6 JANUARY 1973

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Standards in schools

The Spectator

Has the tide of dissolution in the educational affairs of Britain begun to turn? Much is very wrong. There is increasingly clear evidence that the number of illiterates — and...

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Fog and a heavy cold prevented me from attending the

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Hampton Court dinner of the European Movement. This was just as well. I would have found it difficult to stomach the Prime Minister saying on the one hand that they were...

Corridors . . .

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PUZZLE, LIKE MOST of those interested in politics, values the pocket diary published by Conservative Central Office. But in the entry under France we are told that the length of...

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Political Commentary

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Honours, titles and Mr Heath Patrick Cosgrave " Dull," said a friend briefly the other night, commenting on the New Year's list. " Singular," I replied, and that is, I think,...

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The Law

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The compensation game David W. Williams The rightful indignation that boiled up in press and Parliament over the plight of the thalidomide victims has caused renewed criticism...

The new fifty-pence piece

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They sat up in Brussels the whole of the night And emerged in the morning all pasty and grey The British and French had been having a fight On how much the lorries in England...

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Amin's reeling economy Joel Cohen Far from being unusual, ridding a country of an alien race, especially if it dominates the economy, is the traditional method by which Third...


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Harmony in the Middle East Ian Meadows Beirut The Director General of UNESCO, M. Rene Maheu, has been visiting Lebanon with a brief-case of ambitious projects, the most...

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Whitlam and the Cavaliers Molly Mortimer The bizarre srectacle of China laying down her second-best red carpet for Australian aboriginals may be good Agitprop. It is also a...


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Roman holiday Duncan Fallowell Supporting upon the soft bridge of her nose a pair of thick, lime-green-glitter, pebble-lensed, cat's-eye Miami spectacles, and one...

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Tyrolean trip Patrick Cosgrave. Until this Christmas I had never been to Austria; indeed, until this Christmas, I had never been on a ski-ing holiday; so I must be borne with...

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Nicholas Richardson on Johnson 'beat out to thin leaf' Surely the strangest thing about Johnson was that he had friends at all, let alone friends so distinguished....

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The colonel's Mede is Miss Renault's Persian

The Spectator

Auberon Waugh The Persian Boy Mary Renault (Longman £2.50) Four hundred and ten pages, with forty lines a page, well bound and stitched, properly , printed on clean, reasonably...

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Painting and social history

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Basil Taylor Goya: The Third of May 1808 Hugh Thomas (Allen Lane £1,95) David: Brutus Robert L. Herbert (Allen Lane £2.25) Van Dyck: Charles I on Horseback Roy Strong (Allen...

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History from coinage

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Simon Hornblower Cleopatra Michael Grant (Weidenfeld and Nicolson £4.25) Biography is the easy approach to history, according to Syme, in his Tacitus. Easy for the reader,...

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Union sicknesses

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Claude Doughty It is striking that Maureen Tomison has chosen as her title for a new study of British Trade Unions and their political influence The English Sickness (Tom...


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Bookbuyer In temper with the cold and miserable weather, Bookbuyer proposes some distinctly Scrooge-like resolutions. He resolves: — that he will comport himself more...

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Cinema Moskowitch, Minnie and the Cassavetes Curse Christopher Hudson There is a scene in John Cassavetes's Minnie and Moskowitch ( 'AA' Bloomsbury) When Minnie is drinkin g...


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TV and Viet-Taff Clive Gammon What a deli g htful piece of timin g we viewers in Wales have been treated to this week. On Monday the Welsh Lan g ua g e Society issued an...

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Nutcracker and nut Robin Young Dance is not the most various medium of artistic expression, but in the postChristmas season London ballet had a fair crack at both fairytale...


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NAB 2 Rodney Milnes The shade of Peter Hall still lurks ominously in the corridors of the Roy Opera House. Last year's new Nabucc was to have been his; perhaps he woul have...

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The art of smiting Benny Green ay a chain of domestic coincidences too farfetched to relate, there has fallen into my possession a slim volume called Donnelly's Self-Defence,...

Will Waspe

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Ethel Merman briefly in town, has been talking of the possibility of a London production, of her legendary New York success, Gypsy. The odds, I fear, are against it — and not...

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The Good Life

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Matters to be chewed over Pamela Vandyke Price The beginning of the year has never been a ;particularly gastronomic time. Then, there was, literally, the wolf at the door,...

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Too kind

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Sir: I accuse you of the crime of being too kind to Mr Heath. You state (December 16) that by the " scandalous European Communities Act and the surrender of parliamentary and...

Infamous conduct

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From Dr A. J. Nimmo Sir: I was rather shaken by John Rowan Wilson's references (December 9) to what he called ' Victorian nonsense' in his article on infamous conduct, as I have...

Praise indeed

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Sir: One would have to go a very long way to find two better articles next to each other in a magazine than those by Simon Jenkins and Auberon Waugh (December 23). I marvel at...

On candidates

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Sir, Others have already commented at length on the causes and significance of Uxbridge and Sutton, and I feel no call to join them; however there is a side issue which should...

Le pouding de Noel

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Sir: I have been eating pudding on Christmas Day for years. I practise this expiatory rite because I am guilty of latent anglomania and hope thus to be forgiven. Yet I cannot...

Ageing lawyers

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Sir: W. Diment (30 December) asserts that there should be a compulsory retirement age for lawyers " sixty-five (or at least seventy)." So far as Her Majesty's judges are...

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Sir: Not since the Daily Express told the world ten years ago what Mr Profumo's butler had for breakfast have I been gripped with such deliciously melancholic ecstasy as when...

Englishman's word

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Sir, I hasten to agree with A. G. Bomford in Australia (Letters, November 18) by saying that, when I placed an order with a bookseller who does not know me, it Is reasonable for...


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Sir: Mr Will Waspe in your issue of December 23, says that it is rumoured that I have a play in some bottom drawer waiting to be' produced. Since false rumours tend to breed...

Sir: May I be permitted the hospitality of your columns

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to express my thanks to the many readers of The Spectator. — some unknown to me, but too numerous to thank individually — who took the trouble at this busy season to write,...


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Sir: This has reference to the last paragraph of Peter Quince's article on country life in England, appearing in your issue of November 25. There your columnist refers to the...

Juliette's Weekly Frolic

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"Fog has closed the M4 at junction 13," trilled Radio 1 Traffic News at regular intervals last Saturday morning. Unfortunately they neglected to pinpoint the precise whereabouts...

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Investment policy for 1973 Nicholas Davenport A warning signal that the short-term bear market in equity shares may be resumed after the year-end holidays was flashed by the...

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Skinflint's City Diary

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It is being officially leaked that Peter Walker is about to announce major reform in the area of takeovers and mergers. He is reported to be planning to abolish the right to the...

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North Sea prospects Nephew Wilde It was not that I felt any different — European-wise I mean — when the clock struck twelve and heralded in another year. However the latest...

Account gamble

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Snap nap John Bull Dixons Photographic is a major beneficiary of any consumer boom. And conditions over the last two years have worked fully in its favour. This is reflected...

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Medicine The collapse of the NHS John Linklater Most of us would agree that the National Health Service is falling short of its expected ideal: its foundation on the premise...