6 JUNE 1998

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK 'Why does he have to drink

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like that, it's not setting us a very good example is it?' MR WILLIAM Hague, the Leader of the Opposition, shuffled the shadow Cabinet, with Mr Francis Maude becoming shadow...

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SPECTAT TF OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Fax 0171-242 0603 EUROPE IS NOT ENOUGH There are three reasons for opposing Britain's entry into the single currency: tac- ttS , s, pragmatism, and...

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General Gordon, the Mahdi and an excess of youthful anorexics BRUCE ANDERSON M r Hague has made one appalling misjudgment; apart from that, it was a use- ful reshuffle. Some...

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IRWIN STELZER . er weeks of rain, which climatolo- gists say will produce a thick horde of mosquitoes but a rich bounty of mush- rooms and oysters, the capital is in luxuri- ant...

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Focus on the British system of government: pledge-ocracy MATTHEW PARRIS I t was God who started this dreadful pledging business. 'I do set my bow in the cloud,' said the Lord,...

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Alice Thomson says New Labour wants more Britons to become servants, but Britons do not MARGARET Thatcher urged the British to return to their roots as Napoleonic shop-...

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Diana's driver had too much carbon monoxide in him. Nicholas Farrell wonders why Mohamed Al Fayed cannot accept that the deaths of his son Dodi, of Diana, Princess of Wales,...

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Mind your language

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Frances Partridge, familiar as a review - er in these pages, was on the wireless the other day. She did not mind the interviewer, Michael Berkeley, setting out the skeins•...

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Edward Heathcoat Amory on why the West may not like the solution to the crisis in Japan's tiger economy THE SUN may still rise in Japan, but the yen, the stock market, consumer...

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SiOn Simon says that observers have failed to spot into whose hands the Mirror has really fallen THOSE getting up a mighty hullabaloo about the 'new allegiance' of the Daily...


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Michael Heath

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Ruth Dudley Edwards on why Britain's institutions, even including this magazine, long to be exposed IT WAS a Neddy (National Economic Development Council) meeting in 1978 that...


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How to save yourself 51 trips to the library . . or over £41 on The Spectator If you're forced to share The Spectator with fellow students, then you'll Icnow how difficult it...

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James Whitaker explains why Robert Fellowes has left the Queen's side HE IS the archetypal courtier, urbane, ramrod straight in his bearing, a man with British steel down his...

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Don't blame the literary monkeys, it's the organ-grinder who calls the tune PAUL JOHNSON t he public of journalism little known to tne public is what goes on behind the books...

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Shooting feet

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Sir: For Christopher Walker ('Vetoed by the PLOT, 30 May) a debate in the Oxforu Union on the motion 'This house believes that an independent Palestine is the onlY way for...


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Gun law Sir: May I congratulate you on being the first magazine to publish an informed and unbi- ased view of the many gun massacres which have occurred worldwide in the past...

Honest Abe

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Sir: I am gobsmacked that Amanda Fore- man, in her innocent credulity (Diary, 16 May), has allowed the most vile string of falsehoods in the history of journalism to get into...

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Just Williams

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Sir: Many sins can be laid at the door of the Conservative Research Department whose decline, so marked under its current direc- tor, I failed to prevent during my tenure. But...


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Sir: In his previously unsuspected role as a German pronunciation expert, Charles Osborne (Letters, 23 May) reveals scant knowledge of that language. The surround- ing Lower...

Sunny money

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Sir: Derek Draper should not judge others by his own low, terminally opportunist stan- dards ('Why Murdoch's Sun will rise on the euro', 23 May). Bizarre as it may seem to a...

Hun fun

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Sir: Michael Samuelson (Letters, 23 May) expresses his satisfaction with the roles which the Imperial Chancellor von Billow and General Karl von Mow arguably played in Germany's...

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My guess as to what the West will do about Third World nuclear weapons PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE • obody will recall, since nobody took the slightest notice, that this column...

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Poor little rich boy Philip Hens her WILLIAM BECKFORD by Timothy Mowl John Murray, £22, pp. 324 I t is easy to come to dislike the writer, traveller, connoisseur and fantasist...

_ All books reviewed in The Spectator are available through

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All the world his stage

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Patrick Carnegy THREADS OF TIME: A MEMOIR h e threads of time running through these beguiling pages are entwined with the perennial questions of 'why and whither theatre?' At...

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In the steps of Zola

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Anita Brookner SHADOWS ON THE HUDSON by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated from the Yiddish by Joseph Sherman Hamish Hamilton, 176.99, pp. 548 0 riginally published in...


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The pitfalls of statistics

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Alfred Sherman H aving published a paperback in collaboration with the BBC (The Fifty-years War) Penguin is now collaborating with the Social Market Foundation in producing...

A very even tenor

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Kate Grimand HALFWAY TO HEAVEN: CONCLUDING MEMOIRS OF A LITERARY LIFE by Rupert Hart-Davis Sutton, .£18.99, pp. 163 D iaries should be prosaic; they ar e , all the better for...

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Madly in love with words

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Christopher Howse THE SURGEON OF CROWTHORNE by Simon Winchester Viking, £10, pp. 207 A dramatic scene in the film to be made from this book will have William Chester Minor, the...

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New school ties

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Roy Kerridge COMP: A SURVIVOR'S TALE by John-Paul Flintoff Gollancz, £10.99, pp. 285 H olland Park comprehensive school opened in 1958 and quickly became the comprehensive for...

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Hard men and soft drinks

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Michael Glover SOFT by Rupert Thomson Bloomsbury, £12.99, pp.320 R upert Thomson is a man with a pas- sion for memorably outlandish fictional themes — the itchy legacy,...


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12 Months 6 Months (52 issues) (26 issues) UK U £97.00 0 £49.00 Europe CI £109.00 U £55.00 USA CI US$161 CI US$82 Australia U Aus$225 U Aus$113 Rest of World 0 £119.00 CI £60.00...

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The letter killeth

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Martin Stannard 'Don't lounge about the office, lad,' the editors say, 'sit up and insult an artist.' [Evelyn Waugh on intrusive journalism]. L ies are like fleas hopping...

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That race against time Felicity Owen looks at the projects to be completed by our cultural institutions before 2000 M illennium madness, a frenzy occa- sioned by the need to...

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Summer Exhibition (Royal Academy, till 16 August) Slim pickings Martin Gayford L ast year I was rebuked for my treat- ment of the Royal Academy Summer Exhi- b.ition by the...

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Die aegyptische Helena (Royal Opera, Festival Hall) Giovanna d'Arco (Opera North, Leeds) Orchestral storm Michael Tanner hatever one may think about the W work itself, there...

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Pop music

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Where were you? Marcus Berkmann I think we are all agreed: it is the End Of An Era. Not a very long Era, of course, but a vivid one, and for five young women of varying...


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Copenhagen (National Theatre) Love's Fire (Barbican Pit) The Rink (Richmond) Absolute uncertainty Sheridan Morley W ith unnerving topicality, the Nation - al Theatre premiere...

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The Wedding Singer (12, selected cinemas) Doing the Eighties Mark Steyn L et's face it, the Seventies have been done,' says Tim Herlihy, screenwriter of The Wedding Singer....

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So effing what? James Delingpole O ne of the things that annoys me most about Ally McBeal (Channel 4, Wednesday) is the way that it has been dumped on us as, a fait accompli....

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A bit of fun Michael Vestey I t is an indication of the secrecy and self- importance of the BBC that it is trumpet- ing on radio its new television send-up of itself, In the...

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Let's go shopping Alan Judd N ow it's June the Moggie-hunting sea- son is in full cry. Not the sort of moggie you hunt with air-pistols, catapults or — in these more tender...

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The turf

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Give him time Robin Oakley I am glad that Sheikh Mohammed has taken this eolumn's advice and spent the £75,000 on supplementing Godolphin's brilliant filly Cape Verdi so that...

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High life

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Answers, please Tato T New York his is my last week in the Bagel and although I've said this before, never has New York been more fun and never has the time flown as quickly....

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Country life

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A sense of mystery Leanda de Lisle T he Indian travel writer I told you about a month ago finally came to stay. I went to Leicester station to collect him but arrived early...


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Small is best Andrew Robson WHAT finer place to play bridge than in a chalet overlooking Meribel's moonlit pistes? Actually, I was watching a game between Edward and Lulu...

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ONE of the great advantages of Italian cooking is that

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it lends itself to snacks. To eat Italian does not predicate a three- course meal: with the vast selection of piz- zas and pastas, and the care with which, in the best places,...

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Shirov strikes Raymond Keene TO UNIVERSAL surprise the volatile Alexei Shirov seized the lead in his match against Vladimir Kramnik and maintained it until past the halfway...


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Queer trade Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2036 you were told about G.K. Chesterton's Club of Queer Trades (members must have invent- ed a novel, eccentric way of earning a liv-...

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Six Grapes Port for the first correct solution opened on 22 June, with two runners-up Prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the latest...

Solution to 1362: 44 all out

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011101Eli1WIEIrliiinelOrICI Oa chogLiaLA nano 0 a A a e R I Mnin:1110 R A L CIO 0 13001:1 a. I on 1 T El CI El El el , rharhruha c ammo , pa Enna An amour lumped MIMI L...

No. 2039: Song of a road-hog

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You are invited to write a poem (maximum 16 lines) with this title. Entries to 'Comp- etition No. 2039' by 18 June.

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Whither Gazza? Simon Barnes IT SEEMS that this summer we will have no priapic monolith in the Mediterranean SUE, Or if we do, it won't be Gazza. This famous description of...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. In recent times I have gown to admire a one-time elder statesman of the Australian Labor party who has, in his declining years, discovered the error of his...