4 APRIL 1992

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The Spectator

T he Labour Party established a lead in the election opinion polls of between four and seven points suggesting that it is head- ing for an overall majority. John Major and Neil...

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The Spectator

The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 FOUL IS FAIR A voting system does not exist in a vacu- um. The choice...


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Hartlepool h avehave some sympathy for Chris Patten. My abiding memory of the 1987 general election (apart from the result) is the acute tiredness that set in very quickly. I...

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Those useful Russian women and their sisters in the West AUBERON WAUGH D can Swift would have had better taste than to invent the story which appeared on the front page of the...

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Simon Heifer is intoxicated by the exuberance of Mrs Thatcher's verbosity THERE IS one respect in which the elec- tion campaign has changed hearts and minds. In their hearts...

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One hundred years ago

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THERE IS a significant letter in Thurs- day's Times, signed "A Saxon in Dublin," on the Irish view of union with England. The writer says that the Irish view of what that means...

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John Simpson sticks close to John Major, as the Prime Minister attempts to shake off the dead hand of Conservative Central Office 'OPEN quotes I can't understand what all the...

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Marek Matraszek reveals a Polish paradox: Nazism is taken more seriously than communism Warsaw IS ADOLF HITLER a popular man in Poland? A rather silly question, for obvi- ous...


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A reader received this letter from Oldway Property Group in Merthyr Tydfil: Dear Peter, Kingsmead, Monmouth Thank you for your letter of 19 March the contents of which I note...

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Noel Malcolm explores, and reports on, the brain of Mr Paddy Ashdown IN 1984 the Guardian printed a bizarre story about a séance in Mr Paddy Ash- down's Somerset home. A...

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Michael Heath

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Rebecca Nicolson interviews the communist peer, Lord Milford, on the occasion of his 90th birthday IN JULY 1963, some months after the death of his father, the second Lord...

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Andrew Gimson discovers that the Scots are still consumed by hatred of Mrs Thatcher The third Vox Pub report is from Edinburgh Pentlands, the Conservative seat held by Malcolm...

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The Spectator

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...

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James Michie recalls the year in which he jumped three times into the unknown SUDDENLY, in my late forties, I resolved to do the three things which had always filled me with...

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If symptoms persist. . .

The Spectator

EVERYONE knows how important the medical profession is. Can one travel more than a few miles on a bus or train without overhearing the words, 'And my doctor said to me . . . '?...

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The Spectator

Everybody needs to own something PAUL JOHNSON O n Saturday, reflecting that there was now a real risk the socialists would come in, I decided to spend some money before they...

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Banks in turmoil

The Spectator

`THE MAN to note in this week's reshuffle at National Westminster Bank is Derek Wanless. My man on the Lothbury gallops says that he is a future winner of the Chief Executive...

A line drawn in the sea

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WILL SCOTLAND vote for indepen- dence? In the interests of England, I can't wait. They will get the fish and we shall have the oil. That is, so long as nobody interferes with...


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Lost in the fog of war, ministers call in vain for Sir Humphrey CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he British people, being subject to fogs and possessing a powerful middle class, require...

Feeding frenzy

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A HAPPY new tax year to all my readers. The old year ends this week. New Year's Day is Monday, and the festivities are more frenzied than usual — because of the elec- tion and...

Abandon ship

The Spectator

THE ROYAL NAVY offers to sell HMS St Vincent, now moored in South Kensington. This stone frigate turns out to be a large stuccoed terrace, which, according to the silent...

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Sir: Paul Johnson on the probable death of Punch bathes

The Spectator

Malcolm Muggeridge's edi- torship in a rosier glow than it desentes. M uggeridge used to boast gleefully about the success of his mission — to drive away every middle-class...

Sir: Paul Johnson tells us that Leech 'had a genius

The Spectator

for drawing the women's fashions of the day' and that `no artist performs the same function now'. There is an artist who comments with great perspicacity and wit on the fashions...

LETTERS Round two

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Sir: Mr Paul Johnson (And another thing, 28 March) deplores the latter-day neglect of light verse in Punch. Over a span of 53 years, under seven editors, I contributed thousands...

Not for sale

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Sir: City & Suburban's bid for Lloyd's of London (28 March) unfortunately tends to perpetuate a misunderstanding of the nature of Lloyd's, by implying he could buy LETTERS it...

Catholic guilt

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Sir: William Oddie's moralistic article on the misfortunes of the Converts' Aid Soci- ety (`The scandal of the converts' aid', 28 March) gives an unbalanced and one-sided...

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Threefold errors

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Sir: Paul Johnson (And another thing, 28 March) says that `E.H. Shepherd took immense pains to get the detail right'. Splendid. If he wants to follow suit it was Shepard not...

Save as you flee

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Sir: The amusing conclusion to Edward Whitley's guide to tax havens (`No place like home', 21 March) is sadly misleading, and thereby perhaps doubly amusing. Any company...


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Sir: Keith Waterhouse asks (Diary, 14 March) what the policy of Spectator readers is on removing the names of the deceased from their address books. The tried and tested...

Sir: My article 'The scandal of the converts' aid' (28

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March) contains only one signifi- cant misprint (or whatever word is correct to describe the probable results of a gar- bled fax), but since it seems to imply more blame than is...

Sir: Mr Arthur Woods (Letters, 21 March) is in threefold

The Spectator

error. It is not 'local legend' 'My God — he's skinned his Oscar.' but a famous bit of doggerel to which he refers, not the State of Massachusetts but its capital city of...

Sir: Edward Whitley's guide to tax havens, in the event

The Spectator

of a Labour victory is obviously written in a tongue-in-cheek manner. One statement, however, is completely out of place and I would like to draw this to the attention of your...

Poetic postscript

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Sir: An addition to the 'Ode of Farewell to Mrs Thatcher' (Letters, 21 March): Hail to Mrs Thatcher Let nobody belittle her She has her place in history So have Stalin, Musso,...

The true fax

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Sir: An Albanian fax machine seems to have worked its alchemy on my article last week (Property is still theft', 28 March). The average weekly wage in Albania is not £7.50 but...

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BOOKS T here must have been a race between the publishers

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of Agnes de Mille's Martha and Martha Graham's autobiographical Blood Memory to get their English editions to bookshops and reviewers. As far as The Spectator is concerned, de...

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Nothing comic about the Holocaust

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James Walton MAUS: A SURVIVOR'S TALE, VOLUME II AND HERE MY TROUBLES BEGAN by Art Spiegelman Andre Deutsch, £12.99, pp. 136 h ere's no avoiding the phrase 'long- awaited...

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Having it both ways

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Tom Shone UNSWEET CHARITY by Keith Waterhouse Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99, pp.254 L ike Tony Soper and his endangered puffins, Magnus Pike and his collapsed stars, Keith...

Where angels fear to tread

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Charles Maclean LOS ANGELES: CAPITAL OF THE THIRD WORLD by David Rieff Cape, f17.99, pp.270 ALL RIGHT, OKAY, YOU WIN: INSIDE LAS VEGAS by David Spanier Secker & Warburg,...

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Scaring the pants off men

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Janet Barron ANAIS NIN: NAKED UNDER THE MASK by Elisabeth Barille, translated by Elfreda Powell Lime Tree, f17.99, pp. 245 I rresistible and impossible, Anais Nin drove men...

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No worse a husband

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The Word You

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Impossible to use the word you without you, to think of your beauty your weight, breath and movement without speaking the language of those who have used the same words and not...

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Still a long way to go once you get there

The Spectator

John Colvin THE LAST DISCO IN OUTER MONGOLIA by Nick Middleton Sinclair-Stevenson, £15.95, pp. 222 I ndifferent to style or even syntax, not a participle unhung, no proof...

A Lenten entertainment

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Andro Linklater DUNSTER by John Mortimer Viking, £14.99, pp. 296 A t the risk of sounding like William Boot limbering up for some plashing volery, I have to say that Nature...

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The Price

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Sometimes it catches when the fumes rise up among the throbbing lights of cars, or as you look away to dodge eye-contact with your own reflection in the carriage-glass; or in a...

Sounding devilish familiar

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John Spurling AUGUSTUS REX by Clive Sinclair Deutsch, £1 3.99, pp. 210 C live Sinclair's new novel, Augustus Rex, is a shaggy dog story which, particular- ly towards the end,...

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Guys and dolls

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William Scammell A nericans are famously upfront and theatrical about their emotional lives, as opposed to us anally-retentive Brits, who invented class and sado-masochism as...

Not a fairy story

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Angela Huth STEPSONS by Robert Liddell Peter Owen, f14.95, pp.228 S o accustomed are we to linking the very idea of step-parents and stepchildren to unhappiness, that the...

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The view from the balloon

The Spectator

Hilary Corke THE NEW OXFORD BOOK OF SEVENTEENTH CENTURY VERSE edited by Alastair Fowler OUP, 12.5, pp. 831 and we'll talk with them too, Who loses, and who wins; who's in,...

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The Spectator

Conservation The bongo-wood menace I t is proposed from time to time that some further area of country should be 'protected' by being designated as a new National Park. My...

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Exhibitions 1

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Caravaggio (Palazzo Ruspoli, Rome, till 2 May) True to a dramatic life Roderick Conway Morris I n May 1606 Caravaggio fled from Rome having killed an opponent in an argument...

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My Own Private Idaho ('18', selected cinemas) My Own Private Idaho ('18', selected cinemas) Hear My Song ('15', selected cinemas) High Heels ('18', Lumiere) Lost boys Vanessa...

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Tycoon's buzz Giles Auty debates the choices made by a prominent art patron W hy is Mr Charles Saatchi apparently an obsessive collector of modern art? I am afraid that why...

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The Art of the Structural Engineer (The Building Centre, till 14 April) The Architect and the Carpenter (RIBA Heinz Gallery, till 2 May) Holding it up Alan Powers S tructural...

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Lit. crit. Martyn Harris S unday Bloody Sunday (Channel 4, 3.50 p.m.) is a valiant attempt to make the elec- tion amusing. Vincent Hanna as front man valiantly pretends to be...


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The Chalk Garden (The King's Head Theatre) A gem uncovered Christopher Edwards D an Crawford, who owns and runs the tiny King's Head Theatre in Upper Street, Islington, is a...

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High life

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Polls apart Taki T he very first election I remember was back in 1946, in the Big Olive. My maternal grandfather was prime minister at the time, chosen by all parties to...

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Long life

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Three times a candidate Nigel Nicolson H ow I longed for elections when I was a candidate, and loathed them when I was an MP. I fought four elections in all, lost two, won...

Low life

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That losing feeling Jeffrey Bernard D uring the past few days I have found it almost impossible to work up any enthu- siasm for or interest in Saturday's Grand National. They...

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THERE aren't too many people, especially in the restaurant business,

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who can claim to be having a good recession, but Steven Glaister, who owns Glaister's just off Ful- ham Road, sweetly owns up to have `bene- fited from the present downturn in...

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N igel Short faces the greatest test yet also the greatest opportunity of his career when his qualifying match against Anatoly Karpov gets under way in the Spanish town of...

c o VAS R E G A

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12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY COMPETITION c ooLVAS R EC AP Beckett's turn J aspistos I n Competition No. 1721 you were in- vited to provide a lyric from the forthcom- ing...

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No. 1724: From one to the other

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You are invited to write a story or tell an anecdote which could be entitled either `From the Sublime to the Ridiculous' or `From the Ridiculous to the Sublime'. Entries to...

Solution to 1050: Underneath the arches

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El a 0 LI a id ii anon eig n.n . ian ch. nEhi A MEI De ija M A B 7 , x , t, C© . a , on R , Tenni 0 0 Or] ININICIarl OE 13 , a yin lo curl . n Elia w In R in i o...


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1053: Singing their praises by Doc A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers English Dictionary — ring the word `Dictionary')...

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WITH THE starter's pistol now pointing ominously between their eyes, the three party leaders can now just do what the jump jockeys do — stop flannelling, hope for the best and...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. What is the correct way of dispatching election canvassers who call at your house and whose party you do not support? I remember from the last election...