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The Spectator

R ailtrack, in reaction to its former neglect, set 20,000 gangers to work testing and replacing miles of track, imposing hours of unpredictable delays on thousands of commuters...

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S P ECTATO R The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone:

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020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 BUSH FOR PRESIDENT T he American presidential election has been observed from these shores with a cer- tain lack of excitement. Even within...

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The Spectator

S potted that old crook Ernest Saunders lunching in the Savoy Grill. One cannot think of him as having paid his debt to soci- ety, since he wormed his way out of Ford with a...

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The murder of children could threaten the independence of the

The Spectator

judiciary BRUCE ANDERSON P rinciples can resolve even the most dif- ficult questions, such as the Bulger case. Once we fight down our horror and consider what should he done...

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People just aren't getting married any more, but Toby Young is. He sees the institution as a 'barrier to exit' — and even a sacred union, unfashionable though the idea is ON...

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The Spectator

Peter °borne on the accommodating ways of Sir Richard Wilson, the Cabinet Secretary SIR Lewis Namier's classic study, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III,...

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Leanda de Lisle talks to David Handley, of Farmers for Action, and finds he is in no mood to compromise DAVID Handley, chairman of Farmers for Action and the People's Fuel...

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LAURA SPENCE Gordon Brown called Oxford's failure to admit her 'an absolute scandal'. Andrew Hobson says the damage can be undone THIS week at Magdalen College, Oxford —...

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Ancient & modern

The Spectator

SUSAN Crosland described the other week how that ace Lothario Mr Porfirio Rubirosa made a subtle approach to her dressed in monogrammed under- pants 'through which stood a...

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Michael Howard says that to coddle criminals is to be cruel to the weakest and most vulnerable members of society LAST week's decision in the Bulger case has revived the...

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Banned wagon

The Spectator

A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit WHEN the welfare state was constructed after the last war, it was welcomed as sal- vation for the poor. Nobody...

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The Spectator

Anthony Daniels observed the Kosovo elections on behalf of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group, and discovered humbug Pristina IF freedom is proportional to the number of...

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The Spectator

R. W. Johnson says that Robert Mugabe's attacks on Ian Smith have given the Great White Chief a new lease of life Harare DAVID Coltart, the amiable young Bul- awayo lawyer who...

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Mind your language

The Spectator

MR Christopher Mabley of Dulwich sends me another meaning of special (2 September), taken from J.B. Priestley's The Good Companions: `I'm a schoolmaster of sorts.' `A...

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The Spectator

Each November the British war dead of Madagascar are remembered. Nicholas Rankin meets the bishop who conducts the service IF you want to be forgotten, get yourself buried in...

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Now it can be told: I was the real Billy

The Spectator

Elliot FRANK JOHNSON O ne of the papers reported the other day that the makers of Billy Elliot had com- piled a list of the many male critics, review- ing the film, who had...

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The Spectator

I'm making no predictions about the Express, but if you want to know what I think . . . STEPHEN GLOVER F or sale, one newspaper group. Its main title has lost over three...

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Oh, what an enjoyable ride on the cycle the tricky

The Spectator

part is to dismount CHRISTOPHER FILDES New York The economy: stupid, or what? It has made so many Americans rich that it has made the United States Treasury rich too, and set...

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The Spectator

The doctor was in a hurry. He glared at me. `Tell me what you want,' he said CYNTHIA JUDAH I have had tinnitus for the last ten weeks, an unremitting whistling/roaring sound...

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The Spectator

Orwell's last words: 'At 50, everyone has the face he deserves' PAUL JOHNSON I f I could have my time again, I would be a portrait painter. I love faces, or rather I enjoy...

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No ghost

The Spectator

From Mr Peter James Sir: I hate to sound ungrateful for the flat- tery he lavishes on me, but D.J. Taylor's piece on those 'who really write the nation's bestselling books' CA...

Schools out

The Spectator

From Mr Tom Benyon Sir: Rachel Johnson (What we can learn from Europe', 28 October) is right to be astonished that our education system remains mired in the 19th century. If you...

Uzbekistan rights

The Spectator

From Mr Mardon Yakubov Sir: I am writing to you concerning the recent article 'Dangerously mercurial' by Justin Marozzi (7 October). It is obvious that the author wanted to...

Beware Zanzibar

The Spectator

From Professor Yorick Wilks Sir: Your editorial 'Labour's lovely loony' (21 October) underestimates the true social engineer when you write, 'The law has no jurisdiction in...

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Nice points

The Spectator

From Mr Jeremy Stanford Sir: What place for Britain's political par- ties in Europe's new democracy? The European Commission plans a politi- cal environment in which the public...

Ban 'em all

The Spectator

From Mr Alan Carcas Sir: Ross Clark (Banned wagon, 21 Octo- ber) thinks fireworks are only available for the three weeks up to Bonfire Night. So why, in my neighbourhood, have...

The silence of the West From Mr Oleg Gordievsky Sir:

The Spectator

Not far from the Middle East, but on the European Continent, there is an area where the hostilities and casualties are even more severe (Ile threw stones. He gets shot. So?', 7...

Catholic truth

The Spectator

From Mr Guy Stair Sainty Sir: In her commentary on the meeting between the Pope and the Queen CA tale of two Churches', 14 October), Melanie Phillips has quoted even more...

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Statue in the park

The Spectator

From C.L. Kauffman Sir: Having been away during August and September, it is only now that I am catching up with past issues of The Spectator. There is, in the 12 August issue,...

In other words.. .

The Spectator

From Mr Andrew Roberts Sir: Tony Benn, in his review of Peter Hen- nessy's new book The Prime Minister (Books, 21 October), wrote that Jim Callaghan had very few months to...

Miltonic metre

The Spectator

From Mr Philip Hensher Sir: I don't know why Michael Horovitz finds it necessary to resort to name-calling and giving vent to his stupid, suburban big- otry (Letters, 28...

Pearls before Shaun

The Spectator

From Mr Eric Dehn Sir: I read Mark Seddon's question-mark on Shaun Woodward (Is Woodward dead wood?', 28 October) with a personal interest, having taught Shaun in his...

Pair of lefties

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From Mr Eric Smith Sir: What a splendid cover picture by Jonathan Wateridge for The Spectator of 14 October. However, rather to my surprise, not only are the Queen and the Pope...

Famous for 11 inches

The Spectator

From Mr Christopher Wilson Sir: Little wonder that Susan Crosland made her excuses and left when confronted by Porfirio Rubirosa (Letters, 21 October). I have it on no less an...

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Incorrigible but inimitable

The Spectator

Philip Hensher BOSWELL'S PRESUMPTUOUS TASK by Adam Sisman Hamish Hamilton, £17.99, pp. 392 B oswell's Life of Johnson is the best biography in the world, of course, but even...

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Strange and boring

The Spectator

Christopher Caldwell AL GORE: A USER'S MANUAL by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair Verso, £15, pp. 284 A l Gore likes to aim oxymorons at the morons he conceives the...

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Tricky ground well surveyed

The Spectator

Harry Mount THE CATHOLICS OF ULSTER: A HISTORY by Marianne Elliott Penguin, £25, pp. 642 T he Catholics of Ulster make for a pretty big subject even if you only look at it...

Seeing ourselves as others see us

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Robert Twigger THE ENGLISHMAN'S HANDBOOK OR HOW TO DEAL WITH FOREIGNERS by Idries Shah Octagon, £15.95, pp. 222 M ostly the English think they know about themselves. I used to...

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How to spoil a good story

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Charles Osborne WHO KILLED ROGER ACKROYD? by Pierre Bayard Fourth Estate, £10, pp. 160 W ho Cares Who Killed Roger Ack- royd?' was the title of an article by the American...

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Fostering a nanny state

The Spectator

Jonathan Mirsky FROM THIRD WORLD TO FIRST: THE SINGAPORE STORY, 1965-2000 by Lee Kuan Yew HarperCollins, £25, pp. 729 L ee Kuan Yew, prime minister of Sin- gapore from 1959 to...


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A line was unfortunately omitted from James Pickles' poem 'No Distances' last week. The last verse should have read: For still the ancient constellations come: and all the dark...

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Pressing on regardless

The Spectator

Robert Harris A SHORT WALK DOWN FLEET STREET by Alan Watkins Duckworth, f18, pp. 277 F or longer than most of us care to remember — for longer, actually, than some of us can...

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More pap than pop

The Spectator

Steve King E=MC2: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS EQUATION by David Bodanis Macmillan, £14.99, pp. 324 I n 1905 Einstein published four papers that fundamentally changed...


The Spectator

shipboard romance Miranda France GREEK FIRE: THE LOVE AFFAIR OF MARIA CALLAS AND ARISTOTLE ONASSIS by Nicholas Gage Sidgwick, £18.99, pp. 422 Y ou would expect a book about...

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The last but not the final word

The Spectator

Paul Foot ORWELL by Jeffrey Myers Norton, £19.95, pp. 380 N ot another biography of George Orwell! Surely we've had enough already. Quite apart from the majestic 20 volumes of...

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Beyond the speaking likeness

The Spectator

Colin Campbell VAN GOGH: FACE TO FACE: THE PORTRAITS by George S. Keyes, Joseph J. Rishel George T. M. Shackleton and others Thames & Hudson, £32, pp. 272 A lthough Vincent Van...

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Old-fashioned rational liberalism on the ropes

The Spectator

Matthew d'Ancona TWO FACES OF LIBERALISM by John Gray Polity Press, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford, Tel: 01865 791100, £40, £12.99, pp. 161 J ohn Gray's political philosophy has long...

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The company she kept

The Spectator

David Crane MARY SHELLEY by Miranda Seymour John Murray, £25, pp. 655 I t must be the saddest painting in the whole NPG collection. At the centre of the wall on which it hangs...

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Waiting for the call

The Spectator

Alan Watkins ALAN CLARK, DIARIES: INTO POLITICS edited by Ion Trewin Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 389 W hen the first (chronologically the second) volume of Alan Clark's diaries came...

As Rain Pours Down

The Spectator

As rain pours down on this prefabricated hut, With nothing better to do, I turn on the radio: Wagner. Oh well. Dusk gathers and I see the chestnut Once fiery with bloom has...

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In the grip of the ice

The Spectator

M. R. D. Foot ENDURANCE by Alfred Lansing Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 278 THE ICE MASTER by Jennifer Niven Macmillan, £16.99, pp. 449 T hese are two tremendous adventure stories,...

Down but not under

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Michael Davie AUSTRALIA: A BIOGRAPHY OF A NATION by Philip Knightley Cape, 120, pp. 372 h e late Senator Fulbright said, 'It is when you leave your country that you really...

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Playing the game of passion

The Spectator

David Nokes ISABELLE DE CHARRIERE: THERE ARE NO LE I MRS LIKE YOURS edited by Janet and Malcolm Whatley University of Nebraska Press, £20, pp. 551 H orace Walpole championed...

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A country of the mind

The Spectator

Francis King BOHEMIANS: THE GLAMOROUS OUTCASTS by Elizabeth Wilson I.B. Tauris, £19.95, pp. 262 A s the author herself acknowledges, the first problem faced by anyone setting...

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A lesson from the Castilians

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Christopher Howse believes Salamanca could teach London a thing or two about squares T he pigeons certainly had to go, and the statues of generals are a red (Ken) her- ring. We...

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Exhibitions 1

The Spectator

Terry Frost (Royal Academy, till 12 November) Terry Frost: Recent paintings (Beaux Art, Cork Street, till 18 November) Brave new world Martin Gayford A week or two ago I met...

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Exhibitions 2

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Spectacular Bodies (Hayward Gallery, till 14 January) Know thyself Mark Glazebrook T he Hayward Gallery is currently mak- ing up for the infuriating silliness of the Dome's...

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Exhibitions 3

The Spectator

After the Wall (Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin till 4 February 2001) Who are we? Nicholas Powell O ne of the problems with growing up in Eastern Germany, a former East Ger-...

Pop music

The Spectator

Master craftsman Marcus Berkmann Y ou can always spot the contented pop star. Broad smile, slightly puffier cheeks than before, even tan, flecks of grey at the temples, not...

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The Spectator

Royal Ballet Triple Bill (Royal Opera House) Time warp Giannandrea Poesio N othing ages so quickly as a metaphor- ical ballet. Loosely based on Kipling's The Jungle Book, the...

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The Spectator

La Belle Helene (Barbican) Evoking an arch vamp Michael Tanner O ffenbach is all too rarely performed in the UK these days and, when he is, it tends to be Les Contes...

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The Spectator

Fallen Angels (Apollo) Keepers (Hampstead) Frightfully depraved Sheridan Morley A l in all, Noel Coward wrote some 60 plays, not that you'd know it from the bor- ing way in...

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The Spectator

Grey Owl (PG, selected cinemas) A life of lies Mark Steyn A mong The Spectator's fellow jewels in the crown of Conrad Black's newspaper empire is a northern Ontario daily...

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The Spectator

Must try harder James Delingpole L ook, I know I'm supposed to be writ- ing about programmes that were actually on this week rather than last but I couldn't quite get my act...


The Spectator

Top achievers Michael Vestey W henever I hear Professor Peter Hennessy on the radio I know he'll have something interesting to say and, even bet- ter, he'll say it with...

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Food for thought

The Spectator

Ravishing creatures Simon Courtauld W hat do a famous Norfolk ghost and turnips have in common? The short answer is Townshend, the second Viscount, to be precise, whose wife's...

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The turf

The Spectator

Will to win Robin Oakley A paratroop commander was once asked if he liked jumping out of aero- planes. Emphatically, he shook his head. `No. It scares me stiff and makes my...

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High life

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Cult of victimhood Taki 0New York h dear! For a moment I thought The Spectator's leader a couple of weeks ago 'Labour's lovely loony' — was serious, but then I got the joke....

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No life

The Spectator

I've gone too far Toby Young A a grubbing, freelance hack, there are few stories I consider beneath me. I've trawled the singles bars of New York wear- ing a wig to see if...

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Singular life

The Spectator

Sweet dreams Petronella Wyatt S leep is the curse of the shirking classes. As winter draws in, which, in this country, is around the middle of October, I feel an irresistible...

Zia's tips

The Spectator

Susanna Gross THE GREAT Pakistani player Zia Mah- mood is always giving me bridge tips — but sometimes I'm not sure whether he's pulling my leg or not. One of his tips is to...

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THEY had to go and spoil it, didn't they? They

The Spectator

couldn't stop at the 'chairs in British rac- ing green leather'. Oh no. Couldn't call it a day with 'several pod-like light fixtures in luminous pink and yellow (from the...

Page 81


The Spectator

EL VINO, for many years the haunt of Fleet Street's finest, has always proved to be a mainstay of Speccie wine offers by consis- tently finding the most excellent wines at...

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The Spectator

Raymond Keene KING Ethelred was famous for being `Unready' in the face of Viking invasions. The Anglo-Saxon term was, I believe, rede- less, close to the German ratios, meaning...

Light touch

The Spectator

Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2160 you were invited to write a light poem on the subject of a serious or painful medical condition. Thank you, all those who threw light on the...

Page 87

One man and his horse

The Spectator

Simon Barnes I SET a new personal best the other day: the most valuable horse I have ever patted. Sheikh Mohammed's people don't talk about money, and still less are they...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . Q. I believe myself to be a reasonably amusing conversationalist, yet occasionally the person to whom I am talking at a drinks party will repeatedly look...