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Portrait of the week

The Spectator

A gainst the advice of shop stewards, a majority of British Leyland's 58,000 car workers voted to end their strike and accept a 3.8 per cent increase in basic rates. They were...

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Political commentary

The Spectator

The mantle of Macleod Ferdinand Mount Modes mostly think that politics, like the I art of biography, is about chaps. Talk about politics as if it offered alternative maps of...

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The Spectator

D earBron,' I wrote in a letter a few weeks ago, 'This is just to let you know that we are producing our 8,000th issue next month. It is the issue dated 7 November, for which...

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Another voice

The Spectator

The magic number Auberon Waugh I t is not often that I receive instructions from the editor of this magazine about my subject for the week. In fact, I think it is the first...

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Planning for the unthinkable

The Spectator

Nicholas von Hoffman Washington H ospital administrators across the country recently received a request from the Pentagon, asking them to set aside 50,000 beds for combat...

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Whisky on the rocks

The Spectator

Andrew Brown Gothenburg T hey cannot have had an enjoyable time in the cold, dank darkness, waiting on a rock while their captain was interrogated. The gale that threatened to...

No. 1,000 28 August, 1847

The Spectator

J ohn May Harris, a boy only eight years old, has lost his life, at Poplar, from having been compelled to administer to the brutal amusement of a mob. A number of boys had been...

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No cancer, only eczema

The Spectator

Richard West Hong Kong rr he colony of Hong Kong, whose social life was condemned by Ken Livingstone as a 'rat race' (see last week's Spectator), also lives by a different moral...

No. 2,000 27 October, 1866 O ur Conservative contemporary, the Globe,

The Spectator

had a sort of manifesto last Wednesday declaring the truly Liberal character of the Tory party. The Tories, it says, are all Liberals now, and the Liberals are mere...

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The politics of preservation

The Spectator

Gavin Stamp Johannesburg J ohannesburg can never have been a beautiful city; it is certainly not beautiful now. Founded as a gold-mining camp in 1886, it has always been...

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No. 3,000 26 December, 1885 T he American Senate has, it

The Spectator

is said, accepted a Bill which is expected to suppress polygamy within the territory of Utah. It not only makes it a penal offence, but compels the evidence of husband and wife,...

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Another nasty little war

The Spectator

Roger Warner Bangkok T raditional warfare in South East Asia follows a pattern. Among the many ethnic groups spread over the landscape, at least one group at any given time...

No. 4,000 25 February, 1905

The Spectator

T he Russian revolutionaries have begun to fulfil their threat of carrying on their 'war' with the dynasty with the bullet, the knife, and the handgrenade filled with lyddite....

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No. 5,000 26 April, 1924 I f you had asked, 'What

The Spectator

is Sheffield for?' 20 years ago you would have had an answer back pat enough. It might not have pleased you, but it would have been given with a convincing assurance. Sheffield...

Back to school

The Spectator

Roy Kerridge B etween 1954 and 1958 I attended Holloway School in North London. It had been a boys' grammar school when I started and was a comprehensive school by the time I...

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Butter or margarine?

The Spectator

Donald Gould T he butter mountain must be threatening to engulf the dairymen. How else can anyone explain, in these hard times, the Butter Information Council's vast...

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An early muck-raker

The Spectator

Geoffrey Wheatcroft J ournalists and backbench members of Parliament are bit-part players in the public drama. But they are sometimes more interesting — and more attractive —...

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No. 6,000 25 June, 1943

The Spectator

A ll the reports from Russia at the end of her second year of war show how the grim determination which marked the earlier phases has been succeeded by a firm confidence in her...

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The Spectator and I

The Spectator

Alan Watkins rr he sixth form library provided the Spec]. tator and the Times Literary Supplement. Neither, 30 years ago, was to my taste. The TLS I found unreadable and mostly...

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The 'new Spectator

The Spectator

Peregrine Worsthorne T hroughout most of history it has been 1 the function of the Press to expose evil in high places. Editors have seen their function as that of tearing away...

No. 7,000 24 August, 1962

The Spectator

T he plaudits which greeted the two Soviet astronauts on their return from their simultaneous voyage in space are well deserved. Russia's technological and scientific...

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The press

The Spectator

Surviving Paul Johnson A nyone inspecting the health of the British national press at the end of 1981 can produce two completely differeat sets of arguments. The first is that...

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In the City

The Spectator

Stags at risk Tony Rudd T hose who apply themselves and their funds to the business of making money out of short-term dealing in new issues have traditionally been called...

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Demonstrators for CND

The Spectator

Sir: No single spectator could produce a satisfactory report of a demonstration as large as the one organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on 25 October, but I must...

The lights of Calais

The Spectator

Sir: Alexander Chancellor should come down off his Kentish mountain and make a trip to the Calais he maligns (Notebook, 31 October). Were he a yachtsman, he would find there a...

Bold in war

The Spectator

Sir: Murray Sayle misattributes, as well as perpetrating the common misquotation of, the celebrated phrase 'de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace' (24...

The Sodpal factor

The Spectator

Sir: It is distressing that an entire issue of the Spectator should have been allowed to pass without due tribute to Geoffrey Wheatcroft's brilliant acronym, SODPAL, for the...


The Spectator

Sir: It would be pleasant to be able to mention Ireland in your paper, or any other, without attracting a nonsensical reply. To refute my suggestion that `Lilliburlero', as the...

Sir: To shed further light on the origins of the

The Spectator

tune' Lilliburlero', Lord Macaulay in his Vol. 2 of The History of England refers in . a footnote thus: 'The song of Lilliburlero among the State Poems. In Percy's Relics the...

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The Spectator

Solitary travel in antique lands William Shawcross Slow Boats to China Gavin Young (Hutchinson pp. 489, £8.95) I have before me a gaudy travel brochure from a firm called...

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Neither Saki nor his world

The Spectator

Patrick Marn ham Saki: A Life of Hector Hugh Munro A.J. Langguth (Hamish Hamilton pp. 366 £12.50) N o one before has attempted a life of Saki. His older sister, Ethel,...

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Beer and banks

The Spectator

Jonathan Guinness The Silver Salver: The Story of the Guinness Family Frederick Mullally (Granada pp. 255, £9.95) T he Guinness family really is a family. Everyone called...

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Flawed portrait

The Spectator

Caroline Moorehead Flaws in Glass: A self-portait Patrick White (Jonathan Cape pp. 257, £7.95) M any successful Australians have been obsessed with the idea of escape and...

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Purple prose

The Spectator

Richard In grams Places: An Anthology of Britain ed. Ronald Blythe (Oxford University Press pp.238, £7.95) rT 1 his book, written by a clutch of well ]. known authors chosen by...

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Tiny but good

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling The Complete Clerihews of E. Clerihew Bentley introd. Gavin Ewart (Oxford University Press pp. 145, £5.95) E. C. Bentley Was not only quite superior...

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Family affair

The Spectator

Francis King Customs Lisa Zeidner (Cape pp.272, £6.95) in this first novel by a 26-year-old Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, reality is layered with fantasy like a...

To My Daughter

The Spectator

When I'm far out in drink, your musical box Gives me the horrors. Mermaids on the rocks, Beached rabbits, stranded starfish, teddy bears — Simpering pyknic picnickers in pairs —...

Flashes of wit

The Spectator

James Lasdun Feelings Have Changed P. H. Newby (Faber pp. 266, £6.95) A Separate Development Christopher Hope (Routledge & Kegan Paul pp. 199, £6.95) L'eelings Have Changed...

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Cautious kings

The Spectator

John Wilton The House of Sa'ud David Holden and Richard Johns (Sidgwick and Jackson pp. 569, £9.95) The Kingdom Robert Lacey (Hutchinson pp. 631, £9.95) Ibn Khaldun, as...

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The Spectator

Homage to Catalonia Simon Courtauld Homage to Catalonia George Orwell (Penguin Books pp. 247, £1.50) w hen Fredric Warburg agreed to publish George Orwell's account of his...

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Recent Paperbacks

The Spectator

Rupert Brooke, His Life and His Legend John Lehmann (Quartet pp. 178, £2.95). Brooke's romantic view of modern warfare wa s discredited by the carnage that took place after his...

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The Spectator

Miller's tale retold Mark Amory All My Sons (Wyndhams) Decadence (Arts) E veryone enjoys the curtain going up at the theatre, but we are rarely allowed to watch one nowadays...


The Spectator

Man of irony John McEwen Elewwill begrudge Patrick Caulfield the honour of his current retrospective of paintings at the Tate Gallery (till 3 January 1982). He entered the...

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The Spectator

A light touch Peter Ackroyd Paternity ('AA', selected cinemas) rr here were about eight of us altogether in the audience, like a small gathering around a grave. It was a large...

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The Spectator

Side-step Alan Gibson T hat the Indian tour is on, after all, is a matter for satisfaction, at least to most English and Indian cricketers. It will not please West Indians and...


The Spectator

Hogwash Richard In grams T see that I have been taken to task, in the 1 friendliest possible way of course, by Mr Auberon Waugh over my disparaging reference to the naked bums...

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High life

The Spectator

Starry eyed Tab M y reaction upon reading that my Lowlife colleague was given a shiner by two taxi drivers of the Indian persuasion was that I could have told him so. Taki's...

Low life

The Spectator

Marked man Jeffrey Bernard w here was I? Yes, after the pounding from the the Indian mini-cab drivers in Gerrard Street I decided to cross the road into Shaftesbury Avenue and...