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Tuesday, 17 October 1995

  • LETTER: Who takes the blame for prison problems?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Your leading article "Howard escapes justice again", (17 October) states that "no one who reads this report will doubt that his [Derek Lewis's] resignation is appropriate". Derek Lewis did not resign, he was summarily dismissed by the Home Secre...

  • LETTER: Operatic snobbery
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: As a member of the working class, I resent Terry Dicks's imputation that I am an "arty-farty" type who indulges in "corporate entertaining" (report, 16 October). Classical music and theatre are my interests, and I rejoice that some of my pounds ...

  • LETTER: Better information on IVF
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: You rightly state ("A league table too far", 12 October) that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority statistical report of in vitro fertilisation and donor insemination clinics' live birth rates should be handled with caution. That is ...

  • Richard D North
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Mr Caldwell - the very image of a businesslike bureaucrat - is mildly optimistic that Mr Dorrell can achieve his savings. "It would help if the enormous burden of reporting to the centre could be reduced a bit," he says, wryly. Working from conspicuo...

  • Can we trust the men in suits?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Fukuyama's book is about what he calls "social capital". This means the social, as opposed to merely economic, structures that make successful societies. Trust lies at the heart of these structures, since it smooths the operation of society, lowering...

  • Howard blameless: true or false?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    1. In what circumstances can you imagine Michael Howard actually taking the blame for anything? 2. Do you think Michael Howard would resign as Home Secretary if: (a) He was asked to? (b) A gun was put to his head and he was asked to? (c) He became so...

  • LETTER: Do it matter?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: There is a real difference between time-honoured and charming dialect usage, as valued by Pam Ayres (Another View, 13 October) and many others, and the creeping bane of the new illiteracy. Forms such as "should of", "might of went", beloved of t...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: It's time to break the Bank
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    It is gripping stuff, but the central public policy question remains the same: does Britain have the best possible arrangements for supervising its banks? It has to be recognised that no system will be flawless. A clever fraudster will always be able...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: The dream of Gummerius
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    It recognises that the physical depradations of industrial-scale agriculture have been followed by a hollowing out of village communities. Scarce housing stock has been bought up by commuters whose work takes them to cities during the day, by second ...

  • LETTER: Who takes the blame for prison problems?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Could the Home Secretary give us an example of a "policy decision" taken by him, in which there was at least the possibility of it turning out badly? Having overall responsibility for policy seems to have meant no more than saying to Derek Lewis...

  • LETTER: Operatic snobbery
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Andrew Gumbel's attack on Luciano Pavarotti demonstrates exactly the sort of damaging snobbery that erects barriers between what is perceived as "high art" and more popular culture ("Dear Luciano Pavarotti", 16 October). The public consumption o...

  • LETTER: Better information on IVF
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: So, unbelievably, yet another IVF unit has recently opened in London. I did not refer to my colleagues at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in my article ("NHS patients deserve the best", 6 October), but they make my point so eloquently (Lett...

  • Politicians are the true philistines
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    But is that what we are really like? True, the French and Germans traditionally spend more on arts. But the munificence of the lottery will soon change that. The fundamental difference has not been among the British people, but among the politicians....

  • LETTER: Bunny peculiar
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: With regard to your article about the fate of rabbits on the Isle of Man ("A tale of Flopsy, Mopsy and public enemy No 1", 13 October), the disappearance of the old Rangoon Corporation following the Japanese invasion and occupation of Burma in 1...

  • LETTER: The status quo vs justice for gays
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Like all temperamental conservatives, Bryan Appleyard deplores the intrusion of politics into essentially personal aspects of life ("Kiss goodbye to gay politics", 11 October). So do I - but for different reasons. While Mr Appleyard and his ilk ...

  • LETTER: Death by gloves
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: In 1889 Aeneas Murphy, a navvy from County Mayo who for 40 years had "made a bit on the side" in Liverpool and London as a bare-knuckle fighter died of a heart attack shortly after his last contest in a St John's Wood field. Murphy, my grandmoth...

  • Priests for the people
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    It is one thing to conclude - as the tribunal did - that a clergyman is not an employee, and therefore not subject to secular employment laws, but much harder to say what he actually is. As a result of the present climate of change we find ourselves ...

  • chess
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    I would not recommend trying to solve this splendid problem, which was composed by JC van Gool in 1979. Just play through the solution and see how long it takes you to realise what is going on before you boggle at the final position. Since Black has ...

  • LETTER: Who takes the blame for prison problems?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: As you suggest, Derek Lewis's record as director general of the Prison Service is one of considerable achievement. Contrary to the public image, performance has improved in many areas, and Mr Lewis has given highly visible leadership. Although t...

  • Diary
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    I don't want to spoil the party, but throughout the hype an interview from long ago with the late John Lennon has been buzzing round my mind. It took place in 1971 with Rolling Stone magazine. In it, John was asked about those unreleased tracks and o...

  • Letter: Boxing: the camaraderie and the tragedy
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: If the death of the young boxer James Murray on Sunday morning helps to bring this nation to its senses, and makes us realise that boxing is merely a legalised form of manslaughter and not a sport, then maybe his death was not in vain. It is abo...

  • Letter: Foreign aid for the British army
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: The day after Michael Portillo's jingoistic eulogy of the British armed forces, his own department announces that they may have to plug the gaps in the infantry and the parachutists with Nepalese mercenaries. Why not let them take over the SAS? ...

  • Letter: No place of refuge
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: We are glad to hear that the Government wants to help genuine refugees (report, 12 October). However, the announcement by Peter Lilley about the withdrawal of social security benefits for asylum seekers gives every appearance to the contrary. Ma...

  • Letter: Lottery funds for Neptune Hall
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: Although it is not our practice to comment publicly on applications under consideration, Colin Brown's article ("Philip wades into battle for lottery cash", 16 October) about the National Maritime Museum's application should not go unanswered. T...

  • Leading Article; One tyrant, one vote
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Here was a contest with one candidate in which many hapless voters were invited to mark their papers without the least privacy. Its outcome was celebrated with the intimidatory tattoo of Kalashnikov fire familiar at occasions of spontaneous public re...

  • Letter: Spoken English
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: After reading Pam Ayres (Another View: "Permit me my wrinkles", 13 October), I was reminded of an exquisite piece of conversation I overheard in August between two birdwatchers at Spurn Point on Humberside. First birdwatcher: "I've just seen a r...

  • Letter: A wealthy but backward society
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: As a Filipina married to an Englishman and living in this country, I am incensed at the treatment my countrywomen (and other foreign nationals) are receiving at the hands of Arab employers in the Gulf ("Gulf maids in slavery to a reign of terror...

  • Unfinished prison reform
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    The Prison Service has had a troubled history. In the Eighties it was industrial relations and overcrowding. In 1990 it was the most serious riots in its history at Strangeways and other prisons. Most recently it has been the very serious escapes fro...

  • The buck wanders round and round
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    At one level this is sensible. The old doctrine was that, in Aneurin Bevan's phrase, ``if a bedpan is dropped, the minister will hear of it''. Taken seriously, that would produce deafened, overwhelmed ministers, drowning helplessly in the minutiae of...

  • Letter: Foreign aid for the British army
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: In 1952, I served in Korea as a signal platoon sergeant, 1st Bn Royal Fusiliers. Your article "Gurkhas on alert to bolster Paras' depleted infantry" (14 October) caused me to remember that the infantry battalions in the Commonwealth division wer...

  • This green and threatened land
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    This warm and dreamy national emblem still survives largely intact across much of the country - but it is looking increasingly faded and ragged. The fields are bigger because many of the hedgerows have either been grubbed out or ruined through neglec...

  • Letter: Open planning
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: In the course of his musings on the review of local government ("Who said size was not important?" 4 October), Professor Michael Chisholm is quoted as saying: "There is a lot of low-grade corruption in district councils regarding planning decisi...

  • Letter: Subsidy for the exploited employee
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir: Last Wednesday (11 October), Peter Lilley duly observed the traditions of the Conservative Party Conference by raising the spectre of social security benefit fraud in order ritually to decry it. Obviously, benefit fraud cannot be a good thing, b...

  • Many a proverb makes no sense
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    It took me several minutes' hard thought before I stumbled on the fallacy in this idea, but even after spotting the fallacy I still like it. It comes from Paul Dickson's The New Official Rules, the great guide to life that I referred to yesterday and...

  • Delia runs wild in the bookshop
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    In half a million British households, as the nights draw in, people will presumably be sitting down to Tuscan White Bean Soup with Frizzled Shallots and Pancetta, they'll be tucking into Red Onion Tarte Tatin, calling for more of the Spiced Lambrusco...

  • Letter: Boxing: the camaraderie and the tragedy
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir, I was pleased to note in your editorial "Boxing: the final blow?" (16 October) that you accept that the risks of death in boxing are extremely low, and further, that whatever the risks, boxers choose to enter the ring, and accept that whatever m...

  • Leading Article; Howard escapes justice again
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Sir John's report, which focuses primarily on the escape of three dangerous prisoners last January from Parkhurst, describes a shambolic security system, many weaknesses of which had been previously identified by the governor and by Judge Stephen Tum...

  • Bank ready for Barings attack from Singapore
    Tuesday, 17 October 1995

    Singapore and JOHN EISENHAMMER London The Bank of England was bracing itself last night for a barrage of criticism from Singapore, which today publishes its version of the destruction of Barings. Eddie George, the Governor of the Bank of England, wil...

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