7 JUNE 1997

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'Tony is angry! One of you must have spoken to the press!' M r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, apologised to the Irish for the effects of the potato famine in the late 1840s;...

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Herr Kohl is in trouble good news for Messrs Clarke, Blair and Brown BRUCE ANDERSON C hancellor Kohl has been compared to Alberich, the malevolent dwarf who steals the...

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BARRY HUMPHRIES A n Australian periodical, G'day, is at present being sued for vast sums by my client, Dame Edna Everage, because it recently published the confessions of Dame...

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This month is the 50th anniversary of the sighting of the first flying saucer — or alleged sighting. Michael Harrington says that, as The X Files prove, we earthlings have come...

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That's why we lost. But I'm no federalist and I did read that Treaty, Kenneth Clarke tells Petronella Wyatt ON my way to Kenneth Clarke's new office I could not help but feel...

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James Hanson gives his verdict on the first month of New Labour FOR the first time since 1979 we have a Labour government, set to continue for the next five years. So, after a...

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Mind your language

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THE kindly and learned librarian of the London Library, Mr Alan Bell, was for some reason leafing through a jewellery catalogue from the fashionable Wempe of New Bond Street...

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Anne McElvoy does the rounds of the party HQs on election night in France's capital Paris THE platter of squishy regional cheeses was just being unveiled by a team of chefs in...

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The answer could be the National Front without M Le Pen, warns Douglas Johnson Paris THE NEWS in the background was never encouraging. A man in Versailles was sen- tenced to two...

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After Mr Blair's 'apology', Paul Bew explains the new historians' debate about the Great Famine THE Irish historical debate about the Great Famine of 1845-50 — in which one...

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Michael Heath

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Andrew Gimson says the reason for the German crisis is that politicians, as well as voters, are cushioned by welfare Berlin THE atmosphere in Bonn grows more hys- terical by...

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Alistair Horne tells of his ordeal at the hands of a foreign power's London agents DOES the bonhomous United States ambassador Admiral Crowe (pronounced like Slough) have, I...

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. . . and even some bankers don't think its journey is necessary, reports Christopher Fildes Interlaken THE BANKER enthuses. Europe, he says, is heading for monetary union like...

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Daubers and barbarians rush in where Hogarth feared to tread PAUL JOHNSON W hen I first visited the Royal Acade- my in the 1940s it was the heyday of Sir Alf Munnings, the...

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Sir: Bruce Anderson writes, without the quotation marks, 'we all

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know, surely, that the first world war was fought by a British army of lions led by donkeys'. Do we all know? And does Bruce Anderson mean to tell us that he accepts this...

Our brave men

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Sir: Bruce Anderson's article on pardons for first world war soldiers executed for cowardice (Politics, 31 May) makes no dis- tinction between those unjustly convicted and those...

LETTERS The Tory future

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Sir: Peter Lilley tries to separate the ques- tion of how he would oppose New Labour in Parliament from the question of how 'to reunite, rebuild and renew the party' in the...

The decent thing

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Sir: Neither Merlin Holland nor George Melly, both of whose letters criticising me (31 May) scored palpable hits, addressed my central objection to a statue in the mid- dle of...

A case for prosecution

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Sir: Nicholas Farrell in his article 'Ma Cherie' (24 May) cites the police as saying that the Crown Prosecution Service is 'not interested' in threat-to-kill situations. Threats...

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Thinly disguised

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Sir: Brian Glanville (Letters, 24 May) claims that Cyril Connolly's aphorism, 'Imprisoned in every fat man a thin man is wildly signalling to be let out', was 'bor- rowed' from...

Original sinner

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Sir: Alan Watkins wonders whether Tom Driberg's churchmanship was sincere ('Anyone for Tom', 24 May). I remember Lord Boothby telling me that on one occa- sion he and Driberg...

Genealogical diversion

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Sir: David Damant (Letters, 31 May) would have done better to consult the Almanach de Gotha rather than pester the good Dr Moritz Graf Strachwitz of Deutsches Adelsarchiv....

Psyched out

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Sir: In his chess column of 17 May Ray- mond Keene rightly points out that Deep Blue's recent win is too small a sample of its prowess for IBM to declare a victory over the...

A good night out

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Sir: Barry Humphries has asked a ques- tion,Was Alfred Hitchcock blind?' (Diary, 31 May) which far too many people have left unasked for, surely, far too long. We go in our...

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Tory press gets Tory leadership election wrong (in 1975) STEPHEN GLOVER I t is generally agreed that the Tory lead- ership election doesn't present the party with much of a...

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So long as there are more sinners than saints, there's hope for the Tories PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE I nclusion' is what New Labour is all about. I have this on the best authority,...

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Coming to, smelling of roses David Gilmour THE END OF THE LINE by Richard Cobb John Murray, £20, pp. 229 M y subject is chaotic,' wrote Richard Cobb in the introduction to one...

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All things to all men

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John Michell KING ARTHUR IN LEGEND AND HISTORY by Richard White Dent, £25, pp. 512 I n response to my complaint that children nowadays are brought up in an atmosphere of...

Rough winds do shake

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Max Egremont VISITORS by Anita Brookner Cape, £15.99, pp. 236 M rs Dorothea May is a widow of 70 who lives in a ground-floor flat in a smart district of London. She has the use...

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Granny takes a trip

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Teresa Waugh KISS AND KIN by Angela Lambert Bantam, £14.99, pp. 299 H arriet Capel, the heroine of Angela Lambert's new novel, Kiss and Kin, is a recently widowed grandmother...

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Fame was the spur

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Jonathan Cecil A TROUSER-WEARING CHARACTER: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NANCY SPAIN by Rose Collis Cassell, £25, pp. 318 F ew people under 50 will have heard of Nancy Spain; the...

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Lamb not for the slaughter

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Jane Ridley LORD MELBOURNE by L. G. Mitchell OUP, £.25, pp. 349 W hen William Lamb, the future prime minister Lord Melbourne, was a boy at Eton, he fought a boy who pummelled...

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Science into art

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Mark Bevir THE FIRST MODERNS by William R. Everdell University of Chicago, £23.95, pp. 473 P aris, 29 May 1913, the opening night of Stravinslcy's The Rite of Spring, three...

The fragments that remain

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Anthony Rouse THE LAST PINK BITS by Harry Ritchie Hodder, £17.99, pp. 231 E dward Gibbon famously had the idea of writing his Decline and Fall in Rome 'while the barefoot...

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Pop goes the nation

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Jonathan Keates ENGLAND IS MINE by Michael Bracewell HarperCollins, £18, pp. 245 E nglishness is up for grabs. Everyone nowadays wants to give you their version of it, not...

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Man of fiction, not action

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Richard West THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES, VOLUMES I-III by John Buchan, edited by Andrew Lownie Thistle Publishing, £20 each L ike many people who early on in life were...

The last time I saw Parris. . .

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Norman Tebbit I COULDN'T POSSIBLY COMMENT by Matthew Parris Robson, £14.95, pp. 264 T ying to read this anthology of Matthew Parris's sketches is like trying to make a meal of...

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Ego-trip to New Guinea

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Patrick Skene Catling THE OPEN CAGE: THE ORDEAL OF THE IRIAN JAYA HOSTAGES by Daniel Start HarperCollins, £16.99, pp. 338 D aniel Start's wanderlust was the initial cause of...

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The greenhouse effect

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Emma Tennant CONSERVATORY AND INDOOR PLANTS, VOLUME I by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix Macmillan, £19.99, pp. 286 h e British Isles are famous for their gardens. They are made...

Making good progress

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Thomas Blaikie SEAHORSES by Bidisha Flamingo, £9.99, pp. 210 T wo years ago, when she was 16, Bidisha was a pupil of mine. I was under the impression that I was teaching her...

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A detective of the past

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Anita Brookner DORA BRUDER by Patrick Modiano Gallimard, FF95, pp. 147 P atrick Modiano, haunter of vanishing suburbs and old newspapers, writes novels which take place in a...

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Exhibitions Summer Exhibition (Royal Academy, till 17 August) London's gigantic village fête Martin Gayford T hese are heady days of reform. The House of Lords is to be...

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Swan Lake (Royal Albert Hall) A surfeit of swans Giannandrea Poesio S wan Lake, like any other 19th-century ballet, is not an ideal work to stage in a space that is not a...

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Crash (18, selected cinemas) The cars have it Mark Steyn L ike a Number 73 bus, Crash has finally turned up. In Canada, it played unobtru- sively at art-houses for months; in...


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Katya Kabanova (Royal Opera House) Simon Boccanegra (Royal Opera House) Pity and terror Michael Tanner T he revival of Katya Kabanova is one of the Royal Opera House's...

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New York theatre

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The pick of Broadway Sheridan Morley L *eber and Stoller's anthem to the Great White Way, currently to be heard at the Prince of Wales in Smokey Joe's Cafe, has seldom in 30...

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With an eye for beauty Alistair McAlpine on the late Terence Donovan, whose camera collection is coming up for sale T erence Donovan was a perfectionist. He believed that it...


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Proms challenge Peter Phillips F irst things first. The Proms prospectus recently published contains some revolu- tionary items. Not only are some of the concerts to be held...

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Pop music

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No waiting place Marcus Berkmann N ew albums come and new albums go, often with bewildering speed. Say what you like about the pop industry, but it doesn't hang around....

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Comic creativity Michael Vestey W e tend in Britain to take comedy and satire for granted. After all, there is and has been so much of it, in literature going back to Chaucer,...


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Playing patball Simon Hoggart L e Chair with Peter Mandelson (BBC 2) was a disgrace. Something has gone badly wrong with the BBC's quality control. It's like the Jaguar...

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Leave it with me Alan Judd S pectator readers are part of the process of natural selection and in their case species differentiation has produced a bio- logical need to know...

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The turf

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Sue Ellen to the rescue Robin Oakley L ast year the Derby clashed with the European Cup. This year, those seeking to restore the premier Classic to its former glory have been...

High life

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Turning a blind eye Taki L ast week Greek terrorists murdered yet another Greek businessman, Costis Peratikos, father of three. A poll taken immediately after the foul killing...

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Low life

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Kind hearts and baguettes Jeffrey Bernard I was quite staggered last week on my birthday by the amount of cards and the kindness shown by readers of this column. I even had...

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Country life

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Flower power Leanda de Lisle O n Friday morning I was on guard duty in the church for the NSPCC's Flower Festival. 'You should take a book along,' the local jeweller had...

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Change of plan Andrew Robson DICEY Grand Slam ventures are rarely profitable, especially in a four-three trump fit. This week's declarer, Goli Radji, did not panic. She...

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Lola's, Maison Novelli and Stephen Bull

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I MUST confess to some satisfaction with my choice of subjects for this article about three of London's successful new restau- rants. Just before I settled down to write it I...

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IN-THE-STRAND SIMPSON'S IN-THE-STRAND Golden age Raymond Keene THE ENGLAND team has performed a feat that would have been unthinkable in former times, capturing the gold...


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URA 1111 Shat WALT SCOTCH •HisTi COMPETITION Come and gone Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1985 you were asked to imagine that Beckett added a last act to Waiting for Godot in...

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CROSSWORD 1314: Dans la cuisine by Doc

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 23 June, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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Winning is all Simon Barnes STEVEN Redgrave was back to doing what he does best last weekend: winning. As an athlete, he has grown beyond mere excel- lence. Being good at your...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. I live in a central London square and, since I am a member of the square's garden committee, I frequently come across stolen bags which have been chucked over...