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The Spectator

The social worker. T he South African government warned Zimbabwe that if ANC guerrillas based there did not stop mining South African roads, South Africa would pursue them...

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Parliamentarian of the Year Awards

The Spectator

THIS year as last, no trouble, no expense has been spared to make the Spectator/ Highland Park Parliamentarian of the Year Awards a resounding success. The judges have been...


The Spectator

THE case of Mr Ray Honeyford, the Bradford headmaster, hounded by 'anti- racists' because of articles he wrote criticis- ing 'multi-cultural' education, is succinctly summarised...


The Spectator

LITTLE FAITH IN THE CITY M uch is made, in the report of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Urban Priority Areas (Faith in the City, Church House Publishing, £7.50)...

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The Spectator

In the Anglo-Irish kingdom of the cock-eyed FERDINAND MOUNT A good debate. A first-class debate. Very passionate, very Irish, but not in a nasty sort of way. Sober but not too...

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The Spectator

B usiness unfinished, contracts un- signed and cheques unissued by the end of this week will remain in limbo until half- way through January. One could blame the annual...

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The Spectator

Strathclyde's brave attempt to solve the problem of unemployment AUBERON WAUGH C hristmas is coming and it is time to think of the unemployed, as well as those who will die of...

Page 9


The Spectator

Roy Kerridge on the Jasmine Beckford inquiry and the evidence it produced of fatal flaws in the social work system `THERE'S always a few that slip through the net,' a kind...

Page 11


The Spectator

Ronald Payne on the need for expert squads to deal with hijackers SOME elite anti-terrorist squads are more elite than others; some terrorist groups are less political than...

One hundred years ago

The Spectator

Burmese resistance has collapsed. After capturing the Minhla forts, as mentioned in our last issue, General Prendergast proceeded quietly up the River Irrawaddy with his steam...

Page 12

The Spectator

STUDENTS ARE TWICE AS LIKELY TO ENJOY THE SPECTATOR AT LESS THAN HALF-PRICE More stimulating than any lecture, funnier than the set books, The Spectator should be required...

Page 13


The Spectator

Richard Bassett describes how the West was saved by the Romanians at the European Cultural Forum Budapest DIPLOMATS, it is said, have become a dull breed. British diplomats,...

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The Spectator

Vera Buchanan on how Cardinal Ratzinger defeated his opponents with dulness Rome WELL, the Extraordinary Synod is nearly over — it has been a well planned, well executed flop....

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The Spectator

Mark Amory is unable to find a decent production of a worthwhile play in London It is the sound of music that has done it. Musicals are everywhere and more are threatened. If...

Page 22


The Spectator

John Redwood on a better way than the churchmen's for reviving inner cities LESS than one in 100 of the people living in inner cities goes to an Anglican church on Sundays....

Page 24


The Spectator

A. N. Wilson remembers the poet, who died this week THERE are many ways of judging poets. One sure test of their personal appeal is how many lines of their poetry you can...

Page 25


The Spectator

The media: Paul Johnson on the fruitless search for `total history' HISTORY begins with yesterday's news- paper, and the historical and journalistic professions are closer and...

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The Spectator

In South Africa, political change is now the price of credit CHRISTOPHER FILDES I nstructive messages can now be read between the lines of the international banks' dealings...

Fund of flops

The Spectator

BUCKMASTER & Moore, stockbrokers to Keynes, has suffered a case of arrested development. The case history should be read alongside the offers of Business Ex- pansion Scheme...

Alex Dibbs

The Spectator

THE most powerful of bankers, and the least portentous: that was Alex Dibbs. He had joined the Westminster Bank in the lowly post of a junior clerk. He served in that great...

Chief hunted

The Spectator

THE headhunters are out on the trail, to bring Lloyd's of London a chief executive in succession to Ian Hay Davison. They specify a strong administrator, able to push forward to...

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GAME OF CONSEQUENCES Set by Caroline Moore

The Spectator

T he first three winners in the nine-week Spectator Game of Consequences will receive outstanding prizes. The first prize is a valuable 18th-century aquatint of India engraved...

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Not Welles

The Spectator

Sir: In her review of Orson Welles: A Biography (Books, 9 November) Sarah Bradford says that in the film The Magnifi- cent Ambersons, Orson Welles `. . in- sisted upon playing a...

LETTERS Black business

The Spectator

Sir: John Saul's article in the Spectator of 23 November (The Black magic'), which purported to be about me, contains several assertions that were so dishonest and mali- cious...

Bag of crisps

The Spectator

Sir: Mr Woodruff (Letters, 26 October) might appreciate your rainproof wrapping more if he lived out here, where postmen deliver mail only as far as an open chute in the front...


The Spectator

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Please enter a subscription to The Spectator I enclose my cheque for f (Equivalent SUS & Eurocheques accepted) RATES: 12 Months 6 Months UK/Eire ❑ £41.00 ❑...

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Byron Rogers

The Spectator

John James wrote three historical novels at the end of the 1960s. I read two of them this year: Votan and Not for all the Gold in Ireland, and have advertised without suc- cess...

_ E

The Spectator

Books of the Year A further selection of the best and most overrated books of the year chosen by some of the Spectator's regular reviewers. Christopher Booker I have often...

Margaret FitzHerbert

The Spectator

People tend, very tiresomely, to have a political reaction to Doris Lessing; as a result, many may miss her outstanding new novel, The Good Terrorist. It is quite excellent and...

Patrick Marnham

The Spectator

Once again Eland Books' list of reprints has been outstanding. John Hatt has offered fiction for the first time with The Law by Roger Vailland. This is a marvel- lous novel...

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Christopher Hawtree

The Spectator

Everyone knows of Evelyn, a good many of Auberon, too few of Arthur, but who now reads their namesake Edwin, the Lancashire dialect poet? Once famous for his 'Come Whoam To Thy...

Stan Gebler Davies

The Spectator

Ulick O'Connor did not, so far as I know, publish anything this year and so I cannot nominate any production of his, as auto- matically as I usually can, as the most overrated...

Alice Thomas Ellis

The Spectator

I haven't read any new books this year, only reviews and only one of these re- viewed books really sticks in my mind. It is Leon Garfield's book of Shakespeare's plays re-told...

Paul Johnson

The Spectator

Of the books I was sent for review in 1985, none struck me as outstanding, though I was impressed by the material presented in Sanford J. Ungar's Africa: People and Politics in...

Eric Christiansen

The Spectator

The only new book I have read this year is one written before the war by Barbara Pym. It is just like the others. That is praise enough. I wish I could remember what it is...

Jeffrey Bernard

The Spectator

I was surprised and disappointed that Unexplained Laughter by Alice Thomas Ellis was not short-listed for the Booker Prize. The fact that she is a friend has nothing to do with...

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft

The Spectator

A flighty lady novelist and a socialist Chancellor of the Exchequer might not seem to have much in common, but Hugh Dalton and Nancy Mitford were not only both gentlefolk of...

Rupert Christiansen

The Spectator

New fiction still seems to command an excessive amount of attention at the ex- pense of less obviously 'creative' writing, with more mystique wrapped round a third-rate novelist...

James Lees-Milne

The Spectator

1985 has been a very rich year in the sort of books that appeal to me. Robert Gittings's and Jo Manton's Dorothy Wordsworth is a masterpiece of reconstruction of the uneventful...

Duncan Fallowell

The Spectator

Best books: Nicolai Leskov, The Enchanted Wanderer (The Soho Book Company). The only English book in print from this wonderful 1 9th-century Russian writer, a 1926 trans- lation...

Richard Cobb

The Spectator

The book I have most enjoyed reading this year is La Forme d'une Ville (Paris, Jose Corti, 1985) by the West of France novelist Julien Gracq (Jacques Poirier), now aged 75. It...

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Harold Acton

The Spectator

I preferred Family and Friends, by Anita Brookner, to the prize-winning Hotel du Lac. Denis Mack Smith's Cavour is masterly and original and The Letters of Edwin Lutyens to his...

Harriet Waugh

The Spectator

Novels this year have been curiously unin- spired. Usually it is a question of juggling four or five around in your head. This year only two novels strongly awakened my...

Patrick Skene Catling

The Spectator

In a year of exceptionally awful disasters, of which I have experienced my share, it was very pleasant to read The Bodley Head G. K. Chesterton, selected and with an...


The Spectator

Best books: Napoleon, 1812 by Nigel Nicolson. Having always read about the great Corsican in books written by Frenchmen, I finally decided to read something from across the...

Peter Levi

The Spectator

To choose the most overrated book of the year is a mouth-watering exercise that leaves a taste of ashes; these bad, silly books are not interesting enough to write about. To...

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Colin Welch

The Spectator

In January Dr George Katkov died. I read of it with anguish, not because I knew him but because I'd never met him and now never could. I re-read his masterpiece, Russia 1917:...

Richard Ingrams

The Spectator

It is not often that one is able to praise a book by a friend or colleague without a note of insincerity creeping in, which is why I rejoice in commending unreservedly and with...

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A. N. Wilson

The Spectator

My favourite book of 1985 was The Diaries of Auberon Waugh 1976-1985. Not only are they by far the sanest commentary on that gloomy decade. They rise far above the level of...

Hugh Cecil

The Spectator

Best books: The Arrow edition of Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War — the best account of Vietnam fighting to date and not to be lumped in the same category as third-rate works like...

Alastair Forbes

The Spectator

Let me very seriously urge everyone to buy or borrow a book I hope soon to review at the length it deserves, The Berlin Diaries (1940-1945) of Marie Missie' Vassiltchi- kov....

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A Mexican poet and intellectual?

The Spectator

Colin Welch ONE EARTH, FOUR OR FIVE WORLDS: REFLECTIONS ON CONTEMPORARY HISTORY by Octavio Paz, translated by Helen R. Lane Carcanet, £12.95 A book that pleases me is like a...

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A dirty snowball in heaven

The Spectator

Tony Osman HALLEY AND HIS COMET by Peter Lancaster-Brown Blandford, f9.95 THE OFFICIAL HALLEY'S COMET BOOK by Brian Harpur Hodder, f8.95 H alley's comet is, most probably,...

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The last glory of English poetry

The Spectator

Michael Wharton COLLECTED POEMS by Geoffrey Hill Penguin, £3.95 A literary magazine recently published a symposium in which various well-known writers were asked, among other...

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The poet of friendship

The Spectator

Caroline Moorehead EVERYTHING TO LOSE: DIARIES 1945-1960 by Frances Partridge Gollancz, f12.95 H am Spray, under the Wiltshire Downs, was the house where Lytton Strachey,...

Children's Books I: up to twelve

The Spectator

Sandra Howard C hoosing books for children is a bit like pigeon-holing people by the titles on their book shelves. Are you most influ- enced by childhood memories or your own...

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Children's Books II: from twelve on

The Spectator

Harriet Joll ina Bawden's The Finding (Gollancz, £6.95), is about an orphan who lives with a kind and happy family. When he's 11 he celebrates his 'finding' day. He has no...

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The Spectator

Galleries Eye-openers up North Daniel Farson T here was a distressing incident which I witnessed last year in the Manchester City Art Gallery. This has been restored to its...

Page 47


The Spectator

Kurt Schwitters (Tate Gallery till 5 January) The Brotherhood of Ruralists and Friends (Piccadilly Gallery till 10 January) Ticket collector Giles Auty I n this century many...

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The Spectator

Passion Play (Bristol Old Vic) Double entendre Christopher Edwards T his is an excellently acted revival of the Peter Nichols play which was produced with some success at the...

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The Spectator

Giselle (Royal Opera House) Less sugar, more spice Julie Kavanagh iselle — or rather, Act I of Giselle with its stock Mad Scene, twee peasants and lovers' games of...

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The Spectator

Lust in the Dust (`15', selected cinemas) Going ape Peter Ackroyd T he star of this odd but amusing film, Divine, is, not to put too fine a point on it, a 20-stone...

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The Spectator

Faust (Coliseum) Fanciulla gone west Rodney Milnes T he Royal Opera management must have had an unpleasant time deciding which of their two revivals to scrap while the...

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The Spectator

This England Peter Levi W eekends are supposed to be best, and on Sunday evenings there is nothing like a pleasantly deadening old film. Sun- day evening is the only time of...

High life

The Spectator

High- Taki his is the time of year that New York mantelpieces begin to resemble my friend Charles Benson: groaning under the strain, stuffed to the gills, and about to...

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Home life

The Spectator

Machine- Alice Thomas Ellis by hand until we forced ourselves to pay up for a new dishwasher which worked. This is my favourite machine although it did once develop a habit of...

Low life

The Spectator

Animal crackers Jeffrey Bernard I was very interested to see on the television news that a Basingstoke-based dachshund was awarded a medal for raising the alarm with sustained...

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The Spectator

A sense of freedom P. J. Kavanagh I first got to know Geoffrey Grigson who died at the end of November, aged 80 — when he was over 60, which I regret, because he would have...

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The Spectator

T he English team's result in the inaugu- ral world team championship at Lucerne proves that we are now definitely in the medal club and will, I hope, stay there. The record has...


The Spectator

Latin exercise . Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1398 you were asked to write a poem in English but in a Latin metre. Down in a deep, dark hole sat an old cow chewing a...

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Solution to Crossword 734: What rotters!

The Spectator

The unclued lights are all fungi. 24A: FINANCE also acceptable. 7D: This variant spelling has been dropped from the latest Chambers. Winners: John L. Cope, London SW6 (£20); F....

No. 1401: Beastly chorus

The Spectator

You are invited to supply a Gilbertian `Song of Santa's Reindeer' (maximum 1, lines). Entries to 'Competition No. 1401' by Thursday, 19 December.

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The Spectator

737: Sleeping partners by Jac A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or a copy of Chambers Dictionary, value £11.95 — ring the words 'Chambers Dictionary' above)...

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Cod, conger eel and turkey stuffing ri THE first Sunday

The Spectator

in Advent already, and the first sign of sun for what seems an age, quite balmy today; but, as this is my last piece for the year, some suitable and seasonable suggestions are...


The Spectator

YOUNG WRITER AWARDS, How To Enter Simply write an article on a subject of your choice and send it to The Spectator. The judges will be the editor of The Spectator, Charles...