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Tuesday, 19 December 1995

  • Letter: Not a question of 'good' and 'bad' teachers
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: Chris Woodhead's article ("Schools need much more than money", 16 December) is a demonstration of why so many teachers find his performance as Chief Inspector of Schools in the "unsatisfactory" department. To concentrate on one issue, that of cl...

  • Letter: Jonah and the Tooth Fairy
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: Your front-page story (18 December) regarding Canon Brian Andrews telling his congregation that neither Santa Claus nor the Tooth Fairy really exist included a comment by the Rt Rev Dr David Jenkins that "the teaching of Christianity would benef...

  • Letter: Labour intensive
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: Having not seen BBC2's series about the Labour Party, The Wilderness Years ("Welcome back from the wilderness", 19 December), I remain at a loss as to the purpose of the enterprise. Much of what I have read in the press must have something to do...

  • Balls are good training for princes
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    So of course Prince William should have gone to the Mistletoe and Feathers balls. If he is denied this sort of experience, in later life he may not know how to react to the inevitable sexual confrontations that he will face. A recent Tatler survey of...

  • Letter: Bouncing Euro
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: So, we are going to have a marsupial as our currency (Euro is a kind of kangaroo). I assume that a hundreth of a Euro will be a Joey. Yours faithfully, Jean Brazier Bristol

  • Leading Article: Mr Murdoch goes over the top
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Still, all's fair in love, war and commerce. These top players are getting large sums of money for signing their independence away. And News Corporation is pouring millions of pounds into rugby league clubs which were heading for broke. To the dismay...

  • Letter: The taxman triumphant
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: Richard Jones and his staff at the Large Groups office of the Inland Revenue should be congratulated for improving the Revenue's appreciation of the way business operates ("The taxman with his sights on a clear picture," 18 December), but his "c...

  • Letter: Snobs labelled?
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: Please do not be so patronising about high-street shopping ("Christmas challenge in the high street"). I imagine that many of your readers, like myself, have neither the time nor the money to shop at leisure in London's designer outlets. We have...

  • Buying more than just a good education
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Am I a Friend of Independent Schools? Well, each of my four children has spent some time in one, at differing points in their school careers. But a Friend? I suppose so, yes. I do not indulge in that liberal queasiness that uses the private sector bu...

  • Sons damaged by fathers behaving badly
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    For boys, it seems that a bad father is worse than no father. In my study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, I talked to a group of 99 young men about the quality of care that their fathers provided throughout their childhood and ad...

  • Letter: Bouncing Euro
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: As it has been decided to call the new unit of currency for Europe the "Euro", will financial experts be called "Eurologists" in future? Yours faithfully, Geoff Sherlock Amersham, Buckinghamshire 15 December

  • Letter: Not a question of 'good' and 'bad' teachers
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: That schools need much more than money is not in dispute. What requires constant re-affirmation is that they do need much more money, and the Chief Inspector does our schools a disservice in weakening the argument for this. Granted that the key ...

  • bridge
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    After a pass by West, North opened 1NT and South jumped to game in hearts to end matters. A fair case could have been made for a raise to 3NT instead: if North has nothing in hearts, it is unlikely that another suit will be wide open. In practice, Ea...

  • Andrew Lees certainly helped inspire local people to love what was on their doorstep
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    In the mid 1970s, Lees studied at Cardiff University. He became interested in a wetland site at Swansea. It was and remains a peculiar place. Surrounded by 19th-century coal mines, and fringed with industry, it is not much visited for obvious wildern...

  • chess a clash of geniuses
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    The Sorceror's Apprentice, by David Bronstein and Tom Furstenberg, (Cadogan Chess, pounds 14.99) is one of the most original and delightful chess books to appear in recent years. Starting with an anarchic set of "40 Recommendations for the Novice" th...

  • Letter: Not a question of 'good' and 'bad' teachers
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: What about trendy inspectors? In the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and possibly longer, many experienced, well-qualified, devoted but traditional teachers knew who the enemy was. Yours faithfully, C. G. Jermey London, N12

  • Nicked at the cutting edge of bourgeois life
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    When the police declare an amnesty on people carrying knives, it is not just the schoolchildren of the nation they are appealing to, our dear little schoolchildren armed to the teeth with guns, knives, cutlasses and machetes. Nor is it merely to the ...

  • Leading Article: Howard must act on prison misery
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Let us not forget that many of the women in Holloway are not there for particularly serious offences. A number were incarcerated after failing to pay a fine for not having a television licence. Many are on remand and have not been found guilty of any...

  • Letter: No BSE from SAEs
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: Why does the consumer have to stop eating beef just because the British farmer cannot provide a guaranteed BSE-free product? This morning my local supermarket is charging pounds 3.90 a pound for steak. In America the price for the same product i...

  • Letter: Jonah and the Tooth Fairy
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: When my eldest daughter was seven years old, we over-heard her instructing her kid brother on Christmas Eve in these words: You see, Tim, Father Christmas is a game we children have to play with grown-ups, so that they won't be disappointed. Are...

  • Ruined by a lie, not a lifestyle
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    For the point that rings out clear from the Royal Courts of Justice is that shame lies not in the supposed homosexuality of a man in public life, but in the hypocrisy of his denial. Nevertheless, the public response, I suspect, will be overwhelmingly...

  • yesterday was...
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Alison Tyler, who completed her charity-fundraising lunchathon by eating her 100th Christmas lunch in six days. Her feat raised pounds 10,000 for the Children's Hospice Appeal and the Orlando fund to send sick children to Disneyworld. A bad day for: ...

  • Letter: Not a question of 'good' and 'bad' teachers
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: For too long I have read of the failings of teachers. We have become the target of both the major parties. I have been a teacher since 1969 in both sectors and, for the most part, worked with caring, dedicated professionals. I am not denying tha...

  • Letter: Jonah and the Tooth Fairy
    Wednesday, 20 December 1995

    Sir: Reindeer may not be very strong, as Lars Breimer observes (letter, 19 December) but they are certainly strong enough to pull a man in a sledge. It was a reindeer pulling a sledge that saved the life of Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian soldier, sent fro...

  • LETTER: Present imperfect
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I hope Daniel Jeffreys ("No polka-dot ribbons please, we're British", 13 December) doesn't come shopping in the busy retail outlet where I work. I could easily conjure up some hostility and incomprehension for his request for the gift-wrapping o...

  • Church schools want ballots, too
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    The reality is different. Ever since the Thatcher government came to power 16 years ago, there have been differences between the Church of England and the Conservatives about everything from the Falklands war to what children should be taught about G...

  • Cutting quotas - the best deal for fishermen
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    It might seem paradoxical that an important part of the Government's policy for securing a healthy and confident fishing industry is to take measures that obviously lead to pain and some unemployment in communities already under pressure. I know it c...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Pace Jonathan Leckie (letter, 13 December), Father Christmas was well-known in this country long before Prince Albert's day. He rates an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, which cites a pamphlet of 1658 entitled Examination and tryall of ol...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: The finger points at resignation
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    The lynch-happy citizens of Parliament, UK (population 651), had taken to the streets because of revelations about the regulator in the backwash of last week's claim and counterclaim concerning Richard Branson and the American company GTech. Mr Brans...

  • Uncle Jim gets carried away with sewage
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    "So, why is it called a sewage farm?" said Peter, wrinkling his nose as the acrid rural smell drifted slowly across the field. "I mean, it's not really a farm, is it? It doesn't produce anything, does it? It doesn't produce sewage, does it, even thou...

  • LETTER: Better ways of spending money for education
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Why give such prominence to yet another piece of meaningless educational "research"? The study, based as it was on just one group of children born in 1958, cannot be taken as relevant to any group born even just a few years later, and is certain...

  • LETTER: Blunt talk about sharp objects
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I read today ("Knife offenders will face jail sentences", 12 December) that the change proposed is to increase the sentence for an offence under section 139 Criminal Justice Act 1988, and to make it an arrestable offence. Section 139 makes it an...

  • Why Russians are seeing red
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    As has happened virtually every other Eastern European country, the electoral success of the Communist Party is a protest against the economic pain of the past five years. The Prime Minister, Viktor Chernyomyrdin, and his government have failed disma...

  • Welcome back from the wilderness
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    It is, to simplify, that there is no third way between the Vision Splendid of traditional socialism and mere conservatism. Throughout the final two programmes, the implication was that in its long, dusty and painful hunt for votes, Labour had no alte...

  • LETTER: Better ways of spending money for education
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Now we have the evidence that private schooling has little or no effect on children's adult achievements ("Value of private schooling may be over-estimated", 14 December) - what really counts in life is ability - it is time for a rethink on the ...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Gretchen Mason (letter, 15 December) was closest to the truth in the debate about the origins of Santa Claus. He is, in fact, a mixture of the Dutch Saint Nicholas and the Scandinavian Jul Tomten (Christmas elf). Saint Nicholas is a bishop from ...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: The Swedish artist Jenny Nystrom (1854-1946) created Father Christmas (Jultomten) as he appears to us, not Haddon Sundblom, as stated in Richard Halliday's letter of 15 December. Jenny Nystrom won the gold medal of the Academy of Arts in 1881. F...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: The end is not nigh for reform in Russia
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Yet it would be a mistake to paint a picture of uniform bleakness. There are two crucial reasons for suggesting that this is not necessarily the end of the road for reform. Yesterday's refusal of the markets to panic reflects an awareness that the en...

  • LETTER: Trouble in Tibet
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: In his article about the choice of a new Panchen Lama ("Tibet in turmoil over ruin of ancient rituals", 8 December), Tim McGirk wrote: The Chinese are attempting to smash an occult ritual that has persisted in Tibet for hundreds of years. This i...

  • LETTER: BSE licked?
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Am I alone in concern about glue? I always thought that it was made from animal bones etc, ground up. If this is still the case, should we not all stop licking stamps and envelopes? Sincerely, Richard Huddy Manchester

  • LETTER: Present imperfect
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I read Daniel Jeffreys' lament about the lack of gift wrapping in British stores. I can sympathise. When I really get fed up with this tiresome skinflint attitude, I do have my revenge: I select an item for purchase in a store, take it to the co...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I had a good laugh at Richard Halliday's letter (15 December). The figure of Father Christmas as we know him goes back a lot further than 1931, or even 1921. I was born in 1911, and so had my first encounter with "Sandy Claws" (as I at first und...

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