25 APRIL 1992

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M rs Thatcher claimed in the Ameri- can magazine, Newsweek, that she, her col- leagues and her policies won the general election for the Conservative Party and warned the Prime...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WCIN 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? O nce again much of southern and east- ern Africa...


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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 0 US$110 0 US$55.00 Rest of Airmail 0 £98.00 0 £49.00 World...

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Some helpful suggestions about how best to use the people's mandate SIMON HEFFER 0 ne of our legislators confided in me the other day that 'it's been rather good these last...

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W e political writers may get things like elections wrong from time to time, but at least we are prepared to admit it after- wards. Thus the heroic Mr Alexander Chancellor, who...

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Mr Gummer and the jellyfish on Dover Beach CHARLES MOORE S trange how godly are the politicians, and how political the clergy. The foresaid Cabinet not only contains John...

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Noel Malcolm on how Jacques Delors plans to salvage the Maastricht Treaty from a wave of European doubt BREWER'S Dictionary of Phrase and Fable defines a 'Pandora's Box' as a...

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One hundred years ago

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Sir James Fergusson, the Postmaster- General, has found it necessary to warn the young women employed in post- offices that they really must be decently civil. He has issued a...

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Michael Heath


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Anne McElvoy finds Austria far from confident about the future Vienna AUSTRIA, as its despairing son Thomas Bernhard remarked, 'is the craziest come- dy of all times. No play...

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Isabel Wolff on what lures Americans to retire early to Costa Rica San Jose, Costa Rica FROM PITTSBURG they come, from Dayton, Ohio and from Maine; from Seat- tle, Washington,...

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If symptoms

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persist.. . SOMEONE — I forget who — once said that the most foolish man may easily ask more than the wisest man can know. This apercu always consoled me during viva voce...


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Nicholas Budgen says that Mr Major must change his economic policy now THANK HEAVEN for Mrs Thatcher and Mr Bryan Gould. In their criticism of the European Exchange Rate...

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Charles Clover implores the politicians to think again about London's rail link THE FIRST I heard of the London East- West Crossrail link was when a man with a clipboard...

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A reader received this press release: Mark Shakespeare was born in Wardle, Lancashire on August 21st 1963. Mark's parents — Mike and Barbara together with his younger sister...

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unpleasant Teutonic attempts at moral equivalence MAYBE Nicholas Ridley was right. In the last couple of weeks, the editor of The Spectator has been receiving dozens of let-...

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Shoot the comrade with the press card PAUL JOHNSON L abour politicians tend to reproach the press for their reverses, just as the ancients blamed astrological conjunctions. So...

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There's a black diamond in British Coal and I shall dig for it CHRISTOPHER FILDES M y merchant bankers will be busy this summer. After my bid for Lloyd's of Lon- don — whose...

On the Gould standard

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IT SEEMS longer. Was it only a fortnight ago that the election was fought out (or so I was saying) by three men in the same boat without a paddle between them? A Chan- cellor...

Holiday task

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ANOTHER four-day week — we have four of them in a month and a half. Soon we can take a day off to mark Edward Heath's sec- ularisation of Whit Monday, and another for Michael...

Gamma query plus

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THE TREASURY and the Bank of Eng- land are the best of enemies, so both will enjoy Andrei Nechayev, Russia's economic minister, speaking out this week in support of his...

A handbag?

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SEASONS return, in Washington the cher- ry blossoms are out, and flapping down into Dulles Airport come the finance ministers on their spring migration. I foresee another...

Invisible exporters

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TWO INSURANCE brokers, one firm of lawyers, and my friends at Euromoney Pub- lications, suppliers of glossy supplements to the world: these are the City's winners of the Queen's...

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An extra coat

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Sir: The next time Paul Johnson and Charles Moore offer us gentle Chris- tianised pep talks in their columns, I shall remember that Paul Johnson sees nothing wrong in the man...

The two Georges

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Sir: 1 hate correcting things, but the follow- ing sentence in Rebecca Nicolson's inter- view with Lord Milford (`The hereditary principle', 4 April) contains inaccuracies which...

Encumbered ground

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Sir: A delightful consequence of the elec- tion is to see the opinion polls, and the media, proved wrong with all their non- sense about a 'hung' parliament. They were hung...

Hellish tricky

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Sir: I don't know which is the more divert- ing — Christian clergymen who insist that, for the good of society, we needn't believe in Hell, or Conservative politicians who, for...


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Cold War heroes Sir: May I suggest that when the next hon- ours list is prepared, the Prime Minister should remember the forgotten heroes of the Cold War? For a long period...

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Suffering a sea- change.. . Geoffrey Wheatcroft EVELYN WAUGH: NO ABIDING CITY 1939-66 by Martin Stannard J.M. Dent, £25, pp. 523 I f the picture I have drawn seems sombre, it...

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The man who got away

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P.D. James THE MAN WHO WASN'T MAIGRET by Patrick Marnham Bloomsbury, £17.99, pp. 346 A writer who achieves fame and notoriety which he comes to find intolera- ble can protect...

The Bonfire

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More than the sum of its parts grass cuttings, other rubbish the bonfire keeps burning. All week we feed it, spring-cleaning flowerbeds and paths, and pruning the worst of the...

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The guiding star of a whole brave nation

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Lindsay Anderson MARY PICKFORD by Scott Eyman Robson, £16.95, pp. 342 I t was Noel Coward, I believe, who said that his fame, in the early days of his success, equalled that of...

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Neither out far nor in deep

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John Bayley THE OXFORD BOOK OF THE SEA edited by Jonathan Raban OUP, £17.95, pp.524 L a mer, la mer, toujours recommencee, as Valery puts it in his memorable poem 'Le Cimitiere...

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Two wars, much peace, but no Tolstoy

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Penelope Lively SUGAR STREET by Naguib Mahfouz, translated by William Maynard Hutchins, Lorne M. Kenny and Olive E. Kenny Doubleday, f14.99, pp. 308 N aguib Mahfouz's Cairo...

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Good-bye to all this

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Hugh Trevor-Roper GREEK IN A COLD CLIMATE by Hugh Lloyd-Jones Duckworth, f29.95, pp. 248 T he study of Latin and Greek has long been part — indeed an essential part — of...

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The Critics Are Too Much With Us with apologies to

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Wordsworth The world is full of phonies. Sooner or later, whether you like it or not, they'll lay waste your head. Whatever you set out to say, they'll say it's been said - by...

A diverting smokescreen of verbiage

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Alan Clark ARTILLERY OF WORDS by Frederick Woods Leo Cooper, f17.50, pp. 184 0 n the subject of Winston Churchill there is a great sump of revisionist com- mentary, just now...

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A Power girt round with weakness

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Antonia Douro CLAIRE CLAIRMONT AND THE SHELLEYS by Robert Gittings and Jo Manton OUP f20, pp.281 I nspiration or irritation, `Claire' Clair- mont left her mark on the lives of...

Beauty for some provides escape

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Peter Quennell THE SIERRAS OF THE SOUTH: TRAVELS IN THE MOUNTAINS OF ANDALUSIA by Alastair Boyd HarperCollins, £16.99, pp.470 D uring the second half of the 19th century an odd...


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(Divination by Laughter) The green damselfly is burning, like a wicked copper flame on the water, so intently, you can't quite think what it's name is; for it dazzles all...

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Meat for a treat . . .

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Jennifer Paterson THE REAL MEAT COOKBOOK by Frances Bissell Chatto, £18.99, pp.384 T his very handsome book is a modern- day Bible for meat-eaters, and also for people who have...

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. . . or let them eat cake

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Alice Thomas Ellis O n the back of Wedding Cakes and Cultural History is posed the question 'Why do we have wedding cakes?', followed by `What do they mean in social and...


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On some rough by the oil refinery Where the road bisects Ellesmere Port, Through the car's nearside window my eye Was for a split second caught By blackthorn out, in patches,...

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Messages from beyond and a poinsettia

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Anita Brookner INHERITANCE by David Pryce-Jones Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £14.99, pp. 252 D avid Pryce-Jones writes beguiling novels characterised by a well-bred impassivity...

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Exhibitions 1 Across the cultural divide ... James Hamilton on an illuminating combination of exhibitions in Liverpool T he new exhibitions at the Tate Gallery Liverpool have...

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Exhibitions 2

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Wu Guanzhong: A 20th-Century Chinese Painter (British Museum, till 10 May) . . . towards a new tradition John Henshall A t and politics rarely prove compati- ble bedfellows;...

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Voyager ('15', Curzon West End) Final Analysis ('15', selected cinemas) Voyage into the predictable Vanessa Letts V oyager, directed by Volker SchlOn- dorff, is the most...


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Wayward Passion Robin Holloway I have just heard the year's seasonal Bach Passion; this time the St Matthew, a live recording made on Palm Sunday 1939 in the Amsterdam...

Giles Auty is on holiday.

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The Alchemist (Barbican)

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Eternal dupes Christopher Edwards c was not of an age, but for all time,' said Jonson of his contemporary Shakespeare. Reverse that judgment and you have the received, if...

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Bulk buying Alistair McAlpine 0 n the cover of Christie's catalogue for their sale on 14 April was illustrated a manuscript recording a radio signal. It reads, '41.46 north...

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High life

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Wishful thinking Taki A good friend of mine got a telephone call from an unwitting spy among the royal family who said that Fergie had seen the light and there would be no...


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No profit in Jesus Martyn Harris F ifty years back the British Board of Film Censors still banned depictions of Christ on screen. One result was that in the 1935 Barabbas...

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Long life

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Salute to New Zealand Nigel Nicolson They should start by saying that the charge has always been absurd. Visually it is one of the most spectacular countries in the world....

Low life

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A few hiccups Jeffrey Bernard T here was a sad and rather touching incident on my last day in Sydney and it is still on my mind. I telephoned the great Harold Larwood to ask...

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England and Saint George ii ...)Outii/UPNIL.)11L.ALOOL.

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THE FEAST-DAY of poor old demoted Saint George on Thursday, 23 April, will have gone by with hardly a whimper, maybe a few red roses in button-holes but no great festivities...

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Linares log Raymond Keene N igel Short's challenge in his world championship semi-final match against Karpov in Linares did not seem to get off to a particularly splendid...


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12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY COMPETITION oNAS REG 41, From one to another Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1724 you were in- vited to write a story or tell an anecdote which...

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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...

Solution to 1053: Singing their praises 1 11

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at I EVOTIONII 13_101VAT'r 111A XIEFINIL 1St NIA 0RIA,T111 4 0 T H E R 8 I Al LI R U 13 G GAE LITEGISTOR2tTlr EI I S 'k 'ii D E A 0 0 R S 13 0 N ° ALII'.1 RELLO...

No. 1727: Belloc country

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'The hideous hue that William is/ Was not originally his . . .' It was not Belloc but A. E. Housman who began a poem thus. You are invited to complete it in your own way, up to...

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Jungle genius Frank Keating TWO Lancastrians, Ivan Sharpe of South- port and Donny Davies of Bolton, are gen- erally accepted as the 'fathers' of modern football writing....


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Dear Mary.. . Q. My husband and I moved to Balham at the peak of the 1988 property boom. Now we are stuck here in a fortress which is ser- viced by milkmen, mini-cab drivers...