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Annus memorabilis

Some say that the story of our times is that the right has won politically, but the left has won culturally. The year 1997-with the Labour election landslide and the death of Diana-has provided vivid evidence to support the claim

Has there been a stranger or more vivid year in our lifetime than 1997? Two separate weeks are unforgettable: the first week in May and the first week in September. Most of us remember David Mellor and Michael Portillo losing their seats in the small hours of 2nd May, during that astonishing Labour landslide. Everyone remembers the death of Diana: the Sunday itself and the extraordinary mood in London that week, culminating in the bizarre funeral service in Westminster Abbey on 6th September, with Earl Spencer’s ferocious (and, as it turned out, hubristic) harangue.

The past year has been called…

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