10 DECEMBER 1994

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PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK Spent matches M r John Major struggled

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on as Prime Minister despite a Commons defeat for the Government by 319 votes to 311. The vote was over a proposed increase in Value Added Tax on fuel to 17 per cent. Seven...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 A MATTER OF TRUST t here is no generalised 'right to know'. It never follows, simply because something IS true, that everyone has a right...

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Mr Major's ailing political health needs more than a tender stroke on the wrist from Mrs Bottomley BORIS JOHNSON W hen the chroniclers turn to the slow fall of John Major's...

Simon Heifer writes: In the spring, when ! still had

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the privilege to be this magazine s deputy editor, I ran a competition for readers. to guess the composition of the Cabinet on 1 December this year. The great day has now,...

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VICTORIA GLENDINNING M y publishers, with a random sample of authors, have been regaling the book- sellers of Leeds with what they call 'a road- show' — food, drink and a home...

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A country which is morally, as well as intellectually, dead AUBERON WAUGH L ord McCluskey's previous moment of prominence, as Solicitor-General for Scot- land in the Labour...

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RAN THE GUARDIAN'S FEATURES EDITOR Alasdair Palmer reveals the true allegiance of one of Britain's most eminent journalists, and how he betrayed the integrity of a great...

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Will of the week

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Mr Ronald Frederick Batty, of Beeleig h , Abbey, Maldon, Essex, husband Christina Foyle, who with his wif e played a considerable part in building up the family bookshop in...

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The key phrase in the Northern Ireland talks is `parity of esteem'. But, argues Kevin Myers, mutual loathing remains the order of the day Dublin SO- FINALLY the ardent young...

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SPECTAT IIIE OR A Rare & Delicate Offer For six generations,

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the Hine family has been devoted to the production of limited quantities of premium cognac. Today, Jacques and Bernard Hine would like you to discover Rare & Delicate, their...

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Belgium is now at the centre of Nato. But, says Paul Belien, its politicians have some very strange and dangerous ideas about collective security Brussels BELGIUM, although a...

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John McCormick recounts how he survived the wreck of the Grigorios, and explains why the ship's' demise was never reported THE FATE of the Achille Lauro has been widely and...

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Mind your language

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WE ALL MAKE mistakes. Although I am not quite prepared to admit it in this case. I was interested in the couple of dozen letters you sent me about carnY or carney, which, you...

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Andrew Davidson examines the marketing phenomenon of Chris Eubank, a boxer whose unpopularity is his greatest asset ONCE IN A while a sportsman comes along who is so unpopular...

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Martyn Harris argues that the campaign to save the Obscene Publications Squad is based on a wilful distortion of the nature of pornography TWENTY YEARS ago, when I was still a...


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Michael Heath

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If symptoms

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persist. . . I REMEMBER as a child hearing my elders and betters say that accidents, such as plane crashes, come in threes. I still don't know whether they were right, but what...

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I AM 39, GOING ON 40

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Martin Vander Weyer sings the lilting lament of one entering the dark valley of middle age I CAN pinpoint the precise moment when I first started worrying about my age. It was...

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Little chance of a literary Donnybrook in London these days PAUL JOHNSON B arbarians. Yahoos. Untennenschen. Canaille.' The speaker was Cyril Connolly coolly surveying a...

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Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think thou canst write thine own cheque? CHRISTOPHER F I LDES M r Peter Thurnham (Conservative, Bolton North East): Will my Rt. Hon....

Curtains for Lloyd

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MR CLARICE'S opposite number in Wash' ington is already on his way out. Lloy . d Bentsen's decision to seek new opportuni - ties in Central Casting will deprive th e United...

Whips and scorpions

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SOMEWHERE IN the Government Whips' office, behind the empty bottles and the back numbers of Men Only, there must be a copy of Within the Fringe. I recom- mend a search. James...

Double or sue

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WELCOME TO Orange County, Califor- nia, twinned with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Oranges I vil Citron (I promise you) has lost $1.5 billion playing clever...

A fearful hole

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NOW LOOK what happens. The whips expel the eight who would not vote the tick- et on the bill for making work in Brussels, financing fraud in Italy, and other worthy causes. The...

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Sir: The central assertion in Ross Clark's article (`No militants like showbiz !Dil i ' tants', 26 November) that Equity has a closed-shop agreement with the BBC i S...

Sir Martyn Harris might draw some coin fort from the

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practice here in Lambeth , where the council prevents the passage of wheelchairs over this wheelchair ramp by maintaining a cast-iron bollard in the cen - tre of it (leaving the...

LETTERS Not very helpful

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Sir: Martyn Harris is to be congratulated on his article, 'We are all disabled now' (3 December). His résumé of current popular attitudes was brilliant and I recognise, to my...

Sir: Martyn Harris overlooked the difficulty facing the blind now

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that kerbs are lowered ('We are all disabled now', 3 December): they sometimes get disorientated and walk straight onto a busy road without realising they have left the...

Sir: Martyn Harris has cogently emphasised the extravagance and folly

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of the wheelchair ramps now incorporated in pavements at traffic junctions. What he omitted to men- tion, however, was the danger these ramps present to pedestrians at large....

Sir: Martyn Harris is wrong to ascribe farci- cal demands

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to the Rampage Trust in his silly and offensive piece. The reasonable and realistic goals I faxed him did not fit in with his thesis, so he made up a list of his own. We do...


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12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £80.00 0 £41.00 Europe (airmail) U £91.00 U £46.00 USA Airspeed U US$130 El US$66.00 USA Airmail!: US$175 U US$88 Rest of Airmail!: £111.00 0...

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Sir: It is a curiosity that the 15 persons whose

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names appear above the rubric of the Motion Picture Association of America in your issue of 26 November, who are among the key players in the creation and propagation of...

Sir: My New Year's prescription for the Hollywood angst crowd

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and the politically correct East Coast media (Letters, 26 November): ease off the Prozac; take out a life-time subscription to the best newspaper in the English language, The...

Simply the best

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Sir: Your article (Taboo or not taboo', that H the question', 19 November) made some excellent points. A minor fact was omitted. In addition to running the leader article you...

Sir: The 'open letter' of 26 November did not list

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Mr Harold Pinter as a signatory. It is obviously a fake. John Massey Langness, Gulstrode Way, Gerrards Cross, Bucks

Sir: I'm curious — have Costner, Cruise, Heston, Poitier, Streisand

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etc. ever fired off a letter protesting against the anti-Semitic ravings of the American black Louis Far- rakhan (Another thing, and Letters, 26 November)? Or does this...

Sister, some mistake?

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Sir: In his article ('Rabbis in the head- lights', 3 December), Damian Thompson quotes Sister Margaret Shepherd, deputy director of the Council of Christians and Jews, as...

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It is time for Mr Straw to prove he is a man of more than his name suggests SIMON JENKINS T he former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev once considered standing in a real...

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Assault by an unknown assailant Julie Burchill LORD GNOME'S LITERARY COMPANION edited by Francis Wheen Verso, £18.95, pp. 362 N ow here's a thing. It's an anthology, for...

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Doctor to a sick society

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John Collee IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST by Theodore Dalrymple Deutsch, £8.99, pp. 150 T here is only one thing wrong with this book and that is the dust-cover. The cartoon by Nick...

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A selection of recent cookery books

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Jennifer Paterson A s I stare at the vast pile of cookery books spread out on the floor beside me it Would appear that the curry-lovers and the v egetarians are the best...

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They came not single spies, but in battalions

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Oleg Gordievsky THE FIFTH MAN by Ronald Perry Sidgwick & Jackson, £16.99, pp. 486 R onald Perry, an Australian investiga- tive journalist and author of several books about...


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The author of the poem 'Bulbs', whose name was accidentally omitted last week, is Diana Hendry.

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A Postscript to 'Books of the Year'

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A fter Anthony Beevor's Crete and Artemis Cooper's Cairo, the excellence of their joint Paris After the Liberation (Hamish Hamilton, £20) should have come as no surprise. De...

Pleasures of the fleeting year

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William Deedes THE SPECTATOR ANNUAL edited by Dominic Lawson John Murray, £19.99, pp. 246 I approach all anthologies doubtfully. They put me in mind of small country houses...

Any second you may suddenly disappear

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Robert Cooper SECRETS OF THE STREET by Lynne Perrie Blake Publishing, £14.99, pp. 297 S oap addicts are a loyal breed. I know because I am one — but only as far as...

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DIARY 1995 £12 Plain £13 Initialled The Spectator 1995 Diary, bound in soft black leather, is now available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the diary...

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Bearing witness to the truth

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Adam Zamoyski I van Klima has had quite a life. He was eight years old when the war began to impinge on his Prague childhood, restrict- ing his movements in the city, banning...

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How to stop worrying and love the world

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Bevis Hillier AN INTIMATE HISTORY OF HUMANITY by Theodore Zeldin Sinclair-Stevenson, £20, pp. 488 I f you 'did' Gerard Manley Hopkins for your A-levels in the 1950s, as I did,...


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Make sure of your copy of The Spectator every week by asking your local newsagent to save or deliver it. Complete the form below and hand it to your newsagent Please...

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Cranach's Eve

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The last of innocence, you'd say Perhaps, until you see the way That little finger nicely stretches Out, and that sparse foliage fetches Up across the groin. And whose...

Recent children's books

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Juliet Townsend I t is always difficult to know whether to give a Christmassy book for Christmas. The problem is that by the time it is read the Christmas season will probably...

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Record round-up Drooling over the best A good year for Wagner: well, good, but not great. All the major new recordings (I haven't yet heard DG's Lohengrin, con- ducted by...

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New England (Barbican Pit) Out of a House There Walked a Man (Lyttelton) Displacement studies Sheridan Morley S omehow we never expect our American contemporary dramatists...

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Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940): drawings, pastels and watercolours (JPL Fine Arts, till 27 January) Henry Lamb (1883-1960): First World War drawings (Jason & Rhodes, till 17...

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Junior (PG', selected cinemas) Arnie's having a baby Mark Steyn P erhaps because they're such assiduous contributors to The Spectator letters pages, we tend to assume that...

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A load of old puddles Ursula Buchan A theme, which runs like a never-end- ing stream through our gardening history, is our interest in, even obsession with, water. Fashions...

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Our mutual success Anthony Quinn T he wizardry of Boz lives on. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-44) wasn't one of Dick- e ns's great commercial successes, but 150 i Years later the...


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The Spectator index for January to June 1994 is now available. Name Address Postcode Please return to: "Spectator Index", 56 Doughty Street, London WC I N 2LL This six monthly...

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Low life

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Stick to the bookies Jeffrey Bernard \\ T hen the result of the third week' s National Lottery came through last nigh! on television I thought how desperatelY ' would like to...

High life

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Tanker tales Taki V essels are like people, some luckier than others. The sinking of the Achille Lauro was typical of a bad-luck ship. It was often chartered out for Eurotrash...

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Long life

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Spot the missing word Nigel Nicolson I is not often that The Spectator oils' prints a word, and it is almost unprecede nt- ed for it to omit one. But it happened la st week....

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Office life

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So what do I do? Holly Budd W at', I asked my secretary, Debbie, 'is your assessment of your status in the company?' 'Invisible.' 'Why?' 'I wasn't sent the questionnaire.'...

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L'esprit de l'escalier

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ONE HAS to force oneself to refrain from making all the obvious jokes when review- ing a restaurant called L'esprit de l'escalier. And I will. Anand Sastry, most recently of the...

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- JURA ISLE OF COMPETITION Downer, not upper Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1859 you were invited to write a 'letter of condolence' on the misfortune of an acquaintance...


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Genghis can't Raymond Keene MONGOLIAN BATTLEFIELD tactics have traditionally been noted more for energy than for sophistication. So it proved in the first-round match between...

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No. 1862: Self-communing

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In a recent Spectator Bevis Hillier reported having seen in Los Angeles, among a 'How to' series, a book entitled What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. You are invited to...


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G RAHAM'S et J. ‘ARAHAM'S PORT c l we,. GRAHAM'S PORT 1189: Speaking in tongues by Doc A . first prize of £25 and a bottle of Graham's Malvedos 1979 Vintage Port for...

Solution to 1186: Mouldy?

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The unclued lights, and 6D, were FUNGI. (The spelling of 41A, CHANTERELLE, was based on its alter- native meaning, a TREBLE string.) First prize: Anne Owen, Westbury- on-Trym,...

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Birthday boys Frank Keating FADE to sepia tones and soft-focus child- hood, gently mellow brass-band tubas, the Sparkle after light summer rain, John Snagge or Alvar Liddell:...