Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Proud to be Little

From Mr Michael Wadman

Sir: If one is going to use a book review as a vehicle to peddle one's extremist political views, one must expect to be shot down. So, for the benefit of Ian Gilmour (Books, 13 MaY):

This government may claim to be Thatcherite, but Mrs Thatcher would not have imposed on us the working time directive, the minimum wage, or IR35. The pound is not high. It remains as low as ever against the dollar, the yen, and every other major currency. It is high only against the euro and that is because the euro is in a terminal nosedive. This is not the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government or the Bank of England, but of Lord Gilmour's friends in Brussels. I suggest he reads Christopher Fildes's excellent column in the same issue.

Mrs Thatcher's Pauline conversion when she realised that the EC was a threat both to Britain's prosperity and to its very existence is something for which we should all be grateful. There is more joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth. . . .

The Little Englanders were people who, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thought that possession of an overseas empire was a bad thing for Britain. Since this view is widely held by his left-wing friends, it is strange that Lord Gilmour should use the term as an insult. It is also inappropriate and inaccurate to apply it to people who think it a bad thing that Britain itself should be a part of someone else's empire.

Michael Wadman

London SE25

Transport of horror

From Professor Arthur Finch

Sir: `Banned wagon' is usually a reliable source of wry amusement as well as a useful reminder of increasingly irritating government meddling. Unhappily, the column last week let us down. To say that there is `no logical reason at all' for banning crossChannel live exports is plain silly; to describe the bill as `really nothing more than mutton-chop xenophobia' is cheap journalism.

You do not need to be a vegetarian or animal-rights activist (I am neither) to know that live animals transported across the Channel face the possibility of immensely long and horribly managed journeys and dreadful destinations, not simply `some beastly Frenchman'. Live exports to mainland Europe result in widespread, wholly preventable suffering.

Arthur Finch



A good copper

From Evelyn Meyer

Sir: Justin Marozzi's Diary (13 May) brought back happy memories of my visit to Cape Town three years ago. However, I feel very strongly that the issue of his `speeding fine' should be addressed. My husband and I also got carried away and were travelling at around 100 mph when we were jumped on by a black policeman. As he waved us over we realised that we did not have a single paper between us - no passports or driving licences - as we had left them all in the hotel safe. I think you will agree that in most countries that would lead to a long spell in a police station. All we had were the hire-car papers.

After lengthy discussions on his mobile phone our policeman gave us a lecture on speeding in South Africa and sent us on our way. I must stress that this was without any 400 rand changing hands. I just want to make the point that there are crooked policemen the world over - they aren't exclusive to African countries - just as there are honest ones.

Evelyn Meyer

Founex, Switzerland.

How Dempsey died

From Mr Michael Moorcock

Sir: I very much enjoyed D.J. Taylor's goodnatured review of my book King of the City (Books, 13 May) and I'll gladly pay his usual fee if he'd copy-edit my next before it goes to press. I'm a bit unhappy, though, with his reference to the publisher Michael Dempsey, father of Rose Tennant, manager of rock bands and one of my dearest friends, whose funeral I describe in the book.

Dempsey didn't die of liver failure (and, by inference, of drink) as Mr Taylor says. He died from his injuries when he fell down the stairwell of the block of flats he was staying at. …

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