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Saturday, 3 January 1998

  • The moral high ground is a chilly place to be
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    Tony Blair's government is not, at first sight, an obvious source of sex scandals. Although the Blairs themselves embody an updated version of family values, the Labour Party embraces a wider constituency; it has several openly gay and lesbian MPs an...

  • Leading article: Are Blair's babes dumb?
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    It is with great disappointment that we have watched this dream disintegrate while the Ministry for Women watches from the sidelines. The women- friendly government has never materialised, in the same way it never emerged under Margaret Thatcher, des...

  • When Margaret positively purred with approval
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    I am probably best known for coining her most memorable aphorism: "There is no such thing as society". It was at the end of a hectic day in and around the conference hall. Margaret had eased off her shoes and was treating herself to a light Scotch an...

  • Treat us like adults
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    The change of government that swept Tony Blair into Downing Street was momentous, not before time, but not unprecedented. The tidal wave of applause that swept through the doors of Westminster Abbey after Earl Spencer's speech at his sister's funeral...

  • British interests, Nigerian tragedy
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    Britain, the former coloniser of Nigeria and its main supplier of arms, could not escape involvement. As the outcry over the famine grew, Harold Wilson's government came under attack at home and abroad for providing the weapons that tightened the noo...

  • The genetic stock-taking is over and we can leave the family fold
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    No doubt there are a few oddball adults, as well as a great many schoolchildren, for whom Twelfth Night and the return to work will come all too soon. But the general perception of the Christmas and New Year break is of a long dark night of the soul....

  • Mr Straw, I sympathise, now please shut up
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    Whether this is a good or bad scheme, and how precisely it is to be implemented, are matters about which we can dispute at length. What is evident is that they were not put candidly to the voters last April - when Mr Blair saw more profit in mendacio...

  • A woman wants a mistress, too
    Sunday, 4 January 1998

    I always thought the life of a mistress sounded great: a nice flat in St John's Wood, no dull domesticity, looking like a glorious vamp and - apart from spending Christmas Day alone - a life full of gaiety and excitement. Still, when I grew up I thou...

  • Not everything shrinks with movie therapy
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    You cannot budge until you know whether the Swede, the Dane or the Finn will lift more slot machines, run round and round carrying a rock (an ancient Icelandic custom apparently) and push a truck across the finishing line first. (For your information...

  • Football mania has a lot to answer for
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    As ever, there's a grain of truth in the satire; and whilst the British can never lay claim to the extremes generated by American society, the statistics released by Scotland Yard yesterday will cause a shudder among the parents of teenage girls thro...

  • Letter: Hunt sabotage
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: Julie Roxburgh claims (letter, 29 December) that hunt saboteurs would never harm an animal. This is not true. One only has to watch the Boxing Day footage of the Essex and Farmers' Union hunt to see a saboteur deliberately terrifying horses by t...

  • Letter: Anti-anti-anti-smoking
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: Virginia Ironside has become as big an anti-anti- smoking bore as any of the anti-smoking bores whom she rightly castigates (Dilemmas, 1 January). Bores are, by definition, tedious, but Ms Ironside is dangerous also, because she succeeds in givi...

  • Letter: Paying for the Pill
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: It would be an astonishing irony indeed if free contraception, which has survived 18 years of Conservative government, were now to fall victim to a New Labour government with more than one hundred women MPs ("Prescription charge plan for Pill", ...

  • Leading Article: Saga that shows you can't keep a good story down
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Today we, like other papers, are able to tell the full story. It is no longer the case, as it had been throughout the Christmas holiday season, that the political and journalistic establishment knew the identity of the minister but the rest of Britai...

  • Letter: Supermarket strike
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: Your series of reports on supermarkets (from 29 December) is typically consumerist in focus. Try another angle. The large supermarkets employ large workforces, most of which are organised in trade unions. Their power, should they decide to use i...

  • Letter: Here's the number
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: Charles Arthur is incorrect in claiming that all railway stations are no longer listed in the telephone directory ("Mystery tale of the missing railway stations", 31 December). A glance at the Yellow Pages for Shropshire, Hereford and Mid-Wales ...

  • Letter: Out of joint
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: I can understand why an article about cannabis ("They're so out of it they can't face reality", 2 January) is often accompanied by a picture of a joint and a small pile of weed - presumably so that Cabinet Ministers know what they're talking abo...

  • Letter: Anti-anti-anti smoking
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    GEORGE GoMoRI Darwin College, Cambridge

  • Letter: Rebel MEPs
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: I'm afraid my erstwhile colleagues Hugh Kerr and Ken Coates are being a little economical with the truth ("Rebel MEPs accuse Labour machine of dirty tricks", 2 January). There is no necessity for an annual re-affirmation of political group membe...

  • Letter: A modest proposal
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: It is clear that the Government does not consider that the rearing of children can be called "work". The Government might therefore prefer that all women in the UK should stop rearing children so that they could, instead, engage in "real work". ...

  • Letter: Nerd or profiteer?
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: What a carry-on up the cyber path ("How the nerds are leading us up the cyber path", 27 December). Do I detect a whiff of sociological cybermanure? Given that Bill Gates's lifestyle is unlike yours and mine, we can ask if that goes with being a ...

  • With flamingos and parrots, it is paradise in a bubble. And spiritually crushing
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    CenterParcs are a Dutch idea, now successfully exported to Britain and to France. The concept is simple: an inland holiday camp for the relatively affluent and sporty, aimed at families with young or teenage kids, but also popular, by my observation,...

  • Letter from the editor
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Well, here comes a confession: I too like single-section papers. If we had different printing presses (four-tower, in the jargon, not three-tower) and could expand the main broadsheet paper beyond 32 pages, then I would love to return to the purity o...

  • quote unquote
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    I'll eat something out of the fridge with its sell-by date glaring back at me, salmonella winking at me in neon lights. But life's too short. I can't be worrying about salmonella when I'm worrying about hitting my high-Cs - Lesley Garrett, soprano Vi...

  • Letter: Cats at Christmas
    Saturday, 3 January 1998

    Sir: The kitten bought by Rupert Cornwell as a Christmas present for his young son ("On the unseasonal death of a pet", 24 December) had been purchased from a pet shop and Mr Cornwell was told by the shopkeeper that it was seven weeks old. Within day...

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