30 JULY 1977

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No nearer to Downing Street

The Spectator

Last week, Mrs Thatcher made a speech which had all the people who observe our parliamentary antics falling over themselves with delight. The critics of our democratic drama...

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Political commentary

The Spectator

Honourable gentlemen Geoffrey Wheatcroft Is there a spectacle as ridiculous as the House of Commons in one of its periodic fits of collective self-pity? One might not. have...

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The Spectator

Of all the shrines of the British trade union movement, the most agreeable must be the village of Tolpuddle in Dorset. It was here that in 1833 six farm labourers attempted to...

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Another voice

The Spectator

Perishing members Auberon Waugh The best news of last week was the demise of Jack Ashley's Bill giving the Crown the right to appeal against whatever it regarded as a lenient...

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A second Mrs Gandhi

The Spectator

Dilip Niro Colombo The parallels between what happened in Sri Lanka last week, and in India four months earlier, are unmistakable. 'Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike and her son Anura...

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Middle-East War by proxy

The Spectator

Patrick Seale ,President Sadat has still not achieved hiss clear war aim of overthrowing Colonel Gaddafi, the dangerous opponent on his western flank. There can be no doubt...

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Dissent in Poland

The Spectator

Amaury de Riencourt Warsaw The Poles have always been known as the most dangerously volatile people in eastern Europe. They stayed independent and outspoken even during the...

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Books Wanted

The Spectator

GUIDE MICHELIN-FRANCE 1969, 1963, pre-1960. Good condition. Offers to BM/Eliman, London WC1. MONRO ILIAD XIII-XXIV 5th edition Oxford to Oakeshott, Old School House, Eynsham,...

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Teng's task

The Spectator

David Bonavia Hong Kong The political wheel has come full circle in Peking, and even shows signs of' taking a good quarter-turn further. Broadcasts from the mainland suggest...

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Journalists on strike

The Spectator

Richard West Next week the Darlington Northern Echo, one of this country's oldest newspapers, may fail to appear for the first time in its history, if the print unions back the...

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Financing the health service

The Spectator

Vernon Coleman Paradoxically, although most of the problems in the National Health Service would respond favourably to money, we do not need to spend more money on the health...

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French mischief

The Spectator

Ronald Payne I was idling through the morning papers when a small item leapt towards my atten tion. 'French police,' it said, always a promising opening, 'say that an abandoned...

In the City

The Spectator

The gathering storm Nicholas Davenport The FT index of industrial shares dropped 22 points last week described as an 'equity rout' and although there has been a technical...

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Crime and punishment

The Spectator

Sir: Jonathan Benthall is to be congratulated for making the case so urgently for the retributive element in punishment (Spectator 16 July) We might agree till Doomsday about...


The Spectator

Sir: I have read Xan Smiley's piece on the Rhodesian atrocities (9 July) more than once, and still don't know what he is meaning to convey. He says 'the African concept of...

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Horse sense

The Spectator

Sir: Richard Ingrams is that very rare phenomenon, someone who looks at (and writes about) television without astigmatic vision. At last (to cite the latest example) one has had...

First election In 1974

The Spectator

Sir: Accuracy! George Gale is so wrong (The realistic Unions, 16 July). The Wilberforce Tribunal (not `committee') sat in February 1972, not 1974, towards the end Of the seven...


The Spectator

Sir: Your correspondent Dr J. Stanford Aston (Letters, 16 July) has misunderstood me. Of course there is a need to discuss in a biography the nature of a man's sexuality in...

Exit Heath and Wilson?

The Spectator

Sir: It is curious to have, in the same issue of the Spectator (16 July), your contribut'or John Grigg advocating a statutory incomes policy, and your contributor George Gale...

Happy families

The Spectator

Sir: 'All happy families are more or less dissimilar; all unhappy ones are more or less alike.' So Vladimir Nabokov begins his novel Ada, claiming to quote the opening sentence,...

Waugh rebuked

The Spectator

Sir: On reading your issue of 16 July, I discovered that one of your contributors was a person called Waugh. I gather that this person is descended from an eminent author of...

Mrs Maybrick

The Spectator

Sir: In his excellent review of The Poisoned Life of Mrs Maybrick (16 July) Mr Patrick Cosgrave comments: `the book is topped off with a skilful study of the consequences of the...

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The Spectator

Qualified judgments Airey Neave Reaching Judgement at Nuremberg Bradley F. Smith (Andre Deutsch £6.50) The Nuremberg judges faced a nightmare task. British, American, French...

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The Spectator

Conor Cruise O'Brien Ireland: The Union and its Aftermath Oliver MacDonagh (Allen and Unwin £6.50) This is a revised and extended version of a book first published in 1967....

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The Spectator

Pat Rogers Nabokov: His Life In Part Andrew Field (Hamish Hamilton E8.50) The real life of Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov would be a fine thing to contemplate, but the master...

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The Spectator

Brian Inglis Guide to Medicinal Plants Paul Schauenberg and Ferdinand Paris (Luttorworth Press £5.95) I began by looking up 'Lettuce' — a curious choice, you may think, but...

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July SF

The Spectator

Alex de Jonge The attempt to define what science fiction ought to be is a business best left to the science fiction conferences where they enjoy discussing that sort of thing....

All about Eva

The Spectator

Peter Ackroyd Nelly's Version Eva Figes (Seeker and Warburg £3.90) Last week I was describing Edna O'Brien's lugubrious novel, Johnny I Hardly Knew You, and in the process...

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The Spectator

Benny Green There Goes That Song Again Ed. Colin Walsh (Elm Tree Books) I wonder if people still amuse themselves by singing along to their own piano accompaniment? Judging...

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The Spectator

Sutherland and the head-hunters Bryan Robertson There has never been such a time as the twentieth century for masks and evasions. With bombs, pesticides and fingers itching to...

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The Spectator

Memorable Jan Murray Although it was not a continuous high, the American Ballet Theatre season at the Coliseum provided a week of thrills and revelations. We knew that the...

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The Spectator

Anti-socia Ted Whitehead East (Cottesioe) Da (King's Head) Fashions in working-class brutalism change, as Teds are succeeded by Mods, Rockers, Hell's Angels, Bovver Boys and,...


The Spectator

Three women Clancy Sigal The Middle of the World (Camden Plaza) Three Women (Curzon) Alain Tanner's The Middle of the World (X certificate) is an unusually intelligent film...

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The Spectator

Hardy annual John McEwen The second part of fhe 'Hayward Annual' (Hayward Gallery till 4 September) is better than the first: the selection is better balanced, the standard of...

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The Spectator

Sick at heart Richard Ingrams The telly, like the Sunday newspapers, is. obsessed by medicine and disease. This is not just apparent in the proliferating medical soap operas...


The Spectator

No crowing Jeffrey Bernard Well, it seems that I wasn't the only person who thought that Crow would win the big one last Saturday. Bets struck in the Ring just before the...