13 JUNE 1981

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In theory, a monopoly has no competition...

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true that British Rail operates the only national railway system in the country. By definition, that should make us a monopoly. By implication, we should therefore enjoy a cosy...

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Y on may be wondering what has become of the leading article. This is the page on which it should be, and it is not here. Nor is it on any other page. It has been abolished as a...

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Portrait of the Week

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Official London prostrated itself to welcome King Khaled, of Saudi Arabia, whose refusal to increase his country's oil prices had led to a $2 reduction in the price of North Sea...

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Political commentary

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The great acquiescer Ferdinand Mount Neurologist is a first-rate word. Sir Henry Irving would have rolled his tongue round it, dispatching every syllable to the gallery, heavy...

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Another voice

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Not a happy one Auberon Waugh Last week Mr Alan Watkins was musing in his Observer column about why, if the Conservative government is as worried as it claims to be about the...

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Poland: the traitors' hour?

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Tim Garton Ash Berlin Warsaw is not Prague, even though the Czechs say it is. The Slovakian Pravda recently described the situation of Poland today as `identical' to that in...

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Tragedy of errors

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Ian Jack Dacca In the days before the partition of the Indian subcontinent the easiest way to reach Dacca from Calcutta was by train and steamship. The distance is only 100-odd...

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More a way of life

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft Windhoek 'I'm general manager for my sins, Howdo? So now we've all met, fair does, and I'll begin. We want you to see as much of us as possible. Whether you...

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The French connection

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Jonathan Fenby Paris In the month since his election as President of France, Francois Mitterrand has spoken of the state of grace in which he believes he finds himself. One...

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Labour: a view from the Left

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Eric Heifer Michael Foot's recent statement challenging Tony Benn to fight for the position of Party Leader, brings to mind, although the circumstances were very different, the...

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The road to ruin

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William Rees-Mogg There were two revolutions in the early 20th century. One was the revolution of morals and the other the revolution of money. Both were very attractive. Both...

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One hundred years ago

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Mr Parnell addressed a meeting of Irishmen in Hyde Park on Sunday, in a speech which he would probably describe as 'moderate', but which was, in reality, a demand that...

England in chaos

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Richard West Bury St'Edmunds The Peasants' Revolt of June 1381 had almost nothing in common with modern discontents. It was caused not by unemployment but over-employment: a...

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The IRA's best friend . Paul Johnson I applaud the IBA's decision to cut IRA propaganda sequences out of a World in Action film made by the left-wing television company,...

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In the City

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The price of Mr Benn Tony Rudd Mr Tony Benn contributed more to the sudden weakening of the pound last week than most people think. The news was all about the likely fall in...

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Bun fighters

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Sir: Richard West's articles on the sexcentenary of the Peasants' Revolt have pointed out that some of its leaders in Essex and Kent were bakers by trade. Your veteran gringo...

Mr Moss Evans

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Sir: Just to inform you and Richard Ingrams that his distasteful attack on Moss Evans • was an inexcusable use of journalistic licence. I refer to the piece in your 6 June issue...

Mama Roma

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Sir: In her review of Durrell's 'translation' of Royidis's Pope Joan (30 May), Vivien Ashton is right to wonder how much is Durrell and how much Royidis. As reference to...

Quote misquote

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Sir: I cannot imagine where Mark Amory found those two silly sentences (30 May) which he attributes to me in his review of Hamlet (the 'hysterical reaction' to the Arts Council...

Deep probe

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Sir: Paul Johnson is right (23 May) that a lot of journalists, particularly those whom 'politicians fawn over', are pompous fools. But they are usually the ones who themselves...

Swiss labour

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Sir: Reading another long letter criticising my 'Swiss xenophobia' article. I almost regret my conciliatory reply to Nina Harvie (6 June). When J. M. Walsh defends Swiss...

Bessell's book

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Sir: In my article of 6 June the price of Mr Peter Bessell's book: Cover-up: The Jeremy Thorpe Affair was mistakenly given as £17.50, This should have read £7.50 + £1 postage...

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Of dominant males J.Z. Young The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes S. Zuckerman (Routledge SI. Kegan Paul pp. 511, £1750) Those who are fed up with the popular , literature of...

Soft zoology

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Nicholas Luard Sand Rivers Peter Matthiessen, with photographs by Hugo van Lawick (Aurum Press pp 213, £9.95) Divine pudding is not what the French chef serves you before...

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Blunt knife

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Alfred Alexander Mortal Lessons Richard Selzer (Chatto pp.216, f8.50). Mortal Lessons is a collection of 24 essays, sketches and short stories which have appeared in Esquire,...

Large wrecks

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Philip Warner Nightmare at Scapa Flow H.J. Weaver (Cressrelles pp. 194, £6.90) . Battleship Bismark: A Survivor's Story Baron Burkard von MiillenheimRechberg, trans. Jack...

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Cuddly judge?

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Hugh Massingberd The Family Story Lord Denning (Butterworths pp. 270, £8.50) When I was a law student in Lincoln's Inn in the mid 1960s it was already an old jest to write to...

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Paul Ableman Heavy Sand Anatoli Rybakov, (Allen Lane pp. 389, £7.95) Heavy Sand is a contemporary Russian novel written not by a dissident but by an established Soviet author...

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Aparna Jack Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie (Cape pp .446, £6.95) Saleem Sinai is born at midnight, at the moment India becomes independent. The novel is an attempt to...

Recent paperbacks

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James Hughes-Onslow Innocent Blood P.D. James (Sphere pp. 313, £1.50). An adopted child seeks her real parents, hoping to find them in circumstances that will confirm fantasies...

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A face-lift for Guggenheim Bryan Robertson Before she died in 1979, Peggy Guggenheim bequeathed her famous collection in Venice of 20th-century painting and sculpture to the...

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Damp squibs Mark Amory The Doctor's Dilemma (Greenwich) Love Bites (ICA) Billy Bishop Goes To War (Comedy) Hank Williams — The Show He Never Gave (Criterion) No masterpiece...

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Cuba diving Peter Ackroyd Portrait of Teresa ('A', Gate Three, Camden Town) The film is set in post-revolutionary Cuba, an apparently happy and well-ordered society: lots of...

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Par excellence John McEwen The most beautiful contemporary exhibition of the moment is surely the one devoted to the American Brice Marden's abstract paintings, drawings and...


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Ups and Downs Richard Ingrams A second determined attempt to stay up and monitor Gay Life (LWT) failed on Sunday, I regret to say. This may have had something to do with the...

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High life

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No justice Tab The first time Maria Callas sang in the Paris Opera, I was glittering among the glittering audience. It was in November 1958. I sat next to a pleasant black man...

Low life

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Barred Jeffrey Bernard The Middle East peace talks aren't the only ones to have foundered a little. The Middle West ones have too. I refer, of course, to those in the Fulham...