Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Article excerpt

Beware a take-over

Sir: This government's decision to negotiate with Sinn Fein/IRA over Northern Ireland without the precondition of decommissioning IRA arms is analogous to the American decision in 1973 to permit North Vietnamese troops to remain in South Vietnam after a cease-fire.

The latter decision led inexorably to the eventual take-over of all Vietnam by Hanoi. There is no hope that similar consequences will not eventually follow for the United Kingdom and the loyalists from Labour's failure of will.

John Colvin London SW1

Press power

Sir: Paul Johnson (`The new barons ruling Britain', 5 July) raises the prospect (or even the requirement) of this government cutting the press editor barons down to size in much the same way that the government of the early 1980s levelled the union barons.

This must be optimistic. What chance is there of a government concerned above all else with its own re-election attacking the very group of people who helped to get it elected in the first place?

Ronaldshay Littly Wood Cottage, Ousden, Newmarket, Suffolk

Horse-trading

Sir: Something must be done! Fildes's friend the Discount Broker must be consuited. It is a scandal! Yes, a scandal of national importance. Where is Solomon Binding when we need him?

I refer, of course, to the shameful practice of insider dealing so clearly admitted by your correspondent Robin Oakley (The turf, 31 May). Here is a man who states that he failed to make an unwise investment with Victor Chandler, or whoever, because the trainer in question told him that the draw and the going did not suit his horse.

This price-sensitive information should clearly have been made publicly available on a continuous disclosure basis. That someone should profit from such knowledge is reprehensible in the extreme.

Why cannot we have Cadbury-style governance for the turf? A Select Committee on Horse-race Wagering Ensuring Perfect Practice and Eternal Supervision (Schweppes for short) is called for now.

Peter Hambro 7 Eccleston Street, Belgravia, London SW1

In praise of indulgence

Sir: I find David Fingleton a bit of a pompous prig. Unlike your correspondent Joanna Ritchie (Letters, 12 July), however, I would not be without his excellent restaurant reviews. His account of his Parisian orgies was utterly captivating, and, as I shall be visiting Paris later in the year, useful and informative to boot. As I imagine that the starving millions in the Third World do not subscribe in large numbers to The Spectator, I hope you will continue to glorify Mr Fingleton's overindulgence with impunity.

Simon Bradbury Wellington, New Zealand

Sir: I am emboldened to write by Glenn Wellman's letter (19 July) commenting on Joanna Ritchie's less than generous remarks about your excellent restaurant critic, David Fingleton, whose column has happily changed my life.

I spent many years and considerable sums as a subscriber to New Statesman, New Society, Tribune, Marxism Today etc., and was only recently relieved of the compulsory angst and piety, personified by Mr Wellman, associated with these journals.

This relief was largely brought about by the enthusiastic sybaritism displayed by Mr Fingleton, which has resulted, in my case, in many enjoyable and angst-free visits to the reviewed restaurants -visits I can now afford, having cancelled my subscriptions to radical publications.

It is fashionable to declare personal interests, cf. Messrs Aitken and Hamilton, and thus I must admit to an encounter with Mr Fingleton some years ago. I was presumed guilty, inter alia, of dislodging a constable's helmet at a CND rally in Trafalgar Square. Mr Fingleton, whose lithe form at that time graced the Vine Street magistrates' bench, conditionally discharged me with no more than a severe caution, even then demonstrating the discrimination and fairness so evident in his epicurean pronouncements. …

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