11 JANUARY 1992

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The party's over. T he Government announced that it was setting up pilot schemes of intensive teach- ing for seven-year-old children who cannot read, and that teacher-training...

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The Spectator

SPECTATOR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 THE QUEEN'S PEACE I t would be wrong to invest the...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY — RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £71.00 0 £35.50 Europe (airmail) 0 £82.00 0 £41.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$110 0 US$55.00 Rest of Airmail 0 £98.00 0 £49.00...

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A. N. WILSON hen I used to work at The Spectator, W the Diary, invariably written by the editor, Alexander Chancellor, was composed at the last possible minute before the paper...

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Reflections after a short sojourn in Switzerland at Christmas-time AUBERON WAUGH O n my return from eight days spent in Lucerne over the Christmas season, one of my...

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Matthew Parris hears the voice of the Tory backbenches predicting disaster, but being far from worried about it 'TURMOIL'?' said my backbench friend. 'I don't know about...

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One hundred years ago

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THE correspondence about the infalli- bility of the Bible which the Times has inserted, has seemed to us unusually unprofitable. Hardly any of the corre- spondents go to the...

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Stephen Handelman refutes the current view that President Yeltsin and his people are facing catastrophe Moscow NINA Klinkova, a clerk at a Moscow state produkti store, looked...

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Robert Lefever challenges our prejudices about the superiority of the National Health Service FEW THINGS shock the liberal British about their American cousins more than the...

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A reader received this press release from the Union Society, Cambridge: URGENT: ATTENTION NEWS DESK PRESS RELEASE Subject: Colonel Oliver North Lecture Colonel Oliver North will...

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Matthew Lynn charts the success of Glaxo, Britain's largest company ... She had no idea that he might die. When it became apparent that he would, she slept in a chair at his...

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If symptoms

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persist. . . IT WAS a naïve domestic little murder, but I think you'll be amused by its pre- sumption. A man should not strangle his wife, of course, nor a wife her husband,...

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Joanna Coles found herself inundated with horror stories about British Rail LAST AUGUST, regular Spectator readers may recall, I described an outlandish jour- ney I'd...

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Sandra Barwick meets an untypical burglar with an all too typical story to tell HOWEVER mild the weather when young Gary went out with his mates to do a bur- glary he always...

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Let's not be slaves to humbug PAUL JOHNSON T he Sunday Times reports a growing movement in Africa to put pressure on Britain and other advanced white nations to pay...

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Res angusta . . .

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I PLAN to launch the Hindsight Invest- ment Trust. Certain to head the perfor- mance tables, it will be allowed to job back- wards. This should earn me a favourable notice from...


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The Ovine Tendency finds an instant cure for sterling discontents CHRISTOPHER FILDES our legs good, two legs better. There is something about our hapless currency that brings...

A bit of a lad

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SIR NATHANIEL Westminster is the paterfamilias of the the National Westmin- ster Bank's herd of pottery pigs. Children would collect them — a new pig for every £20 in their...

A taxpayer writes

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IN THE trough of a recession, we need higher tax rates about as much as we need higher interest rates, which is about as much as a moose needs a hat-rack. That is a respectable...

The Grobfather of Lloyd's

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LUNCH with the Grobfather was quite something. He made a grand entrance, sup- ported by his butler, with a salver bearing a bottle of Dom Perignon and some cold sil- ver pots....

. . . in stercore

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ANOTHER investment commentary that cries out to be written is Derek Terrington (now of Kleinwort Benson) on the troubles of Gerald Ratner, the Essex girl's jeweller. It was Mr...

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Expert witness

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Sir: Mr Tom Benyon states (Letters, 4 Jan- uary) that I am the 'expert theological wit- ness for the well-funded Shopping Hours Reform Council' (SHRC), and that it is therefore...

Bard and bird

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Sir: Coming from Norfolk, I not only sleep in my clothes during the winter but also know the heron by the name which would have been familiar to Shakespeare — harnser. Surely...

Hot stuff

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Sir: In the Christmas issue, Digby Ander- son's 'Food' column contains a recipe for kimchi, that excellent Korean preserve. A warning, though: while mixing in the three...

LETTERS No trace of roguery

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Sir: Miss Applebaum appears to think that Israeli society may well be affected by an immigration conditioned by 'the vengeful, unhappy nationalism that reigns in the Soviet...

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Out of the chrysalis John Bayley VLADIMIR NABOKOV: THE AMERICAN YEARS by Brian Boyd Chatto & Windus, £25, pp.783 W riters who travel undergo a meta- morphosis. Hawthorne...

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Fighting with the Prime Minister

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Richard Lamb FISHER AND CUNNINGHAM: A STUDY OF THE PERSONALITIES OF THE CHURCHILL ERA by Richard 011ard Constable, £15.99, pp. 192 R ichard 011ard has had full access to...

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In this lonely mountain-village It has become my way To listen only to the voices of trees So that, today, I am lonely only when the wind drops And the trees have nothing to...

Et in Orcadia ego

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Francis King THE GOOSE GIRL AND OTHER STORIES by Eric Linklater Canongate, £15.95, pp. 306 I n 'A Sociable Plover', one of the least successful items in this selection of Eric...

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This upright, long-lived anachronism

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James Hamilton SIR JOHN TENNIEL: ALICE'S WHITE KNIGHT by Rodney Engen Scolar Press, £37.50, pp. 232 J ohn Tenniel — born five years after Waterloo, died five months before...

The difficulty of shuffling off

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Peter Black FINAL EXIT by Derek Humphry Hemlock Society, USA, $25, pp. 192,available in the UK through bookshops at £12.95 I t is against the law in Britain to publish...

Black Monday

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from the diary of a country squire feeling cut off from society Book read; rook fed; cook said: Look! Head for town or drown in gin! Christopher Pilling

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Happier in the hills than in the valleys

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Denis Hills A NICE PLACE TO LIVE by Pamela Scott, edited by Philip Mason Michael Russell, £14.95, pp. 207 P amela Scott sailed as a child for Kenya in 1920 with her mother,...

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His wonders to perform

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Oliver Bernard CAN I COME DOWN NOW, DAD? by John Hegley Methuen, £7.99, pp. 88 O ne evening in 1990 a meeting of the BP Speak-a-Poem Competition Committee at the Poetry...

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Architecture London's best-laid plans Alan Powers I do not build, therefore I am an archi- tect,' says Leon 'Crier, the radical conserva- tive urban theorist. The same could...

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Images of Christ: Religious Iconography in Modern British Art 1910-1991 (Albemarle Gallery, till 17 January) Leonora Carrington (Serpentine Gallery, till 26 January) The New...

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Parsifal (La Scala, Milan) Enchanted evening Rupert Christiansen Y ou might think that finding tickets for the opening night of La Scala's season would be problem enough in...

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Pop music

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Winners and losers Marcus Berkmann W ith the autumn frenzy now past and Christmas no more than a distant, terrible memory, the record industry has moved into its annual period...

New York theatre

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Who dunnit? Douglas Colby on the strange case of the folding mystery-musical T he essence of a good mystery — intri- cate plotting and cunning twists — is cere- bral,...

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High life

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Just good friends Taki s I write this I am about to open my bill for my New Year's blast, and although I know I'm in for a had surprise, my deci- sion not to give any more...

Christopher Edwards is away.

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Home truths John Diamond T he most unspeakably nasty man on TV this week was an architect called Henry Harrison who had wanted 'to produce something that wouldn't stand out...

Martyn Harris is away.

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New life

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Down to earth Zenga Longmore While we toil, Omalara tumbles over chairs, books and piles of Cab Calloway records. Her great delight lies in rapidly climbing a paint-spattered...

Low life

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Light entertainment Jeffrey Bernard I bumped into Michael Elphick last week in the Grouch°, the club he calls the dor- mitory since there is a fair bit of snoozing in the...

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The Lanesborough

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REALLY the Lanesborough, which is the old St George's Hospital on Hyde Park Corner roundabout, should have been called the St George's Hotel. But I can only presume the St...

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Forever England Raymond Keene N igel Short capped a brilliant year, during which he was named The Spectator Player of the Year, by winning the inaugu- ral English Chess...


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COMPETITION 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY Headline story Jaspistos n Competition No. 1709 you were in- vited to provide a news item to fit the headline: ACROBAT ADMITS. If...

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Solution to 1039: Slanging match

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O '7 I T I tl'E 1 V i 3 1 L 3 1% 4I I , N IICIA 3 0 B a a J I, I. T . N E t IICLIR VIEILG A t1A R OT N J E ' A V 0 3 1' ' O t A HIVILC , H E E n t .. E . 3 % 11...

CROSSWORD 1041: Nothing like a dame by Doc

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A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers English Dictionary — ring the word 'Dictionary') for the first three correct...

No. 1712: Secrets of the deep

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Martin Fagg helpfully suggests that a blank verse soliloquy by the ghost of Robert Maxwell would make an intriguing com- petition. Over to you. Maximum 16 lines. Those of you...

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• Rugby skinflints Frank Keating THE autumn's rugby World Cup has quite thrown the inbuilt calendar out of kilter. One had grown used to enjoying the five- nations...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. They say that the late Robert Maxwell used to turn heads when he entered a room. I have the same effect but the heads turn away. Is it possible to acquire...