5 OCTOBER 2002

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M rs Edwina Currie. the former Conservative minister, revealed that she

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had had a four-year affair from 1984 with Mr John Major. the former Conservative prime minister. The Chestnut Grove School in Halham, south-west London, began to offer the...

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The Spectator. 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 BLAIR'S PFI RIP-OFF W e are at our best, asserts the Prime Minister, when we are...

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A id so to Blackpool. But how? Train: disgracefully expensive, probably

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delayed, full of broadsheet journalists (apart from the Independent), possibility of being jumped in the buffet carriage by a beaming Richard Branson dispensing pork pies. Car:...

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'Are media executives now fair game?' asks the Guardian. You bet they are

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STEPHEN GLOVER T he BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr, is not at all pleased with my colleague Peter Oborne. Over breakfast at the Labour party conference, he called Mr...

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Peter °borne says that lain Duncan Smith is a decent and brave man, but wonders whether he can pull the Conservatives out of their hole ON the day of last week's debate on...

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Floating away from the Tories

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IF floating voters had to choose between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democratic party, a clear majority of them would choose the Lib Dems, according to a poll...

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Europe spends zip on defence and sneers at America's 'warmongering'. It's not a pretty sight, says Mark Steyn New Hampshire NELSON MANDELA says it's the US and not Saddam...

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Ancient & modern

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STINKER PINKER's latest book has caused a furore by arguing that nature has a much greater effect than nurture on human behaviour. Or was it the other way round? Not that it...


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Simon Heifer says the Prince of Wales is performing a public service by making his views known to the government THE Queen is said to be most upset. The Prince of Wales has...

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Corporate corruption in the US has hit the little people, says Charlotte Metcalf, but they must share the blame ENRON's bankruptcy was the biggest in corporate history. Its...

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Mind your language

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SOME genuine Japanese coming up, but I warn you that when I tried to pass on what I thought was perfectly proper Chinese a couple of years ago, fiery darts penetrated my...


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Rachel Johnson reveals the new rule of political publishing no sex, no cheques EDWINA CURRIE, one has to conclude after a torrid week. is wedded to the old adage that you...

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Malcolm Rifkind explains why the Tories must subject the government's policy on Iraq to rigorous scrutiny WE live in the best of times. We live in the worst of times. Britain...

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Emma Williams says that the Israeli Prime Minister is prepared to risk a hit in order to teach Iraq a lesson Jerusalem GAS masks and smallpox vaccinations are being dispensed,...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit OVERWEIGHT golfers in Somerset last week had reason to linger a little longer at the 19th hole: the NHS, in...

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David Lennard on the miseries of life in an old people's home 'A FEW more seconds'; 'I've only got one pair of hands'; 'Just a minute'; 'Hold on, I'll be back': these are the...

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Celebrities rush in where Lear refused to tread

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PAUL JOHNSON T he nicest party I attended during the Jubilee season was arranged by that princess of the genre, Belinda Harley, to enable the Queen to meet leading figures in...

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If the McCarthy of the shires is going to name names, he should leave me off the list

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FRANK JOHNSON M r Peter °borne, this magazine's political editor, adversely criticised me in this magazine last week for my not going on the Countryside March. According to Mr...

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Cruelty to the NSPCC

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From Mary Marsh Sir: Shelagh Shepherd's article (`The NSPCC harms children'. 28 September) is both factually inaccurate and misleading. It is a confused and irresponsible piece...

Marching with Frank

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From Mr Nanndar Saroop, CBE Sir: I am doubly reluctant to take issue with Peter Oborne (They went to ground', 28 September) — firstly, his father is an old friend, and,...

In praise of our farmers

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From Mr C. W. Aschan Sir: Your contributor Michael Hanlon's article (Throw them to the wolves', 21 September) is utterly irresponsible, shortsighted, offensive and unpleasant in...

Landowners have rights, too

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From Sir Edward Greenwell Sir: Ross Clark (Banned wagon, 28 September) gives an inaccurate impression of the Country Land and Business Association's position on the 'right to...

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Origins of Section 28

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From Professor Antony Flew Sir: I read your leading article 'Axe Section 28' (21 September) on the day of its publication, during a flight to France, and was thus in no...

Bags of sense

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From Mr Peter Woodall Sir: In Banned wagon (21 September) Ross Clark brings a welcome breath of fresh air to the choking mythology which surrounds society's relentless belief in...

Foxy woxy, foxy poxy

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From Mr Peter Hamlyn Sir: Robert Gore-Langton ('It's a job for a dog', 21 September) may have made up the city council 'Task-Centred Fox Support Initiative' and its...

According to Matthew

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From Mr Patrick Moule Sir: Matthew Parris (Another voice, 28 September) has forgotten his early upbringing. 'The hosts of Gideon' didn't prowl and prowl around; it was the...

Critical confusion

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From Mr Michael Grosvenor Myer Sir: Whether or not Sheridan Morley chooses to denounce Toby Young for his delay in catching up with Twelfth Night (Arts, 28 September), permit me...

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Repent, repent, he cries but all the guests with one accord begin to make excuses

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES f rinity Church stands at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, with its back to the badlands of 931, and one year later Bill McDonough, President of the...

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Third time unluc

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Philip Hensher IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME (SEVEN VOLUMES) by Marcel Proust; general editor, Christopher Prendergast Penguin, 175 (boxed set), ISBN 014091000X, individual volumes,...

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Choosing between snake oil and penicillin

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Frederic Raphael STRAW DOGS by John Gray Granta, £12.99, pp. 246, ISBN 1862075123 J ohn Gray's title pays tribute to Lao Tzu: 'Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the...

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Tales of the expected unexpected

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Charlotte Moore NOTHING TO WEAR AND NOWHERE TO HIDE by Fay Weldon Flamingo, £14.99, pp. 223, ISBN 006551661 B old, glamorous, sexy, unrepentant,' promises the jacket. The...

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The organisation man

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Digby Anderson A BRAND FROM THE BURNING by Roy Hattersley Little Brown, £20, pp. 451, ISBN 0316860209 I n 1743, 393 livings within the gift of the Archbishop of York were...

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Mastery of time and space

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Allan Mallinson THE PENINSULAR WAR by Charles Esdaile Penguin/Allen Lane, £25, pp. 600, ISBN 0713992395 E ven Churchill might have been discouraged had he, instead of Lord...

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A poet under strict controls

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P. J. Kavanagh BECOMING GEORGE by Ann Saddlemyer OUP, £25, pp. 808, ISBN 0198112327 T his vast work has the distinction of being both unreadable and unputdownable. It consists...

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Conjuring with the jitters

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Miranda France THE BOOK OF ILLUSIONS by Paul Auster Faber, £16.99, pp. 321, ISBN 057121213 A spiring novelists are told to 'show, not tell': well, here's an example of the...

Putting it all in

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Sebastian Smee MIDDLESEX by Jeffrey Eugenides Bloomsbuty, £16.99, pp. 529, ISBN 0747560234 N ot for nothing has Jeffrey Eugenides, on the strength of just one novel published...

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Driving on a dark night

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Thomas Hodgkinson DEAD AIR by kin Banks Little Brown, £16.99, pp. 408, ISBN 0316860549 K en Nott is the most annoying man in England. It's his job (he's a shock jock, a...

The Orwell of Notting Hill

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Simon Courtauld SUBJECTS OF THE QUEEN by Roy Kerridge Duckworth, £16, pp. 192, ISBN 0715630202 R oy Kerridge is conservative in attitude, he loves the works of Kipling and he...

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The one they all forgot

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A. N. Wilson AN ARCHITECT OF PROMISE: GEORGE GILBERT SCOTT (18391897) AND THE LATE GOTHIC REVIVAL by Gavin Stamp Shaun Tyas Donnington, £49.50, pp. 427, ISBN 1900289512 G eorge...

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Climbing among the

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sky scrapers Brian Masters MRS ASTOR'S NEW YORK by Eric Homberger Yale, £19.95, pp. 336, ISBN 0300095015 A ccording to Ward McAllister, the fabled gate-keeper of New York...

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Bringing the dead to life

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Robin Simon on a magnficent exhibition of objects from ancient Egypt O sbert Sitwell tells a story in Left hand! Right hand! about visiting a country house and sitting on a...

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Shattering power

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Harry Eyres on the most revelatory of living pianists: Radu Lupu A few months ago the visionary Romanian pianist Radu Lupu was 'Artist in Focus' on BBC Radio Three's absorbing...

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The great ones that got away

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Martin Gayford A long, sad list could be made of art collections that got away from this country. At the top of course would be the treasures of Charles I, sold off by...

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Viewed from on high

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Andrew Lambirth L ast week I watched the sun set over the city of Hanover from the 16th floor of the new regional headquarters of Nord/LB, the vast German banking enterprise....

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A truly gruesome tale

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Michael Tanner T osca is probably the most derided of operas, as well as one of the most popular, and certainly one of the most frequently performed. Defenders of it usually...

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Aliens behaving badly

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Mark Steyn T he nice thing about Disney's Lilo and Stitch is the watercolour backgrounds. It's a technique that gave Snow White and Bambi a lot of their visual style, but one...

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Downs and ups

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Giannandrea Poesio B y the time you read this review, the hubbub that followed last week's news of the resignation of Royal Ballet's artistic director, Ross Stretton, will have...

Error of judgment

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Michael Vestey 0 ne of the hazards of writing columns is that occasionally what looks good on the computer screen and printed copy can, when it is published, appear unfair,...

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Essential viewing

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James Delingpole T he thing I really hate about going on holiday is the way when you get back you realise your life is collapsing about you and that the relaxing break you...

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Triumph for the unfashionable

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Robin Oakley W ell, who would have thought it?' as John Major remarked to his first Cabinet on taking over from Margaret Thatcher. Now we know that a prime minister whose idea...

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Eat the right cake

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Taki IWashington DC have only one thing to add to the John Major-as-a-stud saga. He should be ashamed all right, but for his choice of woman, not for having screwed around....

Under pressure

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Jeremy Clarke F riday night I put a clean shirt on and went up the Griffin. On Friday nights the Griffin is taken over by bikers. You know the kind of thing. You go in and it's...

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Lying low

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Aidan Hartley M ). journalism has made me plenty of enemies in Africa. A Somali warlord threatened to shoot me after reading my Reuter reports. Zanzibari socialists said I was...

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Mugging is good for you

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PetroneIla Wyatt B eing mugged has in some ways been a rewarding experience. Well, some good comes out of everything, as they say. Every yob has a silver lining. Every theft is...

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Ryding high

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Michael Henderson THERE can be little doubt that the 34th Ryder Cup — which Europe regained at the Belfry last weekend after beating the more fancied Americans by three clear...

Q. In the course of a typical week I normally

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spend a good deal of time travelling around the country by train. During these trips I frequently find that my mobile telephone has run short of battery because of the high...

Q. I am a busy working mother with a

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number of projects on the go at any one time, and am constantly multitasking. Regarding vital things that I must not forget, I have always written reminder notes to myself on...

Q. An elderly single cousin who is a neighbour has

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always been fond of my children and regularly hints that he wishes them to be the beneficiaries of his will. I am sure he is sincere in this wish but I have discovered that he...