20 JUNE 1981

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The Spectator

T ast February the New Statesman pub lished a story claiming that the late Airey Neave had been involved in conspiratorial discussions with former secret service agents about...

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Portrait of the Week

The Spectator

The first round of French elections for the National Assembly showed enormous gains by Francois Mitterrand's Socialist party, making it likely that the new President would be...

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Political commentary

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Conversation with a Wet Ferdinand Mount 'This disunity in the Labour Party is Very Bad for The Country', said my friend Phineas Bogge. When Tory politicians say something is...

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Another voice

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Search for a new monster Auberon Waugh Unaware of the drama which had preceded it, I watched Trooping the Colour luxuriating in the strong emotions it always excites. This...

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China between two worlds

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Simon Jenkins This week the world's greatest political organism, the Chinese Communist Party, has reportedly gathered in Peking to decide on the immediate fate of one-fifth of...

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Doing without the Arabs

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Nicholas von Hoffman Washington Mr Reagan called the Israeli raid on the Baghdad atomic installation a 'tragedy', but • he didn't even bother to shake his head from side to...

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The logic of the French

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Sam White Paris Seven weeks ago — it now seems like seven years ago — the then President Giscard asked his challenger, the present President Mitterrand, in the course of a...

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Colonel Tejero's holiday

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Simon Courtauld El Ferrol, Galicia It is rare, to see a foreigner nowadays in this north-western corner of Spain. The pilgrims no longer take the road to Santiago de...

One hundred years ago

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The inherent flunkeyisrn of London society was curiously illustrated last week. It was determinal to hold a fancy fair in the Albert Hall, for the benefit of the Women's...

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Threat to the universities

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J.A.G. Griffith Charles Addams once drew a cartoon showing the small figures of two police officers standing by their car in the middle of desert country, one saying to the...

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The lessons of history

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F. S. L. Lyons Dublin 'All a poet can do today is warn.' Wilfred Owen's reflection on the pity of war applies with equal force to the Irish historian asked to comment on the...

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The end of a revolt

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Richard West The climax of the Peasants' Revolt came in London, in June 1381, when the boy king, Richard II, confronted the mob and talked them, some would say tricked them,...

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Not in front of the viewers Paul Johnson Last week Jim Prior, leader of the cabinet Wets, warned the nation that Britain had fallen in the wealth-creation league to the level...

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In the City

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The oil glut Tony Rudd The first law of economics in the real as distinct from the academic world is that prices move up like quicksilver and down like glue. We are now being...

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The Spectator

Sir: Paul Johnson's preference for abuse rather than rational argument (13 June) makes it difficult, and probably pointless, to respond to his criticism of the BBC's coverage of...

Sabena's price

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Sir: following your Notebook item (13 June) about my plan to bring the EEC Commission before the European Court over high air fares, I must reassure your readers that not even...

Britain and Namibia

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Sir: Were the other 19 journalists flown to Namibia by RTZ as 'bleary-eyed after a late night in the German Club' as was Geoffrey Wheatcroft when visiting the ROssing uranium...

No research

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Sir: It was nice to see a reassessment of Rosamond Lehmann by Gillian Tindall (6 June), but how curious that Miss Tindall should absolutely leave out any reference to all her...


The Spectator

Sir: I have read the Spectator for seven years. It is wittily written and intelligently provocative, in a manner that' puts it way ahead of its rivals among the weeklies. I...

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Historians have feelings Eric Christiansen The Past and the Present Lawrence Stone (Routledge & Kegan Paul pp. 288, f8.75). This is not only a review of a history book, but a...

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Mock on •

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Anthony Storr Voltaire Haydn Mason (Granada pp. 208, /8.95) Voltaire was born in 1694 and died in 1778. This short study of him by the Professor of European Studies in the...

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Wheeeeee . •

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Max Hastings Doodlebugs Norman Longmate (Hutchinson pp. 549, £12.95) What is it about an unmanned explosive projectile that makes it seem, to those in its path, so much more...

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Life goes on

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A.N. Wilson. Darling Daughters Elizabeth Troop (Granada pp. 252, 46.95) Nobody cares how Cord elia got on with the King of France. Everyone prefers the bits of David...

FOLK LORE Everyman's Book of English Folk Tales

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SYBIL MARSHALL Illustrated with 60 wood engravings by JOHN LAWRENCE The tradition of storytelling is as old as the spoken word, and is as strong today as it ever was. From the...

FICTION A Black Fox Running

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BRIAN CARTER A new novel by the author of Where the Dream Begins — the powerful and compelling saga of VVulfgar, dark hill fox of Dartmoor, in the same genre as Watership Down....

WAR El Alamein

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Desert Victory JOHN STRAWSON An excellent, detailed and exciting account of the events in the North African desert in 1942, setting the battle of El Alamein in true perspective...

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Caroline Moorehead Maurice Guest Henry Handel Richardson (Virago Modern Classics pp. 562, £3.50) The Getting of Wisdom Henry Handel Richardson (Virago Modern Classics pp. 233,...

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Divine reminders John McEwen Islamic Masterpieces of the Chester Beatty Library (Leighton House till 28 June) is a marvellous exhibition: a feast for the eye, painlessly...

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Magic circles Peter Ackroyd Gregory's Girl ('A', selected cinemas) Gregory is a tall, gawky, larky sort of boy, his features irradiated by an absent-minded cheerfulness; he...


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Humbug Mark Amory Waiting for Godot (Round House) Barnum (Palladium) 'Where were you? I stayed until after 8. Godot' has been scrawled on walls. When a middle-aged...

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The Spectator

Muses Rodney Milnes The Journey (WNO, Cardiff) Palestrina (Abbey Opera, Collegiate Theatre) I can't remember who it was who said that the best time to kick a man was when he...


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Distracted Richard Ingrams I am beginning to think that it is not intended for me ever to watch Gay Life (LWT) and this is probably just as it should be. The programme would...

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High life

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Unbecoming Mkt From the earliest sportswriter (Homer, Iliad XXIII) to the most recent (the one you are reading), the world has agreed that life is a game — complete with...

Low life

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Bloody Sunday Jeffrey Bernard Sundays used to pass by almost unnoticed when I was living in Lambourn. Now, in rhapsodic Kentish Town, I start dreading them from the moment of...