don't deserve friends PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE A ... lovely man who went through life without making any enemies.' This is how a preparatory school...

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Running wild with the ball Philip Hensher UNDERWORLD by Don DeLillo Picador, £18, pp. 827 T o be blunt, most English readers will have some difficulties with the tone and...

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An Indian with a triple first

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William Dalrymple THE TRAVELS OF DEAN MAHOMET: AN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY JOURNEY THROUGH INDIA edited by Michael H. Fisher University of California Press, £35, £13.95, pp. 229 I n...

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New light on an old master

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Jonathan Keates CORREGGIO by David Ekserdjian Yale, £45, pp. 334 C orreggio is a small town in the province of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, one of those delightfully neat,...

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The Party's over now

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David Caute LITERATURE OR LIFE by Jorge Semprun Viking £16.99, pp. 320 K rematorium ausmachen!' the SS Sturmfiihrer bellowed over the loud- speakers in the middle of the night,...

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After music, silence

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Norman Lebrecht SIBELIUS, VOLUME III, 1914-1957 by Erik Tawastjerna, translated by Robert Layton Faber, £30, pp. 347 I n the low-slung city of Helsinki, there is a restaurant on...

The end of oral history

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Anthony Rouse JOE GOULD'S SECRET by Joseph Mitchell Cape, £9.99, pp. 186 T his very good, sad and funny book is composed of two profiles of a quite dread- ful Greenwich village...

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What is gained in interpretation

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James Treadwell A DIRECTOR CALLS by Wendy Lesser Faber, £9.99, pp. 257 by Wendy Lesser Faber, £9.99, pp. 257 A udiences are no longer frightened by the mere mention of...

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All the books reviewed here are available from THE SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Underworld (Picador) by Don DeLille is published on 9 January and will be available for the special price...

The old story served fresh

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David Irvine THE ULTIMATE INTIMACY by Ivan Klima Granta, £12.99, pp. 387 I n his novel, Love and Garbage, Klima's narrator says on the subject of writing: I still believe that...

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We are exiles from our fathers' land

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Said K. Aburish ARMED STRUGGLE AND THE SEARCH FOR STATE by Yezid Sayigh OUP, f70, pp. 909 E xcept for the partisan historian or journalist, the century-old Arab-Israeli...

My palace for a gorgeous hermitage

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Evelyn Joll THE HERMITAGE by Geraldine Norman Cape, f20, pp. 386 T he recent addition to the Louvre has made it the largest museum in the world, but the Hermitage has plans for...

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A steady, rewarding gaze

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David Profumo A lthough his work comes garlanded with enviable accolades from fellow Ameri- can authors — 'Brilliant. Sentence for sen- tence Salter is the master', Richard...

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Prize-winning novels from France

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Anita Brookner W ith an extraordinary effect of unanimity several of this autumn's novels deal with the troubled period of the Occupation and the Vichy government: Francois...

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1998 Diary and Wallet The Spectator 1998 Diary, bound in soft dark navy blue leather, is now available and at the same prices as last year. Laid out with a whole week to view,...

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To see or to be seen? B ecause we are a nation of envious prigs, philistines and snobs, with a press to match, and because 'opera' is the hate- word of the hour, the only opera...

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Winners and dogs Martin Gayford 0 ne of the pleasures of the New Year, or, in some cases, anxieties, is perusing the programmes of forthcoming exhibitions. In advance, the...

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Elisabetta (Royal Opera, Festival Hall) Imbecilic, I'm afraid Michael Tanner I t was a coup for the Royal Opera to be able to put on, even if only in concert form, a recently...

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Cruel cuts Sheridan Morley R ight then, let us just survey the battle- field, and this at the end of a year which I remind you brought us a supposedly arts- friendly...


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Starship Troopers (15, selected cinemas) The Wings of the Dove (15, selected cinemas) Who needs actors? Mark Steyn W hat does the future hold for motion pictures? Not in 1998...

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Was anyone listening? Michael Vestey I have often recorded the sound of gun- fire at various trouble spots only to play it back and discover it sounded like someone spitting,...

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Not motoring

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Against the God juggernaut Gavin Stamp Alas, I never met or corresponded with John Harvey — so it is exasperating that he is gone as there is much I should now like to ask...


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Suicide postponed James Delingpole T he plan this week was to make things easy for myself by reviewing the year's best television. It failed dismally. First, I found myself...

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The turf

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Punter prejudice Robin Oakley W hen Jeffrey Bernard once compli- mented Fred Winter on how well his hors- es looked, the maestro's response was, `Well, Jeffrey, they don't...

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High life

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We've had it Taki Ar Gstaad riving in Gstaad after three months in the Bagel means instant culture shock. Let's face it, I may love Americans but manners is not their strong...

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Country life

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It's getting worse Leanda de Lisle The decision was made four years ago when the eldest one went off to school. He was — and is — small for his age. They all are. 'It's Snow...


The Spectator

Sure fire Andrew Robson THE first Mind Sports Olympiad held in August in the Royal Festival Hall was a great success, but not from a bridge play- er's perspective. Only 40...

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CHESTER Boyd, the caterers, and the Worshipful Company of Butchers

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deserve great praise for their initiative on the eve of Dr Cunningham's ludicrous ban on the sale of beef on the bone. Interested parties, including myself, were invited to...

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• :„,,, i SIN4LE YIP R 5 01[11.11191 COMPETITION i ISLE OF i u RA S. if VAC ■ Ol. r M MH1$0 Black Xmas Jaspistos IN COMPETITION No. 2014 you were invited to supply a...


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Ringing in Raymond Keene I KICK OFF the new year with two games which caught my eye from last year's tour- nament crop but for which no convenient opportunity for publication...

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1343: One over the eight by Ascot A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 19 January, with two...

No. 2017: Apology

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With this as a title, you are invited to incor- porate the following 17 words consecutive- ly and entertainingly either in a piece of blank verse, the words being used at the...

Solution to 1340: Bob maximus

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1 E 2 M11 3 0111 4 EIV6191 7 1q M S G 'HO Intik ©Q1. 111 p Mr1.1 AM Aver . ioc,ET. i tinerria 0r irmre one T Zu ifilINVOR !ARCH 11 I N anon Ill an incur jM...

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Falling West Indies Simon Barnes I SHALL never quite forget the hideous moment when my laptop broke down in Antigua. Instead of filing my copy silently along the wires by...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . Q. At a recent charity dinner we sat at a large round table with my wife directly opposite me, between our host and the guest of honour. Halfway through dinner I...