14 DECEMBER 1991

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The Spectator

Saying no when you mean yes A ccountants searching through the accounts of Robert Maxwell's companies discovered that about £450 million of pen- sion fund money was missing. It...

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E OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 A PYRRHIC VICTORY T he drowning man, it is said, sees his whole...


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Britain is still on the conveyor-belt to federalism, with or without the 'F' word SIMON HEFFER Maastricht A guiding principle of Mr Major's regime has been that it should take...

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WILLIAM DALRYMPLE L ast Wednesday, my landlady's son arrived back from one of his mysterious import/export' trips to Thailand. To cele- brate his safe return, Mrs Bedi threw a...

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Naught for your Comfort but something for your joy CHARLES MOORE The New Joy of Sex, by Alex Comfort MB, DSc (Mitchell Beazley, £17.99), announces itself as 'a wise, witty,...

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Clive James argues that broadcasting is too important to be left to the newspapers — and their proprietors HALF OF Britain's broadcasting system having been put into turmoil...

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If symptoms persist.. .

The Spectator

I ARRIVED on the ward last week to find a patient with two prison officers (one must not call them warders these days) sitting at the end of his bed. He had been admitted to our...

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John Simpson sees Maastricht as the end of a tired old era Maastricht I LOOKED around my hotel room. It was cold and poorly furnished, and the curtains were so thin the...

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The Spectator

Stephen Handelman draws a veil over the career of Mikhail Gorbachev Moscow IT IS TIME to write Mikhail Gorbachev's political obituary: his closest aides are already supplying...

One hundred years ago

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THE AMERICANS, we suspect, are Making up their minds to check immi- gration if they can. An acute observer on the spot prophesied this change of feeling in our columns twenty...

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The Spectator

Michael Heath

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William Cash on how aggressive marketing fuels the perfume industry ACAPULCO, Mexico — the 1940s: An Indiana Jones-style plane bumps along a deserted runway by the sea....

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A profile of Robert Maxwell's friend, Lord Williams, who has never lived up to his promise as a schoolboy ANYONE WHO feels an occasional twinge of nostalgia for the Seventies...

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William Oddie investigates the motives of those campaigning to keep Sunday special WHAT IS the Keep Sunday Special Cam- paign (KSSC)? It is, if you believe its apol- ogists,...

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An organisation which has ruled racing for 200 years struggles for survival. Peter °borne reports NEXT Tuesday, Lord Hartington, the Senior Steward of the Jockey Club and heir...


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A reader received this letter from the Strand Theatre, Aldwych. Thank you for your letter and I am sorry to hear that you have found cause to complain. I was very surprised to...

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Sandra Barwick talks to a man wrongly suspected of the rape of a child HE WAS TOLD later that there was an angry crowd outside waiting to shout abuse at him. But by the time...

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A Phoenix born from England's ashes PAUL JOHNSON F or me, the squalid haggling at Maas- tricht marked the end of England, or at any rate of the England I was brought up to...

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Dupes and nitwits

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MEN like Maxwell create willing dupes. In patronising political figures, he did no more than Beaverbrook — who kept a cabinet minister on retainer — but that patronage was...


The Spectator

The hindquarters of an elephant, or where the Maxwell money went CHRISTOPHER FILDES I say of Robert Maxwell what the Caliph said of Hassan: his impudence had a mon- strous...

Gallant Captain

The Spectator

THERE HAD to be a 'my nights of passion with Captain Bob' revelation, and there is. Wendy has told (or sold) her steamy (or seamy) story to the Sun, the Mirror Group's chief...

Friends fall out

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ROBERT Maxwell's are not the only accounts with a hole in them. Some $4 bil- lion seems to be missing from the late Sovi- et Union's reserves. Valentin Falin, head of the late...

Pensioned off

The Spectator

IF THERE is one last public service that Robert Maxwell has performed, it is to teach us not to put blind trust in blind trusts or take our pension funds for grant- ed. There is...

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Veiled threat

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Sir: Rory Knight Bruce's piece 'Masters of the public vendetta' (30 November), says a lot more about the author than it does about Norman Lamont and Andrew Neil. The central...

Through the hoops

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Sir: How interesting it was to read Roy Jenkins's review (Books, 30 November) of a biography of Lyndon Johnson, which he embellishes with two LBJ stories of his own. Modestly he...

English habit

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Sir: I refer to your editorial 'The noblest prospect' (30 November), which was, as they say, thought-provoking. You say that the nation is governed by the United King- dom...

LETTERS Up the workers

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Sir: I read your extraordinary leading arti- cle on the subject of Sunday trading (`The English Sunday', 7 December) having just received a letter from a friend who happens to...

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When Homer snores Hilary Mantel THE COMPLETE ESSAYS by V.S. Pritchett Chatto & Windus, £35, pp.1300 hen you are young you are taught that certain books are Great; or if you...

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Farewell Punch, welcome Matt

The Spectator

Richard Ingrams A ll one can say in favour of this year's Christmas funnies is that for once we have been spared Scarfe and Steadman. Those looking for something a bit savage...

The appealing flavour of dead Herrick

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John Whitworth FROM THE MORNING OF THE WORLD: POEMS FROM THE MANYOSHU translated by Graeme Wilson HarperCollins, £l2, pp.93 T h e Manyoshu is the earliest surviving anthology...

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Palaces and monasteries of Old Russia

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John Jolliffe IMPERIAL SPLENDOUR by Prince George Galitzine, with photographs by Earl Beesley and Garry Gibbons Viking £35, pp. 187 T o declare an interest, I was first dazzled...

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Through the killer's eyes

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Brian Masters THE AESTHETICS OF MURDER by Joel Black Johns Hopkins University Press, £30.50, £10.50, pp.276 I t has long been acknowledged that apparently motiveless murder...

Some crime, not much punishment

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Patrick Skene Catling WE ARE ALL GUILTY by Kingsley Antis Reinhardt, £7.99, pp. 93 H ere is Unlucky Clive Redivivus. Kingsley Amis says he created Clive Rayner, 'a 17-year-old...

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The bare people behind the bare facts

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Lucy Hughes-Hallett PORN H appy first got the idea of modelling for pornographic magazines when she was 12 or 13. The pose in which she fancied herself was a hackneyed one —...

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"Why have we had to wait 20 years for this book? Like the glorious, festering piles of stone he draws, John Glashan is a great national monument that should be open to the...

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My swivelling eye steadied, narrowed, measured. Gradually, I loosened my tongue. Like the chameleon I had one eye on you at first: you, obviously planning to eat alone;...

Hot emotions in cold prose

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Caroline Moore LE 1 1ERS TO SARTRE by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Quintin Hoare Radius, £20, pp. 531 I n his introduction, Quintin Hoare affects to believe that if you...

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Gardens or gardeners

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Mary Keen S ir Roy Strong's glossy commonplace book for the gardener (A Celebration of Gardens, HarperCollins, £20) is dedicated to Calista Coggeshall, 'whose tree grows in our...

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A noble experiment in tolerance deliberately wrecked

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Frederic Raphael THE SEPHARDI STORY by Chaim Raphael Valentine Mitchell, £18.50, £9.95, pp.294 L ewis Namier, quizzed on why he did not concern himself with the history of...

Final Books of the Year

The Spectator

A nthony Beevor's Crete: The Battle and the Resistance (John Murray, £19.95) is an easy front-runner. It is the first book to give us the Enigma decrypts, on whose...

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DIARY 1992

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£10 Plain £11 Initialled The Spectator 1992 Diary, bound in soft red leather, will shortly be available. Laid out with a whole week to view, the diary is 5'' x 3". Initials...

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Art Modern artist Af ter a brief excursion to the other end of the paper, I return to more familiar haunts with this corollary to last week's article. One thing I hope to...

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Japan and-Britain: an Aesthetic Dialogue 1850-1930 (Barbican Art Gallery, till 12 January) Mingei: the Living Tradition in Japanese Arts (Crafts Council Gallery, till 12...

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A comedy for fathers Robert Tanitch on a social satire due for revival B etween 1904 and 1907 theatre manag- er John Vedrenne" and director-playwright Harley Granville Barker...

Christopher Edwards will be back next week.

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'1 couldn't swallow the'social chapter.'

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Die Fledermaus (London Coliseum) Viennese fancies Rupert Christiansen I don't think Richard Jones can like opera very much. Perhaps music bores him too, and what he really...


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The Addams Family (PG', selected cinemas) Matador (18', Electric Cinema) Graveyard smash Harriet Waugh T wo black comedies which complement each other in a rather grisly way...

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A long afternoon Peter Phillips I t has perforce been a year or two since I last attended Gramophone Magazine's annual award-giving ceremony: in the meantime it has gone...

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A pleasure and a privilege Ursula Buchan I am so lucky to have The Manor. My late husband, Freddie, bought it during the last war. It was such a sadness to him that, because...


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Close-up crawlies Martyn Harris I n Lifesense this week (BBC 1, 8.30 p.m. , Monday) we moved up the evolutionary scale to the creatures which prey upon man, and into the skull...

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High life

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Rough justice Taki ne thing I was told by people who know about such matters just before the start of the libel case brought against me by Madame Rosemary Marcie-Merciere back...

Low life

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Out of the woodwork Jeffrey Bernard T hank God for central heating and John Osborne. I have just treated myself to a copy of Almost a Gentleman and it is ter- rific stuff,...

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New life

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Black is beautiful Zenga Longmore N ot so long ago, to be an air hostess was to have the most glamorous job any woman could imagine. Every girl in my pri- mary school...

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d's E asy Diner, Smollensky's Balloon and On the Strand

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I GET NERVOUS at this time of year. My conscience begins to gnaw. Let me explain: at exactly this time, six years ago now, I Made something between a suggestion and a promise to...

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Player of the Year Raymond Keene H aving weighed the evidence from the past year's tournaments and matches I have no hesitation in declaring Nigel Short the Spectator Player...


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COMPETITION c liAVAS R EGAL 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY The Retort Courteous Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1706 you were asked to supply an epistolary reply from Henry James...

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No. 1709: Headline story

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A friend of mine once wrote a whole novel — it was published, with this title too inspired by the newspaper headline: ACROBAT ADMITS. Within a maximum of 150 words, you are...

Solution to 1036: Cat

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The NINE unclued lights are various connotations of TAIL, as suggested by the title. Winners: Doris Dew, Scvenoaks (£20); Dr R. L. H. Barnard, Emsworth, Hants; Miss A. C. Old,...


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1039: Slanging match by Mass 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...

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Untimely end Frank Keating WHEN they buried Stan Mortenson at Blackpool in Junc, one mourner whispered to the other, 'I bet this will be known as the Matthews funeral.' The...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. Last week, at a small dinner party, I was i ntroduced to someone who I wrongly b elieved to be a friend of a friend of mine. I i mmediately said, 'I believe...