4 NOVEMBER 1972, Page 8

Another Spectator's Notebook

The shameless gutlessness of the West German government in the face of the latest hijacking spree must surely give new impetus to various plans which have been mooted for an international convention to combat hijacking. The Airline Pilots' Association seemed flabbergasted by the ease with which the latest terrorist team managed to get on board an aircraft armed; but it should not escape attention that the plane took of from Beirut, and the government of Lebanon, while for long protesting that they are more civilised than their Arab neighbours, have also long turned a blind eye to the murderous activities of the Black September and other groups, including graduates of the American University at Beirut. What we must now agree is that the Arab countries of the Middle East are in essential collusion with the hijackers, and must be compelled to end that collusion. It would seem an undoubtedly simple task to organise an international convention by which countries are punished for giving succour to hijackers by a refusal to fly planes registered in the countries signatory to the convention to their airports; and refusing, at the same time, to receive the aircraft of their national airlines.

On Kissinger

I greatly enjoyed Henry Brandon's profile of Henry Kissinger in the Sunday Times last Sunday; and I enjoyed almost as much I. F. Stone's much more barbed analysis of President Nixon's eminence grise in the New York Review of Books. Two complaints, however. First, Stone calls Kissinger's essay on Bismarck in Daedalus a few years ago " brilliant." I can't agree: it seemed to me to be highly conventional and unoriginal. The other complaint is against Brandon. It is a small one (though not without its significance) because the Brandon profile was immensely perceptive and valuable. While dilating on Kissinger's best seller Nuclear Arms and Foreign Policy he ignored what I think is Kissinger's most profound contribution to the study and implementation of foreign policy, a book about Britain and Europe called The Troubled Partnership. The searching and sympathetic analysis of General de Gaulle and his policies in that work has never been surpassed, and will not be for some time.

Right angles

There came through the post the other day a shoddily produced little magazine called Guerilla Capitalist. It looked — and its title sounded — like one of that endless stream of tedious cyclostyled productions of the fringe left. Being a conscientious fellow, however, I gave it a glance. It then looked like a production of the fringe right. I gave it a second glance, and discovered, an eloquent and elegant denunciation of the follies of pragmatism and collectivism, as well as of the flabby compromises in economic and industrial policy of the • Heath government, by John O'Sullivan. A little further investigation revealed that the magazine is the incisive brainchild of a charming and enterprising girl, Pauline Russell, who runs a right-wing hamburger bar in Kingston, and plans to open another in Hampstead.

My difficulty in dealing with the intelligent Tory right has always lain in a finicky concern on my part about the precision and humanity with which they tackle the problem of immigration, and, in the fact that I take a much more cautious view than my friends on the right do of the potential of experiments in the institutions of the Welfare State. But, on matters of taxation, negative income tax, and general economic, industrial and monetary policy, as well as on the politics and economics of competion and the free market, I usually find myself in enthusiastic support of what Guerilla Capitalist calls the 'liberation ' movement. I wish the magazine well, but I wish that in style it did not find it necessary to copy the left so readily.


My colleague, Tom Puzzle, told an amusing story the other week about early morning telephone calls between the Prime Minister, the Transport Minister and Richard Marsh of British Rail, which he used to illustrate the new determination of the Government to communicate with all and sundry. Last week there was a more elaborate exercise in communication. Anthony Royle, one of the junior Foreign Office ministers, presided over a splendid reception for the press, at ,which various junior ministers from other departments were also present. The idea behind the reception, he explained, was not merely that each of these ministers could effectively brief pressmen at the party about the responsibilities of their departments in a European context after January 1 next; but that the press should tell them what they ought to do to make sure that we understood what was going on. Christopher Soames and George Thomson were both there, to provide back-up support, and the reception, indeed, was held in Thomson's old room.

Frau Bloggs

My own most entertaining, if minor, discovery was as follows. Once we are in the Market, if a British worker takes a job in Germany and falls ill he will receive — reasonably enough — German health and welfare services and benefits. Supposing, however, he has left a wife and children at home: they will receive no British benefits, but they will receive whatever it is the Germans provide for wives and children in their position, the benefit to be administrated by our own social service system. Can you imagine the chaos, and the uproar, the day Mrs Bloggs and kiddies is receiving less from Belgium, or GermanY or Italy or wherever than Mrs Miggs, her neighbour next door, who is in exactlY similar circumstances?

Market criticism

At least one man I spoke to at the partY will take that little anecdote to be part of what he called "The Spectator's endless little nit-picking cracks at the'Market, long after you have abandoned opposition to entry." He seemed to think that we should, by this stage of the argument, be extolling in company with the rest of the press the benefits of membership and the wisdom of the Prime Minister. What George Gale, wrote in Coming to terms with Europe last April was that "it is as certain as anything can be that the European Communities Bill will be . . . enacted . . " But he added, "Is it better then, t° seek to thwart the effects of entry? Insofar as those effects endanger things of value here, the answer is obviously, yes." The fact of entry does not remove, as at s wave of the wand, the substantial objections of those of us who have for long opposed the idea of membership O' the EEC; nor does it mean that the arguments we advanced against joining were wrong. Taking the view we do, we are, of course, entitled both to stress thef sillier and more malicious aspects .° membership and to advocate policle,s which, we believe, will tend to Britain s advantage inside the Community. We are too old to become starry-eyed; and honest to say that Edward Heath s triumph was achieved by anything otheer than the most flagrant bullying, and ,th, most doubtful constitutional and politica, practices.