6 JANUARY 1996

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`We seem to be hitting some turbulence, don't panic!' M iss Emma Nicholson, the Conserva- tive Member for Devon West and Torridge, suddenly joined the Liberal Democrat Party,...

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If only they'd given Miss Nicholson a job: the trouble is, she's ghastly BRUCE ANDERSON T he problem is jobs, status and money. Does anyone believe that Emma Nicholson would...

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ANNE Mc E LV OY A i inauspicious start to the New Year. 1996 approached by stealth while I was locked in fierce debate with Norman Lam- ont about the future of European...

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What King Alfred did for Mr Major PETRONELLA WYATT I n Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, Labour majorities hardly ever happen. Hampshire, where I spent part of Christ- mas, is...

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. . . except, that is, for their extradition to Oregon; Alun Jones QC says our courts wouldn't have convicted the Bhagwan's two Britons The evidence on which the women were...

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The people of Sarajevo are vanquishing their erstwhile tormentors with merrymaking and clean underwear, writes Patrick Bishop Sarajevo NOW THAT a solid peace seems to be...

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Irwin Stelzer explains that there are two kinds of American right-winger, and they are opposites THE WAR of the United States's budget has produced a real winner: Speaker Gin-...


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Michael Heath

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ut John Major didn't, though I, ► dovic Kennedy says he is Unworried either way HONOURS and awards are rt6 things. They first swam into my ken in th after- math of the sinking...

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Robert Hardman explains why the Prince of Wales keeps going back to that old-fashioned ski resort Klosters UNLIKE MOST millionaires, the Prince of Wales does not own a...

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Mind your language

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`ANY DIFFERENCE between what Sinn Fein and the IRA say is semantic,' someone said on Radio Four the other day. I just managed to restrain my hus- band from shying the marmalade...

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Will the real John Major stand up and tell us what, if anything, he is? PAUL JOHNSON C hurchill called Russia 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma'. I often think...

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E.C. Hodgkin recalls his days on the editorial staff of the post-war Spectator I WAS fascinated to read Mr Edward Vale's piece, 'I was The Spectator's office boy' (16/23...

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Settling down to 142 days' hard labour, with not enough to show for it CHRISTOPHER FILDES W elcome back to the grindstone, as we start another year in the service of our com-...

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LETTERS A good place to live

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Sir: I am pleased that George Rosenberg (Letters, 16/23 December) enjoys living in a dynamic, enterprise economy like Hong Kong, and I can understand that he appreci- ates our...

Pompous killjoys

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Sir: I never described the idea of a royal divorce as 'timid and pompous' (Diary, 30 December). I merely pointed out that it would achieve nothing and has been adopt- ed by the...

Greek assistance

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Sir: Professor Jasper Griffin introduces his review of the excellent recent book by C.M. Woodhouse on Rhigas Ferraios (Books, 16/23 December) with the sentence: `Greece, as we...

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Trying too hard

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Sir: Like Cosima von Billow, (`The city which is serious about fun', 16/23 Decem- ber) I have been an expatriate and recently lived in London for ten years. During that time, I...

Fighting back

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Sir: The degree of ignorance displayed by your diarist (30 December) in his ramblings concerning me and the Daily Mirror over the Royals' Christmas day service is breath-...

Corporals to the rescue

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Sir: Auberon Waugh offers a hostage to fortune in asking us last week to 'Take cover, as the non-commissioned officers take over' (Another voice, 30 December). We read in his...

Euro-sceptic defence

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Sir: Frank Johnson's leader (9 December) accuses Euro-sceptics of mean-spirited nationalism, relishing the riots in France, equates them with Charles James Fox's fan- tasies in...

A glimmer of hope

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Sir: If I renew my subscription the immedi- ate cause will have been Matthew Parris's article about the Prime Minister (`The case for John Major', 16/23 December). I have been...

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Why can't they write better novels? Timothy Mo TRAVELLER'S LITERARY COMPANION: SOUTH EAST ASIA edited by Alastair Dingwall In Print Publishing, 9 Beaufort Terrace, Brighton,...

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All under the influence now

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Frank Prochaska THE MONARCHY AND THE CONSTITUTION by Vernon Bogdanor OUP, £19.99, pp. 328 M onarchs may be made, as Shaw quipped, 'by universal hallucination', but in an age of...

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Failing to see each other's point of view

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Sargy Mann ON BLINDNESS by Bryan Magee and Martin Milligan OUP, £16.99, pp. 188 A lthough On Blindness does deal to some extent and very interestingly with blindness, in...

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A strange romance with few kisses

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Euan Cameron CROSS CHANNEL by Julian Barnes Cape, £13.99, pp. 211 A part from Graham Greene and Lawrence Durrell, who both chose to live in France during their later years, no...

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Death on the Thames

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Martin Green IN THE WAKE OF THREE MEN IN A BOAT by R. R. Bolland Oast Books, £15.99, pp. 128 N o one could be better qualified than the author to write this book. He spent 40...

Little things mean a bit

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Thomas Blaikie THE WAY WE ARE by Margaret Visser Viking £14, pp. 306 A , one time there were books which told us how to behave. There was Lady Troubridge's Book of Etiquette...


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After the red wines and the white, or spiced or resinous, and after the coffee from Columbia or Kenya, liqueurs or rarest Malts, and after all such, to find myself after long...

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The interposition of some invisible agent

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Oleg Gordievsky BETRAYAL: THE STORY OF ALDRICH AMES by Tim Weiner, David Johnston and Neil A. Lewis Richard Cohen Books, £12.99, pp. 308 I n the spring of 1985 Aldrich Ames, a...

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Crunch Line

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`Did you see the red admiral this morning?' The query slotted rather neatly, I thought, if edgeways, into a lull in his whirring all-electric garden. 'No.' And that was that....

Long on charm

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Christopher Hawtree BOBBY SHORT: SALOON SINGER by Clarkson Potter Random House, $25, pp. 265 I s there any more ridiculous sight than that of Tina Turner, a fine singer, being...

Before the snow came

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Claus von Billow THE HISTORY OF DANISH DREAMS by Peter Hoeg Harvill, f14.99, pp. 339 S tudents of the best-seller lists will recognise Peter Hoeg as the author of Miss Smilla's...

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Enigmatic genius David Anfam on the extraordinary rewards to be found in the show celebrating the work of the Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer A t lovers face a tough choice this...

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Luisa Miller (Opera North) La Belle Vivette (London Coliseum) Verdi, virtue and vice Rupert Christiansen T he Millennium Commission's refusal to provide Lottery funding for...

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South Pacific (Drill Hall) The Tower (Almeida) According to Hoyle (Hampstead) Back to basics Sheridan Morley W riting this column in the autumn of 1951, one of my most...

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Four Rooms (18, selected cinemas) Party poopers Mark Steyn A l popular art forms — musical come- dy, rock'n'roll — eventually reach a point at which they know too much, and...


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A civilising influence Ursula Buchan I nto the vast, calm pool of gardening lit- erature has recently dropped a polished pebble. I hope, before it sinks, that enough ripples...

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Dry and dull Michael Vestey M oral philosophers had their own programme on Radio Four. John Kampfn- er of the Financial Times presented an examination of New Labour on...

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Not motoring

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Horror story Gavin Stamp W e are so used to things going wrong on our beleaguered public transport that it can sometimes be a disappointment when things work normally. After...


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Style victim Ian Hislop P eter York has been given a whole series on BBC 2 to look back at the Eight- ies. He begins by asking, 'How were the Eighties for you?' Many of my own...

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High life

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A neglected maestro Taki 1996 is the centenary of the birth of a great Greek, a gentleman whose bust my father had placed in the entrance of our house, and one over which I...

The turf

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Betting coups Robin Oakley O ne small problem with writing a rac- ing column, I have discovered, is that every- body wants to bend your ear about their most successful bet...

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Low life

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Fried cod and tears Jeffrey Bernard N ow that I have stopped hating and knocking Christmas, I got the one I deserved this time. A couple of years ago, I decided to ride with...

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M A II F. I it A

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BRIDGE Spot the trap Andrew Robson BRIDGE IS a microcosm of life: just when you think that things are plain sailing, a ghastly snag appears. Bridge experts devel- op the...

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JONATHAN MEADES strikes me, from his television appearances, as a

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lugubrious type, but I enjoy reading his restaurant col- umn in the Times and, in particular, noting the marks out of ten which he gives the var- ious eating places that he...

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Optical Ilyushin Raymond Keene `ON 9 JUNE 1991, three days before Boris Yeltsin would become Russia's first demo- cratically elected President, Garry Kaspar- ov stood on a...


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u13,,,,A, iii i i 1,,III , ' • : ' A , 1,1 COMPETITION Turner in his grave Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1913 you were invited to imagine that Turner rose from the grave,...

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A first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1989 Port for the first correct solution opened on 22 January, with two runners-up prizes of £15 (or, for UK...

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Pure pantomime Simon Barnes ANTHONY POWELL describes the door- man at Dicky Umfraville's nightclub 'giving a dreadful leer like that of a very bad actor attempting to horrify...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. After my divorce about a year ago, I moved to a provincial city with the idea of making a fresh start. After experiencing ini- tial social difficulties, I have...