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Thursday, 28 December 1995

  • LETTER: Common sense and monetary union
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: I was most interested to read Hamish McRae's article (22 December) about the impracticalities of monetary union, but I think even more fundamental is the question of parliamentary control thereof. Politics is very largely about the economy and t...

  • LETTER: Sharp practice
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: Your headline "Straw urges action on knife adverts" (23 December) prompts the reflection that if manufacturers of kitchen equipment would stop making kitchen knives with a point, much less damage might be done. To enhance a macho image in chefs,...

  • LETTER: Two answers to the West Lothian question
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: According to your leader "Tartan terrors of Mr Blair", (27 December), Tony Blair plans a new commission to think up answers to the "West Lothian question", which the creation of a Scottish parliament engenders. It is doubtful that such a commiss...

  • LETTER: Communists get streetwise
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: Not long ago, new street-name signs were put up on the Nevsky Prospect in St Petersburg. They bear three lines of text: the first reads "Nevsky Prospect" in Russian letters, the second the same in Latin letters, the third line reads, also in Lat...

  • Jack of all trades - and all classes
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    It's also probably the biggest statement you'll ever make about who you are and where you're going. So, Gabriel is rejected as too biblical, Nathaniel too American, Raphael too effeminate. But how about Jack? A solid, unpretentious name belonging to ...

  • In fear of living dangerously
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Already, many are drawing what they take to be the obvious moral. You can't trust anyone. Strangers are dangerous and only a fool would choose to hitch, deliberately laying themselves open to psychopaths and weirdos. This is a predictable response an...

  • A region with a bad reputation
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    As the clash point between three former empires, the Balkans seemed almost destined to symbolise trouble. Constantly shifting borders and people as well as unspeakable cruelty have all given the region its bad name. "Balkanisation", the perpetual dis...

  • LETTER: Labour's ignorant prince of darkness
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: I'm beginning to wonder whether Peter Mandelson's title, "Prince of Darkness", is an example of what historians call "the inflation of honour". The views attributed to him ("Mandelson denies right-wing agenda", 27 December) show an ignorance of ...

  • LETTER: Common sense and monetary union
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: Hamish McRae suggests that the common-sense instincts of "ordinary people" are against European monetary union. A lot of "ordinary people" take holidays abroad in Europe. They are angry and frustrated by the expenses they have to incur every tim...

  • LETTER: In the very bleak midwinter
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: When did the Government change the cold weather requirement? You report (" `Cold comfort' payments row boils over", 28 December) social security minister Andrew Mitchell as saying, "These payments are meant to deal with very severe weather." The...

  • LETTER: Two answers to the West Lothian question
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: Labour's commission to examine the "West Lothian Question" ("Labour may cut number of Scots MPs", 26 December) will be welcomed as proof positive that, despite repeated Conservative accusations of breaking up the UK, Labour, in opposition or in ...

  • LETTER: Wrong model for UK prisons
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    Sir: For the past two months I have been in the UK researching the correctional system. I have visited many correctional facilities and have spent many hours speaking to correctional administrators. As a result of my research, I am convinced that the...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: Justice from the barrel of a gun
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    In short, the cessation of political violence no longer means a total ban on killings by the IRA, just as it never entailed an end to punishment beatings. The IRA is sending out a clear message: it will not wither away. That is the uncompromising mis...

  • Q: 1995? A: Delia Smith and Mr Darcy
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    1. Who, in 1995, said the following? a. "I am making you Deputy Premier, Michael, but I want it to be strictly understood that it is a purely nominal and symbolic post." b. "That's all, right, John. After all, I realise that being Prime Minister is, ...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: A hundred years of fantasy
    Friday, 29 December 1995

    One of the reasons for the success of the cinema is, paradoxically, its simplicity. Most of the camera techniques and moves that grace modern film are essentially the same as those pioneered in the early silent days. But what the camera allows, which...

  • LETTER: We subjects are not amused
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: Presumably, since the Church of England is relieved at Prince Charles's intention not to marry again ("Church is saved from dilemma over remarriage", 22 December), it prefers instead that he should have affairs which will lead to nothing. Yours ...

  • LETTER: We subjects are not amused
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: Your leading article "Divorce is the only answer for a modern age" (22 December) rightly states that the British public no longer attaches any stigma to divorce. Neither Prince Charles nor the Princess of Wales, however, is an ordinary member of...

  • LETTER: We subjects are not amused
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: The Princess of Wales is now being pilloried for not attending Sandringham at Christmas. With a cunning worthy of Machiavelli, the Queen invites Diana for Christmas, but follows it up a week before the event with the announcement that she and he...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: A tale of two rulers
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    But President Assad has discovered that applause from the remaining Arab radicals and the grudging admiration of Islamic fundamentalists provide neither insurance for his regime nor a viable economic future for his people. That is why he joined the G...

  • LETTER: Cold humour
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: It is not Roger Mear's short-lived Antarctic adventure, but the tiresomely scornful and condescending tone of Alix Sharkey's onslaught ("Dear Roger Mear"; Open Letter, 19 December) which I find "depressingly familiar - and typically British". Ta...

  • LETTER: `Right of reply' does not resolve disputes
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: Walter Cairns's suggestion (Letters, 21 December) that libel actions be replaced by a statutory right of reply suffers from the grievous defect that the truth would never be established. The Sunday Times's allegation against David Ashby was that...

  • The world needs Britain to stay on the air
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Despite the posturings of the Secretary of State for Defence, if there is a British organisation with a three-letter name which is known and respected around the world, it is the BBC. That is principally because of World Service radio, broadcasting i...

  • LETTER: No judge is above public judgement
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: Justice is not served by Peter Goldsmith's suggestion that the public should not protest to judges and magistrates about their sentencing (Comment, 11 December). Sentencing involves, in part, the exercise of judicial discretion. Unjust exercise ...

  • Now for the year when the lull breaks
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    The year's emblematic event was surely the summer drama of John Major's resignation. At the time it seemed to be a lapel-grabbing, vintage tale, signifying quite a bit. His great gamble would transform his own position and that of his party. But ... ...

  • Judgment on the Rock
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Although it paid up, the Government had greeted the judgment by the European Court of Human Rights in September with outrage - "ludicrous", said Michael Heseltine - and threats to withdraw from its jurisdiction. The IRA and the relatives of the dead ...

  • Inside every great person is a rotten novel
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    It turned up in an edition of Radio 3's Night Waves, in which there was a discussion chaired by Roy Porter on politicians who had had writing ambitions. Napoleon, said one expert, had wanted to be a writer before he ever became a soldier, and had in ...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: Backing the British boffin
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    But it is more likely that your mind's eye sees a stolid hero, struggling against the odds to have a revolutionary idea recognised for the brilliant innovation that it is. The inventor of the bouncing bomb, Barnes Wallis, might be the prototype. This...

  • LETTER: We subjects are not amused
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: The most intriguing character in the royal soap is, I think, "Buckingham Palace": clearly an all-knowing and very powerful personage. When I take a stroll down the Mall, to which particular window, chimney, drainpipe or other orifice should I di...

  • LETTER: Axed: a creative outlet for insiders
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: I go to a weekly poetry group. Our tutor, a gifted teacher, spends most of her time teaching in Wandsworth Prison. For our last class of the term we brought poems of our own choosing. She brought three poems from the prisoners, not special as po...

  • LETTER: Hidden significance of arms decommissioning
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: Speaking at Ballymena on 21 December, the Prime Minister gave his hearers to understand that "decommissioning" - that is, the unilateral handing-in of some or all of their arms by the Provisional IRA - was a part of the Downing Street Declaratio...

  • LETTER: Hidden significance of arms decommissioning
    Thursday, 28 December 1995

    Sir: It is perhaps no surprise to anyone that talks between the various parties concerned in Northern Ireland should run into an impasse before they even begin, but it may seem odd that the stumbling block should be the apparently minor issue of arms...

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