14 MARCH 1992

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The Spectator

I n his Budget, Mr Norman Lamont intro- duced a new lower rate tax band of 20p on the first £2,000 of income. Mr Kinnock promised to vote against the total package, which will...

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SPECTATOR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street. London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 AN ALMOST-REAL ELECTION T wo spectres are not haunting...


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

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I t was with a wince that I read that L.S. Lowry's 'VE Day', which has gone missing from the Kelvingrove municipal art gallery in Glasgow, was valued at £150,000. I never learn...

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Vote Labour if you're for the Union dead CHARLES MOORE T his election is simple for me. I believe that one should vote out of self-interest, since that is the way the system...

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Simon Heifer looks forward to a general election that promises to be more significant for the politicians than for those choosing them WE HAVE, as Cardinal Newman put it,...

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A constrained Chancellor, an opportunist opposition, this is where Christopher Fildes came in SO IT HAS come at last — a Budget for racers. I would be churlish not to welcome...

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If symptoms

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persist.. . I WAS ON duty at a different prison last weekend. It was one of the Victorian panopticon monsters, whose magnificent ironwork is not much — areciated by those who...

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Michael Heath


The Spectator

IN MUD' Stephen Robinson interviews Pat Buchanan, and finds him wickedly charming Washington FORGET, for a moment, the ringing calls to put 'America First', the plaintive cry...

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One hundred years ago

The Spectator

Mr. Henry Tate has withdrawn his gen- erous offer to give his collection of pic- tures to the public, in consequence of the failure of the Treasury to fulfil his conditions as...

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Andrew Kenny wonders how he should vote in South Africa's referendum Richards Bay ON TUESDAY, we white South Africans will be invited to answer 'yes' or `no' to this question:...

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Noel Malcolm unravels the confusion of modern place names, and offers a solution NOW THAT 'PC' (Political Correctness) is part of the language, perhaps it's time to introduce...

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A reader received this letter from Ren- dall and Rittner Limited, residential managing agents: Dear Sirs, Unfortunately, Rendall and Rittner Limited has had a complaint that...

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Giles Milton reveals that Prince Philip is returning to Orthodoxy AT THE age of 70, Prince Philip seems to be in a reflective mood. A glance at his diary for the following...

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Lexicographer, spare those minor clerics PAUL JOHNSON I n what work do these terminal sentences appear? 'He died of erysipelas in the head, contracted by attending a political...

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENGLISH GLEB SHESTAKOV ONE GREY morning in the autumn of 19—, a red car might have been seen speeding round the sharp turns of the B45– in the county...

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LETTERS Battle of all mothers

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Sir: Clive James is the perfect export refer- ence here (`Let my people stay', 7 March). Once sent overseas, the product remains forever stable. Some miracle of technology keeps...

Between friends

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Sir: Your weekly column of 'crass, illiterate, ignorant etc.' communications from public bodies is elegantly juxtaposed by the felici- ties of gymnastic syntax emanating, almost...

Deliberate error

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Sir: One of the few constants in a changing world is the eerie capacity of the British press to Get It Wrong. What I take to be a woman journalist, Colin Welch, repeats (Books,...

Bring back ducking

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Sir: Africa has something to offer to the British debate on 'the law and order card' (Politics, 15 February). In the 1970s I was working among the Afar in Ethiopia and noticed...

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Nothing personal

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Sir: John O'Sullivan offers a left-handed (or is it right-handed?) defence of Pat Buchanan against the charge of anti- Semitism (`Some of his best friends are Jewish', 29...

Jailhouse rot

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Sir: I am writing to you to put the record straight over Wilfred De'Ath's article on Dixon House which I must say was inaccu- rate on many points and offensive on oth- ers...

A pensioner writes

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Sir: There has been so much rewriting of history by the Daily Mirror over the past few months that I thought it might be helpful if I added to the very full letter from Joe...

Sir: So William De'Ath is profoundly opposed to drugs. Well,

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I am profoundly opposed to unrepentant thieves: especially those who have not even the excuse of a poor education. What is The Spectator com- ing to when a shameless free-loader...

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It makes you go blind James Buchan VOX by Nicholson Baker Granta, £14.99, £7.99, pp. 169 A nybody who has travelled on public transportation in the United States will know...

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His master's voice

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James Walton REAL LIFE by D. J. Taylor Chatto, f14.99, pp. 265 D J. Taylor is a brave man. Three years ago, he wrote A Vain Conceit, a work of criticism whose basic premises...


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To live beyond the pale of sexes in a form of otherness beyond your body or the praxis of habits or of dress is given briefly, for a second, a fractioned fraction of a pulse of...

Nothing but a phonus bolonus

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Andro Linklater DAMON RUNYON by Jimmy Breslin Hodder & Stoughton, f17.99, pp. 410 I t is hard to believe that with such a name the Rognions, citizens of 17th- century Poitou,...

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Familiar but by no means vulgar

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J.G. Links THE NEW PENGUIN DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS edited by J.M. and M.J. Cohen Viking, £17.99, pp. 726 Q uotations are of two kinds, the old and the new — the quoted and the...

Hello to Berlin

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Nigel Spivey CONVERSATIONS WITH ISAIAH BERLIN by Ramin Jahanbegloo Peter Halban, £17.95, pp. 213 H is friends have characterised Isaiah Berlin as Dr Johnson labelled Burke: the...

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Except That Their Belief in Me

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If Heaven had a hole in it and could accomodate my explanations to children of God, of living, of dying, of eating and of breath, of meaning and of angels, of why, then what...

Giving the customers what they want

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John Whitworth SERIOUS CONCERNS by Wendy Cope Faber, £12.99, £4.99, pp.87 U niversity students are now referred to as customers, and to keep the customers satisfied, first- and...

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Sinister rather than dextrous

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Patrick Skene Catling THE LEFT-HANDER SYNDROME: THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF LEFT-HANDEDNESS by Stanley Coren John Murray, £16.95, pp. 308 L eft-handed men and women and...

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The lure of Paris

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Philip Mansel A WOMAN, A MAN AND TWO KINGDOMS by Francis Steegmuller Secker & Warburg, £17.99, pp.279 P aris in the 18th century is the hero (heroine?) of this book. It was the...


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Mid-forties, smart overnight bag, Collar with a touch of blood on it, Face I don't really look at. His payment is to relax at My driving, cuss the road-up cones, Reach with...

What did you

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do in the sex war, Daddy? Anne Chisholm THE STORK CLUB by Maureen Freely Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp.311 S elf-deprecating, rueful, comic writing has been a special talent of...

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Through China's furnace

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Colin Thubron WILD SWANS: THREE DAUGHTERS OF CHINA by Jung Chang HarperCollins, £17.50, pp.524 0 f all the personal histories to have emerged out of China's 20th-century...

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To be a hedgehog

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John Jolliffe U nless you are William Trevor or V.S. Pritchett, it is extremely hard to get your short stories published in Britain now that the many magazines that printed...

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Theatre 1 Wonderful, darlings! N ext week a new production of Bernard Shaw's classic melodrama Heart- break House opens at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. It is directed by the...

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Stephen Harper (England & Co., till 28 March) Michael Hoare (Sue Rankin, till 24 March) Maro Gorky (Long & Ryle, till 29 March) Let them eat paint Giles Auty A week ago I was...

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Notes from the underground Peter Phillips I n the hierarchy of professions in music it is a moot point whether being a critic comes lower than playing in a pit orchestra. At...


The Spectator

Fokine a son gout Deirdre McMahon T his year is the 50th anniversary of Mikhail Fokine's death. He was one of the most influential choreographers of this century, yet the...

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The Double Life of Veronique ('15', Curzon Mayfair) Obscure camera . Vanessa Letts T he Double Life of Veronique is the art- house film par excellence — elusive and...

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Theatre 2

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The Recruiting Officer (Olivier) Wit with T his is a lively revival of George Far- quhar's best-known comedy, written in 1706. Although it is often described as a Restoration...

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What's the use of worrying? Ursula Buchan Y ears ago, when I first became a gar- dener, I worked alongside a likeable ex- docker, with a face like a disappointed punchball and...

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High life

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Qualified success Taki Gstaad There is nothing like an all-night party to set one's skiing back a decade or so. Or rather, set it ahead, because ten years ago I was skiing far...


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Morse the pity Martyn Harris I nspector Morse is a cult, which means it is impossible to argue for or against it, or ever to understand why anybody should watch it. 'But it's...

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Long life

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Recollected ecstasy Nigel N icolson T he other day George Weidenfeld and Ed Victor gave a party at the Groucho Club for my 75th birthday and I was allowed to invite 22 other...

Low life

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Like it or lump it Jeffrey Bernard Thursday but couldn't go because of the forthcoming operation on my head. I want- ed to see how Dennis Waterman plays the part in Jeffrey...

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Imperative cooking: how to shop, lesson 1 HAVE YOU watched

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people shopping? I watched a male Youf buying a pair of enor- mous plimsolls, his face contorted in fanati- cal determination. He knew exactly which sort he wanted, interrogated...

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Something to sing about Auberon Waugh N ethergate Wines, of Clare, formerly Redpath and Thackray of Cambridge, have given us some spectacularly successful offers in mixed...


The Spectator

c/o Nethergate Wines Ltd 11/13 High Street, Clare, Suffolk C010 8NY Tel: (0787) 277244 Fax: (0787) 277123 Price No. Value White Pouilly Fume (Benhiers) 1990 12 Bots....

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Blunderful life Raymond Keene T here has been some wonderful chess played in the super-strong tournament in the Spanish town of Linares, but there have also been some fearful...


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COMPETITION 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY Bouts rimes Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1718 you were in- vited to write a poem in any metre to a given rhyme-scheme. Fingering my...

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CROSSWORD 1050: Underneath the arches 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 solutions...

Solution to 1047: A la carte

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The unclued lights are characters from the Savoy operas. 23A + 29D gives DICK DEAD-EYE. Winners: Mrs M.R. Wishart, Whit- ley Bay (£20); Alan Gilchrist, Brighton; M.C.C. Rich,...

No. 1721: Beckett's turn

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The next work of literature to be trans- formed into a musical may be Waiting for Godot. You are invited to provide a lyric, solo or duet (maximum 16 lines) from this surely...

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Dear Mary. Q. Please suggest a solution to a problem I personally experience at least once a week — this is of running into someone who I know I know, but being quite unable to...


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Penalty points Frank Keating FOR ALL cricket's pyjama games, and soc- cer's ten-men teams of mindless midfield dynamos, I fancy international rugby union has changed more...