19 JANUARY 1985

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Portrait of the week he floating pound came at last

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to 1 resemble an iceberg, with nine tenths of its value under the level of the dollar. It then collided with the Government's policy of masterly inactivity, which sank: two days...

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Westminster market It doesn't, however, appear that the fluctuations and febrilities of Westminster insiders have much direct impact on public opinion — if they did, the...

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/There is a whiff of Gotterdammerung in .1 the decision of the national executive committee of the National Union of Mine- workers to recommend to a dele g ate con- ference at...


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T he cold weather has shown many Lon- doners the true nature of the borou g h councils to which the Government is so anxious to devolve more responsibilities: the councils'...

Endorsed by Kinnock

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XTeil Kinnock can now be considered a 1 specialist on Central American affairs: he knows where Nicara g ua is. He also seems to know the difference between the 'Contadora' peace...


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UK Eire Surface mail Air mail 6 months: E17.25 £17.25 £20.50 £26.50 One year: £34.50 £34.50 £41.00 £53.00 Name Address US Subscriptions: $58.00 (Airspeed). The Spectator is...

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T he dull thing about January is having nothing to read, unless you happen to be planning an extremely mediocre holiday with a major tour operator. Magazines are little more...

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Benigno and Kim

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Christopher Hitchens O n 10 March 1983, there was rather an affecting meeting at the Faculty Club of Harvard University. Present were Be- nigno Aquino, the leader of the...

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The Liberal Crack-Up

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R. Emmett Tyrrell W hen, while lounging in my New York flat, I received 'the call' from Charles Moore to appear in these vener- able pages, I half expected to be asked to take...

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Correction A line, here italicised, was missing from the third

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column of Christopher Hitchens's article about The Liberal Crack-Up, two 'potations running into each other: • • . Truth be known, however, it was the Liberals's war, foul-ups...

Trieste's motorway

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Richard Bassett 'There are some who, searching for the 1 atmosphere of the Habsburg Empire, feel irresistibly drawn towards Vienna, only later to be disappointed by the grey-...


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is looking for a secretary for the Managing Director. Good typing and shorthand is essential. Please reply in writing enclosing c.v. and daytime telephone number to: Henrietta...

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Ungovernable Lebanon

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Gerda Cohen Xjahariya beach: hot beige grit and mi- ca, licked by the boring Mediterra- nean. Lebanon is a livid haze up the road. One can drive there in ten minutes, hear the...

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Camping in Nairobi

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Denis Hills Ngong/Karen A camper's life in East Africa is cheap (no rent). He is warmed by a mighty and reliable sun. He can potter about in shorts. He is not tempted to...

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Fall of the Rastamen

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Roy Kerridge o you know any Rastas?' a friend wrote to ask me in a letter from America. The Caribbean diaspora had swept her from British Guiana to Harles- den, London, and...

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Can we help Aids?

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Andrew Brown T he story of the man who invented chess: the prince for whom he had invented the game was so delighted that he asked the counsellor to name his own reward. The...

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The guinea-pigs' fate

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A. M. Daniels T here is some alarm in the medical profession that the academic standards demanded by medical schools are now so high that only natural genius or, as is more...

One hundred years ago

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Professor Freeman writes an interest- ing letter to the Times of yesterday on the subject of vivisection; but we cannot see our way to agree with him in asserting that even...

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The economy

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Leave the girl alone Jock Bruce-Gardyne D uring my 18 months' sentence in the grey Lubianka of Great George Street I never met the Treasury Model. But you didn't have to enjoy...

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The press

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Labour waits for Godot Paul Johnson T alking to Arthur Scargill the other day, I was not surprised to find that he is getting ready to blame the approaching failure of his...

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Bank mate Olt) , and Suburban, a fortni g ht a g o, told the

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sad tale of Ni g el the captain and Robin the first mate. They were sittin g in their leaky boat, and poor Robin was g ettin g damper and damper, but Ni g el wouldn't let him...

City and Suburban

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Stealing sterling Manny is ri g ht: Don't care was made to 1 111 care. Sterlin g has a way of doin g that. On g overnments which affect to i g nore it, sterlin g forces its...

Sleepers, awake 'These are testin g times for the forei g n exchan g e

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dealers of the City of Lon- don. One of them, watchin g the snow fall nearly as heavily as the pound, thou g ht to provide for the wood-burnin g stoves which heat his house. He...

Reserved — for what?

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W e started the year with £13,553 mil- lion of reserves, which is about £250 for everyone in the country, and some of us are tempted to reach for the money. After all, the...

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Opiates and the people Sir: What a sheltered life, my noticeably greying but surely still quite young friend Geoffrey Wheatcroft (Letters, 22 Decem- ber) seems to lead, 'twixt...

Anglo-Saxon simplicity

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Sir: As a Northamptonian born and bred, now dragging out my days in bitter exile among the snarling tradesmen, third-world boutiquiers and prancing poseurs of the Smoke, I must...


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Sir: Is Geoffrey Wheatcroft, like Winston Smith, trying to re-write history (Christmas Quiz, 22 December)? Richard Nixon's running mate in 1972 was not Gerald Ford but Spiro T....

Footnote on Watkins

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Sir: Mr Alan Watkins is undoubtedly one of the greatest journalists (with the possi- ble exceptions of yourself, Sir, and Mr St Loe Strachey) ever to write for the Specta- tor,...

Correct style

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Sir: Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Hor- rocks KCB, KBE, DSO, MC, after a distinguished record in two world wars, became, while Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, a much admired...

Notts Communists

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Sir: I must be one of the 'paternalistic employers' — Ferdinand Mount in his re- view of Scargill and the Miners (Books, 5 January) — having been successively Secret- ary,...

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Money squeamishness Colin Welch `What Judas did . . . `Can't make up my mind about it.' 'A bit shady?' `Like to hear his side of the case.' `But the 30 pieces of silver?'...

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The real Jane Isabel Colegate The Life of Jane Austen John Halperin (Harvester Press £25) hue Austen's Heroines: Intimacy in Hu- man Relationships John Hardy (Routledge &...

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How to stay on top .

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Ferdinand Mount The Dominant Ideology Thesis Nicholas Abercrombie, Stephen Hill and Bryan S. Turner (Allen & Unwin £6.50) W atching the Far Left is not unlike travelling rather...

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Books Wanted

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WILLIAM MORRIS: 'The Life and Death of Jason'. C. Tetlaw, 55 Vicarage Court, Vicarage Gate, London W8 4HF. ELIE WIESEL: 'The Town Beyond the Wall'. Simon Barker, The Flat, 5...

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Cheery Cripps

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Bruce Anderson Mrs Thatcher's First Adminstration: The Prophets Confounded Jock Bruce-Gardyne (Macmillan £20, £7.95) Tock Bruce-Gardyne has written an J admirably lucid and...

Suds and lather

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Peter Black All For Love: A Study in Soap Opera Peter Buckman (Secker & Warburg £9.95) I t is to Peter Buckman's credit that he has -I-written a study of soap opera which...

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Wheels within wheels

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John Jolliffe T his short book is of far wider interest than its specialised subject might sug- gest. The author was (thank God) British Ambassador in Washington at the time of...

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The lies they write

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Patrick Marnham Lies, Damned Lies and Some Exclusives Henry Porter (Chatto & Windus f9.95) A s I was about to review this book, my eye fell on a caption in the Daily Telegraph...


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Prabhu Guptara The British Council: The First Fifty Years Frances Donaldson (Cape £16) W ho reads histories of organisations? Surely only people passionately in- terested in...

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Top cops

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Stan Gebler Davies Lightning Ed McBain (Hamish Hamilton £8.95) E d McBain has chosen an elegant way of accusing his televisional imitators of plagiarism. One of the more...

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Sex and samplers

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Sarah Bradford The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine Rozsika Parker (The Women's Press i14.95) T here was nothing subversive about stitching at my...

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Twice bitten Rodney Milnes Capriccio (Scottish Opera, Glasgow) Tosca, Rigoletto (Coliseum) J ohn Cox's production of Capriccio at Glyndebourne in 1973 marked a signifi- cant...

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Americana Peter Ackroyd Repo Man (`18', selected cinemas) T his comes with the reputation of being a cult film, than which there is nothing more suspect. It also represents...

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Ber-ber-boo Alexander Chancellor he most interesting revelation on tele- vision this week was provided by Mr Barry Norman in his programme about Bing Crosby (Hollywood...

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Low life

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Nightmare Jeffrey Bernard T have been dreaming a lot recently and lies really beginning to get me down both physically and mentally. But fear not, I wouldn't dream of boring...

Home life

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Fire and water Alice Thomas Ellis T he Regius Professor of Greek and his wife, Mary, Professor in the Humani- ties, are coming to lunch, and the pipes have frozen. What's for...

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Hostilities P. J. Kavanagh W e were let off lightly, as far as junior teenage parties go. Everybody had had a good time, no one had disgraced himself, or herself, and there...

No. 1352: The winners

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Jaspistos reports: Competitors were asked for some improbable forecasts, in verse or prose, for the present year. Any prediction made by more than one of you — such as that the...


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No. 1355: Sundowner Set by Jaspistos: You are invited to write a Kiplingesque poem (maximum 16 lines) on the decline of the British Empire since its and his heyday. Entries to...

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Past glories Raymond Keene H astings is over, and, as so often in the past, a Soviet Grandmaster has taken top honours. Final scores were: Svesh- nikov (USSR) 9/13; Benjamin,...

Solution to Snatchy: A Christmas Jumbo (unclued lights are in

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capitals) CAROL CLUES: While (48 WHEN) shepherds (14 PASTORS) watched (27 TENDED) . . Ding-dung (21 MONOTONOUSNESS) merrily (64 HAPPILY) on high (66 ALOFT) . . . Hark (4 LIST),...

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Crossword 691

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Capricorn by Mass Prize: £10 (or a copy of Chambers Dictionary, 1983 edition, value £11.95 — ring the words 'Chambers Dictionary' above) for the first correct solution opened...

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Special Offer

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Spectator Wine Club Auberon Waugh F or our first offer of 1985 it is back to Rh6ne reds. Although one can find occasional bottles from other regions which are of an excitingly...


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do Common Lane, Sawston, Cambridge Telephone (0223) 833495 PRODUCT PRICE NO. OF VALUE CASES 1. Laudun Rouge, Cotes du Rhone 1981, 12 bots £36.00 Vignerons des Quatre Chemins...