28 NOVEMBER 1987

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lust give Is a sign, 0 master.' T hirty people died when fire broke out at King's Cross underground station in London. It is thought that a discarded cigarette ignited greasy...

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IN the wake of a third election victory, Mrs Thatcher's hubris, it seems, knows no bounds. In Monday's Financial Times there appeared an extraordinary interview with the Prime...


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A CLAUSE TOO FAR BRINGING the trade unions under con- trol will surely rank as one of this Govern- ment's most impressive achievements. It was an objective that up until very...

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Mr Baker discovers the virtue of vagueness NOEL MALCOLM A nyone concerned with declining standards of literacy in this country should study the following piece of prose: Are...

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CHARLES MOORE T here have now been two major disas- ters which could plausibly (by which I do not mean rightly) be blamed on 'Thatcher- ism'. In the Zeebrugge disaster and now...

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When the risk of lions is less than the nuisance of keeping a-hold of Nurse AUBERON WAUGH L ast Saturday, out shooting in the Somerset countryside, I decided to carry out a...

YOUNG WRITER AWARDS Entries for the Spectator/ Sunday Telegraph competition

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must be submitted by 31 January 1988.

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T he fourth annual presentation of The Spectator/Highland Park Parliamentarian of the Year Awards took place on Wednes- day 25 November. The awards were pre- sented by the guest...

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Kasparov and Karpov are nearing the climax of a three-year battle for the chess crown. Dominic Lawson meets the players and takes the lid off the chess box Seville SHAH MAT...

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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard criticises those who want to stampede Reagan into precipitate cuts Washington BEFORE the Flat Earth Society takes us into an economic depression, how...

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Timothy Garton Ash wonders how much time European leaders will spend on really important issues Brussels YOU may not have noticed, but the next fortnight will see not merely...

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One hundred years ago

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Social disorder spreads fast. There is a deer 'forest' in the Island of Lewis, with eight hundred deer in it, which pays more rent than when let as poor grass- land. The...

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Margaret's men: a profile of Lord Marshall, chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board This is one of a series of profiles of men whom the Prime Minister admires....

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Gavin Stamp sees the King's Cross fire in the context of a management concerned with style, not substance AS I live within five minutes walk of King's Cross I know the...

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The press: Paul Johnson on a socialist venture which never stood a chance THE final collapse of News on Sunday can have come as no surprise to anyone. Once its disastrous...

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. . . up in the air

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ONE welcome boost to values has been the opening of the 'City' airport (at West Ham or North Woolwich). This, I am told by the sage of the property market, Bruce Kin- loch,...

Guinness's select bar

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THE City says that Felt Collars PLC will soon extend its activities in the Guinness affair — Felt Collars being the local euphemism for the Fraud Squad. I should not care to...

Culture and anarchy

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MY only regret at seeing Stanislas Yassu- kovich taking over at The Securities Asso- ciation is that I hoped he would be the next chairman of the Stock Exchange. Short of some...

Down in the docks. . .

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I WONDERED how soon the first crack in the house market would follow the crack in the stock market. Now we have the answer from Pilot Properties, which has been putting up a...


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The markets appeal from Ronald the President to Ronald the Governor CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he legal system under King Philip of Macedon provided for an appeal from Philip drunk...

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Meter man

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Sir: Some of the mischievous spirit of the monkeys in the huge mural at Saint Hill has obviously entered into Roy Kerridge. His description of a few hours spent at the home of...

Hobson's bank

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Sir: While sympathising with Mr Alistair Home's plight at National Westminster Bank's Notting Hill Gate branch (`No banking on Notting Hill', 21 November), I was nonetheless...

LETTERS No darling

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Sir: I wish to respond briefly to the article 'Zulu bloodlust on the screen' (14 Novem- ber). In citing the history of King Shaka and some parts of the recent film Shaka Zulu,...

Sir: The recent IRA attack at Enniskillen makes Pepys's diary

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entry for 22 February 1664 even more poignant: Ireland in a very distracted condition about the hard usage which the protestants meet with, and the too good which the catholi-...

• Ulster solution?

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Sir: You are correct to state that the present constitutional position of Northern Ireland is ambiguous and that such ambi- guity can but provide an incentive for the...


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Save 15% on the Cover Price! Please enter a subscription to The Spectator I enclose my cheque for £ (Equivalent SUS & Eurocheques accepted) RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0...

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Sir: Terence Kealey asserts that universi- ties are irresponsible and that they answer to nobody Mow academics waste money, 14 November). He is wrong. They are answerable to...

Subsidised slaughter

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Sir: Alexandra Artley (Letters, 21 Novem- ber) is right — ritual slaughter is primitive and repugnant. But it may be the price we have to pay for that precious thing, reli-...

Better tribute

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Sir: Since racing is about betting, a fact that Lester Piggott fully understood, I think he — a taciturn man — would prefer, to all the scolding and tearful cant waffled out...

Extra hell

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Sir: Congratulations to Auberon Waugh (Another Voice, 21 November), who may have brought off a notable first by provok- ing a defence of the Caterham Trained Soldier — a...

Sir: Dr Terence Kealey is right. University tenure was so

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appallingly abused during the post-Robbins expansion that it is now difficult to defend. His survey of the devastated academic landscape is, none the less, far too brisk. He...

My word

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Sir: Auberon Waugh is extremely fond of the word `pilger'. In his excellent article this week he uses it three times. Please, Sir, what does it mean, and why? Julian Bharier...

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Ludovic Kennedy

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I greatly enjoyed — as I'm sure all lovers of R.L.S. will — Dead Man's Chest by Nicholas Rankin, (Faber, £9.95) in which the author follows the trail of the master from...

Books of the Year

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A selection of the best and most overrated books of the year chosen by some of The Spectator's regular reviewers. Peter Quennell This year I have read some highly informa-...

Richard Ingrams

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A new novel by Brian Moore is always something to look forward to. I devoured The Colour of Blood (Cape, £10.95) at a single gulp — a brilliant piece of writing which should...

Cohn Thubron

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The most memorable book of my year, Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines (Cape, £10.95), is distinguished by that least Brit- ish of traits: intellectual passion. A mélange of...

Francis King

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I had been looking forward to Claire Tomalin's Katherine Mansfield (Viking, £14.95) for a long time. She brings out the flashy and rubbishy elements in both the character and...

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Frances Partridge

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In a year somewhat barren of imaginative works, I choose one which illuminates both the painter's vision and the writer's mind: Unknown Colour: Paintings, Letters, Writ- ings by...

Harold Acton

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My choice of three best books of the year is determined by their rich variety of period, style and scholarship. Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellman (Hamish Hamilton, £15), Marie...

J. L. Carr

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I enjoyed Jonathan Raban's miscellany, For Love and Money (Collins Harvill, £10.95), because here in Kettering, apart from 98-year-old Edmund Kirby (who used to give H. E....

Peter Levi

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I hate the idea of choosing one, every December, among all the year's poets, particularly this year which 'has produced five or six excellent slim volumes, all by friends of...

J. Enoch Powell

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Naming the 'two best books' of a year is an intolerably pretentious proceeding. What I can do without bad conscience is to men- tion the two books which have proved the biggest...

Anita Brookner

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Not a spectacular year for fiction, although many big names were represented. I found them a bit short-winded, with the excep- tion of two very different examples: Philip Roth...

Piers Paul Read

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The Polish Way by Adam Zamoyski is an excellent history of Poland, handsomely published (John Murray, £17.95). The Case of Thomas N. (Deutsch, £9.95) is an austere but...

Rupert Christiansen

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Michael Ignatieff's The Russian Album (Chatto, £12.95) is the painful study of the marriage of his grandparents and their expatriation from Russia after the Revolu- tion,...

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Patrick Leigh Fermor

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Mine, in order of reading, start with Robin Lane Fox's Pagans and Christians (Viking, 07.95); it casts a blaze of light on the shadowy tract of history when the Roman Empire...

Isabel Colegate

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Books I have enjoyed this year have included Rebecca West by Victoria Glen- dinning (Weidenfeld, £14.95) — can there ever have been a more perspicacious yet kindly biographer...

Charles Glass

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My wife, Fiona, who is a more voracious reader than I am, asked me to read Brian Inglis's The Unknown Guest: The Mystery of Intuition (Chatto & Windus, £12.95), which I hope to...

Christopher Howse

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Why bother reading new books when you haven't finished the old ones? Be that as it may, it was a great pleasure to see Ronald Knox's Enthusiasm (Collins, £9.95) come out in...

Anne Chisholm

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The best new book by an established writer I have read is Ian McEwan's The Child In Time (Cape, £10.95), a haunting story full of emotion and drama, both political and...

Gabriele Annan

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The new writing I enjoyed most was the first chapter of Michael Ignatieff's The Russian Album (Chatto, £12.95) where he explains his compulsion to write a memoir of his...

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Dervla Murphy

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Behind the Wall: A Journey through China by Colin Thubron (Heinemann, £10.95). For thousands of readers it no longer matters where or what Colin Thubron is writing about: they...

John Grigg

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The 17th century in England, beginning with Shakespeare, ending with Newton, and including a momentous constitutional struggle, was also the age in which the English language...

Patrick Skene Catling

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A magnificent book came my way this year, The Queen of Heaven (Macdonald Orbis, £30), Bruce Bernard's anthology of paintings of the Virgin Mary from the 12th century to the...

John Jolliffe

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For me the most rewarding book of the year is The Polish Way by Adam Zamoyski (John Murray, £17.95). It surveys 1,000 years of Polish history and the Polish character, and...

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The Terror on the move

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft THE PEOPLE'S ARMIES by Richard Cobb translated by Marianne Elliott Yale £30, £9.95 : I accept the Republic.' But do you accept the Revolution?' T he...

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Estuary at Twilight

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As though they were the whitecaps On night's incoming tide Which, cold and stiff, the off-shore winds Had somehow petrified, Egrets stand in the freezing shallows Along the...


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In meticulous sky-scrutiny A whole long day went by: I measured it with where and what, I prodded it with why And in the end concluded There was nothing there but sky. Tsuboi...

Of all the wild absurdities With which the heart can

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cram Its sad asylum, none's more daft Than this mad need, this damn- Idiot ache to be with you When I already am. Kiyowara no Fukayabu (early 9th century)

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Her grace under pressure

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Colossus with feet of clay

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William Boyd CECIL RHODES: FLAWED COLOSSUS by Brian Roberts Hamish Hamilton, £15.95 C ecil Rhodes arrived in South Africa on 1 September 1870, a sickly, unremark- able and...

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Something for everybody

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J. G. Links MODERN PAINTERS by John Ruskin edited and abridged by David Barrie Deutsch, £17.95 M odem Painters is a huge and wonderful book — if five disparate volumes,...

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Tripping westward over himself

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P.N. Furbank CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD: A PERSONAL MEMOIR by John Lehmann Weidenfeld, £12.95 T hat both for Auden and for Isherwood their famous exodus to the USA in January...

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Digby Anderson

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It's not her problem but that of food writing today. What to do now it's all been said, now there are enough recipes and dictionaries to last any cook a lifetime. One answer is...

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Life and letters

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The forgotten notebook for PKD I warn you, Peter, should you look At what I've written in this book Since we were last together, You'll be dismayed, among the words (Autumn...

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Only ten more years to go

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James Lees-MiMe A COUNTRY HOUSE COMPANION by Mark Girouard Century, £14.95 E very cult, no matter how long it lasts, has an end; some ends are more abrupt than others. The...

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Exhibitions Who really cares about modern art? J ust after noon last Friday the expected occurred. From Downing Street the announcement came that Nick Serota has been...

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JJ Farr (Phoenix) Hostage to banality Christopher Edwards R onald Harwood, whose new play has just opened at the Phoenix, enjoys a well deserved reputation as a popular and...


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Manon des Sources ('PU, Curzon Mayfair) Playing Away (`15', selected cinemas) Fate and fast bowling Hilary Mantel T he London Film Festival is all very exciting, but greatly...

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Million-dollar masters Peter Watson E dgar Degas once remarked that a painting is 'a thing that demands as much cunning, astuteness and vice as the per- petration of a crime'....

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A remarkable orchestra Peter Phillips T he 20th anniversary of the foundation of the London Sinfonietta brings into focus the work and success of a remarkable orchestra. In...

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Academic soap opera Wendy Cope T his, if I have understood the professor correctly, is a monologic discourse. It uses a single voice to express a single point of view. A...


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is looking for a responsible person to manage and develop the marketing and distribution of their subscriptions and news-stand sales. He/she will be responsible for conceiving...

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High life

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Seals of disapproval Taki s everyone who has ever read any- thing about modern Hollywood knows, the place is comprised of people who think Leo Tolstoy was a screenwriter who...

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Home life

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Dogged by misfortune Alice Thomas Ellis P oor Alfie had a rough time recently. He was minding a house while its owners were away and it turned against him in the way of a child...

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CROSSWORD 836: Side-line by Jac

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A first prize of E20 and two further prizes of 110 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers Dictionary, value £13.95 — ring the words 'Chambers Dictionary' above) for the...

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1Seville n the past I have had some harsh words for Kasparov's Grunfeld Defence. He sticks to it religiously as an antidote to Karpov's favourite 1 d4, yet Kasparov's score with...


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Neo-Jeeves Jaspistos I N Competition No. 1499 you were asked for an imaginary newspaper adver- tisement for a very modern manservant with untraditional responsibilities. Such...

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Le beaujolais, mais pas le nouveau

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THE trouble with marketin g exercises, and especially those which rely on the concept of novelty, is that they tend to g o out of date very rapidly. Beaujolais nouveau has...

No. 1503: Homophonics You are invited to write a poem

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(maximum 12 lines) in which all the rhymes are homophones (reign, rain, altar, alter, razor, raise a etc). I owe this sug g estion to J. Clifford Wolff. Entries to 'Competition...

Solution to 833: Mosaic '11 E 2 P UZI L 4 I 3 01E10

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I ha E Elharr 113 v v o FM o o la E AN N TAM E OR EilaT CEI 1„JR N 10005E11010R EMEUBONAEROBE AL LYEaRDWUS ROOL I TOOL RC! ANI3 CCT R ET ki31)0Higha13 EE SCii3...

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4• . ,

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Blakes Hotel ALL restaurants are expensive; some are more expensive than others. Blakes (370 6701) is more expensive than most. I went there two weeks ago and I still haven't...

Competition entries

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To enable competitors to economise on postage, entries for one or more weeks of the Competition and Crossword may be posted together under one cover addressed 'Competition...