17 DECEMBER 1988

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The Spectator

Act of God A rush-hour rail crash near Clapham Junction, south London, left 33 people dead and 113 injured. It was attributed to a faulty signal circuit. Common Market ministers...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone 01-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 242 0603 TIME FOR ICONOCLASM AINT RAISA' gasped the banner headline on the front page of Monday's Today. Underneath was a huge photo- graph of Mrs...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY — Save 15% on the Cover Price! RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £49.50 El £26.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £60.50 0 £31.00 USA Airspeed 0 US 199 0 US$50 Rest of Airmail...

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Mr Gorbachev announces a birth: will Pinochet be the godfather? NOEL MALCOLM E ND (the journal of the European Nuclear Disarmament movement) had a cover picture earlier this...

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T he most interesting news to come out of England this year — apart from the two dons who actually came to blows over the merits of Moll Flanders, splendid fellows — was the...

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'It appears to have been a mugging which went tragically wrong' AUBERON WAUGH I have been haunted by a sentence which I read in the Sun on Saturday. My country edition led...

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Mr Gorbachev has appointed himself the evangelist ' earthquake has shown up his weakness and intolerance Moscow THE passage of a new, ostensibly more democratic, constitution...

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One hundred years ago

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WE have received three or four letters complaining that we have not noticed Lord Salisbury's blunder at Edinburgh in calling Mr Dadabhai Nourojee a 'black' man. It is not our...

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Peter Gill reports on the British repatriation policy for those who escape Vietnam EVER since North Vietnamese tanks rol- led into Saigon and the last anti-communist president...

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Mark Almond recounts an attempt to stop academics discussing Hitler and Stalin `APPARENTLY this man compares Hitler with Stalin.' That was not Erich Honeck- er's outraged...

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Diana Geddes on the current confusion and disorder in France Paris 'WHO would have thought that we would see a Socialist government bringing in the police and the army to help...

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Christopher Howse examines the case of the nuns who are holding out for a harder life THE black and white of a nun's habit behind a heavy-barred grille made a good photograph...

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Anthony Barnett explains why Charter 88 should be a rallying point BRITAIN is a gloriously democratic coun- try was the reply from Downing Street to an American reporter who...

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Wallace Clark looks at the 300th anniversary of the siege of Londonderry There is a green hill far away. Without a city wall, Where the dear Lord was crucified, Who died to...

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the United States giving Gorby more than his due THE events taking place in the world today are sufficiently striking in them- selves, I should have thought, to make hyperbole...

The Spectator regrets that it has now sold out of

The Spectator

diaries for 1989

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Wilcox's winner INMOS is the most successful privatisation there has

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ever been — successful for us as the sellers, that is. This magical electronic chip-shop, set up in the days when govern- ments thought they could spot industries on which the...

Goodwill written off

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NO wonder the City has been plunged into seasonal gloom and is purging goodwill from its balance-sheets. Goodwill (this is my contribution to accountancy) is the difference...

Seasonal fluctuations

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NEW from City and Suburban this year is a selection of useful and acceptable gifts. (I prefer this 'genteel phrase to the Financial Times's nouveau-riche heading, 'How to spend...


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The Government kicks the dog to teach its inflated cat a lesson CHRISTOPHER FILDES h is week brings the figures the Chan- cellor tells us to watch. The Retail Prices Index...

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The sting what does the good JOCK BRUCE-GA RDYNE Mr Lawson's sentiments precisely, I imagine. Sales advertisements appearing in Oxford Street even before the Christmas...

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Hospital malaise Sir: In Jock Bruce-Gardyne's article `Mr Lawson buys off the dentists and opticians' (5 November), he expects but derides the probability that all the £2...

Sir: Nikolai Tolstoy is right to dwell in detail on

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the fate of Cossacks and others repatriated to certain death in the USS1k. at the end of the war; however, this should be less to ascribe blame than to learn the lessons of...

Chinese history

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Sir: It's good to see Auberon Waugh (Another voice, 19 November) taking an interest in Chinese affairs, but I'm sorry that he has swallowed the guff about '5,000 years of...

Party and religion

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Sir: Your correspondence about bringing British national parties into the Northern Ireland arena raises the question, 'Who and how many are the Catholic unionists in the...

War crimes

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Sir: Alistair Home excoriates Nikolai Tol- stoy for 'all the trouble he had caused' (Letters, 19 November) but he has no harsh words for successive British governments which...

World Service

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Sir: When I read John Tusa's letter to you (3 December) about the World Service I thought at first that I had strayed to the pages of the New Statesman. Obviously Tusa will...

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Sir: In your leading article 'To be precise' (19 November) I was pleased to read once again in your pages a plea for the English language. The sentence which struck me most...


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Sir: The article by Alexandra Artley (`Kids' Stuffing', 12 November), in which she praises the idea of teaching the mean- ing of words alongside their practical application,...

Scripture knowledge

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Sir: Kingsley Amis suggests that his 'Pro- ject Outlawing Tintinnabulation In Pubs, Hotels And Restaurants' would be im- possible because nobody has heard of Potiphar (`Sod the...


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Sir: As an ordinand in training for the priesthood at one of the 'frightful' theolo- gical colleges collectively condemned by Ferdinand Mount in his review of Dr Gareth...


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Sir: Some of the hexameters in your competition (5 November) were ingenious. Nash was right, though: The Hexamiter verse I graunt to be a Gentleman of an auncient house (so is...

Bodily functions

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Sir: My 13-year-old daughter would like to point out to Auberon Waugh (Another voice, 26 November) that it is a nonsense to refer to a 'two-parent-but-no-children household'. Is...

Wee Frees

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Sir: It is right to point out (Diary, 12 November) that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, to which the Lord Chancellor belongs, is not the 'Wee Frees'. But the church...

`...and statistics'

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SPEAKING of sheets, did you know that Andrex sell enough toilet paper each year to build Mount Everest? (Epson photocopier advertisement, the Guardian, 28 September). Have...

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An agonist who ran to suffering David Gilmour F ew people have been subjected to such extremes of judgment as T. E. Lawrence. Churchill regarded him as 'one of the greatest...

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Ivory tower goes into orbit

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John Biffen THATCHERISM S hortly we reach the tenth anniversary of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative gov- ernment. There is a veritable growth indus- try in publications...

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Lying under the greenwood tree

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Frances Spalding A RING OF CONSPIRATORS: HENRY JAMES AND HIS LITERARY CIRCLE, 1895-1915 by Miranda Seymour Hodder & Stoughton, £17.95 pp.327 H enry James's asssociation with...

Explaining the undead

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Anthony Daniels VAMPIRES, BURIAL AND DEATH by Paul Barber Yale, £14.95, pp.224 T here is a je ne sais quoi about death. Young doctors soon come to recognise it, even without...

AMONG NEXT WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS John Bayley on naval warfare Raynaond

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Carr on sporting art Max Egremont on English country houses

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Billiards and curling win

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John McEwen SPORT AND THE ARTIST, VOLUME I: BALL GAMES by Mary Ann Wingfield The Antique Collectors Club, £29.95, pp. 359 B all games, on the evidence of this book, have not...

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More than a Green Mouth

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David Profumo FORGOTTEN LIFE by Brian Aldiss Gollancz,111.95, pp.284 T hey hate me!', cries Sheila, the phenomenally successful author of science fantasy, as she reads her...

Prying is a pleasure

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Francis King A MIND AT EASE: BARBARA PYM AND HER NOVELS by Robert Liddell Peter Owen, .£13.95, pp.143 R obert Liddell, now in his 81st year, was a close friend of four of the...

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Humorous Books

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Failures more attractive than success Richard Ingrams W hat an opportunity has been missed with The Essential Osbert Lancaster (Bar- rie & Jenkins, £15.95, pp.192)! Someone...

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Art Books

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Volumes at an exhibition David Ekserdjian h e most obvious way to organise the shopping list for the annual Christmas round-up of art books is chronologically, but all that...

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Born to be King, he almost was

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Kevin Sharpe CHARLES EDWARD STUART: A TRAGEDY IN MANY ACTS by Frank McLynn Routledge, £24.95, pp. 640 I t is the legendary figures, larger than history, who are only with the...

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Exhibitions 1 The rush on Russian Giles Auty Russian Paintings (Roy Miles Fine Paintings, till 22 December) Russian Paintings (Century Gallery, till 20 February) A s the...

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Smelling a Rat (Hampstead) Cupboard lovers Christopher Edwards h is is the latest in a line of plays devised by Mike Leigh in collaboration with a cast. The actors are given...

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Exhibitions 2

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Views of war Gavin Stamp W ar can inspire, or generate, great art. The Imperial War Museum surely houses one of the finest and most repre- sentative collections of...

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New York theatre

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Rumors (Broadhurst Theatre) Farce master Douglas Colby T he initial half-hour of Rumors, Neil Simon's 23rd comedy but his first venture into farce, is moderately amusing in...

Photography Towards a Bigger Picture, Part II (V & A,

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till 15 January) Eye- Francis Hodgson B eing a museum curator is one of those difficult professions in which the skilful marshalling of other people's talents pro- duces a...

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Pop music

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Christmas crackers Marcus Berkmann W ith Christmas looming in its usual dispiriting way, it's time to start thinking of those records you're going to buy for yourself rather...

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Summoned by birds Wendy Cope I . n a week of disasters I have spent several hours looking at scenes of horror and tragedy with a growing sense of inadequacy. Something in me...

High life

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May the best queen win Taki G New York ood old Prince Philip. By pronounc- ing that wives and hookers are one and the same he said what I've been trying to tell the world...

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Low life

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Eastern Promise Jeffrey Bernard S peaking as a man with little faith I find this whole business of Christmas one hell of an inconvenience. It must be even worse for a turkey....

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Home life

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Nappy Christmas Alice Thomas Ellis I remember Caroline remarking once with quiet sincerity that she hadn't got a grain of cuddly granny in her. We were discussing the prospect...

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Single quinta ports

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PORT is odd in so many ways. In Bor- deaux or Burgundy, the idea that a single vineyard wine is inferior to a blend of several vineyards runs counter to the most sacred spirit...

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Imperative Cooking:

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HOW BIGBIG is your repertoire? My mater- nal g reat- g randmother's was 14. She oper- ated a menu which was the same every week but chan g ed from summer to winter. Festivities...

How to save yourself 51 trips to the library ..

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. or almost £30 on The Spectator If you're forced to share The Spectator with fellow students, then you'll know how difficult it can be to track a copy down. Now you can save...

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Tata Ltd Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1553 you were asked to write a report, after a particularly difficult assignment, by an employee of an agency which provides...


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Henceforward Raymond Keene I n Alan Ayckbourn's futuristic new play, whose title I have borrowed to head this week's article, at one point a character asks why humans are...

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Solution to 886: Vice squad

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oria E ' S , T 1 . 1 ' E s S Ilia Bala nail• AE E T H nrIEICEI _fl n w A i A T 0 R E 117131 FIE 01313113121 ij al 8 E T ACMIglii!!!I ann El 0 12 I E N L D i E rt - ii c Ind A...

No. 1556: Domestic bliss

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Sickeningly sentimental and unreal scenes of family life are associated with Victorian fiction. An extract, please (maximum 150 words), from a contemporary novel with the same...


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A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 for the first three correct solutions opened on 9 January. Entries to: Crossword 889, The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London...

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From Graham Greene at Dien Bien Phu to Peter Acicroyd in Greenland, or from John Betjeman on never having been to Venice to Jeffrey Bernard cruising in Norway, here is a...


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The Spectator enjoys a high reputation for its crosswords, which attract a large weekly postbag. This collection of 100 puzzles fea- tures the work of their three resident...