3 JANUARY 1981

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Lady Plowden's prizes

The Spectator

The way in which Lady Plowden and her fellow members of the Independent Broadcasting Authority have chosen to dispose the enormous patronage they possess tells us a great deal...

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Political commentary

The Spectator

The boundary obsession Ferdinand Mount Stephen Leacock once complained about the unseemly haste with which visiting lecturers picked up their impressions of North America:...

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The Spectator

Shortly before Christmas a London taxi driver called Fred Housego won the Mastermind competition on television after swatting away at his books in the back of his cab while...

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Another voice

The Spectator

Venice unimperilled Auberon Waugh Venice On Christmas Day the Patriarch of Venice preached a sermon at pontifical High Mass in St Mark's Basilica urging his flock — who...

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Reagan and his merry men

The Spectator

Nicholas von Hoffman Washington Nothing is happening. Everybody is irritable and snappish, nobody knows what's going on, and now they are telling us that Perrier contains...

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Education without tears

The Spectator

Andrew Brown Gothenburg Even educationalists have now realised that the Swedish comprehensive school system does not promote equality. This failure cannot be blamed on lack of...

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The old ferret

The Spectator

Ludovic Kennedy DOnitz first came to public attention in 1939 when as Admiral commanding Uboats he planned the brilliant operation that resulted in Lieutenant Prien in U.47...

One hundred years ago

The Spectator

Mr J. C. King, of Wellington Square, S.W., is a bold man. He proposes to join Ireland to Scotland by a gigantic mole, stretching from the Mull of Cantyre to Tor Point, Antrim....

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Russia's new empire

The Spectator

Bohdan Nahaylo In his first major speech after replacing Aleksei Kosygin as Soviet premier, Nikolai Tikhonov was given the unenviable task of bringing some festive cheer in...

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ITV moves to the left

The Spectator

Mortensen Green The prize of a franchise still glitters strongly enough for executives and carpet baggers from 42 television companies and competing consortia to humble...

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The new Ellis Islanders

The Spectator

Tim Congdon In the early years of the 20th century there were two ways of entering the United States through New York. The first method, which applied to firstand secondclass...

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The futility of Waugh

The Spectator

Bernard Shrimsley Last year, as a result of an article by Auberon Waugh in Private Eye, an action for libel was instituted by Bernard Shrimsley. In our issue of 13 December...

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In the City

The Spectator

And a prosperous New Year! Tony Rudd The Christmas cards which one is about to throw away wished one not only a happy Christmas but also a prosperous New Year. It will be...

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Ulster in its place

The Spectator

Sir: It is good to find the Spectator and its able contributor Ferdinand Mount taking Ireland seriously (13 December) and asking the rest of us on the British mainland to do the...

Currie favoured

The Spectator

Sin In a letter in your 29 November issue (which has just reached Canada) Patrick Scrivenor, who describes himself as editor of a history of the first world war, remarks that...

Pudding and pie

The Spectator

Sir: Lynn Barber's review of Darling, You Shouldn't Have Gone to So Much Trouble by Caroline Blackwood and Anna Haycraft (13 December) is distinctly uncomplimentary about the...

Odd woman out

The Spectator

Sir: In your entertaining Christmas Quiz (20-27 December), under the heading 'Mixed bag - - Which is the odd man one', I was puzzled to see the name Germaine Greer listed with...

Schoenberg: another view

The Spectator

Sir: I am honoured that Hans Keller should have seen fit to reply to my letter on Schoenberg and Mann in his best pugnacious style (20-27 December). Since he is so sure that I...


The Spectator

Sir: May I correct a misprint (due to lack of proofs in the Christmas rush) in the Latin lines you kindly printed on Lord Kagan of Gannex, (20-27 December)? 'Come' (a vox...

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The Spectator

Right or wrong: no views Hans Keller Collins German Dictionary .(Collins Standard Edition £9.95, with thumb index £11.50) Collins Dictionary? As distinct from Langenscheidt's...

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The Spectator

Nicolas Walter Pornography, Psychedelics and Technology E.J. Mishan (Allen & Unwin £12.50) Nothing is deader than last week's newspaper, except perhaps last year's magazine or...

War stories

The Spectator

Max Hastings War Since 1945 Michael Carver (Weidenfeld £8.50) Could there be some sort of Parkinson's Law about the quality of books being in inverse relationship to the...

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Any advance on four?

The Spectator

John Biggs-Davison Culture and Anarchy In Ireland 18901939 F.S.L. Lyons (Oxford £6.95) Penal Era and Golden Age: Essays in Irish History 1690-1800 Ed. Thomas Bartlett and D.W....

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The Spectator

Gavin Stamp British Cathedrals Paul Johnson (Weidenfeld £12.50) Another book on cathedrals, written by someone who is not a professional architectural historian. That curious...

Aphra Jonathan Keates

The Spectator

Reconstructing Aphra: A Social Biography of Aphra Behn Angeline Goreau (Oxford £8.95) Aphra Behn is one of comparatively few 17th-century Writers whOm it is possible to imagine...

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The Spectator

Paul Ableman The Cosway Minlatpre Robert Rubens (Bachman and Turner E5.65) This book is a light-hearted caper. At least, that's what it says on the dust cover, and not...

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The Spectator

Prisoner of war Simon Raven The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston Siegfried Sassoon (Faber £7.95; £4.95) The Sherston Trilogy', as it is sometimes called, is an...

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The Spectator

Bleak Boris Geoffrey Wheatcroft Boris Godunov (ENO) The textual history of Boris is complicated even by the standards of 19th century opera.iModest Mussorgsky (Constant...

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The Spectator

Missing Peter Jenkins The Revolt (New End) Dangerous Corner (Ambassadors) Trelawny of the Wells (Old Vic) The Rivals (Greenwich) Cinderella (Lyric, Hammersmith) Not...

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The Spectator

Cut-price Peter Ackroyd Stardust Memories ('A', selected cinemas) The only person who takes Woody Allen seriously is Woody Allen. 'I've got to find meaning' he announces...


The Spectator

Treasure trove John McEwen Treasures from Chatsworth: the Devonshire Inheritance (Royal Academy till 11 January) is a most satisfying exhibition: not too large, not too...

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The Spectator

Shambles Richard lngrams Any post-Christmas depression was unlikely to be 'lifted by the sight of the grinning figures of Jay, Frostie, Parky and Anna Ford celebrating their...

High life

The Spectator

Unforgiving Taki New York Lest auld acquaintances be forgot. I hereby make my New Year's resolution by announcing that I have never been one to forgive mine enemies. As a...

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Frank Norman

The Spectator

Jeffrey Bernard I'd like to make a particularly personal tribute to Frank Norman who died on 23 December bringing 1980 to such a very sad end for so many of us. I don't want to...


The Spectator

Counteract Patrick Marnham Welcome to 1981, a year of Census, 'And there went out a decree from Mrs Caesar that all the world should be enrolled, and all went to enrol...