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Friday, 8 May 1998

  • Quote unquote
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    "I always say that if there is something detrimental, derogatory or otherwise ghastly to do, I will be the person made to do it." - Ulrika Jonsson, TV personality. "Most guys think women in the military aren't attractive. I wanted to show my feminine...

  • Letter: Why I didn't vote
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    I firmly believe that London needs an overall strategy and that the present system is failing the citizens miserably. On this basis you might say I should have voted "Yes". But I could get no satisfactory answers to questions about the proposed Mayor...

  • Why rock chicks are no longer under the thumb of any guy
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    A new survey reveals that the five most popular albums of the 1990s are all by women. Whitney Houston leads the list with Bodyguard, which has sold 30 million copies, followed by Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Alanis Morissette and the Spice Girls. Micha...

  • Leading Article: More openness, please, Mr Cook
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Politically complex, the moral questions posed by events in Sierra Leone are straightforward: the democratically-elected government was ousted by a military dictator, and Britain appears to have covertly assisted the legitimate government in returnin...

  • Leading Article: Time for change in local voting
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    One powerful explanation for the low rate of participation lies in the "nationalisation" of local elections. In recent decades they have become an excellent vehicle for the disgruntled voter to punish an unpopular government. Politicans can't easily ...

  • Leading Article: Safe new Radio 4
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    And yet... the surprising thing about the changes brought in by James Boyle, controller of Radio 4, is how little protest there has been. Now, a month on from the small earthquake we can add: not many hurt. This is an extraordinary achievement for Mr...

  • Letter: Middle East's tragedy
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Mr Arafat has been a tireless campaigner on behalf of his people all his life. The futility of armed struggle against the USA's premier client state in the Middle East has been repeatedly brought home to the Palestinian community, and in Oslo the dip...

  • Letter: Challenge to the church
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Sir: Your article "Is it now time to elect the monarchy?" (8 May) raises the question: is it now time to elect canons of the Church of England? They are chosen without reference to ordinary churchgoers like myself, who do not even have a direct vote ...

  • Letter: Jury say yes
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    MICHAEL BRYANT Carnforth, Lancashire

  • Letter: Britain's strong pound
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    The exchange rates quoted in it for the pound sterling included the following: 8.37 Deutschmarks, 13.56 French francs, 118.00 Belgian francs, 9.73 Swiss francs, 8.50 Dutch guilders, 17.06 Norwegian kroner, 18.12 Danish kroner, and 61.00 Austrian schi...

  • Letter: Nappies: a plastic peril?
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Do any of these re-usable nappies get a quick spin (electricity/gas again) to fluff them up? Do any of these parents resort to the tumble drier or central heating radiators (driven by fuels that change our atmosphere) after the sort of wet week I've ...

  • Letter: Act now to avert famine
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    It's all too easy to sit in London and play the numbers game, debating where a humanitarian crisis ends and a famine begins. In the meantime people are put at ever-greater risk of dying as each day passes without sufficient aid getting through to the...

  • Letter: Why I didn't vote
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    It couldn't be that all the main parties looked identical in most parts of the country and so there wasn't much of a choice for voters? It couldn't be that most powers have been removed from local government and so there isn't much to vote for? And i...

  • Cover me in Lycra, put me on the pitch, and - hey presto
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Mmmm. We all know what is being promised here, don't we? And it sure as hell ain't a game of hockey. Except, of course, that a game of hockey is exactly what is on offer. The girl is 18 year old England hockey international, Lucilla Wright, her "plac...

  • Letter: A better life for animals
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    We have instruction and a test when we want to drive a car; we have some rudimentary classes when children are brought into the world - but most people who take on an animal have no idea how to care for it or train it. I would like to see the reintro...

  • Reading the runes of the London referendum
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Elections and referendums are not just a choice offered from on high, they are a chance for the people to answer back. The low turnouts around the country in Thursday's local elections are being treated as though they reveal some great new mystery. T...

  • Letter: Let the skateboarders rip
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Quite rightly, no one was taking a blind bit of notice of this bureaucratic nonsense. For a moment, I was led to think that grey old England was at last starting to come alive. My seven-year-old son remarked, "This place is fun", something which has ...

  • Letter: Drinking and driving
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    British roads are the safest in Europe. In countries like France and Germany, where they have the 50mg limit, there are two and three times more drink/drive fatalities. In the UK, most of the worst road accident fatalities are caused by drivers who a...

  • Letter: Nappies: a plastic peril?
    Saturday, 9 May 1998

    Eleven years ago I chose to wash nappies rather than throw them out, and at a rough estimate the nappy-bucket routine takes about ten minutes a day. The pressure to use disposables comes from the current obsession with "convenience" at all costs, and...

  • Letter: Children who need help
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: Working mother-friendly hours (City +, 6 May) are not necessarily child-friendly. It is not fair to expect a three-year-old to cope with a developmental assessment after its mother has come home from work at 5.30pm - just when all the child want...

  • Will Blair go all the way on electoral reform?
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Charged by Tony Blair with establishing by the end of October an alternative to the first-past-the-post system to be put to a referendum, Jenkins briskly corrects a factual error here, congratulates a speaker for his succinctness there. And when he s...

  • Letter: Royalist riposte
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: Alan Williams MP says he was refused information on subsidised accommodation for royal employees ("More power for auditors to study royal spending", 1 May). A few weeks ago I wrote to Mr Williams to draw his attention to the secrecy which shroud...

  • Don't criticise 'victimvision' - it's just ordinary people enjoying themselves
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Quite possibly. But I have been this way for a long time. Until recently I had to go to America to get my fix. Oprah, Geraldo, Sally Jessy Raphael, Ricki Lake and of course wily old Jerry Springer have at times stopped me seeing much of the country I...

  • Letter: Children who need help
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: Suzanne Moore's rubbishing of the ideas behind National Parenting Day (Comment, 6 May) does her little credit. As a prosperous, caring, single parent with strong middle-class social (i.e. moral) values, it is easy for her to say "people may want...

  • Pandora
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    PANDORA salutes Boris Yeltsin, the Russian President. On Wednesday, Boris sent Tony Blair a very warm message congratulating our Prime Minister on his 45th birthday. According to the Russian press, Boris wished Blair "health, happiness and success". ...

  • Letter: Children who need help
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: Clearly Suzanne Moore feels that the Government should not get too concerned with family health. But communication skills are the foundation of good relationships. How to become good parents and to maintain a satisfying relationship is something...

  • Letter: Choc tactics
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: Your article "Are chocaholics safe from the pods of doom?" (6 May) reminded me of a visit I made to the Procter & Gamble factory in Cincinnati back in the mid-1970s. At that time, there was a world shortage of cocoa, and the boffins at P&amp...

  • Letter: Charity lifeboats
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: David Walker's attack on the RNLI in his discussion of the role of charities is ill-considered (Comment, 4 May). That the operation of a maritime rescue service is a government responsibility is quite correct. The Navy and RAF provide rescue hel...

  • Letter: Cyber-Samaritans
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: In response to Pandora's piece "Surfing samaritans" (5 May), I would like to add that The Samaritans regularly surf websites, such as and post notices for our service. We offer an e-mail service on or (anony...

  • Letter: Inspecting Ofsted
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: Ofsted's methodology needs constant assessment if it is to help in the continual raising of school standards. But surely there is an easy explanation for the fact that standards in uninspected schools are rising faster than those which have been...

  • Leading article: Monarchy: Blair must tackle the final taboo
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Today however Canon Eric James breaks from deep Establishment cover to demand, in an article in The Independent, that the Government confront the contradictions now washing around Buck House. The advent of a republic in Australia, the abandonment of ...

  • Leading article: Judges strike a blow for freedom
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Even more disgraceful - the Appeal Court says it was "most unfortunate" - was the way doctors obtained an order to deliver the baby by Caesarean section. The judge who made the order was told that M S was in labour, which was not true, and was not to...

  • Letter: Gays and God
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: Tim Beach writes (letter, 2 May): "A good God cannot have created in us a powerful gay sex drive just to punish us for acting on it." Would he find this argument for sexual action as convincing were "child-love" to be put in the place of the wor...

  • Letter: He's scored!
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    Sir: I'm in love! I'm in love! At last I've found a man desperate to avoid the World Cup. It makes my girlie little heart all aglow to know that Mr Right could be just round the corner, sipping champagne, not lager on the terraces, purchasing "proper...

  • Help! We never knew governing would take so much time
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    His colleague was surprised by the question, but answered: "Knackered." "That's exactly how I feel," said the other minister. The two are middle ranking ministers in the Blair Government - young, dynamic, and not given to fainting fits at the thought...

  • Taxi etiquette, the vastness of the Universe and other issues that divide humanity
    Friday, 8 May 1998

    There are those who wave frantically at taxis which already contain passengers, and there are those who patiently wait for an empty one to come along. There are those who, when they hear their telephone ring, settle themselves in comfortably for a lo...

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