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The Spectator

I had rather feared that after the humiliating failure of his magazine Now! Sir James Goldsmith might have lost interest completely in the public affairs of this country....

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Portrait o f

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the Week Mrs Thatcher took steps to ensure that the Cabinet presented a united front — by sacking or demoting ministers who had disagreed with her. Lord Soames, Sir Ian Gilmour...

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Political commentary

The Spectator

An area of softness Ferdinand Mount Llandudno Darkness comes down earlier here as the sun sneaks off behind the headland of the Great Orme, and the Llandudno town band breaks...

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Another voice

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Tarantara Auberon Waugh Devon and Cornwall are not, of course, as other parts of the British Isles are. The average age in stretches of the coast, or so I have been told,...

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Washington goes to work

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Tom Bethell Washington The United States Congress reconvened last week, after a welcome five week absence. The lawmakers were scarcely missed. In earlier decades, when the...

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The rebuilding of Poland

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Judith Dempsey Warsaw Poland becomes more complicated every day. The bricks with which Solidarity are trying to build up Polish society lack mortar. There is too little cement...

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Riddles of the prophet

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Richard West France in the last few weeks has witnessed a social, as well as a publishing, sensation With the success of Jean Charles de Fontbrunne's gloss on an old prophet:...

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Macmillan and the Cossacks

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Nikolai Tolstoy Christopher Booker has examined the case presented in my recent book Stalin's Secret War regarding Harold Macmillan's role in the handover to the Soviets of...

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The Chilean miracle

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Tim Congdon Chile has been portrayed as a small, remote and unhappy country where a terrified population submits reluctantly to a grisly military dictatorship. The pariah image...

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The arts and the 'nanny state'

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Torn Sutcliffe The last century has seen a revolution in the arts as in the sciences. Indeed it is tempting to attribute changes in taste, on the part both of the public and of...

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One hundred years ago

The Spectator

The annual meeting of the Trades Union Congress, mentioned elsewhere, was marked this year by two highly significant incidents. One was the reception of the members by the Lord...

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The press

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Bingo! Paul Johnson It is going to be a tough winter in Fleet Street, with bingo and colour magazines, rather than editors, in control. In August the Sun racked up a sale of...

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In the City

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Misbehaviour of markets Tony Rudd Free markets can produce devilish inconvenient results. The movements of market forces show no respect for establishment opinion and the...

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The Agca mystery

The Spectator

Sir: As the reporter who made the TV Eye documentary on the the attack on the Pope may I take the liberty of correcting several of the assertions made in your Notebook of 12...

Peter Hebblethwaite writes:

The Spectator

1) My complaint was about a lack of hard evidence in the television programme for the KGB theory. Nor is any produced in Mr Manyon's letter. Instead we are told that it is all...

Father knows best

The Spectator

Sir: I am taking this opportunity to answer Mr Peter Adams whose letter you published in the issue of 29 August. As I have over 50 years experience in shipping and yachting, I...

A new religion?

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Sir: I believe Mr Sisson (5 September) underestimates the difficulty of maintaining the Church's identity and independence if it continues the tradition of 'unquestionable...

Thank you, Norway

The Spectator

Sir: May I be among the first to record my relief upon hearing of the defeat of the English football team in Oslo? The gallant Norwegian team has done more than rescue Spain...

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The Spectator

Grandeur and decay J. G. Links Venice: The Greatness and the Fall John Julius Norwich (Allen Lane pp. 400, £12) Ruskin and Venice Jeanne Clegg (Junction Books pp. 233, £12.50)...

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The feminine feminist

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Anita Brookner Colette: A Biography Michele Sarde, translated by Roger Miller (Michael Joseph OP. 479, £12.95) The frizzy hair, the watchful eyes, the tutelary cats, the state...

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The Spectator

Robert Blake Castlereagh Wendy Hinde (Collins pp. 320, £16) Viscount Castlereagh, as the second Marquess of Londonderry is usually called (he succeeded his father only 16...


The Spectator

Bertram Wolffe The Reign of King Henry VI: The Exercise of Royal Authority 1422-1461 Ralph A. Griffiths (Ernest Benn pp. 968, £25) The reign of Henry VI was one of the longest,...

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Fathers and sons

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A. N. Wilson Dad William Wharton (Cape pp. 449, £6.95) Jack Tremont is a painter aged 52, who lives in France so as not to be near his tiresome parents in California. But when...

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The Spectator

Robert Byron Gavin Stamp The Road to Oxiana Robert Byron, with an introduction by Bruce Chatwin (Picador pp. 288, £2.50) The Road to Oxiana was first published in 1937: now...

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The Spectator

Epic history Peter Ackroyd Heaven's Gate ('X', Odeon Haymarket) It might be a good idea to set the scene. Heaven's Gate was the most expensive cinematic 'flop' of recent...


The Spectator

Slippery Mark Amory Good (Warehouse) The Love-Girl and the Innocent (Aldwych) The story of Good by C. P. Taylor is simple though detailed. Haider is a German professor and...

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The Spectator

Highlights John McEwen This week it is more a question of reminding than reviewing. Turner and the Sublime (British Museum till 20 September) and Leonardo da Vinci (Royal...

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The Spectator

Zigger Wilfred De'Ath England's disastrous performance in Oslo last week should not be allowed to mar the opening of possibly the most interesting season since the war. Among...


The Spectator

Well-disposed Richard Ingrains For the first time for some months I find I feel reasonably disposed towards the television companies this week. It may mean that I am losing my...

High life

The Spectator

Good old days Taki Athens In the good old days, before the 1968 Gaming Act, the Clermont Club was home for me. The hall porter, an impeccably groomed white-haired gent, made...