21 MARCH 1992

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P olls suggested that Labour had a five- point lead over the Conservatives. Shares dropped in price and the pound fell below the ERM limit against the Spanish peseta. Labour...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 OUR LIBERAL PRACTITIONERS T he Liberal Democrats have no chance of...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY - RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £71.00 0 £35.50 Europe (airmail) 0 £82.00 0 £41.00 USA Airspeed CI USS110 0 USS55.00 Rest of Airmail° £98.00 0 £49.00 World...

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There are those who will tell you the next three weeks are important: do not believe them SIMON HEFFER T he ranks of punditry cannot forbear to disagree that 'for the first...

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DOMINIC LAWSON T his issue of The Spectator contains no more than the usual quota of articles about British domestic politics. Please write in if you are longing for more, but...

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Tu es Petrus et in hoc petro aedificabo ecclesiam meam AUBERON WAUGII 'This is an historic occasion,' said Canon David Goldie at the dedication of the first purpose-built...

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China's future, and the West's investment, seems to depend on which of two very old men dies first, argues Robert Cottrell Hong Kong THE WORD, if needed, will be...

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A reader received this letter from Life- cycle Marketing in Maidenhead: Because the printed word is so heavily consumed and valued by mothers-to-be we felt it only right to ask...

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Anthony Gibbon discovers that support for Monsieur Le Pen is much more widespread than supposed Uzes FOR A provincial lunch party, it was really quite smart. There were a...

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Michael Heath

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In the 10 years since the Falklands war Argentina's inflation rate has fallen from SIX YEARS had passed since the Falk- lands war. Most of the citizens of the small provincial...

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If symptoms

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persist.. . THE OPINION of their patients notwithstanding, doctors sometimes need a rest, so I decided to go to Venice for a few days. This meant, of course, that I missed the...


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Andrew Gimson begins a crawl of key marginal constituencies to find the true voice of Britain The voices of drinkers, not pollsters or politi- cians, will be heard in Vox Pub....

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Edward Whitley's guide to tax havens, in the event of a Labour victory IMAGINE yourself in this happy situation — you earn a salary of £85,000 and own shares worth £250,000....

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Dominic Lawson writes: Three years ago we appealed to our readers to buy half- price subscriptions to The Spectator, which we undertook to send to people in Poland. The scheme...

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A profile of Henry Thorold, the finest extant specimen of the English antiquarian clergyman THE VISITOR to Lincolnshire or Not- tinghamshire is frequently rewarded with the...

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Swallowing the big Health Service lie PAUL JOHNSON T he National Health Service issue is widely believed to be Labour's strongest card in this election. It ought to be their...

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Friendly fire

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NEXT WEEK I intend to unveil my great plan to make all well at Lloyd's of London — but as a taster, I offer Lloyd's a leaf from the war memoirs of Sir Patrick Sergeant. Before...

Tom, Kit and Hong Kong

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TOM FROST is a good egg and a good banker who could usefully compare notes with Sir Kit McMahon. Today Mr Frost has the pack baying for him. He is chief execu- tive of the...

Tearing up bank notes

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MY HANDBOOK of 12 legal ways to rip off a pension fund (Fatcat Press: price on application) is to have a companion vol- ume, How to benefit from life assurance. The short...

Spot the hypocrites

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JOHN SMITH'S tax rates call up other memories. How much effort used to be diverted into getting payment through the back door, to avoid the taxman standing guard in front! Mr...


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Printers win, losers weep the next Chancellor will paper the markets with debt CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he sure-fire winners out of this elec- tion will be Essex men. They work at...

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The Green Prince

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Sir: I was sorry to see the article by Giles Milton on Prince Philip and the Orthodox Church ('A prince among priests 14 March). Mr Milton has been in touch with me over the...

Staying on

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Sir: The residents of the Grant Govan Homes have done nothing whatever to jus- tify William Dalrymple's mocking article `Playing the white man' (22 February). They are a retired...

LETTERS And so farewell...

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Sir: Here is an Ode of Farewell to Mrs Thatcher on her departure from the Com- mons: And so farewell to Margaret Thatcher Dubbed 'opportunist' and `milk-snatcher': Allegations...

Of no fixed address

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Sir: I sympathise with Keith Waterhouse's dilemma (Diary, 14 March). I too have reached an age at which my address book and invitation lists are grimly reaped with increasing...

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A rare honour

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Sir: You are indeed honoured to receive a letter from John L. Cabot of Massachusetts in your issue of 14 March. According to local legend, Massachusetts is the place where...

Boon Pong's porn-porn

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Sir: My article 'A cricketer under the Japs' (15 February) has elicited from readers much hitherto unknown to me which I hope you will feel is worth a postscript. Thanks to...


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Sir: How I enjoyed the judicious placing of George Lines' letter on tub justice (14 March). Turning the page gave me much cause for mirth. Quentin Toby Gore 89 Church Way, Oxford

Orson's cuckoo

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Sir: Auberon Waugh may have succumbed to the solicitations of a Swiss paradiso ter- restre (Another voice, 11 January), but he ought to realise, for the sake of literary...

Nikolaus Pevsner

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Sir: We are writing the biography of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, to be published in 1994 by Heinemann, and should be grateful to hear from any of your readers who have memories of...

Clerical loss of nerve

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Sir: Simon Heffer's thoughtful article on crime (Politics, 15 February) merits com- ment, even if this is unavoidably delayed. He refers to 'liberal penology (all society's...

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Odds and endings Hilary Mantel A CASE OF CURIOSITIES by Allen Kurzweil Hamish Hamilton, £14.99, pp. 358 A lien Kurzweil's first book comes to the reviewer with a three-page...

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Make me immoral with a kiss

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Harriet Waugh FAUSTINE by Emma Tennant Faber, £1 3.99, pp.140 E mma Tennant's Faustine is the second novel to appear in as many weeks about selling one's soul to the devil....

The Second Skin

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This one is not The Sita of Ramayana Nor from Ayodhya She is Sita from Chapel Street Hounslow Middlesex sick with Chronic heart disease When the nurse asked her to change Into...

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Something fishy about the sex

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Julie Burch ill CRIMSON by Shirley Conran Sidgwick, £14.99, pp. 600 C onran is, of course, a brand name. But even something as solid as a brand name may, these days, melt into...

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Nostalgia for the mud

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Francis King ARCADIA by Jim Crace Cape, £14.99, pp. 346 J im Crace's first novel, Continent recipient of the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the David...

The elected of the Lord

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Dean Godson UNDER GOD: RELIGION IN AMERICAN POLITICS by Garry Wills Simon & Schuster, £9.99, pp.445 F ancying that I knew something about American politics, I once went for a...

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A shocking love story

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Anita Brookner THE REPUBLIC OF LOVE by Carol Shields Fourth Estate, £14.99, pp. 366 • ■• C arol Shields's voice, pitched some- where between those of Alice Munro and Anne...

Going On

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Scotch and water, warm, Medicinal, two tablets On a little tray, his Times Tucked underarm, a dignified But frail ascent, prolonged Undressing measured out By heavy footsteps,...

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The right woman in the right place

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Sara Maitland THESE SAD BUT GLORIOUS DAYS: DISPATCHES FROM EUROPE 1846-1850 by Margaret Fuller, edited by Larry J. Reynolds and Susan Belasco Smith Yale, £22.50, pp. 338 I know...

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And a good judge, too

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Patrick Marnham SUMMING IT UP: MEMOIRS OF AN IRISHMAN AT LAW IN ENGLAND by James Comyn The Round Hall Press, L19.95, pp. 232 J ames Comyn's life recalls the days when the links...

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It's hard to forgive the trivial things, the dirt, the incompetence, the self-neglect and the shambling practices. It's difficult to forgive the smells, the tobacco, the drink,...

Committed to committees

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Frances Partridge BEATRICE WEBB: WOMAN OF CONFLICT by Carole Seymour-Jones Alison & Busby, ,E17.99, pp. 369 B eatrice and Sidney Webb have a mixed press today. It wasn't always...

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Almost eternal, sometimes cold, passionate

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Caroline Moorehead THE SELECTED LETTERS OF BERTRAND RUSSELL, VOLUME I: THE PRIVATE YEARS (1884-1914) edited by Nicholas Griffin Allen Lane, £25, pp.553 0 ne of Bertrand...

A selection of recent paperbacks

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Non-fiction: The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose edited by Frank Muir, OUP, £8.99 The Russian Revolution by Richard Pipes, Fontana, £12.99 Patriots and Liberators by Simon Schama,...

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Architecture Designs for survival Alan Powers Barcelona (Architectural Association, till 3 April) C an Our Cities Survive? was the title of a 1942 book edited by the...

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Beauty behind the knees Hardy Amies takes a long view of short skirts R ape clothes,' said my hostess, gaz- ing out on to Sloane Square. She is a very well-born American, once...

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Heartbreak House (Theatre Royal Haymarket) Ship of fools Christopher Edwards H ere is a revival of a play by Shaw (he thought it his masterpiece) that is hardly ever seen....

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Death in Venice (Covent Garden) Ghosts from the past Robin Holloway A ny new production of Britten's oper- atic testament has to face some substantial ghosts. Above all, the...

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Light Sleeper (`15', Curzon West End) Piles of rubbish Vanessa Letts T his film wanted to have been there and seen it all. Its subject — drugs and the middle-aged male...


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Otto Dix (Tate Gallery, till 17 May) Real misgivings Giles Auty T he Tate's free broadsheet explaining the current exhibition starts very confident- ly: 'Otto Dix (1891-1969)...

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Estate bottled Alistair McAlpine W ell, it had to happen. The wines that the late Mr Robert Maxwell took home to his house in the country have come up for sale. This time, the...

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High life

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Once a royal ... Taki I 'd heard rumours of the Andrew-Fergie split for months, rumours that had her wanting out through sheer boredom. Apparently Prince Andrew is too thick...


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Language of the luwies Martyn Harris I n Nicholas Craig's Masterclass (BBC 2, 10.10 p.m., Thursday) the great thespian was teaching the techniques of a Newsnight appearance to...

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Low life

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A breath of fresh air Jeffrey Bernard B y the time this column appears I will have had the operation to remove the lipo- mas on the back of my head. The prospect doesn't...

Long life

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Private lives Nigel Nicolson T he obituaries of Harold Hobson, the drama critic who died last week at the age of 87, were everything that he would have wished to read about...

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ONCE UPON a time, nearly three decades ago now, Italian

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restaurants meant candles in straw-swaddled Chianti bottles, zealously wielded oversized pepperpots and porno- don with everything. But the days of Mario and Luigi are long...

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Conquistador Raymond Keene Linares o ,o, this great tournament in Linares, undoubtedly one of the very strongest in the entire history of chess, has ended in a superb triumph...

�tvAS Rat

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12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY COMPETITION Snibs Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1719 you were in - vited to invent ` snibs ' — silly or surrealist `news in brief ' items. The...

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Solution to 1048: Reductions Symbols replaced metals in: 3 dog's-

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MERCURY, 6 hot COPPERS, 10 marme, 16 TANTALUM-lamp, 20 pLEAriing, 21 BARIUM meal, 26 coBALT-blue, 31 moNical, 35 SIL- vERling, 40 mariGOLD. Abbrevia- tions suggested by circuit...


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A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers English Dictionary — ring the word `Dictionary') for the first three correct solutions...

No. 1722: Odd comparison

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'Shall I compare thee to a . . . ?' You are invited to write a sonnet (Shakespearian) beginning with these words but substituting for 'summer's day' an unexpected trisyll- able,...

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Rooting for Major Frank Keating JUDGING by the threadbare and woebe- gone list of sporting celebrities the Conser- vatives have publicly rallied to their cause, they look to...

YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED Q. What is the correct way to

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remove spit- tle which someone has accidently spat onto one's face while talking enthusiastically? C. S. Islington A. If one has been spat on by an old friend, then it is...