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The Spectator

All dressed up and nowhere to go T he IRA has announced 'an uncondi- tional and open-ended ceasefire' from mid- night on 31 August. Mr John Major, the Prime Minister, said, 'We...

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The Spectator

SPECTATOR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 ULSTER STRIP-TEASE W hat I want is Facts.' Mr Grad- grind's...

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The Spectator

STEVE JONES A ccording to the Two Cultures crew, scientists are illiterate. They must be, to balance the literati's ignorance of science. A glance at any scientific journal...

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The Spectator

Is she bonkers, or does she bonk? AUBERON WAUGH What impressed me most about the stu- dio audience was its open-mindedness. It seemed almost unanimous in its approval of the...

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The Spectator

Despite Concorde and the Channel Tunnel, Charles Powell finds that there is still a gulf of incomprehension between France and Britain In fact it was the dawg that done it: an...

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The Spectator

John Simpson reflects on how Colonel Gaddafi has managed to hold on to power in Libya for 25 years IT WAS in a Bedouin tent at Waddam in the Libyan desert that I first...

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The Spectator

Tabitha Troughton says that western sceptics are right to believe that the Russians are manipulating the war in Abkhazia Sukhumi WHEN EVEN a country's graffiti are poignant,...

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If symptoms

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persist. . . I HESITATE to pen anything resem- bling a cliché, but the trouble with chil- dren these days really is that they have no discipline. The irrefutable truth of this...

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The Spectator

Chris Cviic believes that the Habsburg Empire was fundamentally decent and has been misunderstood STRICTLY SPEAKING, I never was a subject of the Habsburg Empire. But my...

Mind your language

The Spectator

'WHY'S THERE so much post?' my husband asked. 'Oh it's all those board-school pedants complaining about me using (or "my using" as they'd say) like conjunc- tively as in: "It...

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The Spectator

Continuing our series on English counties, Ross Clark explains why a tiny island in the South Atlantic is determined to become one IN AN AGE when Australians feel they can...

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The Spectator

Ben Pimlott finds historical patterns to explain the Government's continuing unpopularity A 33.5 PER CENT lead in the opinion polls must be a lovely thing to read about...

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The Spectator

On the 55th anniversary of the outbreak of a prewar childhood in Wey bridge, Surrey INSIDE `South Lodge' was a large Burmese gong, beaten gently (except when I or one of my...

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One hundred years ago

The Spectator

THE COUNCIL of the Colonial Insti- tute have petitioned the Queen that "one day in the year shall be set apart for universal national celebration" throughout the Empire. Lord...

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The Spectator

A still, small voice raised above the bubble of the test-tubes in the stinks lab PAUL JOHNSON R ecently a stinks don from New Col- lege, Oxford, has taken upon himself to...

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The Spectator

You have to make allowances for your MP it's better than paying him CHRISTOPHER FILDES O n a flying visit to Tuscany over the weekend, I was able to bring Sir Oran Haut-Ton MP...

The plot thickens

The Spectator

THINGS ARE moving fast in my projected airport novel, Names Later, Old Boy. You may remember that the hero is a nobleman who buys a million shares in Lloyd's of London, and...

Body blow

The Spectator

SOME OF HER aromatic unguents — deeply nourishing, environmentally friendly and banana flavoured — would no doubt calm me down, but I have never found myself soothed by Anita...

Money down the drain

The Spectator

I WONDERED what else Sir Oran had been able to prize out of his position, but with a gulp at his negroni he swept on. 'Fact-finding missions,' he said. 'All-party study groups....

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The Spectator

SUBSCRIBE TODAY RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK D £80.00 O £41.00 Europe (airmail) 0 191.00 O £46.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$130 • US$66.00 USA Airmail:1 US$175 O US$88 Rest of Airmail...

LETTERS On social workers

The Spectator

Sir: I read Alasdair Palmer's piece with a familiar sense of horror (`Get the baby, go and get the baby, 6 August). I don't think most people in England realise that politi-...

Mad dogs

The Spectator

Sir: I was glad to see that Ross Clark is foaming with rage at Britain's quarantine laws. I am too — and a host of others employed abroad. As a dog-owner of some 25 years'...

Sir: I have just read the article on rabies and

The Spectator

the quarantine system (Mad dogs and Englishmen', 20 August). It has resolved me to try and change the dietary habits of a nation, to modestly propose that a cam- paign be...

Sir: As usual with the media, Alasdair Palmer's article gives

The Spectator

a totally one-sided, unfair view. Journalists and reporters are forever out to portray social workers as the big bad bully boys, and never miss a chance to knock the Social...

Remembering squalor

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Sir: I read with growing wonderment how great the improvement in the 'quality of life' in Britain has been since the late 1970s ('We really haven't ever had it so good', 13...

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Saintly signalmen

The Spectator

Sir: Your leader of 20 August is less than Just to the signalmen. You dismiss the work as lacking stress and requiring, at most, 11 weeks' training. In fact, it is very...

An ill wind . . .

The Spectator

Sir: In the matter of former President Ford's alleged affliction (Letters, 20 August), I should point out that a lack of facility in the simultaneous farting and gum-chewing...

A sad fact

The Spectator

Sir: Nigella Lawson in her review (Televi- sion, 27 August) displays crass ignorance. How dare she aver that the transsexual's conviction of being in 'the wrong body' is a...

Diesel recipes

The Spectator

Sir: Professor Steve Jones's rendition of a recipe for chicken flambeed in diesel (Diary, 27 August), ostensibly donated by an inmate of Her Majesty's Prison, Parkhurst,...

LETTERS Polish practices

The Spectator

Sir: Regarding the article 'No sex please, we're married' (20 August), a Polish friend tells me that it is a widely held view in her country that if a normal, happy married...

Facial challenges

The Spectator

Sir: P. D. James's remark (Diary, 30 July) that for new young novelists 'good looks are regarded as an asset on the publicity trail' is alas not wholly true; for one thing, most...

Curse of Salieri

The Spectator

Sir: Oh dear! A computer virus seems to have infected The Spectator's typogra- phers or is it the malevolent shadow of Salieri? The advertisement in last week's issue announcing...

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The Spectator

The Downland churches that disturb us unbelievers SIMON JENKINS H ead north-east from Portsmouth on the back road to Midhurst and within ten miles you are lost in the western...

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The Spectator

Under western eyes Auberon Waugh THE LIFE OF GRAHAM GREENE VOLUME TWO 1939 - 1955 by Norman Sherry Jonathan Cape, £20, pp. 549 G raham Greene was the sweetest, gen- tlest,...

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Life's the thing

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier VIRGINIA WOOLF by James King Hamish Hamilton, £25, pp. 699 I cannot claim that Virginia Woolf dan- dled me in my swaddling clothes, but she could have done. On my...

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Disappearances can be deceptive

The Spectator

Francis King IN TENNESSEE COUNTRY by Peter Taylor Chatto & Windus, £14.99, pp. 226 I n essence, this novel is an account of an obsession. As a small boy in the period of the...

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Appearances to the contrary

The Spectator

Anita Brookner GOING INTO A DARK HOUSE by Jane Gardam Sinclair-Stevenson, £12.99, pp. 183 t is pleasant to report that Jane Gardam's stories are as good as ever, neither...

On the rocks

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Tim Parks SIGNALS OF DISTRESS by Jim Crace Viking, £15, pp 247 L 'terary novelists seem obsessed with history these days — Byatt, Ackyoyd, Antis, Phillips, McEwan, Ondaatje, De...

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It's tough in the middle

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Anne Chisholm FEAR OF FIFTY: A MIDLIFE MEMOIR by Erica Jong Chatto & Windus, £16, pp. 390 I t is 20 years since Erica Jong published Fear of Flying, and became rich and famous...

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Sea Sonnet

The Spectator

The sea is made of ponds — a cairn of rain. It has an island flirting up and down like a blue hat. A boat goes in between. Is made of rills and springs — each waternode a tiny...

The exiting life of an aesthete

The Spectator

Christopher Hawtree I t cannot be easy to live the rest of one's days with a bullet lodged in the right but- tock. Think how this would have dominat- ed any account of Lytton...

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The real virtue is winning

The Spectator

Philip Mansel PRUSSIA: THE PERVERSION OF AN IDEA by Giles MacDonogh Sinclair-Stevenson, £20, pp. h e impending return of the German capital to Berlin is a tribute to the power...

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The Spectator

DIARY 1995 £12 Plain £13 Initialled The Spectator 1995 Diary, bound in soft black_ leather, will shortly - be—available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday,...

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The Spectator

Edinburgh Festival Time to make whoopee Rupert Christiansen comes clean about the joys of this year's splendid Festival A bout 20 years ago, I had a terrible experience at the...

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The Spectator

Back scratching Giles Auty fortnight ago the Times Magazine carried an article of almost 4,000 words profiling my critical colleague from the Evening Standar4 Brian Sewell....

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The Spectator

Notes from America Peter Phillips A ccording to the much-thumbed prospectus sitting on the public ticket desk at the Albert Hall, 14 of the available 38 concerts in the final...


The Spectator

Scottish dancing Sophie Constanti H as Edinburgh replaced London as dance capital of Britain? On the basis of quality, as opposed to quantity, Edinburgh has been setting...

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The Spectator

The Winslow Boy (Globe) Henry V (Stratford) Coriolanus (Stratford) Boy wonder Sheridan Morley hen I started out as a drama critic in the late 1960s, approval of Terence...

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The Spectator

Blown Away ('15', selected cinemas) Chaos theory Mark Steyn D espite this week's headlines, the only Irish question left is this: will feeble Gov- ernment indifference to...


The Spectator

Cut the nostalgia Ian Hislop W hy was BBC2 paying tribute to the life and worle of Lew Grade? It cannot just have been to fill up a whole evening with old ITV programmes that...

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High life

The Spectator

Please come clean Taki Gstaad B rilliant sunshine during the day, crisp evenings, starlit nights, this was Gstaad over the bank holiday weekend. Yet, despite the glories of...

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Low life

The Spectator

Afternoon men Jeffrey Bernard N othing has happened here during last week of the slightest interest to me, except for a visit from yet another nutcase who wants to write yet...

Long life

The Spectator

Matters of trust Nigel Nicolson T wo questions arise from the recent dis- pute between the National Trust and Lord Scarsdale, the previous owner of Kedleston Hall and now its...

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1111111 11 111111M11 1

The Spectator

' SOMEONE WHO is now an eminent critic once told me that he realised he had to give up reviewing batches of fiction, in those earlier, less illustrious days, when he felt...

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The Spectator

• CHESS SPANS FINEST CAVA Kasparov's revenge Raymond Keene LAST WEEK I examined Kasparov's catas- trophic performances this year against his bete noire, the young Russian...


The Spectator

SI,GLF HILT MICH 1111511 ISLE OF J SKLE MAU SCOrCH IMF RA COMPETITION Kitchen prayer Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1845 you were invited to provide a modern 'kitchen...

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The Spectator

C I W. el J. CROSSWORD GRAHAM'S PORT W " 1175: 43A by Mass A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Malvedos 1979 Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on...

Solution to 1172: For 10D

The Spectator

els El o iis pi . as il t ill' ii marianohirl arlakinuen ' drirrirmi itiNnsrurns iTses ii .111111119iii . ri. nerier a s mi., Firm R E ra:1111311 snn.rosiiptin. amain! on w...

Competition entries

The Spectator

To enable competitors to economise on postage, entries for one or more weeks of the competition and crossword may be posted together under one cover addressed 'Competition...

No. 1848: Follow the van

The Spectator

Giles Auty, in the 30 July Spectator, called for a song or poem beginning 'A life in the avant-garde ...'. You are invited to supply one (maximum 16 lines). Entries to...

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The Spectator

Fringe benefits Frank Keating EDINBURGH (not to mention the top of Surrey) has no patent on 'fringes' and the editor of Wisden, Matthew Engel, and your correspondent did our...


The Spectator

Q. What do you do when you are just set- tling down to eat a quiet lunch at your office desk and one of your colleagues, who isn't eating lunch, tries to strike up a conversa-...