4 JANUARY 1997

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The Spectator

M r John Major, the Prime Minister, sent a New Year message to the 600 or so Conservative constituency chairmen, saying that the issue of Europe would be central to the election...

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The Spectator

The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 PERSONALITIES OF 1997 N ow that it is election year, let us hope...

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The Spectator

If the Tories want to win the next election, they must stop approaching every issue with an open mouth BRUCE ANDERSON Mr Major has never been able to do that. Events and his...

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The Spectator

HONOR FRASER S ome months ago I posed for the Pirelli Calendar. One reaction I wasn't expecting was the Sun's. That paper suggested that I was anorexic or `shudderingly skinny'....

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The Spectator

The perils of answering an advertisement in the personal column of The Spectator PETRONELLA WYATT he mating season is supposed to be in the spring. But the fool's mating...

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The Spectator

The only trouble, from the Tories' point of view, says Niall Ferguson, is that Mr Major has not used it (so far) STOP! Stop! Rewind the tape! Take two! This business about an...

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The Spectator

A general election issue, that is. But then, says Michael Harrington, there hardly ever is WHEN John Major asks the Queen to dis- solve Parliament, it will be the start of...

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Professor David Reeves

The Spectator

IN THE High Court last month, The Spectator apologised to Professor David Reeves of Southmead Hospital in Bristol for allegations made in an article published on 29 July 1995....

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The Spectator

The voters, that is — by voting anti-Tog whether Mr Major has any hope A PANEL of 20 psephologists and politi- cal analysts, retained by Reuters, is unani- mous in expecting...


The Spectator

Michael Heath

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Second opinion

The Spectator

THE ENGLISH, it seems to me, are subject to two moral moods: complacen- cy and panic. Of the two, I prefer — and, in my small way, have contributed to the latter. At least panic...

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The Spectator

Sue Cameron reports from the front, line, and talks to the generals on both sides TO dispirited Tories at Central Office, Clare Short's words had the ring of salva- tion....

Mind your language

The Spectator

I RESOLVE never to mention baume de vie again — after today. But I cannot resist referring to a schedule of Drugs, Herbs, Pills, Waters, Essences, Tinc- tures, Powders,...

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The Spectator

Clinton and Blair close? That's already in the past, reports Tom Rhodes Washington WHEN THEY met in the Oval Office last April, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair adopted an air of...

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The Spectator

Simon Courtauld visits a house haunted by James Bond, and a stricken prime minister Oracabessa, Jamaica IN THE first week of January, 40 years ago, the Prime Minister, Sir...

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The Spectator

Alistair McAlpine on New Year celebrations in the jewel of the Adriatic Venice AS I lie tucked up in my Venetian bed I am not dreaming of a white January, or at least I hope I...

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The Spectator

Shiva Naipaul was one of the most gifted and accomplished writers of our time. After his death in 1985 at the age of 40, The Spectator established an annual prize in his memory....

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Castro's OK

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Sir: I wish to cancel my subscription to The Spectator immediately because of your arti- cle The spy of the century' (23 November), in which someone called James Srodes does a...


The Spectator

Sir: Roy Wright has shown himself to be yet another purveyor of malicious gossip (Let- ters, 14/21 December). He says that a Grosvenor Estate administrator told him that there...

Best, but not pleased

The Spectator

Sir: Giles Auty (Letters, 7 December) points out that Lucian Freud is the 'fore- most British painter of this century'. Looking, for instance, at 'Girl with a White Dog' in the...

LETTERS Not fascist

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Sir: It is always surprising when the appar- ently well-informed fall into the terminolog- ical trap of placing all 'right-wing' dictators and authoritarian rulers within the...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY— RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK J £88.00 0 £45.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £99.00 0 £51.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$141 7 US$71 Rest of Airmail £115.00 7 £58.00 World Airspeed...

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The Spectator

DIARY 1997 £13 Plain £14 Initialled The Spectator 1997 Diary, bound in soft `pillarbox' red leather, is now available and at the same prices as last year. Laid out with a...

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Titillation missed

The Spectator

Sir: I miss your advertisement on the last pages of The Spectator for the Erotic Print Society. I found it pictorially wildly titillat- ing rather like the foul words which...

Double vision

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Sir: I wonder whether your otherwise admirable television critic, James Deling- pole, has been suffering from festivity fatigue (Arts, 14/21 December)? I have been known to...


The Spectator

Sir: I should like to make three additions or corrections to my review The Oxford Book of Political Quotations (14/21 December). First, Harold Wilson said . . I am going on' at...

No myth

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Sir: Lindsey Platt (Letters, 7 December) has wilfully misrepresented what I original- ly wrote in a pathetic attempt to score a cheap point. My question about whether...

Bitter and unkind

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Sir: Barbara Ward once advised me that one should never rebut a journalist's state- ment, however outrageous, as it only con- firms to the reader the truth of the original...

False and absurd

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Sir: Alastair Forbes's review of David Dut- ton's book on Anthony Eden (Books, 14/21 December) contrived to be largely about himself and scarcely deserved comment. However, for...

Jaspistos superstars

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Sir: Familiarity breeds . . . well, curiosity. Week after week, the same names pop up as winners or honourable mentions in the competition — Tingley, Norman, Petty and that ilk...

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The Spectator

Maybe the Times will overtake its rival (though I doubt it). Meanwhile, its editor should tell the truth STEPHEN GLOVER I n writing about the increasingly dirty price war...

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The Spectator

A serious case of solipsism David Sexton GUT SYMMETRIES by Jeanette Winterson Granta, £15.99, pp. 219 P ainly, Granta Books was right to pur- chase an established name to...

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Something happened on the way to Chile

The Spectator

James Teacher THE YELLOW ADMIRAL by Patrick O'Brian HarperCollins, £15.99, pp. 262 F ourteen years have passed since the acrimonious exchange between Jack Aubrey and Stephen...

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Going for gongs

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David Hare HENRIK IBSEN A particularly disturbing story about writing concerns Robert Lowell, who was once asked what he did when he was stuck in the middle of a poem. He said...

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Not to be damned by dollars

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Elizabeth Lowry HERMAN MELVILLE, VOLUME I, 1819-1851 by Hershel Parker Johns Hopkins, £27.50, pp. 941 M elville biographies are like whales: the bulkier the animal, the more...

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The face and the backside of Europe

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Richard West J ohn Roberts, the former Warden of Merton College, Oxford, established his name with A History of the World, which J. H. Plumb called the best ever written; it...

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GIFT SUBSCRIPTION OFFER Give a gift subscription of The Spectator and enjoy a bottle of the magnificent Laphroaig 10 year old single Islay malt whisky. Smoky and peaty, with a...

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Prize-winning novels from France

The Spectator

Anita Brookner E xceptionally, the three major publish- ers were unrepresented in this year's French prizes, the honours going to Albin Michel, Le Cherche-Midi, and. Editions...

A selection of recent paperbacks

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Fiction: The Drowning Room by Michael Pye, Granta, £6.99 Goldengrove Unleaving by Jill Paton Walsh, Black Swan, £6.99 A Child Possessed by R. C. Hutchinson, Allison & Busby,...

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Surface profundity

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R eviewing Paul Johnson's To Hell with Picasso for another organ, or at any rate attempting to squeeze its almost unbear- ably succulent ingredients into an 800-word pie-dish, I...

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The Spectator

The import export controversy There's nothing new about export controls on works of art, as Jonathan Scott explains Saved: the Becket Casket E XPORT STOP ON THE THREE GRACES,...

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The Spectator

Absolut Vision (Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, till 23 February) Fashion parade Andrew Lambirth P eople are forever lamenting the death of painting and then announcing its...

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The Spectator

Trailer thrills Mark Steyn R ing out the old, ring in the remake. This column traditionally eschews year-end retrospectives, on the grounds that there's something...

Cornwall and Brittany. Wood was born in Liverpool in 1901,

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but most of his short artistic career was spent in France, where he was admired by Diaghilev, Picasso and Jean Cocteau. Wood first stayed in St Ives in 1926 and again in 1928....

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The Spectator

Cinderella (Royal Opera House) Creaking Kirov Giannandrea Poesio I f you enjoy the idea of ballet being a nonsensical hotchpotch of prancing kids, animated toys, skipping...

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The Spectator

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Almeida) Nine (Donmar Warehouse) Dream on Sheridan Morley after a self-imposed absence of ten years from British drama, Jonathan Miller returns to...


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What a gem Simon Hoggart Af ter the problems costume dramas have had lately — too chintzy, all those perfect ball-gowns freshly ironed every day, the anachronistic dialogue...

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The Spectator

Broadcasting Housegate Michael Vestey B efore Christmas, I was amused to read in the Peterborough column in the Daily Telegraph that the office of the BBC Director-General,...

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Not motoring

The Spectator

Romantic lines Gavin Stamp I . have long been fascinated by the last few minutes of Hitchcock's North by North- West. Remember? First Cary Grant is inside a Frank Lloyd Wright...

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The turf

The Spectator

Party spirit Robin Oakley A rriving at Kempton for the King George VI brings mixed memories. Desert Orchid's four victories, yes, Pendil, Silver Buck and Wayward Lad in the...

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Low life

The Spectator

Hall of hate Jeffrey Bernard A few tenants of this block behaved predictably enough after I had a go at them the other week about slamming the door in my home help's face and...

High life

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Women and horror Taki New York he first column of every new year requires by definition a bit more gravitas. It is like getting a good start in a foot-race. Being Greek and...

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Country life

The Spectator

Pressure points Leanda de Lisle I t's difficult to build up an extensive net- work of baby-sitters in the country, and, as the regular nannies like to party on New Year's Eve,...

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The Spectator

Shallow thinking Andrew Robson DECLARER FELL victim to shallow thinking on this week's deal. Placing the critical missing honour with the opponent who had opened the bidding,...

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EATING a meal after a performance at the Barbican is

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a problem. The Arts Centre is one of London's more impenetrable venues to find and park at, and having finally done so, to have to move away and park again is a bore,...

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ISLE OF I u RA , 7. s. I E Mili

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k011li*Hhil I ISLE OF COMPETITION 4; U ft j 515GLf MAII V0104 1E611 Sing-Sing-along Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1963 you were invited to submit a suitable 'old school...


The Spectator

IN-THE-STRAND CHESS SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND Trampled to death Raymond Keene THE ELITE tournament at Las Palmas was afflicted, during its first half at least, by excessive...

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No. 1966: Futuristic play

The Spectator

The rules and spirit of sports and games are changing so rapidly that one wonders what a contest will be like in 100 years' time. You are invited to supply a newspa- per report...

Solution to 1289: Craps

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a% or Ori3r1Oher I L 0 Era npll I , rioni3.3noncinar A 011nErlOCIE 10A1101Mrle N T 11.13rhaa a U131111:111C1 NEN1 11 1 21:1 1 il l; Pi 0 D ha N rl I rinla kil li pan...


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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1990 Port for the first correct solution opened on 20 January, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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The Spectator

Sporting soufflé Simon Barnes I HAVE three dishes which I can offer guests. One of them comes from a book called The Italian Football Diet, but that is by the way. The best of...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . . More of Mary's favourite celebrities have responded to her invitation to submit queries. From: Sir Christopher Bland, BBC Head- quarters Q. Our young son has a...