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John Major has had cosmetic treatment on his teeth. News item M ore than 200 people in Scotland went down with the 0157 strain of Escherichia call food poisoning thought to come...

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Europe is graven on John Major's heart. Ken Clarke was one of the engravers BRUCE ANDERSON T en days ago, Kenneth Clarke tried to help his party to win the next election. In...

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JENNIFER PATERSON T he terrible editor is making me write the diary again, as if I didn't have enough on my plate already what with various Christmas copy being demanded at this...

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The truth about manners in the good old days (they were bad) PETRONELLA WYATT T he other day, while staying with friends, I was knocked down by a very elderly fellow-guest, a...

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Junk bonds, Trump, Maxwells, Ernest Saunders. All survive. Some flourish anew. There's even a Saatchi in the Lords. Simon Sebag Montefiore welcomes them back ON THE weekend of...

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One man who doesn't entirely welcome the return of the Eighties is Mark Archer. He mourns the end of the civilised recession DO you recall that delightful time a few years...

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Anne McElva) , describes how and why Nicholas Scott lost. It was the Wets who did it SIR NICHOLAS Scott lost Kensington and Chelsea, not because the Right turned on him, but...

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Mind your language

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THE TIME of year is fast approaching when my husband suddenly has to put in an appearance at emergency surg- eries, leaving me to do the last-minute and most crowd-plagued...

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Finns were not insulted by comments about blonde, blue-eyed nurses, says 0111 Kivinen. They rather enjoyed the rare attention. Helsinki FINNS have been both amused and aston-...

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Apropos of Paul Johnson's attack on homo- sexuality in the Church of England, William Oddie recalls a place once renowned for it WELL, he said it, and the consequence foretold...

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Sarah Whitebloom lives in the unlikely part of Britain ruled by pure democracy. She doesn't recommend it THERE is such a thing as too much democracy. The nation as a whole...

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The Spectator asked Douglas Johnson for an opinion on two disputed texts THE differences that exist between Sir James Goldsmith's book, Le Piege, pub- lished in Paris (1993),...

Second opinion

The Spectator

I WAS on the train to London recently to attend an important conference lamenting the state of modern Britain (lamentation being my vocation and my forte) when I noticed the...

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Simon Blow tells how a legendary Duke of Westminster was the cause of his parent becoming an alcoholic MY FATHER was a self-destructive alco- holic. I envied the stable fathers...

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After revelations that German Jews fought for Hitler, Nicholas Farrell on the Jews for Mussolini THE Daily Telegraph has published details of new research on Jews who fought...

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Charles Moore has discovered a painless way in which many shareholders can give to charity TWO years ago, I had been asked to help with the Centenary Appeal for Westmin- ster...

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How New York's Governor, Pataki, compels teachers to lie to kids PAUL JOHNSON W ho now merits the title of the Greatest Liar in America, left vacant by the late and unlamented...

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Britain's most incorrect company chairman lands himself in a steel scrap CHRISTOPHER FILDES W e haven't had a good steel scrap for ages, and Andrew Cook is a scrapper after my...

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Not everyone's happy

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Sir: In his article about Peter McKay's departure from Punch (Media studies, 30 November), Stephen Glover states that, 'The marvellous thing is that everyone seems much happier,...

Imperial sensitivity

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Sir: Stuart Campbell's commendably sensi- tive appreciation of Franz Josef I is never- theless flawed. To say that Austria's 'military occupation of Bosnia in 1878, and its...

Beyond a joke

The Spectator

Sir: Isn't Michael Harrington, in his spirited `defence of J. Edgar Hoover (Alger Hiss: a postscript', Nov 30), pushing the joke a lit- tle too far? He concedes, after all, that...

LETTERS Listen to experience

The Spectator

Sir: There is a contradiction at the heart of Sue Cameron's 'On air in two minutes, Sir Humphrey' (30 November). If, as she sug- gests, civil servants have usurped so much power...

Sir: The Emper , r Franz Josef ('Britain's unwilling enemy', 0 November)

The Spectator

was also Honorary Colonel -If the King's Dragoon Guards, senior British -avalry regiment of the line. The regiment's -ap badge, gra- ciously conferred by Franz Josef himself,...

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Perfect plungers

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Sir: Thousands have no doubt already writ- ten to deny Digby Anderson's impetuous condemnation of what he calls 'plungers' and which most of us call the cafetiere (Food, 30...

Absurd suggestion

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Sir: Even from the perspective of distant Australia, Edward Lucie-Smith's claim in your pages (Arts, 30 November) that 'now Francis Bacon is dead, David Hockney is Britain's...

Who do you believe?

The Spectator

Sir: Andrew Roberts's letter of 23 Novem- ber misrepresents what I wrote. I did not say I believe, because 'a German colonel' once told me, that 'the July conspirators were in a...

Take us anywhere

The Spectator

Sir: Despite Dr Jaffe's distinguished career as Mayor of Bournemouth, author of Promiscuity and GP for 45 years, he is unqualified to undertake post mortems. His tiresome...

Parti pris

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Sir: Readers should be grateful to Mr Lowenthal (Letters, 30 November) for so graphically recreating the Alice in Wonder- land atmosphere that surrounded the Hiss case at the...

Changing times

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Sir: The Times used to be the best newspaper in the world. Here are some headlines to articles printed in it today: 7 October: 'Snow-white gets mini-camera to keep bodice...

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The Spectator

The press isn't free in Mr Mugabe's country but it's freer than in Mr Ian Smith's STEPHEN GLOVER A Harare I am spending a few days in Zim- babwe, I thought it might be a good...

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Martians and Venusians David Sexton THE SIBLING SOCIETY by Robert Bly Hamish Hamilton, £18, pp.336 R obert Bly is easy to ridicule. Five years ago, his exposition of a...

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An overcrowded party

The Spectator

Susan Crosland MAD COWS by Kathy Lette Picador, £12.99, pp. 294 M ad Cows is my first go at a Kathy Lette novel, a tardiness saying more about me than the acclaimed humourist...

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Keeping the show on the road

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Raymond Carr REFORMATION: CHRISTIANITY AND THE WORLD, 1500-2000 by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and Derick Wilson Bantam, £20, pp. 324 hristus contra Mundum', 'Christ against the...

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The man they wouldn't believe

The Spectator

Christopher Andrew STALIN'S SPY: RICHARD SORGE AND THE TOKYO ESPIONAGE RING by Robert Whymant I. B. Tauris, £25, pp. 368 R ichard Sorge, the son of a German father and Russian...

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Oodles of cream and personality

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Andrew Barrow TWO FAT LADIES: GASTRONOMIC ADVENTURES (WITH MOTORBIKE AND SIDECAR) by Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright Ebtay Press, £17.99, pp. 192 J ennifer...

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Doomed and then blessed

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Paul Sussman TIME ON FIRE by Evan Handler Souvenir, £15.99, pp. 279 A cute myelogenous leukaemia is not, on the face of it, particularly amusing. It's not particularly amusing...

Agent or victim of destiny?

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Mikhail Narinski HOW FAR FOM AUSTERLITZ? NAPOLEON 1805 - 1815 by Alistair Horne Macmillan, £20, pp. 350 N apoleon . . . There is probably no other historical figure whose...

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No shelf-life for Sir John

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Philip Glazebrook THE RIDDLE AND THE KNIGHT by Giles Milton Allison & Busby, £14.99, pp. 230 C oncerned by the amount of home shelf-space already crammed with books of travel,...

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Camping at a high altitude

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Thomas Blaikie THE FREDDIE MERCURY STORY by David Bret Robson, £16.95, pp. 207 I n a small way Freddie Mercury added to the gaiety of nations. Alive, he was a fairly...

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Variations on a theme of death

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Michael Scott TCHAIKOVSKY'S LAST DAYS by Alexander Poznansky OUP, £20, pp. 254 W hen a famous personality dies sud- denly from natural causes before his time, there are always...

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Christmas funnies

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Richard Ingrams T here have been so many TV 'spin- offs' by way of comic books that I am sur- prised the BBC hasn't yet produced The Michael Fish Book of Weather Forecasts with...

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Evocative gardening books

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Mary Keen S he can't evoke anything,' said a friend, who is a well known novelist, in conversation about a newcomer to the writing game. 'Adjectives', the WKN added, 'are not...

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Changes, charges and cuts Felicity Owen on the problems and pressures facing the British Museum T he British Museum (BM) is one of this country's glories. It leads the world in...

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Christmas crackers

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Andrew Lambirth solves your present problems in art galleries around London Elizabethan sweetmeat course, in the Geffiye Museum's Christmas Past exhibition A bbott & Holder,...

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Tinkering with a myth

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It was Jack Tinker's personality not his writing that made him so popular, says Milton Shulman W hen Jack Tinker, the Daily Mail's theatre critic, died on 28 October, his news-...

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Arts diary

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Virginia in Wonderland John Parry have long been intrigued by Jung's the- ory of synchronicity — the attempt to explain the significance of the relationship between certain...

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Latin charade Peter Phillips I have always had trouble making the connection between the antique world and modern education. Given that the survival of Latin tags in official...

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The Spectator

Max Klapper (The Electric, Portobello Road) The Cherry Orchard (Albcry) Mixed-media message Sheridan Morley W ay up the Portobello Road, in an area now rendered almost...


The Spectator

Jingle All The Way (PG, selected cinemas) Home For The Holidays (15, selected cinemas) Pop forgot Mark Steyn J ingle All The Way is the story of one dad's determination to...

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Royal Ballet Triple Bill (Royal Opera House) Triple trouble Giannandrea Poesio T he Royal Ballet's triple bill at the Royal Opera House focuses on three dif- ferent aspects...


The Spectator

Losing its nerve Michael Vestey T his week's Radio Times tells me that Radio Lives, the biographical series, is 'por- traits of great names in radio and television' (my...

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Moll flounders Simon Hoggart T he fashion for putting on the classics in anachronistic settings — Richard III as a 20th-century fascist, The Duchess of Malfl in a space...

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The turf

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A sad case of seconditis Robin Oakley R ecounting how a chimney sweep's mistaken arrival at her home had resulted in a prize puppy running loose, a woman behind me in the...

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High life

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A proud father writes Taki T wenty-one years ago last Saturday, 30 November, I found myself in Palm Beach lolling sybaritically on a beach — actually in a tennis club by the...

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Low life

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Nothing doing Jeffrey Bernard N ow that we are in December, every- one you meet asks, 'What are you doing for Christmas?' — most of the people I meet anyway. The answer is...

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Country life

The Spectator

Arms and the men Leanda de Lisle M y mother-in-law learnt how to use a Shotgun when she was a child in Peru — although she was more likely to shoot peas- ants than...

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BRIDGE Mirror image Andrew Robson WHEN both declarer's hand and dummy have exactly the same hand pattern, they are said to be mirrored and a disappointing trick tally almost...

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Upper and lower case Auberon Waugh T he last offer of the year traditionally goes to Lay & Wheeler as a tribute not only to the high standard of their wine, but also to the...

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I HAD not realised that, while spending a week recently

The Spectator

in Cannes, it would be my good fortune to eat lunch cooked by France's 'Chef of the Year'. Just before I arrived, the Gault Millau Guide to France for 1997 had appeared and...

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URA ISLE OF JURA SINGLE MALI SCOICH ‘HISICI COMPETITION Scientific breakthrough Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1961 you were invited to supply a newspaper report, more...


The Spectator

IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND CHESS Anthology pieces Raymond Keene LAST WEEK, while speculating on which was the strongest chess tournament of all time in the...

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CROSSWORD 1290: Waits for them by Doc

The Spectator

A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1990 Port for the first correct solution opened on 6 January, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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The final encounter Simon Barnes COME ON. The game's been good to you. Hang up those boots and don't spoil the dream of children, the memories of adults — all this is...


The Spectator

Dear Mary. . . Q. Please can you help me? Each time I give a dinner party, the guests — most of them married couples — arrive in furious tempers. The reason, I have worked...