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John Bull Jr W estland and IBM were awarded a £15 billion contract to build the Merlin helicopter for the Navy instead of an all-British consortium. Polls put the Con-...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 FEVER BREAKS OUT o sooner did the Conserative Party limp ahead in an opinion poll by 2 per cent last weekend than the rumour mongers began...


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12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £71.00 0 £35.50 Europe (airmail) 0 £82.00 0 £41.00 USA Airspeed 0 US$110 0 US$55.00 Rest of Airmail 0 £98.00 0 £49.01) World Airspeed 0 £82.00 0 £41.00...

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The dead hand of Mr Hurd guiding us from one compromise to another NOEL MALCOLM I f Mr Major thinks that foreign policy wins votes, he should think again. War and the threat...

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JILLY COOPER A Chairman of Bisley Cricket Club, my husband Leo imports a side to play against the village. A thrilling match in even more thrilling hot weather ends in vic-...

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The Bernard Shaw syndrome that the East does not need CHARLES MOORE arold Nicolson worked under General Smuts at the Versailles peace conference, trying to sort out the ruins...

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Simon Courtauld reveals a new terror in the country, one which the Government doesn't care about A BULLDOZER was filling a farmer's car- case pit in Scotland the other day when...

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One hundred years ago

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The reports on the distress in Russia grow no better. The peasants in the huge Valley of the Volga are said to be literally starving, in all the Polish provinces the scarcity is...

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Peter Bauer and Anthony Daniels on the folly of subsidising the Soviet Union NOW that Russia has finally joined the Third World by accepting the Third World's only unifying...

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Michael Heath


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Matt Frei sees Colonel Gaddafi demonstrate his pugilistic prowess Tripoli JOKES here about Colonel Gaddafi tend to ridicule his flamboyance. For instance: 'No bride would...

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Thomas Braun remembers an overworked diplomat who took liberties with the Athanasian Creed THE Foreign Office between the wars could only afford one diplomat for all three...

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If symptoms

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persist... 'THIS IS terrible,' he murmured. 'I'll be here all day at this rate, and I've got 15 , more to do.' I asked him what he was doing, and he told me he was...


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Harriet Sergeant recounts her experience of being taken out by a Japanese gangster Tokyo THE Japanese gangster is as ubiquitous as the crows which infest this city. Top yakuza...

Page 19


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William Cash reviews the arguments against birth control held by the Catholic Church WHEN Terry Wogan recently asked Madonna about her religion on his televi- sion show, she...

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Is your journey really necessary, professor? PAUL JOHNSON M ore and more young people are try- ing to get into universities. The trend is hailed with approval as though, in an...

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Think tanks

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WHILE we wait for reform, I have a practical suggestion. Tom King is lumber- ing forward with his proposals to spend less money on soldiers and more on tanks. For the surviving...

Can do better

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WE LIVE on an island, said Aneurin Bevan, made of coal and surrounded by fish, so it must have taken an organising genius to create a shortage both of fish and of coal. The...


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Staying away from work by decree time to scrap bank holidays it's CHRISTOPHER FILDES h, good. No more bank holidays until Christmas, so we can get some work done. How the...

Why only one TEA?

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PLAIN living and high thinking are the staples of the Institute for Economic Affairs. Long notorious for its lunches, it made up for them by the quality of its food for thought....

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A reader received the following letter: Dear Sir, Thank you for your recent enquiry for a Distributorship. Since I have been with herbalife my eyes have been opened to the vast...


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DIARY 1992 10 Plain E11 Initialled The Spectator 1992 Diary, bound in soft red leather, will shortly be available. Laid out with a whole week to view, the diary is 5" x 3"....

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Haile interesting

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Sir: Asfa-Wossen Asserate (Paternalist prince' 17 August) is an engaging and enlightened man, and Ethiopia might well benefit from his federal views and liberal principles if by...

Doubtful Diagnosis

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Sir: It would be a brave doctor who diag- nosed syphilis on the basis of an 'infallible' Wasserman reaction (Letters, 24 August). On the evidence produced, the case is far from...


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Recipe for chaos Sir: Sir Alfred Sherman (Letters, 31 August) accuses your leader-writer of 'prej- udice and insufficient knowledge' not only for recommending that the borders...

Sir: It is understandable that Joanna Coles, smarting under the

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harassment of Conduc- tor Baptie and the British Transport Police during her journey from Edinburgh to Kings Cross should have overlooked anoth- er aspect of this remarkable...

Memorandum est

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Sir: In reply to Stephen Williams's com- plaint (24 August) about my article on Jocelyn Stevens and English Heritage, I freely confess I was wrong about there being a...

Satisfied customers

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Sir: I sympathised greatly with Joanna Coles' account of her difficulties with the pig-headed British Rail ticket collector ('Don't let the train. . .' 31 August). But however...

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No withdrawals

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Sir: I have read The Spectator with great pleasure for over 50 years and have recent- ly had a new cause for gratitude; my increasing nausea over the crudity and 'yobbishness'...

Friends indeed

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Sir: How irksome for Mr Parris (Diary, 10 August) to have his social life complicated by the ancient Christian custom of regard- ing all human beings as being of equal worth!...

Important if true

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Sir: As a regular reader of The Spectator I never cease to be amazed at the informa- tion I pick up each week. Now I learn from Robert Fox's 'The invasion of Europe' (i7 August)...

Sir: Please don't pull the plug on the Forbes-Churchill correspondence.

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I can't think why you don't give him (Forbes) a column. It need only run to one sentence. R M Stockdale Thorpe Taney Hall, Lincolnshire


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Sir: In her account of the Edinburgh Book Festival Anne Smith (24 August) said I went unprepared and gave the same talk as four years ago. Untrue. In fact I talked in detail...

Book plug

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Sir: Martyn Harris is mistaken in stating (Arts, 31 August) that I was one of the sharp young Oxbridge men hired by Grace Wyndham Goldie for Panorama and Tonight. In fact I was...

Sir: Cannot you invite Messrs Churchill and Forbes to your

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office, provide them with pistols for two and coffee for one, and leave them to get on with it? This would clear some space in your correspondence columns for letters of more...

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Rape in the afternoon Raymond Carr BLOOD SPORT by Timothy Mitchell University of Pennsylvania Press, £25.60, £9.95, pp. 244 M ore tosh has been written on bull- f ghting...

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Smiler with a knife

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft MENUHIN: A FAMILY PORTRAIT by Tony Palmer Faber & Faber, £15.99, pp. 207 CONVERSATIONS WITH MENUHIN by David Dubai Heinemann, £13.99, pp. 192 G reat...

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Bert by fits and starts

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William Scammell D. H. LAWRENCE: THE EARLY YEARS by John Worthen Cambridge University Press, £25, pp. 626 A rthur Lawrence (born 1846) started work at a Nottinghamshire coal...

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Sisterhood is powerful

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Nigella Lawson ANTONIA WHITE DIARIES 1926-57 edited by Susan Chitty Constable, £19.95, pp. 356 I ought perhaps to have put in my will that [my diaries] should all be burned...

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Mr Hunt in the Library with a gun

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Anthony Powell RUDE WORDS: A DISCURSIVE HISTORY OF THE LONDON LIBRARY by John Wells Macmillan, £17.50, pp. 240 T homas Carlyle (whose phrase gives the title to this book)...

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The Excursion

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The hours of the afternoon were unselfconsciously eventful, absorbing, funny. Calmly, quietly, Oliver found peace in service. If the children were rude he bore it. He bore...

Who are all these people?

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Francis King DAUGHTERS OF ALBION by A. N. Wilson Sinclair-Stevenson, £14.95, pp. 277 T he title of the third volume of A. N. Wilson's novel sequence The Lampitt Pap- ers...

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The modern Carlyle

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John Whitworth MAO II by Don DeLillo Jonathan Cape, £14.99, pp. 241 T his is a smart book written in short sentences. Often without verbs. Like advertising. Brita is a...

Dakar, a beggar child

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I commend this orphan child to my dead father, my grandparents. She was so endearing, so lovable. Help her against the dark, the loneliness of death. Help her into heaven. She...

Landscape with peasants

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Andro Linklater THE TAX INSPECTOR by Peter Carey Faber & Faber, £14.99, pp, 279 I n the old days, when kindly scientists were still trying to develop 'smart' weapons as the...

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Museums History in the raw H enry VIII may have lived some way from Rome and Florence, but he was no hick. Any idea that his kingdom was an impoverished estate on the edge of...

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Close My Eyes ('18', Lumiere) Get the message Harriet Waugh J ungle Fever is the black director Spike Lee's fifth film. He wrote, directed and produced it. The plot is that...

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Pop music

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Staying singles Marcus Berkmann T he singles chart, for most Spectator readers, probably remains hostile territory, populated by unknown heavy metal bands, obscure disco...


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Hedda Gabler (Playhouse) Close to collapse Christopher Edwards T he Abbey Theatre Dublin's revival of one of Ibsen's best-known works arrives in London after a successful run...

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From Gainsborough to Constable: the Emergence of Naturalism in British Painting 1750-1810 (Gainsborough's House, Sudbury, till 13 October) True to nature John Henshall I f...

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Withered daffodils Martyn Harris T ony Hancock wrote his own memorial on a radio episode of Hancock's Half Hour in 1964: 'The best you can expect is a few daffodils in a...

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High life

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Not so wise guy Taki Athens Wen the good Marx, Groucho, ran up against a bore he'd quip that he never forgot a face, 'but in your case I think I'll make an exception'. I...

New life

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Man of business Zenga Longmore U ncle Bisi has not exactly been in my good books of late. For example, look at the way he commandeered Olumba to package up sacks of...

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Alexandra's Hot-Rocks I TRY for variety in these pages. From a gastronomic point of view, this is a flawed aim, but it is not an entirely worthless one. Nevertheless, there are...

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Lloyds Latts Raymond Keene A few weeks ago I eulogised the games of 19-year-old Latvian grandmaster Alexei Shirov. Since then Shirov has amply justified the accolade by a...


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I SCOTCH WHISKY n Competition No. 1692 you were in- vited to present a curriculum vitae from an eager, entirely unsuitable candidate for a responsible post. One of the few good...

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A first prize of 120 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers English Dictionary -- ring the word 'Dictionary') for the first three correct...

No. 1695: Bouts rim&

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You are invited to write a poem with the following rhyme-words in this order: croc- odile, bank, stank, Nile, brain, landlubber, rubber, rain, curls, teacups, hiccups, girls,...

Solution to 1022: Easy does it

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eillilITE IITE rlaarlealrl E R CIE n CC r, E TaS alli T 11111n111011 Eiarlrin thlariejT !NIT a E Olfin 11 L E ni3 riarlatininall VanEnEnDoncenE MO jinn C LI n111112r1r1...

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From a standing tart Frank Keating IT was with a joyous quiver of nostalgia that I read and then re-read last week's exquisite misprint in the middle of this reg- ular little...


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Dear Mary. . . F. F. Spennithome, Yorks. A. One unusual present — which is not available in toy shops — is a device called a nightingale. This imitative instrument, as used in...