4 JUNE 1988

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'We can't keep on meeting like this.' L ord Young, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said that he would not refer the hostile takeover bid by the Swiss company Nestle...

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THIS week in Moscow Mr Ronald Reagan said — with the appearance of one who has made an extraordinary discovery — that the American and Russian people were the same: they were...

The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone 01-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 242 0603 THE CITY'S SWEET TOOTH T he City is a wonderful target for abuse. Socialists do it out of habit, Con- servatives because they know that the...


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IN THE Biblical disputes which have recently become fashionable, Mr Kinnock likes to use against Mrs Thatcher the words of St Matthew, chapter XXV. It is a pity that Mrs...

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The Revised Version of the Gospels according to the Labour Party NOEL MALCOLM S o much has been written by now about Mrs Thatcher's theology that I feel merci- fully absolved...

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ROWLINSON CARTER etting out on the drive from Prague to Marienbad, the taxi driver rolls down his window and throws money out of it. Insurance for good luck, he explains, the...

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A second shot at solving the housing problem AUBERON WAUGH L ast week a pretty, medium-sized house in Regent's Park was advertised for sale at £30 million. At the same time I...

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Undertaking can be a dead-end business, but one young entrepreneur is digging into the market. Edward Whitley investigates the funeral business BY 1990 one in every four...

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. . . and statistics

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'House prices are continuing to rise by about 23 per cent in London . . . reports the Halifax, Britain's biggest building society.... Other building societies contest this . . ....

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Ivan Koryagin describes life in a labour colony for young offenders I AM a regular reader of articles in the Soviet press about perestroika. I cannot leave A. Markovich's...

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Michael Trend examines the intention behind Soviet human rights reforms AS PRESIDENT Reagan pressed on with his determination that human rights should be prominent on the...

Translation by Jadzia Terlecki.

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The US cannot think what to do about the THE CIA has had its moments of compe- tence. In the late 1960s it managed to recruit Manuel Noriega, the future head of Panamanian...

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Candida Crewe meets aspiring writers who long to have their work published 'THE thing that made me want to write was when I went to Saudi Arabia and brought back a...

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on the healthy state of US local papers LOCAL newspapers delight me. The more local they are, the more I love them. Unlike the nationals, which are based on strong but...

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The table talk of a Whitehall warrior JOCK BRUCE-GARDYNE I took time the other day to take a well-known Whitehall warrior out to lunch. I seized the opportunity to perform my...

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A metropolitan a use scandal, a market solution, and for the property boom CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he property moguls of London are falling over each other to find each last...

George was right

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TWO decades later, little has changed except that the prisons have deteriorated and the arithmetic has improved. Succes- sive London property booms have come in like a tide to...

Fair play for savings

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SEE how the fates their gifts allot, for A is happy, B is not. A and B are of the same age, on the same salary, and provide for the future with the same amount of money,...

Saving my interest

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UNKNOWN Eliot? Christopher Johnson, Lloyds Bank's chief economic adviser, has been searching the archives for T.S. Eliot's contributions to Lloyds Bank Monthly — part of his...

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Heartless computing

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Sir: Myles Harris's article on computer 'artificial intelligence' (14 May) is more timely than you may have wished or anticipated. HEARTLESS, I regret to say, does not seem to...

LETTERS Supermanned flight

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Sir: As with other matters, so with comic book heroes: a little learning is a danger- ous thing. Christopher Webb (Letters, 21 May) seeks to contradict the statement that it is...

Dark designs

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Sir: Will Miss Anita Brookner (Books, 2 April) or another please explain to her benighted male readers exactly what is meant by 'designer' clothes? I should have thought this...


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Sir: 'A Hawaiian Boeing 737 had a large part of its roof ripped off at 24,000 feet; with the loss of only one air hostess the pilot managed to fly 25 miles and land the plane'...

Cobbling up thought

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Sir: Mr Matthew Huntbach (Letters, 28 May) is unlikely to become a successful computer scientist if he thinks the pros- pects for teaching machines to think are a 'load of...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY — Save 15% on the Cover Price! RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £45.00 0 £23.00 Europe (airmail) 0 £55.00 0 £28.00 USA Airspeed 0 US $90 0 US$45 Rest of...

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William Deedes remembers how Britain humiliated itself by betraying Czechoslovakia, yet seemed to feel it was the only way to save itself. NEWS of Hitler's invasion of Austria...

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Sweet war man Michael Howard NEVER DESPAIR: WINSTON S. CHURCHILL 1945-1965 by Martin Gilbert I t would be a churlish reviewer who did not begin by offering Martin Gilbert the...

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Sardonic smiles of a winter's tale

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Lindsay Anderson THE MAGIC LANTERN by Ingmar Bergman 1 - tarnish Hamilton £14.95, pp. 290 W hen Ingmar Bergman was born, his mother was suffering from Spanish influen- za....

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Telling it how it wasn't quite

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Eric Christiansen THE HOLLYWOOD HISTORY OF THE WORLD by George MacDonald Fraser Michael Joseph, f14.95, pp. 320 A ll historical films are ghost stories. They are all haunted...

Disquiet on the western front

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Anita Brookner THE SILENCE IN THE GARDEN by William Trevor The Bodley Head, £9.95, _pp. 204 A fter some thought, and despite a nagging undercurrent of familiarity, it be-...

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Stylish man of English letters

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Frances Partridge QUILLER COUCH: A PORTRAIT OF `Q' by A. L. Rowse Methuen, £14.95, pp.229 C onfronted by a portrait, whether in paint or words, one is usually very much aware...

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The Leopard changes his spot

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Robert Rubens THE DOLLS' ROOM by Lorenc Villalonga translated by Deborah Bonner Deutsch, £11.95, pp.247 T here is no doubt that life on an island can have strange effects on...

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The Heron urner's Birds, by David Hill (Phaidon, £8.95, pp.

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64), celebrates the acquisition in 1985 by Leeds City Art Gallery of 20 watercolours of birds made by Turner between 1810 and 1820 for his patron Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall,...

A selection of recent paperbacks

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Fiction: Sugar and Other Stories by A. S. Byatt, Penguin, £3.95 Einstein's Monsters by Martin Amis, Penguin, £3.50 Black Swan by Christopher Hope, Arena, £2.50 The Moon and the...

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Exhibitions Mission of Mersey. . . Giles Auty The Tate Gallery, Liverpool F ollowing the frenzy of media euphoria in general and of the Observer's specially produced and...

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. . . but no help for music Peter Phillips T he opening of the new Tate Gallery in Liverpool has been widely publicised; the month-long festival of contemporary . music,...

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Uncle Vanya (Vaudeville) Life after hope Christopher Edwards M ichael Frayn has left his signature upon our contemporary enjoyment of Chekhov. His keen, theatrically imagina-...

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Katya Kabanova (Glyndebourne) Anodyne Janacek Rodney Milnes I t is an altogether unnerving experience to sit through a perfonn'ance with growing horror and impatience, only...

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Ironweed ('15', Odeon Haymarket) Trick or treat Hilary Mantel T wenty-two years before the start of the action, and with fatal consequences, Francis Phelen (Jack Nicholson)...


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The value of expertise A t a time when the financial plight of the country's museums and galleries is scarcely ever out of the headlines, and when in the face of government...

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Beauty plus brains Peter Watson The secret of his success is that the lecturers at the seminar are truly interna- tional; he insists that they have the proper academic...

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Song and dance Wendy Cope T he first time I saw The Importance of Being Earnest I was a schoolgirl and Alec McCowen was playing Algy. Since then I've seen so many productions...

High life

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Cuba liberals Taki flew to Washington last week in order to attend the premiere of the most moving documentary I have ever seen. It is a film about the country with more...

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Low life

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High and dry Jeffrey Bernard T he birthday presents I received last week made an odd mixture. There was a very welcome compact disc of Mozart's Requiem, a pink plastic...

Home life

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A ripping good day Alice Thomas Ellis W e were caught in a traffic jam last weekend. I had forgotten how boring this could be and was extremely glad that our friend Chip was...

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Another terrible Bank Holiday Monday when all thoughts of summery

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eating, salads and flummeries retreat in favour of good old casseroles or soup of a comforting nature. However, having been faced with a truly horrible Beef Wellington last week...

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Yet again Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1525 you were asked for Shakespeare's newly discovered 'woe- ful ballad to his mistress' eyebrows'. Considering people's tendency to...


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Gang warfare Raymond Keene T he European Options Exchange tournament in Amsterdam, for which I have already expressed so much admira- tion in this column, has attained an Elo...

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CROSSWORD 861: Look you! by Doc

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A first prize of 120 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers Dictionary, value £13.95 — ring the words 'Chambers Dictionary' above) for the first...

Solution to 858: Romeo and Juliet 'NO V 2 E M 3 8 E -4 1 , 1L

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07 - A !FEE C A V A'T 1 OIN 911CTOR UV* . 11 OISFELTANAAT i T_E1:1 L. E I 'S 1 T W A I A_ R 13 R 0 E ,,,,o,orLA DD VICHROUS . 1 101 BA XURFILICO 0 WEAR /RAFFIt HAR 1 LI E 1...

No. 1528: In a lather

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A suggestion from Mr Kingsley Amis: Philip Larkin read the Bible in instalments each morning as he shaved. A poem (maximum 16 lines) on the subject, please. Entries to...