Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Mr Tony Blair looked forward to being the kind of prime minister who is 'a modern man': 'I am part of the rock-androll generation - the Beatles, colour television - that's the generation I come from,' he said. This seemed promising ground to large parts of the chattering classes who were looking forward to finding fault with the new government. Mr Blair arranged for new quarters for his family to be built at 10 Downing Street. The Irish Republican Army blew up an electricity pylon and closed motorways and airports with false alarms. A bold scheme by Mr Andrew Regan to take over the Co-operative Wholesale Society with a 1.2 billion bid came undone when a High Court judge called his behaviour 'iniquitous' and found evidence of `wilful and disgraceful breach of confidence' by Mr Allan Green, a CWS executive who has admitted handing over many documents to Mr Regan over an eight-month period. Hambros Bank apologised to the CWS for its role in acting for Mr Regan. A firm of accountants in Taunton became the first company to file a tax return electronically to the Inland Revenue. Eurotunnel made a 685 million loss in 1996, compared with a 925 million loss in 1995. Lady Seear, the grande dame of the Liberal party who failed seven times to win a seat, died, aged 83. Denis Compton, the cricketer, died, aged 78. Lord Taylor of Gosforth, who drew up the report on the Hillsborough disaster, died, aged 66. Another Catholic church was set on fire in Northern Ireland. A machine digging a ditch round a gas distribution depot in Runcorn, Cheshire, set off a blast which shot flames 50 feet into the air and took 60 firemen to bring under control. MR LAURENT Kabila, the leader of the rebel army in Zaire, gave relief agencies 30 days to repatriate more than 80,000 Rwandan refugees. Most of these had already disappeared from camps near Kisangani; rebel soldiers and Zairean villagers were blamed for driving them into the forest, where survival is difficult. …

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