19 DECEMBER 1981

Page 4

Not So Bleak House

The Spectator

Ferdinand Mount S crooge was bust, to begin with. There was no doubt about it. He was as bust as a pricked balloon. Everyone saw it coming. Scrooge was a born-again Christian....

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The Spectator

'B ritain only good for a giggle now' was the headline over a column by Henry Fairlie in The Times the other week. Writing from Washington, Mr Fairlie maintained that, whereas...

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That nipple

The Spectator

Auberon Waugh B efore returning for the last time to Brideshead and the great Bottoms Debate I suppose I had better agree with its instigator, Mr Richard 'Bottomy Bill'...

Page 7

The cost of the coup

The Spectator

Timothy Garton Ash T f Poland's military takeover succeeds without provoking massive popular resistance, then the best hope for a peaceful evolution inside the Soviet empire...

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Christmas in a Godless State

The Spectator

Bohdan Nahaylo CN hristmas will be a sad and harrowing ....occasion for many Christians in the Soviet Union. For well over two years now the Soviet authorities have been...

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The rifle shot strategy

The Spectator

Murray Sayle Tokyo El lying out this time, strapped in and force-fed next to a man from the Dunlop tyre and rubber company, we naturally got round to what was taking us to...

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Conspiracy theorists

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Nicholas von Hoffman Washington W ashington reporters, even the lowest in rank and least in sympathy, got cards in the mail engraved with, 'The President and Mrs Reagan extend...

Page 13

The case of the pagan God

The Spectator

Tom Bethel! Washington very so often le tout Washington has a good laugh at the red-necks and hillbillies of Middle America. Such an opportunity arose last week with the...

Page 14

The Cartland factor

The Spectator

Richard West Kuala Lumpur L i a fe in hotels in the Far East is rendered hellish at this time of year by uninterrupted tape music of 'Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer', 'Silent...

Mr Walter Powell, MP for Malmesbury, has, we fear, long

The Spectator

ago paid the penalty of his too great faith in the safety of balloons. Ascending, on Saturday last, with Captain Templer and Mr AggGardner, from Bath, the balloon drifted...

Page 16

Britain and the bomb

The Spectator

SoIly Zuckerman Next month The Nuclear Illusion and Reality, by Lord Zuckerman, is to be published by Collins. The following extracts are taken from the book's final chapter....

Page 18

King Arthur's cavalry

The Spectator

Peter Paterson B ritish trade unionism is at its lowest ebb since the 1930s, devoid of ideas, of personalities, of power. It is a marvellous moment for Arthur Scargill to...

Page 19

In search of Sir Harry

The Spectator

Roy Kerridge W hen I was a small boy, one of my greatest treats was being allowed to look at my grandfather's 'big red books', huge bound volumes of essays and photographs,...

Page 20

New box-wallah

The Spectator

Paul Johnston T here is no reason at all why Alasdair Milne should not make a first-class Director-General of the BBC, provided he follows his instincts, which are...

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Outlook poor

The Spectator

Tony Rudd T he markets are ending this year on as 1 indecisive a note as they began it. The usual pre-Christmas boomlet has produced quite a good performance, particularly in...

Page 22

The Docks of London

The Spectator

Virginia Woolf 4 W hither, 0 splendid ship', the poet asked as he lay on the shore and watched the great sailing ship pass away on the horizon. Perhaps, as he imagined, it was...

Page 26

Of maidens. . .

The Spectator

Sir: Far from being a 'typographical monstrosity' (Letters, 5 December), M/S is in constant use in racing circles as an abbreviation of 'Maiden at Starting'. As such it would...

. . . and milestones . . .

The Spectator

Sir: We must be grateful to Mr Collis (28 November) for raising the issue of the absurd, literally unspeakable `Ms' as a form of address. The letters, incidentally, can stand...

• . . and mstresses Sir: You headed the letter

The Spectator

from Ms B. M. Cook (5 December) `Mstresses'. Ms Cook suggested, helpfully, that Ms should be pronounced 'Mistress'. Splendid! Perhaps she or some one else would now recommend a...

Wafer-thin Williams

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Sir: I share Mr Waugh's distrust of the winsome (and, fair's fair, lose some) Shirley Williams (5 December), but unlike him regard, with enthusiasm, the decision of the voters...

Asian history

The Spectator

Sir: Murray Sayle may be right in saying that most of us don't know much about Japan, but he doesn't seem to know much about other Euro-Asian relationships (12 December). He...

Sir: In your issue of 12 December Murray Sayle rightly

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mentions the ancient gift the Japanese have of imitating and improving other people's ideas. The Japanese trained their navy on British, that is to say Nelsonian, lines and were...


The Spectator

Sir: Mr Beale takes me to task (Letters, 12 December) for describing those commemorating the sixth anniversary of Franco's death in Madrid on 22 November as `blue-shirted right...

Page 27

Christmas in Alexandria

The Spectator

A. N. Wilson The Foreigner: A Search for the First Century Jesus Desmond Stewart (Hamish Hamilton pp. 181, £9.95) There are two sorts of biography which 1 justify endless...

Page 28

To us who know

The Spectator

A. L. Rowse The Golden Age Restored: the Culture of the Stuart Court 1603-1642 Graham Parry (Manchester University Press pp. 276, £22.50) H istorians are disappointingly...

Page 29

Hungarian Coca-Cola

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William Shawcross The Paper Bridge: a Return to Budapest Monica Porter (Quartet pp. 232, £8.95) T once met, on the Trans Siberian railway, a charming Hungarian film director...

Page 30


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Isabel Colegate Eric Gill: Man of Flesh and Spirit Malcolm Yorke (Constable pp. 304, £12.50) 1E' ric Gill believed that 'Art is that work Land that way of working in which man...

Page 31

Producers' Verdi

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Rodney Milnes The Operas of Verdi: Volume 3 Julian Budden (Cassell pp. 546, £21) N obody sane could bear to read a detailed synopsis of Aida,' wrote Noel Coward, and as with...

Page 32

Yet more Lutyens

The Spectator

Gavin Stamp Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate Roderick Gradidge (Allen & Unwin pp. 167, £13.95) Lutyens and the Sea Captain Margaret Richardson (Scolar pp. 42, £5.95) Indian...

The new Alan Paton

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Caroline Moorehead Ah, but your land is beautiful Alan Paton (Jonathan Cape pp. 271, £6.95) Tar Baby Toni Morrison (Chatto & Windus pp. 309, £6.95) Where were you at Waterloo?...

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Sam Jones's Selection

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Brian Patten V ietnam has fallen; Saigon has been re-named. Stern-faced teachers from the North have arrived to re-educate the children. At school, Ly, the daughter of, a...

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Old Lob's hour

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Roy Kerridge A consideration of the changing pattern of children's reading habits. N othing makes children want to learn to read so much as being shown a book that is worth...

Page 36

Matters of imagination

The Spectator

John McEwen N igel Hall is one of a select group of British sculptors with an international reputation, so it is no surprise to find him consolidating his position with an...


The Spectator

Rodney Milnes The Bartered Bride and Rigoletto (Opera North) II trovatore (Covent Garden) O pera North has been collectively a little defensive about its new production of The...

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The Spectator

Duncan Fallo well Arthur ('AA', selected cinemas from Boxing Day) A s Anthony Burgess told me over a crepe Suzette earlier this year in Monte Carlo, England was never supposed...

Page 39

Film fun

The Spectator

Mark Amory True West (Cottesloe) Incident at Tulse Hill (Hampstead) Cards on the Table (Vaudeville) rr rue West is an apt enough title, but liable to be confused. Like True...

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The Spectator

Richard In grams A s you all know by now, the BBC's new Director General, who appeared on Nationwide on Friday, is Mr Alasdair Milne. He has a worried look about him, as though...


The Spectator

Bryan Robertson O ver the years, the composer and doughty critic Virgil Thomson has become an American institution, and for the past decade or so, it seems, there have been...

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From bad . . .

The Spectator

Taki L ike everyone else's, I imagine, my memories of long ago Christmas holidays are vague. Unlike remembrances of love affairs past, of which one tends to remember only the...

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. . . to worse

The Spectator

Jeffrey Bernard I'vetried ignoring Christmas but the bastard won't go away. It's never been a good time of year for me what with being ignored by Father Christmas — yes, I'm...

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Roll up

The Spectator

Raymond Keene T he recent proliferation of games emporia offers a rich choice for chess enthusiasts this Christmas. Normal stock includes chess books, sets, clocks, computers...

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Quiz answers

The Spectator

1) a) P. G. Wodehouse; b) Ezra Pound; c) Joseph Conrad; d) Oscar Wilde; e) J. B. Priestley; f) Baron Corvo. 2) a) Emma by Jane Austen (T. F. Powys); b) Alice through the...