16 MAY 1981

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The politics of perversity

The Spectator

The English tend to regard the French as perverse, taking a more tolerant view of the French than the French take of their perfidious neighbour across the Channel. Perverse,...

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Political commentary

The Spectator

A night at the play Ferdinand Mount My dear young friend, Your invitation to compose a 'profile' of Mr Michael Foot discomposed me to an extent which was scarcely lessened by...

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The Spectator

As we go to press, I hear that the Pope has been shbt and that his condition is serious. I do not know who is responsible for this atrocious crime. Progressive Catholics have...

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Another voice

The Spectator

Press, Palace and Mrs Hill Auberon Waugh It is an unenviable and rather odious thing for any working journalist to write about Fleet Street. Apart from the obvious dec...

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The gamble that worked

The Spectator

Sam White Paris The French electorate has long been skilled in playing Russian roulette with itself. This time, however, there was a bullet in the barrel. There can be no doubt...

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The axe that doesn't cut

The Spectator

Tom Bethell Washington Last week the House of Representatives voted by a wide margin (253 to 176) to cut Federal spending by 42 billion dollars in fiscal year 1982 (which...

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El Salvador: a new Vietnam?

The Spectator

Richard West San Salvador Before coming to El Salvador, I bought a Communist pamphlet whose very title attempted to make the point: El Salvador: America's New Vietnam. The...

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Learning from Leningrad

The Spectator

Gavin Stamp Leningrad Behind the old barracks of Tsarskoe Selo, way off the Intourist track, we found what we were looking for: a ruined Neo-Classical church, four-square with...

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Benn and the unions

The Spectator

Peter Paterson The Benn road show is picking up momentum at this year's round of trade union conferences, at such a pace that some previously confident forecasters who held...

One hundred years ago

The Spectator

Mr Hutchinson's new Libel Bill, which passed its second reading on Wednesday, was formally accepted by the Attorney-General, and seems likely to pass. It extends the defence of...

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Power without authority

The Spectator

Allan Massie 'A contract worth £2.3 million for the overhaul of aero-engines for West Germany, yes West Germany. Come on, three cheers for Britain . . . an oil platform worth...

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In the City

The Spectator

The moral of ICL Tony Rudd The imminent collapse of this country's only mainframe serious contender in the world computer market, International Computers Limited, brings into...

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Jurors with form

The Spectator

Sir: I was interested to read of Ferdinand Mount's experience as a juror (2 May) and his observation that jurors are now selected from 'twelve representative persons' rather...

Irish charity

The Spectator

Sir: It was Dr Johnson who invented the celebrated maxim: The Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of one another.' Perhaps that is why your reviewer, John Stewart...


The Spectator

Sir: I derived great pleasure from Gerda Cohen's article on Picardy in your issue devoted to the elections in France (2 May). It was a wonderful evocation. It was like walking...

Camels of the Coto

The Spectator

Sir: In his review of Robyn Davidson's Tracks (14 March) James Hughes-Onslow quotes, among the 'facts' about camels supplied by Thomas Cook, 'that the last ones in Spain were...

Monkey puzzle

The Spectator

Sir: Reviewing the first programme in Richard Leakey's series on The Making of Mankind (9 May), Richard Ingrams says that 'the evidence that man evolved from monkeys has always...

More accuracy

The Spectator

Sir: Paul Johnson (`More matter, less art', 9 May) has got it wrong. The decision to end the National Book Awards has, to the best of my knowledge, been greeted with complete...

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The Spectator

A flagship out of line Patrick Devlin Justice, Lord Denning and the Constitution P. Robinson and P. Watchman eds. (Gower pp. 253, £10.50, £5.95) Lord Denning is a highly...

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Exorcist Three

The Spectator

Eric Christiansen The Cult of the Saints Peter Brown (SCM Press Ltd pp. 187, £6.95) Peter Brown has been knocking about with the saints for some time, and his admirers may be...

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History as plywood

The Spectator

J. Enoch Powell Revolutionary Empire Angus Calder (Cape pp. 916, £16.50) This is the first of three volumes of a projected 'history of the British Empire', of which the second...

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Swan song

The Spectator

Diana Quick Swanson on Swanson Gloria Swanson (Michael Joseph pp. 535, £9.95) 'Manhandled; Cinderella story about a department store salesgirl in love with a humble inventor....

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The Spectator

Christopher Hawtree In Anger: Culture in the Cold War 1945 — 60 Robert Hewison (Weidenfeld pp.230, £9.95) English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 1850-1980...

Force of arms

The Spectator

Raleigh Trevelyan Alexander the Great N.G.L. Hammond (Chatto & Windus pp. 358, £14.95) There are people in Hunza, in their beautiful valley on the border of Sinkiang, who...

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The Spectator

Fatal pash Paul Ableman An Easter Egg Hint Gillian Freeman (Hamish Hamilton pp. 192, £6.95) This is a mystery story in more senses than one. It is, in the first place, a...

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The Spectator

Novel experiences Rodney Mdnes The Greek Passion (Welsh National Opera, Cardiff) Anna Karenina (Coliseum) Both these operas are based on extremely long novels: Martinu's on...

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The Spectator

Now and Zen John McEwen The retrospective of paintings, assemblages, prints and drawings by the American Robert Rauschenberg (Tate Gallery till 14 June) does not have the luck...

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The Spectator

One misshtake WE Deedes Anyone for Denis? (Whitehall) A curious thing about Private Eye, a scourge of smoothies, Goldenballs, news paper editors and kindred riff-raff, is that...


The Spectator

No rings Peter Ackroyd The Postman Always .Rings Twice ('X', Odeon Leicester Square) It is now impossible to watch Jack Nicholson without embarrassment. He went over the top,...

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The Spectator

Miller's tale Richard Ingrams Looking back at what I have seen of the BBC's Shakespeare series I am surprised how little stays in the memory. It has been going on for two...


The Spectator

Not so final Wilfred De'Ath The Jubilee line out to Wembley Park on Saturday morning was full of scarved and beribboned youths asking, 'Any spare tickets, mate?' The girl next...

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High life

The Spectator

Ladies doubles Tala New York After six long, interminable months I am about to return to my ancestral country seat in Oxfordshire. This is the longest I have spent in one...

Low life

The Spectator

Fishy Jeffrey Bernard didn't know Bernard Walsh who owned Wheelers at all well, but when I heard that he'd died this week I naturally started to think about the branch in Old...