27 FEBRUARY 1988

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The Spectator

`I assure you that everything is under control.' M rs Thatcher announced plans to transfer 70,000 civil service jobs to agen- cies run along private enterprise lines. National...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone 01-405 1706 Telex 27124; Fax 242 0603 THE PRICE OF POWER T he end of a great British tradition is always a poignant...


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THE controversy surrounding the closure Of the St Pancras Reference Library by the London Borough of Camden is further evidence of the moral decline of modern municipal...

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became How 'intergovernmental' a dirty word NOEL MALCOLM I t is notoriously difficult to say anything unequivocal and at the same time sensible about Northern Ireland; but Mrs...

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W hy is the Right in such a bad temper? You can't open a newspaper without reading an attack on what it has taken to calling 'the liberal intelligentsia'. Really, it's...

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Some leisurely meditations on the Sydney Opera House AUBERON WAUGH On my last visit I was taken behind stage and into its bowels, marvelling at the lack of functional...

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On the high streets of Britain credit is instant and generous. the biggest beneficiary may be the debt collector HE COULD not work it out, the Merseyside debt collector. And...

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Sue Cameron describes how the Treasury emasculated the reform of the civil service SIR Humphrey Appleby has always been quite clear about full-scale reform of the civil...

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The new GCSE exam causes chaos. Michael Trend shows that it may be superseded very quickly IMAGINE that you are a PLO terrorist: explain why you killed Israeli athletes at...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY - Save 15% on the Cover Price! Please enter a subscription to The Spectator I enclose my cheque for £ (Equivalent SUS & Eurocheques accepted) RATES 12...

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Paul Webb re-reads the extraordinary homosexual verse of an Edwardian vicar THE Bishop of Ripon, perhaps sensing a bandwagon, recently chose to make a public statement about...

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One hundred years ago

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AN attempt to try the electric light on a large scale for street purposes, has for the present failed. The City Commis- sioners of Sewers proposed to allow the Brush Company to...

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Margaret's men: a profile of Lord Stevens, a press baron happier in the City This is one of a series of profiles of men the Prime Minister admires. THERE is a certain irony...

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The media: Paul Johnson hails Bruce Gyngell's victory over a greedy union ONE of the paradoxes of technology is that, the more advanced it is, the easier it becomes to...

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Spaced out

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THOSE of us with spacecraft or satellites can prepare to sell them, secure in the knowledge that the Budget will bring us rollover relief against Capital Gains Tax. There will...


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Rupert Hambro's racing dinghy whizzes by NatWest's costly yacht CHRISTOPHER FILDES W hoops. A year ago National West- minster became the first bank in this country (or, I...

No-one to blame

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N. C. Pearson (Letters, page 23) reason- ably enquires whether bankers who lend and lose fortunes ever lose their jobs, and if not, why not? My theory is that time-lag protects...

Big Splash

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THE Stock Exchange is preening itself for getting its name in the papers — not difficult, you would have thought, these days. A fat report has gone out to mem- bers, telling...

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The fishy business of the Chancellor's embarras de richesse JOCK BRUCE-GARD YNE T here is an old but much-loved chest- nut amongst the piscatorial fraternity ab- out the crack...

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Sir: I was delighted to see the publicity in Peter

The Spectator

Levi's Diary about Euro MPs with their photographs on their notepaper. I was the first to do this (other than during election campaigns). You can see my fine features beaming...

Bankers' immunity

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Sir: I enjoyed (even more than usual) Christopher Fildes's articles of 30 January and 13 February on overseas lending by joint stock banks. I remember old gentlemen in the City...

Dry pool player

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Sir: As one of the 'millions of hicks' who has voted for Ronald Reagan — indeed as an Ur-hick, having supported him since he first ran for governor of California — may I be...

LETTERS Afghan consensus

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Sir: 'There will be a bloodbath when the Russians go,' one hears from all sides in the wake of Mikhail Gorbachev's recent noises. The mujahedin have indeed drawn up a list of...

Dim view

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Sir: Peter Levi's outburst (Diary, 13 Feb- ruary) against Euro-MPs who put their photographs on their letterheads (Idiots .. too dim') could have been directed at me. The truth...

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CHARLES MOORE I HAVE just paid my first visit to South Africa, where 1 was the guest of Mr Dawie Le Roux, the National Party MP for Uitenhage. The arrangement was that I could...

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Pantaloon slips into oblivion Ferdinand Mount END OF A JOURNEY: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL 1979-81 by Philip Toynbee I must have been about ten years old, my sister a couple...

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My Faithful Lover

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Though only his shadow stalks me, I know he is in the next room waiting, walking a black velvet world without miles. The calendar stares from the wall blank as my diary, but I...

Heartily sorry for these and others

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David Profumo AN INTOLERABLE BURDEN by Teresa Waugh Hamish Hamilton, £1 0.95 LOVING ATTITUDES by Rachel Billington Hamish Hamilton, £10.95 T he title of Teresa Waugh's...

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Xanadu in Northampton

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J. L. Carr PENFRIENDS FROM PORLOCK by A. N. Wilson Hamish Hamilton, £14.95 T hese are reprints of interruptions to Mr Wilson's real writing-life, his 15 or 16 volumes of...

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Nevertheless, if all things fell away And nothing else was left, what would you do? You cannot say. If you could say it, it would not be true. You have embarked already,...

With a dagger in the library

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Harriet Waugh PRESUMED INNOCENCE by Scott Turow Bloomsbury, £12.95 THE DARK APOSTLE by Denis Kilcommon Bantam Press, £10.95 UTMOST GOOD FAITH by L. M. Shakespeare...

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Tragedy rendered suburban

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Anita Brookner THE WEDDING by Yann Queffelec, translated by Linda Coverdale Alison Press/Secker & Warburg, £10.95 L es Noces Barbares, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1986,...

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The plays of the Pope

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Peter Hebblethwaite THE COLLECTED PLAYS AND WRITINGS ON THE THEATER by Karol Wojtyla, translated with introductions by Bodeslaw Taborski University of California Press, $35 J...

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Scotland the separate

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Allan Massie PATRONAGE AND PRINCIPLE by Michael Fry Aberdeen University Press, f19.50 H appy the land that has no politics; Sir Walter Scott noted that in the 18th cen- tury,...

In the Marina at Hilton Head Island

The Spectator

Are boats named in the office (Ocean Beauty, Vagabond, Tyche), lying by the hearth (Boss Lady), or in someone else's bath (Stitchwitch, The Nauti-Lady, The Big Cutie)? It seems...

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Exhibitions Neglected prophet Giles Auty L ast week two events of unusual signifi- cance took place: the opening of what is, to date, the largest and most comprehensive...

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Handful of Stars (Bush Theatre) Low Level Panic (Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court) Small-town spree Christopher Edwards T his excellent first play by Billy Roche is set in...

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Withnail and I (`15', Odeon Haymarket) Sixties survivors Hilary Mantel D igging up the 1960s is an industry now; it is heresy to say that perhaps the decade was not so...

p1x,,plit,2tit 11111 C H

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ARTS DIARY A monthly selection of forthcoming events recommended by The Spectator's regular critics THEATRE Ms Pity She's a Whore, Olivier (928 2252). John Ford's play of...

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Musi c

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Brave new sound-world Peter Phillips A ccording to my own potted view, Western musical history has been divided into two fundamental spans: the first, from the year dot to...

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Situation tragedy Wendy Cope A few days ago I saw the new Aids advertisement, which is very much in the Biblical tradition, advising men to beware of loose women. An...

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Treasures from the deep Peter Watson T his could well be the year when the art auction finally overtakes the memorial service as the place to be seen at, for 1988 looks like...

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High life

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Downhill all the way Taki ack in the halcyon days of the late Forties, and throughout the Fifties and Sixties, the powers-that-be made sure the Winter Olympics took place in...

Home life

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Night owls Alice Thomas Ellis I was not up with the lark the other morning because I was up all night with a positive parliament of fowls. We went to bed late, since we were...

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\ V■ Gran Paradiso; Rene's WHAT a time to write about restaurants: the first week in Lent, no less. Firm friends kindly state that it is part of the job to drink with the...

Jeffrey Bernard is ill.

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Quite another story Jaspistos I N Competition No. 1511 you were invited to take a headline from a newspap- er this month and supply a report which fits the headline but is...


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T he fluctuations of the Yugoslav Grandmaster, Ljubojevic, outdo even those of the US dollar. At the great SWIFT tournament last year he shared first place with Kasparov,...

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A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers Dictionary, value £13.95 — ring the words 'Chambers Dictionary' above) for the first...

No. 1514: `Don't!'?

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You are invited to write a poem (maximum 16 lines) offering advice to a person about to marry. Entries to 'Competition No. 1514' by 11 March.

Solution to 844: How's how Anagram lights: (Ac) 17 shape

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24 prepare 26 usage 42 design; (Dn) 8 . make 10 course 23 produce 32 scheme 34 means (suggested by 1D after a FASHION Or 12 D METHODiS- tical). Winners: Geoff Jones, Hitchin,...