27 DECEMBER 1963, Page 3

— Portrait of the Year ALL TOO HISTORIC YEAR, with

Lee Harvey Oswald carving for himself a worthless niche in history by shooting down President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22. The world was drawn together in horror, and sorrow, and idealism seemed to filter away from the US Ad- ministration. The 'Irish Mafia' whiz-kids still tread the corridors of powers, though mentally penning resignation letters. But 1963 was historic in other ways: a year that began with the death of Mr. Hugh Gaitskell and President de Gaulle's veto on British entry to the EEC ended with the same leaning tower of Europe threaten- ing to destroy the entire Common Market. Nineteen-sixtrthree was the year of Profumo, when Mr. Macmillan insisted rumours of his resignation were only `macbelieve,' when Ward, Ivanov and Denning were names to conjure with, and when the least edifying sight of summer was football-crowd-sized hordes straining to catch a glimpse of Mandy or Christine. Eight months and four paperbacks later, Ward was in a coffin, lvanov in Russia, Profumo in disgrace, Keeler in prison, and Macmillan in publishing again, though for prostate reasons, and the customary processes of consultation had produced, to every- one's astonishment, Lord Home, or Sir Alec Douglas-Home, as the case may be.

POPE JOHN DIED, and was succeeded by Pope Paul VI, who is to visit the Holy Land. There also died Jean Cocteau, John Strachey, Guy Burgess, Aldous Huxley and Louis MacNeice. The Central African Federation faded away, as did the Liberal revival, the multilateral force and the Burnham Committee. Politicians losing jobs included Dr. Adenauer (at last), Sir Roy Welensky, Mr. Diefenbaker, Mr. Karamanlis and Mr. Ben-Gurion. The first chinks appeared in the Berlin Wall, at Christmas. but few chinks ap- peared in the Great Wall of China, and Sino- Soviet acrimony lasted all year. Mr. Khrushchev installed a hot line, signed a test-ban treaty (after which Lord Hailsham was offered honorary mem- bership of the Committee of 100), and tried to cope with a harvest crisis. A year of revolts in Syria, Iraq, and South Vietnam, and of disasters in Skopje, Cuba, Haiti and Italy.

AT HOME A YEAR Of facts and figures, and many facts which didn't figure. Six hundred and seventy- one army candidates applied to stand for Par- liament at Rotherham, and the first Communist peer spoke in the Lords. Messrs. Wedgwood Benn, Douglas-Home and Hogg returned to the Commons, and Mr. Wilson achieved an unex- pected dominance over the Labour Party, and in the process discovered science and political advertising. A year of reports, not only Denning, but Robbins on higher education, Beeching (lines closed nine months later totalled eighteen), Neddy's on the economy, and Radcliffe on Vassal!, secrets and the press. The Bishop of Woolwich was described in Encounter as an agnostic, TWTWTW came off and the Daily Herald may not last much longer.

THE WEST INDIES cricket team came, saw and conquered, and was inVited to return in 1966: meanwhile immigration from the West Indies slumped by 90 per cent. A severe winter brought guess-pools, with `experts' fixing the results, and a wet summer saw the introduction of the stamp war, with one firm flying in twenty-five tons of trading stamps, enough, according to a spokes- man, to buy 789,000 two-tier monogrammed cake stands. The Evening News printed a series on 'Adam Faith talks to Godfrey Winn about teen- age. love' and the year ended as it began with newspaper astrologers giving predictions for next year—even though so few of last year's were correct.