7 MARCH 1998

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The Spectator

M ore than a quarter of a million peo- ple joined a 'Countryside March' through London, protesting against a proposed crim- inalisation of hunting foxes with hounds and about...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 NO TO NOSTALGIA F or one political party, the countryside March was...

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Why Mr Blair thinks Herr Schroder has the Reich stuff BRUCE ANDERSON A least in Britain, Chancellor Kohl has never had the reputation he deserves. Yet it could be argued that...

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VICKI WOODS L ike my neighbour Lord Lloyd-Webber of Sydmonton I have lived almost half my life under the haunches of Watership Down and I felt vaguely guilty that I wasn't...

Classifieds —pages 51 and 54

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Why I'll sit out this anniversary waltz FRANK JOHNSON Y ou can't beat news in a newspaper. Lord Beaverbrook is credited with having said that. Probably a lot of other people...

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Matthew Parris says New Labour sleaze is typical of a government in power too long. The point is, though, it hasn't been IN POLITICS, as in lingerie, everything sags in the...

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Country campaigners should look to America, suggests Mark Steyn, where politicians fall over themselves to secure the gun-totin' rural vote New Hampshire LIKE a cornered fox,...

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Mind your language

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`THEY must be in your handbag,' said my husband, looking for some keys which he had lost. Scorning to point out the elementary logical flaw in his remark, I even went as far as...

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Michael Heath


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Charles Moore on why a single currency is about more than money MY SEARCH for the meaning of mone- tary union begins with the Gospel accord- ing to St Matthew xxii 17-21. The...

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Every seven years, young men are killed at a Shinto ceremony. John Casey was there AS I watched the Countryside March on Sunday, I found myself reflecting on the sorts of...

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Jessica Berry on an all-female Irish band that only looks harmless ULSTER'S peace talks may be founder- ing, but there is at least someone in the IRA's propaganda unit having a...

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Sion Simon knows from experience that the countryside marchers only demonstrated their weakness IN COMRADESHIP and solidarity we marched. Young and old, rich and poor, from...

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Well: are you a countryman at heart, or a town-lover? PAUL JOHNSON L ast weekend's march set me thinking. Am I a countryman or a townsman? I dare say quite a lot of people...

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Steering trouble

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MESSAGES smuggled out through the wire round HM Treasury confirm that (as I was saying last week) Gordon Brown and his warders are experiencing difficulties of their own making....

Sans peur et sans reproche

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THE CITY'S old order changes, and one by one the mighty names of merchant banking fade away. This week sees the last of Hambros Bank, peacefully, in its 158th year. Societe...

Splashing out

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AS THE banks and insurers eye one anoth- er greedily, Sir Angus Grossart eyes them askance. 'Vast impersonal conglomerations are created in the financial sector' — so he tells...


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Beautiful insurance company by the silvery Tay, I am sad to say you've been taken away CHRISTOPHER FILDES L ce the poet William Topaz McGona- gall, the General Accident Fire...

The golden yonder

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THE STOCK markets of London and New York march onwards, and a friendly gold bug floats in with a riddle. How much gold, he asks, would you need to buy every share in the Dow...

Raiding the rails

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IN THE green Devon hills, a puff of white smoke signals the presence of the Dart Val- ley Light Railway — but who is this masked figure galloping alongside? Can this be a...

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Sir: Frank Johnson (Shared opinion, 21 February) apologises for suggesting it was Tsar Paul II rather than Alexander II who was assassinated in 1881, but reproves the readership...

Britten's instant success

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Sir: Peter Phillips (Arts, 14 February) is wrong to claim that no new work has become an instant part of the concert repertory for many years, and that the last time it happened...

LETTERS Country wisdom

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Sir: This is not anti, just asking. Who is it exactly who grubs out hedgerows and replaces old stone walls with wire? Who demolishes old farm buildings, replaces them with tin...

Best apart

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Sir: Paul Johnson, in his review of the for- mer US Ambassador's memoirs (And another thing, 21 February), repeats the story of Raymond Seitz asking Ted Heath which postwar...

Nannied to death

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Sir: Relief is in sight for all parties in the Pom/Ocker/Canuck/Kiwi fracas (Letters, 28 February). Kim Fletcher, who started it all, ('New south wails', 17 January), may be...

A matter of opinion

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Sir: Richard Branson (Letters, 28 Febru- ary) argues that my article on his business interests was filled with mistakes because I did not bother to check the facts. I contact-...

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The real casualty in all this is not Mr Murdoch STEPHEN GLOVER T he editor's headline-writing skills did not desert him when his pen hovered over my column last week. 'A...

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The old bombers who are now for banning the bomb PEREGRINE WORSTHORNE I ncredibly enough, the policy of nuclear deterrence (i.e., a Mutual Assured Destruc- tion, MAD) still...

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An unbuttoned cocktail party Bevis Hillier TRUMAN CAPOTE: IN WHICH VARIOUS FRIENDS, ENEMIES, ACQUAINTANCES RECALL HIS TURBULENT CAREER edited by George Plimpton Picador, £20,...


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RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK U 03.00 ❑ £47.00 Europe (airmail) ❑ £104.00 U £52.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$151 U US$76 Rest of} Airmail 0 £115.00 U £58.00 World Airspeed .0...

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He was poor but he was honest

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Norman Lebrecht FRANZ LISZT: VOLUME III: THE FINAL YEARS, 1861-1886 by Alan Walker Faber, £45, pp. 594 W hat are we to make of that old reprobate Liszt? More famous in his day...


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koftheWeek Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor Wobegon Boy is the saga of John Tollefson, last seen in Lake Wobegon Days leaving home, he is now a forty-something Norwegian...

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Realism going off the rails

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Caroline Moore MARTIN DRESSLER by Steven Millhauser Phoenix House, £12.99, pp. 293 M artin Dressler is, as its subtitle rather self-consciously announces, 'The Tale of an...

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Carry on up the lake

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Andrew Barrow WOBEGON BOY by Garrison Keillor Faber, £16.99, pp. 305 T his is rather a confusing book: self- confidently shapeless, overpoweringly well informed and...

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Sabres and rose petals

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Mark Archer GABRIELE D'ANNUNZIO: DEFIANT ANGEL by John Woodhouse Clarendon Press, £25, pp. 406 H ad D'Annunzio not led his march on Fiume in 1919, his career would have...

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Rebels between two seas

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Liliana Brisby THE SPIRIT WRESTLERS: A RUSSIAN JOURNEY by Philip Marsden HarperCollins, £1799, pp. 250 T he genesis of Marsden's latest travel book tells us something about...

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Defining the moral frontiers

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Ian Ousby THE WARRIOR'S HONOR by Michael Ignatieff Chatto, f10.99, pp. 207 I t is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love,' Freud wrote in...

Clerihew Corner

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In the new Dictionary of Global Culture Marcus Garvey, A convicted crook, earns four times as much space as William Harvey, The great medical pioneer.

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Coming up smarter

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P. J. Kavanagh LIFE SENTENCES by Joseph Epstein W. W. Norton, £17.95, pp. 347 T he civilised literary causerie is not dead, it is not even out of fashion. It is alive and...

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Depraved, moronic, grotesque Roger Kimball believes the current art scene is good for cultural hucksters but bad for art T his being the season of Lent, it seems appropriate...

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Exhibitions 1

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Princes, Poets and Paladins (Room 90, British Museum, till 12 April) Princely pleasures Martin Gayford W e are well off for exhibitions in London this season. Bonnard, Bacon,...

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Stop the exodus Susan Moore W hen I began writing about the demise of an international art .market in London a year or so ago, I only half believed myself. Surely something...

Exhibitions 2

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The Daily Post (Milton Gallery, St Paul's, till 13 March) It makes you think Andrew Lambirth D uncan MacAskill is a distinguished painter and sculptor who has observed the...

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Fidelio (English Touring Opera) The Tales of Hoffmann (English National Opera) Catch it if you can Michael Tanner T he first and main thing to be said about the English...

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Pop music

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A bigger splash Marcus Berkmann B ucket of water. Every time I switch on the radio, or put on a CD, or even hear music in a lift, I think of only one thing. Bucket of water....

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Good Will Hunting (15, selected cinemas) Peculiar genius Mark Steyn T here's a North American radio com- mercial for some sort of amazing DIY 'lit- eracy' course which begins:...

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Theatre 1

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The Weir (Duke of York's) I Am Yours (Ambassadors) Truth will out Sheridan Morley T he Royal Court, though still several months away from returning to their Sloane Square...

Theatre 2

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Swan, Stratford) The Tempest (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford) Life and art James Treadwell A bout 18 years separated the first appearances...

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Did he do it? Michael Vestey I f Alger Hiss had been named Fred Smith would he still exercise such a fascina- tion for us 50 years after he first attracted notoriety in the...

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Priestly powers Simon Hoggart I had always missed Father Ted (Channel 4), not for any particular reason, just that you can't see everything, even programmes your friends...

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The turf

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Double ton McCoy Robin Oakley H e is the Unreal McCoy. As we applauded the champion jump jockey back to the winner's enclosure at Kempton after the Voice Newspaper Adonis...

Gift Subscription Offer

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Give a gift subscription to The Spectator and we will send you a bottle of magnificent Laphroaig 10 year old single Islay malt whisky. Laphroaig is regarded as the ultimate...

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High life

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Over the moon Taki Gstaad schadenfreude is the malicious joy in the misfortunes of others. Alas, it is not unknown in other parts of the world, say, in Wall Street, the City,...

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Country life

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Not all ugly and stupid Leanda de Lisle W e, and the other guests in our club, woke early on the morning of The March. Peter was all for rushing downstairs for breakfast, but...


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A game each Andrew Robson MY erstwhile partner of seven years, Tony Forrester, did not let the unfavourable vulnerability and East's obvious strength deter him from bidding...

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ANOTHER jolly romp to the US of A, this time

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to promote our Two Fat Ladies book, which we hope will be a grand success and make our fortunes, but which may well sink without trace. They have been show- ing the programme...

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Eight by eight Raymond Keene ON SATURDAY, 7 March, the intellectu- al Boat Race takes place at the Royal Automobile Club in London when Oxford and Cambridge contest their...


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Governessy verse Jaspistos IN COMPETMON NO. 2023 you were invited to supply, for today's citizens, black-humoured advice from Nanny State, in rhyme. The most macabre piece of...

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No. 2026: Pet: a version

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had a duck-billed platypus when I was up at Trinity,' begins Patrick Barrington's famous comic poem. You are invited to provide in verse (any metre) your account of keeping a...


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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 23 March, with two runners- up prizes of £20 (or, for UK solvers, the...

Solution to 1349: Down 'A 2 1) V I "S E

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Know-alls forgiven Simon Barnes THAT racing trial was a riveting business, and it all turned on the phenomenon of the press-box know-all. Can you seriously believe a man who...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. My daughter is about to become engaged to someone whose paternity has always been the subject of speculation. How should I deflect the vulgar enquiries of...