24 OCTOBER 1992

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'Well, back to the old drawing board.' moratorium on the closure of 21 coal-mines was announced by Mr Michael Heseltine, the President of the Board of Trade, when Parliament...

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ALEXANDER CHANCELLOR I have read a lot of very uncomplimenta- ry things about Rupert Murdoch in my time, but never anything so spine-tingling as a passage by Alan Watkins in...

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Simon Heifer reports that Treaswy parsimony led to the undoing of Michael Heseltine, and the unhinging of the Government LONG BEFORE Mr Heseltine became President of the Board...

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David Hart, who advised Mrs Thatcher during the miners' strike, says that the Conservatives have broken their word MR ROY LYNK, the leader of the Union of Democratic...

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James Buchan argues that the real victim of the energy carve-up may be the nuclear industry PERHAPS the game is finally up for nucle- ar power in Britain. In a generating...

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Anne McElvoy investigates the mood of Mikhail Gorbachev, as Boris Yeltsin exacts his revenge Moscow MIKHAIL Gorbachev listened patiently to my halting Russian, rendered even...

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Matt Frei reports on the couch confessions of Italy's increasingly neurotic politicians Rome UNTIL HE WAS sacked on 22 April this year, Dr Piero Rocchini rejoiced in the title...

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One hundred years ago

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A CORRESPONDENT of the Athenaeum repeats the old and rather absurd story that in the allusion to his "Pilot" in Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar", the poet referred either to his...


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Martin Weyer assesses the options facing a cash-starved and demoralised BBC SUPPOSE YOU were told that you could only choose what you wanted in the newsagent's shop, if you...

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Michael Heath


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John Martin Robinson argues that the Government is about to do to London's great estates what Henry VIII did to the monasteries HAVING SOLD OFF Heveningham Hall to a Middle...

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Tony Parsons cannot stomach well-to-do liberals who patronise the working class WHAT HAPPENS when you criticise the British working class? What happens if you suggest that...

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If symptoms

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persist. . IN SOME respects, I am rather like an economist: I don't really understand eco- nomics. For example, I once cabled some money to a friend of mine across the Atlantic...

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Laffing all the way to the bankruptcy O ne of the consequences of the Ameri- can love of success is the widely held assumption that presidential elections are always won by the...

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The generals mount their horses and charge madly off in all directions CHRISTOPHER FILDES I . wrenched myself back from my fact- finding sojourn in a mining community, sharing...

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Time for courage Sir: It is 30 years since I was responsible for Housing Policy within the Conservative Research Department, yet looking back across the political landscape I...

Offending glossary

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Sir: Barbara Amiel is wrong about my views on equal opportunities (`The secret agenda of gender', 17 October). The glossary of terms issued by the Cen- tral Council for...

The will of the living

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Sir: Ludovic Kennedy mischievously implies in his article ('What would they have done?', 26 September) that support for euthanasia has come about mainly in the last 20 years,...

Chicken or egg

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Sir: I don't know whetter it would be a con- solation to Mr Bernard (Low life, 10 Octo- ber), but my guess is that his hip broke — and then he fell. This is vicarious knowledge...

Oh yes?

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Sir: Simon Heffer (Politics, 10 October) describes the lack of people with access to and influence with the Prime Minister. This is nothing new. In my book A Taste of Hardship...

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Unseasonable wit

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Sir: In past years Lloyd's cheques arrived with Names between April and early July (if they arrived at all) — a time when no game bird is in season. So what and where was that...

Sheer ignorance

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Sir: In his review of Julian Critchley's book (Books, 19 September), Alan Clark wrote: 'critical mass' — a nice analogy from physics (or is it astronomy?) for something that is...

Daily doses

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Sir: I was very interested to learn from the review of West Downs: A Portrait of an English Prep School (Books, 26 September) that the period spent at Stagenhoe Park from...

Knight in error

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Sir: Another interpretation of the Mrs Simpson aide memoire incident (`The uncivilised society', 3 October) is that she left it behind intentionally, in the belief that its...


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Sir: Even if Victorian pianos never sported trousers (Letters, 5 September), all is not lost on the musical clothing front. Benen- den School's grand piano wears a green quilted...

Slow reader, fast driver

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Sir: This is in reference to Nigel Nicolson's Piece in your 1 August issue (I am a slow reader!). In it he speaks of his dream of owning an open-top Mercedes. 'But I would look...

Pissed off

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Sir: I followed Mary Killen's advice on how to deal with builders' merchants (Your problems solved, 10 October) and hope to be out of hospital quite soon. The brief...

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With everything, a chip Douglas Jay HAROLD WILSON by Ben Pimlott HarperCollins, £20, pp. 730 I n his previous valuable book on Hugh Dalton, Ben Pimlott looked at his hero With...

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With healing in their wings

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Harriet Waugh ANGELS AND INSECTS by A.S. Byatt Chatto, f14.99, pp. 290 ensibly, A. S. Byatt has utilised the knowledge of Victorian mores and litera - ture which was necessary...

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We built on absolute trust

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Peter Levi PEOPLE AND PLACES: COUNTRY HOUSE DONORS AND THE NATIONAL TRUST by James Lees-Milne John Murray, £19.99, pp. 230 T he National Trust is already old enough to have a...

The curious incident of the dog

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Anita Brookner THE MIST IN THE MIRROR by Susan Hill Sinclair-Stevenson, £13.99, pp. 185 e t another Victorian pastiche, this time by Susan Hill in her Gothic or ghost story...

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The mermaids calling each to each

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Mirabel Cecil OTTOLINE MORRELL: LIFE ON THE GRAND SCALE by Miranda Seymour Hodder & Stoughton, L'25, pp. 452 T he tone of this biography is set by its cover: here Lady Ottoline...

Sunless streets and turnip jam

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Keith Waterhouse LOITERING WITH INTENT by Peter O'Toole Macmillan, 174.99, pp. 198 N obody who knows Peter O'Toole would expect of this first volume of his memoirs the standard...

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No more personality than a paper cup

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Andrew Roberts RIBBENTROP by Michael Bloch Bantam, £20, pp. 528 JOACHIM VON RIBBENTROP: HITLER'S DIPLOMAT by John Weitz Weidenfeld, 120, pp. 400 T hese are the only biographies...

Talent, but sterner stuff required

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Mark Archer FATHERS AND CROWS by William T. Vollman Deutsch, £1Z99, pp. 1008 S omewhere around the fourth or fifth volume of Tristram Shandy Sterne suggests the reader should...

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The narrow road to Hull

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Anthony Powell THE SELECTED LETTERS OF PHILIP LARKIN edited by Anthony Thwaite Faber, £20, pp. 791 A tthony Thwaite must have been confronted with not a few problems in edit-...

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True valour seen

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Alastair Forbes LIVING WITH BEELZEBUB by Gael Elton Mayo Quartet, £12.95, pp. 146 THE MAD MOSAIC by Gad Elton Mayo Quartet, £3.95, pp. 238 M y review in these pages a decade...

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. . . and said 'What a good boy am

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I' William Scammell P.G. WODEHOUSE: MAN AND MYTH by Barry Plelps Constable, 116.95, pp. 344 S ome authors have readers and some have a tendency to breed Admirers. They form...

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A gentle kick up the macho rump Clare Rendell on the beneficial effects of a new collection of women's art R uskin always said that no woman could paint, but even he was...

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The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Madrid) Father chose best Simon Courtauld O n the morning of the opening of the Thyssen Museum this month, the queue stretched along the Paseo...

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Exhibitions 1

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The Swagger Portrait: Grand Manner Portraiture in Britain from Van Dyck to Augustus John (Tate Gallery, till 10 January) Dashing depictions Giles Auty T his week I welcome an...

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Strip tease Alistair McAlpine T here were two sales recently of sport- ing memorabilia at Christie's — one held on 14 October in Glasgow, the other on 17 October in New York....

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Inescapably modern Tanya Harrod on the visionary work of Norman Potter I n recent years the job description 'designer' has come to imply some kind of deception coupled with a...

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Purcell's diligent muse Robin Holloway his month an important enterprise by T Hyperion, to record on eight CDs the first- ever collection of Purcell's Odes and Wel- come...

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Falstaff/The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera, New York) Verdi traduced Rupert Christiansen O pera houses were born to teeter per- manently on the brink of apocalypse, but the...

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1492: Conquest of Paradise ('15', selected cinemas) Scenery and sentiment Vanessa Letts L du Garde Peach, in the 23 small pages that make up the 1961 Ladybird Christopher...


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Radio Times (Queen's) Two Gentlemen of Verona (Barbican) Trouble in Mind (Tricycle) Let the people sing Sheridan Morley I f you were asked to name the four most Popular...

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High life

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Under the table Taki I 've had the kind of week that would have exhausted Sisyphus. I tried to prepare for it by steaming to Mykonos for some R&R, but as is usually the case...


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House party Martyn Harris W orld in Action this week (ITV, Mon- day, 8.30 p.m.) took a trip to dacha-land in the former Soviet Union to see how the system of grace-and-favour...

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Low life

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A walk on the wild side Jeffrey Bernard We set out in the rain, dangerously slip- pery, with the intention of my walking the one block to Berwick Street market. I was greeted...

Long life

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Perfect pastiche Nigel Nicolson F Los Angeles rance one week, Venice the next, and now California. This is not my usual style of living but the product of diverse claims: a...

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Imperative cooking: The new food scare

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THE COFFEE Science Information Cen- tre has kindly sent me a leaflet to stop me 'Worrying unnecessarily'. It explains there are no links between coffee and illnesses such as...

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HUMS, (yt RLO ji PURE HIGHLAND MALT SCOTCH WHOA. COMPETITION The last yaroo Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1750 you were invit- ed to give the threatened Billy Bunter one...

Tit for tat

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Raymond Keene I n Belgrade Spassky revived his chances to win game 20, probably his best game of the match. Nevertheless, Fischer struck back immediately, taking game 21, and...

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GRAHAM ' S PORT .GRAHAM ' S CROSSWORD 1 082: Overseas port by Smokey A first prize of £20 and a bottle of Graham's Malvedos 1979 Vintage Port for the first correct solution...

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Union ban Frank Keating WISHING the softly articulate and teak- tough young prop-forward, Victor Ubogu, the very best of luck last week before his first appearance for...


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Q. When my parents-in-law come to stay With us, my husband's father likes to make a 'contribution', as he calls it. This usually takes the form of one or, worse, two bottles of...