24 OCTOBER 1981

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The week

The Spectator

A fter solemn warnings from Sir Michael Edwardes, chairman of British Leyland, that strike action would result in the dismissal without compensation of the 58,000 work force and...

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Political commentary

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Reflections in an aquarium Ferdinand Mount It was warm and dark in the aquarium. Do they keep the lighting low so that your great moonface does not alarm the fish, or is it to...

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Salisbury, Zimbabwe F rom the air Salisbury appears as a patchwork of blue and green swimming pools all set about with jacaranda trees. The citizens — the white ones anyway —...

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Another voice

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An historic decision Auberon Waugh Friday's vote by 58,000 British Leyland car workers should not be seen as the product of some momentary irritation with its tiny, overpaid...

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An aimless foreign policy

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Nicholas von Hoffman Washington The Sadat obsequies lacked a few final perfecting touches. More sincerely mourned in Washington than in Cairo, President Reagan might have gone...

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No Jewish solutions here

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Murray Sayle We will never know, now, just how good a military commander Moshe Dayan was. Any list of the great captains of our time would have to put the Israeli general very...

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Spitting blood

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Richard West Bangkok Back in 1973, I was accused of 'writing about Vietnam as though the war was still going on'. That was during some of the fiercest battles between the north...

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Racism: what's in a word?

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Xan Smiley What does it mean? In common parlance it sounds very nasty. Judging by the tone of the word, 'racist' is something even Enoch Powell or the Boers do not wish to be...

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One hundred years ago

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The correspondent of The Times who accompanies Lord Lorne through the Far West of Canada bears emphatic testimony to the English plan of managing the Indians. He says that on...

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The press

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New London cries Paul Johnson When I'm in New York, almost my favourite reading is that fat, noisy weekly, the Village Voice, which I suppose started in Greenwich village, but...

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In the City

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The trouble with TINA Tony Rudd Few people in the City would agree with Mrs Thatcher that 'there is no alternative'. There are plenty of alternatives; the only trouble is that...

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Storming the heights

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Sir: I read with pleasure Murray Sayle's article on Gallipoli (10 October) and his evocation of past Australian attitudes to the Anzac tradition. As he brings out, some of the...

Inoffensive tune

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Sir: Origins of `Lillibullero', as Robert Neill in his novel of that name has indicated, are mixed. The words were written by Thomas Wharton, in 1687, a year before the...


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Sir: I find Auberon Waugh's fantasy that the SDP consists mainly of 'bony, garrulous, idiotic women' (17 October) contrary to fact and offensive. I have met no such women at the...

Too nasty for words

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Sir: A year or two ago your film critic at that time (was it Mr Ackroyd?) wrote the shortest and most pithy review of a film that I have ever read. It was: 'Omen II is worse...

Profit and culture

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Sir: Mr Paul Johnson's hyperbolic tirade against the 'left-wing assertions' of Mr Donald Bull (17 October) was entertaining, especially to those who know Mr Bull, but...

Competition entry?

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Sir: Is Paul Johnson (17 October) making a bid for Sir James Goldsmith's £50,000 prize? David Loshak 164 Burbage Road, London SE21

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The destruction of the Jews

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Nikolai Tolstoy Auschwitz and the Allies Martin Gilbert (Michael Joseph pp. 368, £12) This brilliant book is the full account of how news of the German programme of...

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Still waters

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James Cameron Old Glory Jonathan Raban (Collins pp.528, £9.95) From the age of seven, Jonathan Raban tells us, he was absorbed by the Mississippi River, which seems an unusual...

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Model painter

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John Jolliffe Gwen John 1876-1939 Susan Chitty (Hodder & Stoughton pp. 223, £9.95) One of Augustus John's few saving graces was his constant insistence, even in the triumphant...


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C. M. Woodhouse Operation Mercury: the Battle for Crete, 1941 Tony Simpson (Hodder and Stoughton pp 316, £8.50) In the battle for Crete, as perhaps in most battles, it was...

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Old stager

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Hugh Massingberd Flora Kenneth Barrow (Heinemann pp.242, £12.50) This summer I met a pretty girl from Palmer's Green with a slight look of the delectable Sheena Easton, who...

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Young dreams

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Naomi Mitch ison Ake: The Years of Childhood Wole Soyinka (Collings pp. 230, £7.50) The Witch Herbalist of the Remote Town Amos Tutuola (Faber pp. 205, £6.50, 2.95) As we...

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Loosening up Francis King Beyond the Pale William Head pp. 256, £6.95). Trevor (Bodleyl Like the eyes with which he looks out from his window on to the world, so the...

More filth

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Lewis Jones The Comfort of Strangers Ian McEwan (Cape pp. 134, £5.50) Ian McEwan is by Creative Writing (University of East Anglia in the Sixties, where he was trained by...

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Some historical problems Peter Ackroyd The French Lieutenant's Woman ('AA', Odeon Haymarket) I can understand why certain critics didn't like it. It is a highly contrived...

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The Spectator

Undercurrents John McEwen The death of the painter Nicholas de Stael in 1955 has come to be regarded as something of a watershed in post-War art, marking as it does the...

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The Spectator

Bard bested Mark Amory Arms and the Man (Lyric) The Maid's Tragedy (Warehouse) Harvest (Ambassadors') Romeo and Juliet (Aldwych) Shakespeare's Rome (Mermaid) Contrary to...


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Resistible Richard In grams When I first read Brideshead Revisited I was a schoolboy and found the whole thing irresistible, especially its pictures of Oxford life; later when...

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High life

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Means and ends Taki According to Ernest Hemingway there are two ways to murder a lion. One is to shoot him from a motor car, the other to shoot him at night from a platform or...

Low life

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Daily Jeffrey Bernard One of my more famous friends recently received a strange letter from a publishing house who intend to do a book based on the idea of the Sunday Times...