30 JANUARY 1988

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The Spectator

A t its special conference at Blackpool the Liberal Party voted by six-to-one in favour of merging with the SDP. This was seen as a triumph for Mr David Steel even though almost...

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NAG, NAG, NAG W hen the Conservative party came into office in 1979 — indeed whenever it has attained the rank of Government — it did so on the 'freedom' ticket. The view that...


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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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Mr Steel gets his harp out and heads for home NOEL MALCOLM B lackpool in January is no place for wearing sandals, though a beard might at least help to keep out the snow. The...

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CHARLES MOORE W ho reads The Spectator? No doubt you would prefer to think of yourselves as indefinable. But there are, I can now reveal, some hard facts, the first of which is...

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On our patriotic duty to die before it is too late AUBERON WAUGH A lady telephoned The Spectator's susceptible young editor recently to com- plain that I wrote too much about...

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Nurses are angry at the crisis in the NHS. Michael Trend see how the Left is trying to exploit them, as Mrs Thatcher is dragged deeper into the fray LONDON. A meeting hall of...

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Rupert Scott wonders why the most powerful family in Italy receives so much adulation Florence PERHAPS it is because Fiat this week launches an exciting new model called the...

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Robert Haupt sees the sun save the bicentenary from its disastrous preparations Sydney FOR weeks, things had been falling. A police helicopter into Sydney Harbour, half of an...

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William McGurn on Britain's eagerness to rid itself of the colony without establishing democracy Hong Kong IT WAS hard to come by outward signs that this, Her Majesty's prize...

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Con Coughlin meets the men in the camps behind the Palestinian agitation Gaza FORTY years ago the high banks of sand where thousands of Palestinian refugees now reside were a...

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Chaim Bermant complains that freelances like him are not given enough money MOST journalists have a manuscript gathering dust in their bottom drawer, and as long as it remains...

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SPECIA E TOR 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 01-405

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1706 Telex: 27124 C&i fiirthdiv In recent years the circulation of The Spectator has grown fast. In 1984 it was just over 18,000. It now stands at more than 35,000. I attribute...

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The press: Paul Johnson looks at the magazines for well-heeled rustics MOST of what is written about the North- South economic divide is nonsense, and it is manifestly untrue...

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A good thing

The Spectator

IN the Treasury the other day I experi- enced a time warp. I was listening peace- ably to the Chief Secretary, John Major, being asked about the undershoot — which is Mandarin...

Howard's Beginning

The Spectator

ALREADY we begin to hear the next Chief Secretary tipped: Michael Howard. Mr Major, it is said, could be promoted (poor chap)to take over from John Moore, and here is just the...


The Spectator

Goodbye to the long bull market, and don't blame the little green men CHRI STOPHER FILDES F ildes's Law of Financial Crisis says that a crisis will happen at the time whel...


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TIMES are now so hard in the stock market that a broker friend buys his light bulbs one at a time, in the Earl's Court Road. There he has found illumination. The dollar and the...

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The loneliness of the long-distance sandwich-man JOCK BRUCE-GARDYNE Mr Lawson is unlikely to be put off his breakfast by such intimations of mortality, particularly when even...

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LETTERS Ungenerous ideas

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Sir: Enoch Powell's review of Peter Jenk- ins's book, Mrs Thatcher's Revolution (5 December) raises some fascinating questions of historical interpretation. Mr Jenkins argues...

Loathsome PR

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Sir: Mr Douglas Smith, writing as a former Chairman of the UK Public Relations Consultants Association (Letters, 23 Janu- ary), attacking John Sweeney's article (`Speaking ill...

Speaking silence

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Sir: For Lord Goodman, writing about Henry Moore (Books, 12 December), 'it is a futility to attempt to describe the visual arts in words', but he approves apparently of `short,...

Half Marx

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Sir: Timothy Garton Ash reports that 'ordinary' Americans still feel that the words in the US Constitution are 'good, true and important' (Prom Winter Palace to White House', 7...


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Sir: Your correspondent Judi Bevan (Let- ters, 9 January) claims protection for jour- nalists' sources' on the grounds — 'No stories, no newspapers, no livelihood.' Let us...

Woman scorned?

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Sir: As the most recent winner of the Standard/Catherine Pakenham Award mentioned by Paul Johnson (The press, 23 January), I read his comments on the future of women in...

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The Spectator

Judges' report This is the second annual award of the prize. Instituted in memory of the writer Shiva Naipaul, who died in 1985, the prize is awarded for 'the writer best able...

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A really nice young prig Jasper Griffin GILBERT MURRAY OM 1866-1957 by Duncan Wilson OUP, f25 G ilbert Murray was the most generally famous Professor of Greek in British...

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A gay goodnight and quickly turn away

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Stan Gebler Davies LADY GREGORY, FIFTY YEARS AFTER edited by Ann Saddlemeyer and Colin Smythe Colin Smythe, £2750 W ithout the patronage of Lady Greg- ory we should not have...

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Their best poems yet

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Roy Fuller A WATCHING BRIEF by U. A. Fanthorpe ELDORADO by William Scanunell Peterloo Poets, £4.50 each T he reputations of both these poets have been made through the...

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A babbler in an antique land

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Philip Glazebrook SOUTH FROM EPHESUS: TRAVELS IN AEGEAN TURKEY by Brian Sewell Century, £12.95 T he setting of this book is the marvel- lous 'landscape with ruins' of south-...

Losing their heads

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Linda Kelly ROMANTIC AFFINITIES: PORTRAITS FROM AN AGE, 1780-1830 by Rupert Christiansen Bodley Head, .06 T his book is not so much a history of the romantic movement though it...

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The feel of romantic England

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Richard Ingrams JOHN PIPER: A PAINTER'S CAMERA Tate, £14.95 JOHN PIPER: THE COMPLETE GRAPHIC WORKS by Orde Levinson Faber, £40 P hotographers, by and large, are a...

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A myth is as good as a male

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Kevin Sharpe ELIZABETH I by Jasper Ridley Constable, .£15 I t may be revealing that whilst the symbol of Britain is the bulldog, it is our female rulers whom historians have...

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If you hope she'll settle with you in a semi west of Ealing Or gladly tag along when you are hiking to Darjeeling, If you want to be the one who's irresistibly appealing, Don't...

The mysteries of Flann O'Brien

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Following Colin Welch's review last week of Costello and van de Kamp's biography of Flann O'Brien, John Wyse Jackson investigates further the 'missing' Sexton Blake stories I n...


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When they ask me, 'Who's your favourite poet?', I'd better not mention you Though you certainly are my favourite poet And I like your poems too.

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Architecture Sir Ninian Camper (RIBA Heinz Gallery, till 27 February) The last Gothic Revivalist Gavin Stamp A t the height of the Blitz, in Hatch- ett's in Piccadilly, two...

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Therese Oulton (Marlborough Fine Art, till 26 February) Paul Richards (Connaught Brown, till 14 February) Marketing magic Giles Auty I t strikes me sometimes that clever pro-...

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Constructivism in Art and Design (Crafts Council Gallery, till 3 April) Flagship adrift Tanya Harrod I n the past the Crafts Council has staged some outstanding exhibitions...

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Andromache (Old Vic) Shirley Valentine (Vaudeville) Roll over, Racine Christopher Edwards A missed opportunity: that is how we have to describe the first production by...

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Sammy and Rosie Get Laid ('18', Lumiere) Preaching hell-fire Hilary Mantel D iscerning people nowadays lament the decline of the sermon; we don't get the genuine article,...

February ArtsDiary

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A monthly selection of forthcoming events recommended by The Spectator's regular critics EXHIBITIONS Lucian Freud, Hayward Gallery, from 3 February. Long-awaited chance to...

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High life

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Stop press Taki I find it extraordinary to say the least that the Egyptian billionaire shopkeeper Mohammed Al-Fayed can threaten to do a number on Rupert Murdoch's upmarket...


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Simple pleasures Peter Levi I have not been watching a lot of adult television, because I have not been liking it. Panorama (BBC 1) have altered their tactics nowadays and...

Wendy Cope will return next week.

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Home life

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Weather moan Alice Thomas Ellis T here is something odd about the weather. Perhaps there always is, but recently it's been becoming more obvious and affecting the population...

Low life

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Fall guy Jeffrey Bernard I had a fall last week that you wouldn't ask a stunt man to perform. I was moving a load of things which was far too heavy for me into my new abode...

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a Imperative cooking

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Bloater paste and watercress sand- wiches by the fire (the quick method). WE might as well start with the fire. I am told that there are persons who buy cheap brass fire...

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In Seville FOR some some time now I've been waiting for the New Spanish Cooking to take hold over here, but it remains to be seen whether it will ever become more than a...

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Pot pourri Raymond Keene N igel Short and Jon Speelman are now in St John, Canada, for the world cham- pionship Candidates' tournament, in which the players are paired in...


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Revenant's report Jaspistos I . N Competition No. 1507 you were invited to imagine the written impressions of a famous literary figure returning as a ghost to London after an...

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No. 1510: Valentine

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I surrender to the obvious at last. A Valentine, please, of some sort, in the form of a sonnet of some sort. Entries to 'Competition No. 1510' by 12 February.

Solution to 840: Pieces of eight

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1 G N 0 ' S S A N A U. , K Y A L I K I N Y S L I N P A D 311 I T _ L . E S. T E T R E M 0_ 4 .0 DMA T * E I N._ AE I A LJ G 11 1. R.0 I SSAI N! T. V....a., R _l_, A .... T...


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843: Pen-friends by Doc A first prize of 00 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers Dictionary, value £13.95 — ring the words 'Chambers...