12 APRIL 1975, Page 7

A Spectator's Notebook

The decision of the South Vietnamese authorities to stop firmly the evacuation of any more war orphans and other infants from Saigon is overdue. The conflict now drawing thankfully to a close is a civil and not a religious war, and there is no evidence that the Vietcong are likely to behave other than humanely to the innocent t,9!-s who are their kith and kin. Such aid as the West is now anxious to direct to this devastated country should be spread even-handedly letween the authorities in the North and in the 211th, with the North taking more as they assume responsibility for greater territory. The °,1113.' exceptions that might be made to the 'te.ctsion not to evacuate children — and to say is to risk the fury of Mr Mark Bonham alter and also, possibly, to be flying in the face the natural kindliness of the inhabitants of letnare — are the children of mixed unions of black US servicemen and local girls. If there is a WO of locating and isolating these children and ;eliding them to those countries especially 7,riXious to help, and in particular to the United tates whose citizens in a sense they are, it should be pursued with the utmost diplomatic ailci practical endeavour, since it is difficult to s

,ee how these children's future is likely to be anything but insecure in Vietnam.

Lucks man an former Guest, the American millionaire Vti former US Ambassador in Dublin, whose sh-trained horse L'Escargot won the Grand

tional last Saturday, is

Na not only a lucky ciw, her (on Saturday only the fact that the horse raised its head and kept the jockey in the saddle at the seventh fence gave him victory over Red nRlire) but seems to have a sublime faith in his L',WO luck. I gather he did not bother to back , dL8,_cargot to win the "National' but instead tf,"tioled it with another of his horses, Ahdeek, i'vie the Derby for him as well. The bet on the will win him £100,000 if successful. rankly, hk!y, I can never understand why these rnin naires bet. Though the psychologists a ve theories about compulsive gamblers being Mot oivn ivated by a subconscious desire to lose, my view is that most people who bet do so the use the relatively small amount of money Y already have is less attractive to them un the irrational belief that they will win a great deal more. Clearly this cannot apply to ler like Raymond Guest. w have always found it hard to believe, by the ay, that he got odds of 100 to 1 to a stake of th each-way with the late William Hill about m: chances of one of his previous Derby j t11:hers, Sir Ivor, before that colt had ever run. ionink it is a long time since anyone got odds of ho" 1 to that sort of stake with any jo treaker, and the thing they are less anxious unknet on than anything else is a totally ye„"°wh quantity. These days, they tell me, if wiflgo into even one of the big betting shops filt`" a £10 note to invest at 20 to 1 on some 0f.cire event, the clerk has to check with head -ice to see that it's all right to take it. Quaint The ex, ePort that that exceedingly tedious and je esslvely,, overrated French 'philosopher, e,,ah-P.aul Sartre, is setting up an "international "rernission for the study of oppression in Ireland" seems almost like some wondrous fancy in Peter Simple's Daily Telegraph column. Among the subjects to be studied by the commission's various experts are "Ireland as a training ground for British imperialism" and "cultural genocide by " the English establishment." I have no doubt they will all come solemnly to the conclusion that these absurd phrases are an understatement of the situation, whereas the truth, of course, is that the English generally, 'establishment' and all, are fed up with their responsibility for the contentious Irish and are at their wits' end to discover some gentle means Of getting out that will not exacerbate the bigotry and the bloodshed. This would seem to be too simple for international 'philosophers' to understand, though if Sartre should have any doubts of the benign tolerance of the British, he need but reflect on the indulgence with which we regard his own quaint writings.

Dying beyond his means

The life of literary men is not always an easy one. I hear on good authority that the late Cyril Connolly, the highly paid reviewer of the Sunday Times, left his widow an overdraft of something like £27,000. The bank have been, shall we say, bothering Connolly's widow for the money, and to help her that indefatigable fund-raiser, Sonia Orwell, has been asking old friends to lend a hand, or at least a pound or two. Anne Moynihan, the painter, has — I am told — written out a cheque for £10,000 and there must be more cash on its way from others. Such generosity is only to be expected from Connolly's many rich friends, but what puzzles me is how he managed to incur such an enormous overdraft. 1 believe he had extravagant tastes, and that he insisted on the best champagne when staying with friends, but he must be one of the few authors who managed to make a reasonable living from his own writings.