29 FEBRUARY 1992

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Great expectations igures showed Britain was suffering its longest recession since the second world war. John Major appealed to Scotland to preserve the Union. British Telecom...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WCIn 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 FREE THE JAILERS W e await this week the Government's promised...


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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 USS110 0 USS55.00 Rest of Airmail 0 £98.00 0 £49.00 World...

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In any hung-parliament tango, Mr Major will have to sit the next dance out MATTHEW PARRIS P olitical commentators are an idle bunch, so we would really rather not talk about a...

Simon Heifer returns next week

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I have gone through life believing, and telling anyone who cared to listen, that I was born in a condemned hovel, one of the notorious back-to-back terrace slums in which the...

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Far from revitalising the west German economy, unification has led it further along the road to perdition, argues Noel Malcolm Leipzig THE Thomaskirche, where Bach played and...

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John O'Sullivan examines the charge of anti-Semitism levelled against Pat Buchanan New York WHEN Pat Buchanan won almost 40 per cent of the vote in New Hampshire's Republican...

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If symptoms persist. . .

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A SOLICITOR called me last week and asked whether I would give an opinion on a case of medical negligence. Always willing to oblige, especially when a lar- gish fee is involved,...

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Anne Applebaum argues that the state which calls itself Belarus is a concoction Minsk THE VILLAGE of Mir, in the north-west of what now calls itself Belarus, has a mar- ket...

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A reader received this letter from Sur- rey Glass & Doors Co. Ltd. Further to our glaciers visit to inspect your broken patio door unit. As I mentioned we do not guarantee...

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Edward Whitley argues that the Government's reform of the brewing industry has been a disaster for the drinker RIGHT ACROSS rural Britain, many vil- lage pubs have been...


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Michael Heath

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How to save yourself 51 trips to the library . . . or over £30 on The Spectator If you're forced to share The Spectator with fellow students, then you'll know how difficult it...

One hundred years ago

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A ROMANTIC story has been got up by the evening papers about a Mr. Lid- derdale, manager of Stuckey's branch bank at Ilminster. It is asserted that a lady of large means, who...

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Dominic Lawson writes: Three years ago we appealed to our readers to buy half- price subscriptions to The Spectator, which we undertook to send to people in Poland. The scheme...

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Robert Gore-Langton explains why he paid ransom to rescue an inanimate hostage BICYCLE THIEVES in Brixton are, as Frankie Howerd would say, about as subtle as a Roman orgy....

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Witches are now accusing Christians of ritual sex abuse, discovers Sandra Barwick IT IS, as is so often said, a difficult task to be a social worker in modern Britain. On the...

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Sinister serpents of old Nile PAUL JOHNSON A photograph published this week shows Japanese tourists braving a blizzard to visit the Acropolis. It has been snowing in Jordan...

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Don't cheat, use a gun

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HOW ELSE, then? Mrs Mo Mowtem, blonde bombshell of Labour's prawn cock- tail offensive in the City, has reported as saying that to help the prosecution score more goals, the...


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After the farce in court, here's how to do the City justice CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he law allows it and the court awards. My learned brothers McKinnon and Henry have delivered...

Don't hang the chairman

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AN UNOFFICIAL posse is now advancing on Lloyd's to string up Mr Coleridge. That would not help anyone. Lloyd's troubles are not about discipline but about business. Mr Coleridge...

Brief for Barbara

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ANTHONY Scrivener, last year's chairman of the Bar Council — Mr Seelig had arranged to brief him but could not afford him — blames the law's delays on the pros- ecutors. They...

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It's all lies

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Sir: When you state that Andrew Mackay's only 'offence' was to describe me as an executive rather than as a non-executive director of Mirror Group Newspapers, you lie (Maxwell's...

Sir: Your curiously ill-informed profile of Joe Haines makes a

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reference to me which is damagingly erroneous in its implications and which you would be prudent to allow me to correct by publication of this letter. You refer to Robert...

LETTERS Voice of euthanasia

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Sir: I am sorry that Alison Davis (Letters, 15 February) has so distorted my views on euthanasia as not to recognise that my plea was for patients in the terminal stages of ill-...

Gussie Fink-Nietzsche

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Sir: Jeeves, as noted, found Nietzsche 'fun- damentally unsound'. Schopenhauer, Bertie thought 'a grouch'. In Ring for Jeeves there is the following accusation: "the LETTERS...

Sir: There was one — albeit understand- able — mistake

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in the otherwise excellent piece on Joe Haines (22 February). Lord Donoughue did not resign from London and Bishopsgate until 17 October 1991 not 31 July as stated. A perusal...

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Sir: Andrew Aberdein (Letters, 22 Febru- ary) errs: Nietzsche and

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Martineau are by no means the only recipients of Wodehou- sian philosophical criticism. In chapter four of The Mating Season Bertie Wooster censures the Weltanschau- ung of...

Drinker's quiz

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Sir: Jeffrey Bernard wonders who Mickey Finn was (Low life, 15 February). He was a well known purveyor of cocktails in 19th- century Chicago. Reilly, whose life-style Mr Bernard...

Rumanian request

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Sir: 'Spectators for Rumania, Poland and Eastern Europe' is a wonderful project which is much needed. I have continual contact with Rumania, travelling, staying and living as a...

Sandal slip-up

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Sir: Taki describes the people who oppose fox-hunting as 'sandal-wearing socialist poofters' who 'envy' the fox-hunters (High life, 8 February). On the other hand, a poll taken...

Oskar Kokoschka

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Sir: I am writing a biography of Oskar Kokoschka, with the approval of Mrs Olda Kokoschka, which is to be published by Bloomsbury and the Viking Press in 1994. I would very much...

The show must go on

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Sir: The Arm's Length Principle is much loved by Ministers for the Arts, but appar- ently only selectively, as a way of avoiding difficult questions about the activities of the...

That's enough Laski

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Sir: This Laski business gets odder and odder. First Hugh Massingberd (All the Queen's men', 1 February) describes Harold Laski as a bore, and now Patrick Marlowe (Letters, 22...

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Broadway babies say goodnight Mark Steyn MORE BROADWAY MUSICALS SINCE 1980 by Martin Gottfried Abrams, £35, pp.224 roadway,' writes Martin Gottfried of the out-of-town...

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Warfare amongst the Liberals

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John Grigg BRITISH POLITICS AND THE GREAT WAR: COALITION AND CONFLICT 1915-1918 by John Turner Yale, £30, pp.400 J ohn Turner knows as much as anyone about British history in...

Juan Carlos Onetti

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In his review of The Shipyard last week John Spurling mistakenly asserted that it was Juan Carlos Onetti's only novel so far to be translated into English. We apologise to...

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0 brave new book

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Caroline Moore INDIGO by Marina Warner Chatto, £14.99, pp. 402 T he full title of Marina Warner's patchy yet haunting novel is Indigo, or Mapping the Waters. Her themes are...

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The Truth by God's spokesman

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Bryan Appleyard THE MIND OF GOD: SCIENCE AND THE SEARCH FOR THE ULTIMATE MEANING by Paul Davies Simon & Schuster, £16.99, pp.254 I knew an undergraduate mathematician at...

Night People

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Some back to back, staring at bitten thumbs. Some passing blood, in agony columns. Some cuddled up to God or Teddy. Some lost for someone ordinary. Some in Alhambras of...

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Following the dreadful trade

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Amanda Craig SACRED HUNGER by Barry Unsworth Hamish Hamilton, f14.99, pp. 630 A novel like Sacred Hunger makes you tense as if urging a racehorse on. From the start it has the...

Making the fur fly

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Martin Jacomb MERCHANT PRINCES by Peter C. Newman Viking, £20, pp. 436 I f you like your history with a strong, straightforward storyline, then the history of Canada is the...

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A chip off the old block

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Andro Linklater J ohn Fowles has not published a novel since A Maot came out in 1985, an intolerably long wait for those of us who consider him the most mesmerising story-...

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Books do furnish a mind

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Stephen Spender UNDER REVIEW: FURTHER WRITINGS ON WRITERS by Anthony Powell Heinemann, £25, pp.467 I n these 'further writings on writers' (most of them 1,000-word reviews), Mr...

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To the devil three daughters

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Harriet Waugh GROWING RICH by Fay Weldon HarperCollins, 4.99,£4.99, pp.250 ay Weldon's new novel is based on a six-part television drama she has written. The serial and the...


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Strange to imagine as frantically here I wave how this long wet sea-front must seem to float away now behind you, as, in your thick overcoat, you stand surveying it, this whole...

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Learning the wrong lessons from an Italian master

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Andrew Clifford hen an author brings forth a new feeling or understanding, we the readers are moved not only by the increased capacity for emotion or thought opened up for us,...

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Exhibitions Doubletake: Collective Memory and Current Art (Hayward Gallery, till 20 April) On our last legs Giles Auty t is a measure of Michael Heath's suc- cess as a...

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Magnificent, unmissable Rupert Christiansen T he spirit of English pragmatism has always been pricked to brisk irritability by Pelleas et Melisande: even Auden threw up his...


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Royal Ballet (Covent Garden) The higher brutalism Deirdre McMahon L ike John Neumeier, William Forsythe is an American choreographer whose repu- tation has been made in...

Christopher Edwards is away.

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Indian art

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Monument to love Juliet Reynolds R ecurring like a leitmotiv throughout Indian monumental art is an image that reflects the important place of sensuality in the ethos of the...

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Normally ever after Vanessa Letts arbra Streisand is unmistakably her- self in this film. She has a hard time pass- ing herself off as a member of New York's medical and...

A monthly selection of forthcoming events recommended by The Spectator's

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regular critics OPERA Ernani, New Theatre, Cardiff (0222 394844), from 9 March. One of Verdi's strongest early efforts, based on the drama by Victor Hugo. WNO revives Elijah...

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Modern Architecture Restored (Building Centre, till 7 March) The concrete crumbles Alan Powers I t is odd how many of the owners of flat- roofed white-box houses of the 1930s...

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Come off it, Frank John Diamond T here are those who will tell you that thc likes of Blind Date and The Price is Right constitute television scheduling at its most cynical....

High life

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Time bomb Taki T he closest I ever got to Henry and Clare Luce was when my brother bought the latter's flat on Fifth Avenue back in 1968, a couple of years after Henry went...

Marlyn Harris will be back next week

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Docomoco are holding a symposium on the restoration of Modern

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Movement buildings on Saturday, 29 February, at the Architec- tural Association, from 10 a.m. For further information, telephone 071 377 2777.

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Low life

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Character building Jeffrey Bernard T here is a young man aged 19 newly arrived on the scene who is frequenting the Colony Room Club and says he is an undergraduate studying...

Long life

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Early bloomers Nigel Nicolson T he most humiliating occasions occur in youth, not because the elderly are any less liable to miscalculate, but because we are more experienced...

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Roly-poly — pudding and pie

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FIRST OF ALL, very many thanks for all the letters about Barm Bread, which is cor- rectly called Barm Brack, I am informed by Dr Ian Dudgeon and others — 'brack' meaning...

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12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY COMPETITION c ovAS R EG A t 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY Fifth class Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1716 you were in- vited to provide a contemporary...


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Encore Agincourt Raymond Keene T wo things are determining ineluctably that tournament chess must speed up, probably to the point where all games must be finished in one...

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CROSSWORD 1048: Reductions by Mass

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A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of 110 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers English Dictionary — ring the word 'Dictionary') for the first three correct solutions...

Solution to 1045: Pillar-box C 0 N'O' T 4 111 I C, 4 0

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OIRjIELIOU'Al P i.AUREL NCL Ul T f NP E V j E R NIOIL E LI L H 0'1 0. 00 EIDI U19 OF 0 R 4. I T.0 T E irq crq T H 21 .1 K E . E D L 49, 11 ..7110.,C'H A IA 1 N The unclued...

No. 1719 Snibs

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'Nibs' are 'news in brief items. Let us call `snibs' especially silly or surrealist items, such as the one Bernard Levin caught the other week: 'Supplies of condoms to Egypt...

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The last of the line Frank Keating DESMOND HACKETT surely died happy — sipping a favourite Black Velvet at home in Wimbledon, three weeks away from his 80th birthday, and the...


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Q. What do you do when a friend whom you have arranged to take out to dinner goes and asks two other people to join you in the restaurant'? It is not that my husband and I...