12 JANUARY 1991

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After tilting at the ERM windmill, Don Quixote sets out against Giant Saddam. P atrick Sheehy, the IRA terrorist most wanted by Britain, was found dead next to a telephone box...

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56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex: 27124; Fax: 071-242 0603 LAB OURING IN VAIN I f it is not yet obvious to the country how fortunate it is not...


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Save 18% on the Cover Price! RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £66.00 ❑ £33.00 Europe (airmail) ❑ £77.00 ❑ £38.50 USA Airspeed 0 US $99 0 $49.50 Rest of Airmail 0 £93.00 0 £46.50...

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I am very glad to enter the New Year in one revised piece, having had a tumour extracted at the tail end of the last one. I shall not boast of the number of ranking...

Noel Malcolm will resume his column next week.

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The Tory houses that are built are on sand CHARLES MOORE I t was the General Election of October 1974. I was a schoolboy, and I was standing on a doorstep in Slough,...

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Western forces can easily win a war against Iraq. But John Keegan hopes, for the sake of stability in the Arab world, that war will be averted I VERY much hope that there will...

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John Simpson meets Yasser Arafat and hears his private views on the Gulf Baghdad FOR a moment there was silence. People reached across the luncheon table to spear pieces of...

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Stephen Robinson on American television's preparations for war Washington THE Vietnam war, as every media execu- tive and disgruntled GI vet knows, was lost on the television...

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One hundred years ago

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THE despatches in regard to the puni- tive expedition undertaken against Witu last summer, prove the operations to have been singularly well executed. Nine Germans having been...

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Stephen Handelman finds that the battle-lines of the Gorbachev revolution are getting tangled Moscow SERGEANT Stepan Gudkov woke up in a foxhole near Moscow 46 years after he...


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Michael Heath

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A reader received the following letter from her late husband's publisher: G Hutchinson Deceased, 6 Cleveland Gardens, London W2 Dear Sir/Madam, HARLOW TELEPHONE EXCHANGE...

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Winston Fletcher argues that politics is not subject to the law of supply and demand WHEN election battle plans are drawn up by the parties, the word 'marketing' is yoked to...

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If symptoms

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persist . . THE vice-chancellor of the university paid a visit to our hospital last week. I haven't seen such a kerfuffle in a hospital since the one in which I worked many...

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newspapers should make more effort to teach the young CAN journalistic skills be taught as a subject? Are schools of journalism any good? Should universities have faculties of...

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Sir: I would like to add one observation to Amanda

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Craig's excellent article about the process of abortion. It may be impossible for a foetus of 24 weeks to scream, but it is quite possible for a foetus of 23 1 /2 weeks to grasp...

Where authority lies

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Sir: You were right to take Sir Leon Brittan to task for confusing sovereignty and authority (Leading article, 15 Decem- ber). A lawyer with his very considerable brains ought...

Sir: The account by Amanda Craig of the gruesome procedures

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of legal abortion reminds me of a similar description I read many years ago. At that time, I naïvely thought that people simply did not know that such things went on, and that...

Sir: In your editorial you raise the question of 'ultimate

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authority' in our political system, specifically in the area of Euro- pean integration. You appear to think that 'ultimate au- thority' is a sine qua non of organised society....

LETTERS Abortion and emotion

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Sir: What a pity The Spectator should appear to lend support to the Roman Catholic-led anti-abortion campaign by publishing the highly emotive article by Amanda Craig (Poor...

Sir: Congratulations on Amanda Craig's article on abortion. Thanks not

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least to its calm, matter-of-fact reporting, it leaves us in no doubt that abortion is a horrendous act. But may I now ask two things: that we stop calling the unborn child a...

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Of cars and crows

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Sir: May I add to the examples of fractured English (Letters, 8 December) from the Middle East? While travelling in Morocco some years ago, in Tangiers, my husband and I re-...

Modern times

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Sir: Felix Pryor (Letters, 15 December) is lucky to have had any sort of communica- tion from the National Television Licence Records Office (NTLRO). I have written them four...

Designer war suits

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Sir: As we stand on the brink of a nuclear and chemical onslaught ferocious enough to reduce the Middle East to a Waltham- stow landscape, let us unite to pray for one thing: an...

Scots class

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Sir: Allan Massie's intellectual rankings of Scottish public schools attended by Tory notables (Diary, 8 December) — Glenal- mond (Massie himself) a notch above Loretto (Lamont)...

Jesting Jesus

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Sir: In contrast to Mr Moore's experience, (`Another voice', 22/29 December) mine has been one of feeling close to Jesus, particularly when He speaks to me, some- times with...

Lazy lady

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Sir: I know Paul Johnson meant it kindly (The media, 15 December) when he con- trasted Eve Pollard and me with the stridency of women in the political arena but I can't accept...

Correction from the Gulf

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Sir: I was surprised to find Anthony Blond (Books, 8 December) asserting that Sir Roger Casement was shot for treason. He was in fact hanged at Pentonville. Peter Macfarlane...

Cowardly Nelson

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Sir: Apropos Nelson's cat Tiddles (Letters, 22/29 December), Churchill in his wartime underground headquarters had a cat called Nelson that lacked the battle courage of Tiddles....

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BOOKS A t the end of this novel, John le Carre

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lets out a big secret. The pilgrim of the title, a British intelligence officer on the verge of retirement called Ned, is sent out by the new broom at the Service to urge some...

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So I'll keep changing partners

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Francis King HELP ME PLEASE by Ursula Holden Methuen, £13.99, pp.186 T his novel begins superbly. With un- characteristic impulsiveness, Jean, director of a London public...

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No Answer

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They watched his indiscretion Then arrested him. They will not name it, What he did. With just six words They broke him - In their report they wrote We stood at a respectable...

Side by sighed by Sartre

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Annette Lavers SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR: A BIOGRAPHY by Deirdre Bair Cape, L19.95, pp.718 D eirdre Bair has equalled her acclaimed performance as biographer of Samuel Beckett with...

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First Venetian of the Renaissance

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David Ekserdjian THE GENIUS OF JACOPO BELLINI by Colin Eisler British Museum Publications, £95, pp.560 N obody seems to have let Professor Eisler into the hardly very closely...

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Between the office and the garret

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William Scammell THE LAST PARAGRAPH: THE JOURNALISM OF DAVID BLUNDY edited by Anthony Holden Heinemann, £18.50, pp. 311 WORDS AS WEAPONS by Paul Foot Verso, £29.95, pp. 286...

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No one will survive

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John Sweetman NEMO'S ALMANAC 1991 available from Alan Hollinghurst, 15 Tanza Road, IVW3 2UA, £1 .50 S ome weeks ago, discussing electronic data storage with my son, I...

In Peril in Venice

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Carried off like Leda on a British Airways swan and landed somewhere on the Lido feeling deathly as Donne in his hymn about shipwreck. Madonnas, madonnas everywhere hold out...

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Ulysses with a toothbrush

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Ian Thomson THE GENERAL IN HIS LABYRINTH by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, translated by Edith Grossman Cape, £13.99, pp. 304 I am condemned to a theatrical des- tiny,' proclaimed the...

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Museums Neil the evangelist Tanya Harrod interviews the director of the National Gallery T he appointment of Neil MacGregor as director of the National Gallery at the end of...

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Gracious living Giles Auty 0 ne great blessing of my life is that I have seldom experienced envy. Even when driving past the stately houses belonging to ancient families or to...

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Reversal of Fortune (`15', Odeon Haymarket) Trial by cinema Mark Amory T here was no murder. People slip into referring to it but Sunny von Bulow is alive and will most...

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The Nutcracker (Covent Garden and Birmingham) A tough nut to crack Deirdre McMahon T he Nutcracker celebrates its centenary In 1992 and its enduring popularity has been...

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Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Cottesloe) Instructive pleasure Christopher Edwards D ario Fo's play was inspired by events in Italy in 1969. A bomb exploded in a Milan...

Pop music

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Crucial difference Marcus Berkmann I f you ever need confirmation that, contrary to your lithe, youthful appear- ance, you are in fact sad, old and complete- ly past it, you...

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High life

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Party poopers Taki New York Thank God my poor daddy isn't around. After all the publicity about my parties he would have died of shame. When I was in my teens he hoped against...


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Sawlt of the earth Martyn Harris C lass is largely an English creation. Even Marx who tried to turn it into the engine of history was really only talking about the English...

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Low life

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Lost deposit Jeffrey Bernard But, if I was right that most people got what was coming to them, I would like to know why I have been kicked twice where it hurts in the last two...

New life

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The mystery of Mr Prairie Zenga Longmore T he beauty of my sister Boko's tele- phone messages is that they are always concise and to the point. Most people, when ringing to...

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Ring out the cold

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.,,0 ..../0 7 4,.. 07 4„.„: 0 RiN.' • ,..".fik.J/at—dit' I HAVE spent the whole of this year in the terrible grip of la grippe and feel just like Miss Adelaide from Guys and...

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COMPETITION 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY I n Competition No. 1658 you were in- vited to parody the traditional Christmas quiz. Not an easy task, because the best Christmas...


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T he Foreign and Colonial Grandmaster group at Hastings attained category 14 on the World Chess Federation scale for the third consecutive year. There has never been a category...

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Solution to 989: Noteworthy R 30 E 4 G E •

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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 solutions...

No. 1661: Alcolimericks

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Limericks, please, three at the most from any one competitor, in which the last word of the first line or the last line is the name of a drink. Entries to 'Competition No. 1661'...

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ENGLAND try once again at Cardiff next Saturday, and Scotland ditto in Paris. England's rugby union team has not beaten Wales at the Arms Park for 28 years; Scotland have not...