The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on December 6, 1972 · 13
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 13

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Wednesday, December 6, 1972
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December 6 1972 13 THE GUARDIAN Wednesday SEVERAL year ago an astronaut and his wife were granted an audieace-by the Pope in Rome. This astronaut had flown cloaer to the moon than any other human. The Pope wii intrigued and aa a token of his esteem he presented them with a personal memento, a medallion, which he blessed. Bade home, the astronaut's wife gave the medalion to her hairdresser. The story suggests this insight what does an astronaut do with the honours, prestige, gifts and opportunity afforded him1? Donald K. Slayton, Chief of the Astronaut Office, feels NASA regulations on not using public office for private gain is a "big grey area," with one section contradicting another. And as for businessmen curryinp an astronaut's favour : "So why would someone want me on their board of directors. When I was a fighter pilot out at Edwards Air Force Base, nobody gave a damn whether I was on their board of directors or not, let's face it." American astronauts and ex-astronauts have become bank directors, endorsers of cars and railways on television commercials, executives in real estate, and businessmen in various offbeat companies. A few have become successful; some have not; and others have refused any commercial enticement. The Government frowns if they accept a free meal, but permits them to cash in on their names. It will not pay expenses for new clothes they and their families need on a post-flight tour abroad, and gives each $15 a day expenses. It will not pav the $1,500 premium for a $50,000 insurance policy when they fly into space; but it wall allow a private publicity-seeking firm to pick up the tab. Future perfect by Dennis Barker in Jamaica SETI the High Priest thinks of himself as a psychotherapist and naturapath. Sophisticated Europeans in Jamaica, observing the beard, the purple robes, the turban and the incense, might think of him as a witch-doctor. He is aged 35, has a hideaway on Mount Diablo where he conducts his peculiar trade, and says he has been gifted since the age of nine at reading people's futures. There are perhaps 200 men like Seti the High Priest in Jamaica, men who have inherited the benefits of the Caribbean obsession with magic, while walking the tight-rope of laws designed to prevent the manipulation of people through threats. Seti says he is not an exponent of Obeahistn, the Jamaican form of voodooism or black art that originated in Haiti. " People are frightened of the word Obeahism, because of the Government laws which can lead to two years' imprisonment or a lashing." He himself thinks that Obeahism is no more than a word derived from the African cult of religion, and that Englishmen used it as a term of sinister abuse because they wanted to stop the blacks gathering together on any pretext whatever. It is oddly true that the most renowned disciple of the black art in the island's history was in fact a white woman, one Annee Palmer, known as the White Witch. Greek eyes on NATO NOISES OFF, from Stylianos Pattakos, the Greek Deputy Prime Minister, who has been setting the scene for the NATO meetings in Brussels with some thoughts from Rome. Meddling in the internal affairs of Greece, he declares, would be the suicide of NATO; NATO members have no right to intervene and they won't; Greece has survived in the past withont NATO ; Greece, indeed, has a history of 5,000 years which no other NATO country has. Perhaps not exactly cause and effect, but certainly heartening signs that of Greek unease for the North Atlantic Assembly which was girding itself in Bonn last month to press the NATO Ministers to do something about Greece. Almost unnoticed, NATO's Parliamentarians (fairly tame, hitherto) got as far in Bonn as recalling their previous stand on Greece, noting that Greece has not changed, considering afresh the sore thumb position of Greece in democratic NATO, and requesting their standing committee to decide what to do about it That, or so the North Atlantic Assembly trust provides a lever for raising the Greek question in toe NATO Council of Ministers and "for those that raise it to be entitled to expect some support from at least a few of their colleagues." M the assembly cannot induce the NATO Ministers to least a fewjf,.8 turea towards fee colonels, u maTwell decide on a f uss-tnaWng mission to ! the likely democratic torch, bearer beta Wayne Hays, Nicholas Chriss reports from Houston A-OK Temptation from cajnmeri cialisation hai tarnished astronauts with an otherwise perfect image. A good example was the recent reprimands to the Apollo IS crew which took 400 unauthorised and valuable stamped and cancelled envelopes to the moon. Later ten of them showed up in West Germany and sold for $1,500 each. Others have shown up in the United States, selling at $1,000 each; and many more are believed to be floating around the country. The first austronauts went into commercial partnership with a lawyer in the early 1960s to buy a Cape Canaveral motel. That was later discontinued. Then NASA permitted the astronauts to enter into an agreement with Life Magazine for their "exclusive" stories. The astronauts all shared in the money and each was covered by a $100,000 insurance policy. When the manned spacecraft centre was established in Houston, a developer offered to build each astronaut a free house. This was not permitted, although NASA closed its eyes to some special advantages in housing. In November, 1969, the Harnsburg Bank near Houston announced the election of Colonel Frank Borman to its board of directors. Borman had been an advisory director since July, 1968. The press announcement included his picture and the words : " As an astronaut. Colonel Bor- In the eighteenth century she got her Negro lover to smother her husband, had the obliging functionary beaten to death and herself finished up strangled after weird rites and orgies involving gigantic hounds with slavering jaws and hordes ridden back-to-front. No one could possibly identify Seti and his brethren with the sheer malevolence of Annee Palmer. But Seti's glimpses into the futures of the 200 people who trek each week to the mountain retreat can be imposingly candid. Turning over the Tarot cards, which are one of his stocks-in-trade, he is quite capable of warning that a marriage will be threatened, a friendly approach will turn out to that of a usurper, and that a car crash will produce damage to the brain. " We talk of revivalism, not Obeahism," he says. " The practitioner can be evil or good. I think I am on the constructive side." Are his forecasts a little worrying to the subject concerned ? " Many times you come across things which I would think is not ethical to tell them. Then I don't tell them, because it might cause tensions. In other cases, I tell them, but I ask them not to think about it. to be positive." The pilgrims from Jamaica and abroad who go to Mount Diablo leave Seti the High Pnest certainly no less comforted and cheered than they are themselves. "The money I make Is a technicality," he says. " It differs, but I can make a minimum of 500 Jamaican dollars (about 250) a week." an Ohio Congressman and a former President of the NATO Parliamentarians. A NEW AVSSIE order, indeed. Margaret Whitlam, wile oj the newly elected Labour Prime Minister, has declared that she intends to dispense hospitalitu to " trammies. truckies, and wharfies " (Australian 1or tram and bus conductors and drivers, truck-drivers and dockers) at her husband's official lodge in Canberra. "1 want intellectuals and down-to-earth people to mix together," she told women journalists in Canberra yes-ttrdau. "I know a beaut wharfie " (he turns out to be a former Labour MP, who lost his seat last Saturday). "I'll see him at the lodge." Kissinger's vacant chair A DILEMMA for the establishment at Harvard University. Should Henry Kissinger's vacant professorship in the Department of Government be filled, now that Kissinger in the Neil Armstrong : " He remained aloof ' man commanded the first Apollo flight to circle the moon in December, 1968." This was a direct violation of the NASA regulation of using public office for private gain. Another astronaut, James B. Lovell, became a close friend and confidant of Houston financier Frank W. Sharp, who took Lovell and his family on a trip abroad. Sharp, the man who offered to build free homes for the astronauts when they arrived in Houston, was convicted for his role in a huge bank and stock fraud that broke his Sharpstown bank and ended in the convictions later of several State officials. During the investigation, five astronauts, not including Lovell, said.they were given without their permission, a ANY day now the Depart- ment of the Environment will announce the various grants it proposes to make towards the more than 80 per cent of rail services in Britain which are running at a loss. The grants, and the period for which they are allocated, will give us some indication of Government thinking on the future of our rail service. This year the unprofitable rail services will have received Government aid to the tune of 27 millions. In addition, British Rail is expected to record a deficit of around 40 millions. This much is clear; that the public continues to subsidise the rail system with a vast amount of its money. What is not clear is the Government's thinking on whether, or in what way, this should continue. Recent revelations of internal DoE studies indicate that the Department is considering crucifying as much as 40 per cent of the rail system. The 11,600 miles of track now in existence may be reduced to 7,000 or even less. John Peyton, the Minister for Transport Industries, has gone to some lengths not to deny that such drastic measures are being considered. Asked to give a categorical assurance that there would be no reduction in the size of the railways, he said : "No I cannot give any assurance of that kind at this stage." Under the terms of the 1968 Transport Act, the vanous lines are divided into three groups, and each year one group should receive the details of its grants for the next three years. But what has been happening, and there is every reason to think that nothing will change when this year's grants are made, is that the Government makes one or two-year grants so that it is has been reappointed as President Nixon's special adviser on national security affairs? The university has announced a three week delay on the decision to give their peace-seeking almunus a chance to come to a final settlement with the North Vietnamese. There has been growing embarrassment at Harvard about the continued linking of its name, through Kissinger, with the war and with the Government's war policies against which the Faculty has voted five times. But then, a professor with an office in the White House is not to be lightly turned away. Sir Alec's eyes on Brussels WHO WILL emerge as Britain's Mr Europe Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who has the rank? or John Davies. who has the title? On present form. Sir Alec seems to be gearing himself up for a European role. In Brussels this week, he has on the profit and Sea of total of $641,000 of stock in a Sharp-owned insurance company. The stock tumbled from $28 to $6. A Government investigation suggested records were deliberately falsified to conceal the nature of the deal with the five astronauts, and that presumably the astronauts never took delivery of the stock. It was an attempt by a failing business to use the credibility of the astronauts to save itself. David R. Scott, the Apollo 15 commander, was the blue-eyed boy of the corps. His father was a general, and so was his wife's father. He was fifth in his West Point graduating class and his future was bright. The Apollo 15 mission was the perfect combination of Closing offer ? Disused station . Ptcfcertng Yorkshire Peter Cole on railway grants free to make a closure within a shorter time if it so decides. Undoubtedly a few more services will be removed from the timetables when this year's announcement is made. But it is unlikely that any major declaration of future policy will be made just yet For this reason the pressure groups are massing to persuade the public that they need no further contraction of the rail system, even if it is running at a loss. The SOS Campaign (Save Our Rail Services) met in London last night to discuss ideas for " a better transport policy." It numbers among its supporting organisations ss : 3 m MISCELLANY been making great efforts to make himself accessible to the press : on Monday be was pitching into heavy lorries; since then be has been displaying a remarkable, lately found grasp in many a cheery corridor conversation of such issues as Cyprus sherry the kind of thing that might well have been left to Davies. Sir Alec arrived on Monday with Davies in tow : the advance party of a notable flurry of British Ministers this week.. Yesterday, John Nott from the Treasury, arrived to talk about budgeting. Also Lord Carrington, on defence. Sir Alec will be back in Brussels today until the end of the week, to talk to NATO Foreign Ministers Brussels has not quite got the measure of these Ministerial barrages, especially as every time British Ministers arrive in force they seem to have to scurry back to vote for things like VAT. The Dutch occasionally have to do the same; for the rest, European Ministers seem careless of their Parliaments. loss of flying to the Prosperity geological lunar exploration and pilot skill. Scott and his teammates, Alfred Worden and James Irwin, said they took the stamps aloft to obtain a $22,000 trust fund which they would split three ways for their children. Scott earns $2,199 a month, Worden $1,715, and Irwin $2,235. Christopher Kraft, director of the MSC, said : " It was improper and did not show good judgment on their part. However, in terms of carrying them on the space flight I think it was a matter of circumstance rather than an overt act. It slipped their minds. They were under much strain. Otherwise the covers would have been approved. The mere fact that they have had to endure everything from ASLEF to Women On The Move, presumably by rail, and claims to be the first organisation to bring all the smaller pressure groups under one umbrella. Today the Conservation Society is publishing a pamphlet on the future of the railways which, while starting from the environmental argument, also goes into the economic issues. Brian Johnson, a Fellow of the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University, who spoke at the SOS meeting, believes that the economic case against the railways is distorted because of the method of accounting used. British Rail has to get back interest on its track and stock in a way that the road-user does not. "We have the largest and , best system in the world." he said, " and we are dismantling it." He believes that the amount which will have to be spent on strengthening existing roads and bridges to cope with the massive lorries from the Continent would support the railways for the next six years. He also points out that there is likely be a world shortage of oil early in the eighties and that we should be planning now. and encouraging the use of the railways, for that event. But, in the end, the argument is dominated by the environmentalists. As our traffic system becomes more and more congested, as the number of accidents on out roads continues to increase, as pollution becomes a factor of greater and greater concern, do we want to do away with a system of transport which includes none of these defects? , SOS claims to represent 100,000 people through its affiliated organisations. It plans a campaign to add a nought or two to that figure Stout figures OFFICIAL proof if any were needed of the Irish reverence for alcohol comes in- the Errol report on liquor licensing. The secession of the 26 counties from the United Kingdom coincided with a dramatic drop in consumption of spirits in the UK. In the year 1911-12, total consumption was 30.9 million proof gallons just a fraction short of a gallon per head. By 1921-2, the last year in which Southern Ireland was included in the figures, consumption had dropped to 17.7 million proof gallons. Ten years later, when the Irish were quite firmly drinking on their own, consumption had dropped to a mere 10 million gallons. It has taken the 50 years until now for the figures to climb back to the 1921-2 level. " YOU WOULDN'T believe that he lunched with the Queen yesterday." Q u o t e, from a stunned official at Heathrow yesterday, lined up with . Julian Ameri -and others to bid a proper farewell to Pierre TrUdeau. Instead of whistling- straight through the VIP lounge to his waiting Boeing, Trudcau suddenly darted into his ear, and was driven a mile and a half in the opposite direction, with two police escorts. A ruffled send-off party found themselves waiting half an hour for him to reappear. ' Not a : bomb scare; not even tan Trim Ministerial t Inr Doumina Street: He just remembered he ought to buy some duty-free liquor and a present for his wife. moon what has transpired Is more than any penalty that they could ever pay." When the astronauts returned to earth, Worden sent 65, or 125 depending on various sources to a Miami stamp dealer named F. Her-rick Herrick. From there, the covers went on the market for about $1,000 per envelope. They appeared on the market so soon after the July-August, 1971, flight that some buyers needed verification of their authenticity. Worden wrote to Herrick on NASA stationery verifying the stamps had been on the mission and thus paving the way for their sale. Hds letter said : " I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you that the covers I sent you did. in fact, go with us to the moon and back on Apollo 15. They were autographed in flight and if that question ever comes up I will gladly verify all this personally.' If Worden gave the stamps to Herrick as a gift, why did he have to verify them ? NASA has not revealed the existence of this letter, nor the information from some stamp world sources that the postal covers taken aloft ea"h contained " stuff ers" white cards with philatelic designs on them which also are valuable. NASA also has not answered why Mrs Gordon Cooper, wife of an ex-astronaut, was permitted to send 88 covers aloft on the trip, now with a value of between $2,000 and $5,000 each. Slayton insisted that Mrs Cooper, an avid stamp collector, would not herself gain financially from the covers Funny Valentine James Lewis on a NOT ONLY was Saint Valentine not Welsh but his feast day of February 14 may well have had its origins in some ancient pagan festival both of which are sound reasons for banishing him from the social calendar of the Welsh-speaking Welsh. His place will be taken by Dwynwen who. unknown to anvbody except perhaps a handful of Welsh scholars, is the true " patron saint of Welsh lovers." An Aberystwyth publishing house has decreed that January 25 shall become " Dwynwen's Day " and has published three cards " two nice and one naughty " for the occasion. According to Mr Robert Griffith, director of the publishing firm, Y Lolfa, the naughty one has a picture of " a young lady's legs " and the word " Rhyw " six times " Rhyw " can mean " some " or " sex " or, in this instance, both. Dwynwen, the daughter o. a sixth century prince, Brychan. would certainly not approve. When pursued p the lusty Maelon. her moral and religious principles were solely tried and. according to the legend, she prayed to God to rid her of her love for Maelon or, alternatively, to help her to withstand temptation. God obliged by turning Maelon into a block of ice. This, apparently, was too much even for Dwynwen, who prayed again that she should be granted three wishes : that Maelon should be thawed out ; that she should become " the protector of true love to save Welsh lovers from lust": and that she should never love again. NEXT week the Parliamentary Labour Party is expected to vote on the question of participation in the European Parliament ; the Shadow Cabinet having recommended, in effect, that the decision should be postponed for a year. Already there are signs that some of the "Europeans" in the party are rrePared to concede defeat on the samewhat surprising grounds that the issue is not important enough to risk a serious confrontation. Before this line of thinking gains too much ground, it might e as well to be clear what is at stake. It is true that neither the Labour Party nor the Common Market will collapse if it is decided next Wednesday not to send a delegation to the European Parliament. The decision will be important principally for its effect on the credibility of the party, both in the British electorate and in the much wider constituency of European social democracy, since the immediate dispute is no more than the outward and visible sign of an inward convulsion of a much greater and more significant kind. It would,, however, be wrong to underestimate the long-term importance of the European Assembly. The future pattern of the parliamentary-democracy in Western Europe la likely to be substantially decided In the next decade or so, and the Labour Party has to make up its mind whether It wants to influence that decision. The present system, by which Governments of the EEC nominate a number of members of their national assemblies to serve at Strasbourg, was, never meant to be more, than a temporary arrangement Article 138 of the Treaty of Rome calls upon the European Parliament to '- draw up proposals for elefc But later he acknowledKed that one never knows hew some people will benefit under such circumstances. Rear Admiral Alan Shepard, who whacked a golf ball on the moon's surface, has become a millionaire in bank stock and real estate, using his name and reputation along with a Houston businessman. Jack Coogan. Shepard is the most a- ,cess-ful of the astronaut-businessmen. He not only became wealthy but also flew into space after being grounded for several years with an ear ailment. A recent prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for sale of 1.5 million shares of a real estate investment trust showed Shepard chairman of the trustees, whose members include Mayor of Houston Louie Welch and Philip Hoffman. University of Houston president who is also director and deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The total Investment is $21,186,000. Shepard has become a millionaire. Scott has had his career severely if not totally damaged for $7,000. But the man who stood to make the most money with the least effort has remained singularly aloof from it all. That is Neil Armstrong who has been besieged and tempted the most. So much so that he has become almost a recluse He is now a professor at the University of Cincinnati. Armstrong has loosened up but he has never consented to trading on his name. His only private gain has been an occasional speaker's fee, which he often drops depending on the group he addresses. He refuses to be interviewed, teaches his class and lives quietlv with his family. Los Angeles Times. new Welsh saint The. outcome of this is uncertain, but the legend is clear on one point : she spent the rest of her life in a nunnery. Mr Griffith declines to speculate on how Dwynwen will appeal as a patron saint in 1973. " Not many people know about the cards yet," he said. "The order forms are now out. but January 25 is still a little way off, and Christmas comes in between." The " nice " cards are more traditional One asks " Pwy sy' wedi dwyn fy nghalon i?" ("Who has stolen my heart?") and the other with a pen drawing of a coastal scene says " Cofion Cariadus ar Wyi Dwynwen " ("Loving memories r-Dwynwen's Day."' " Welsh Nation." the weekly newspaper of the Welsh nationalist party. Plaid Cymru, has a stake in t:. Dwvnwen Day cards But the party's general secretary, Mr Dafydd Williams, confessed yesterday to having doubts about their appeal. " Perhaps I'm on the wrong wavelength," he said Most authorities agcee that there is little in the legend of Valentine to encourage young lovers save that his feast day coincided with the day on which birds were supposed to start pairing. " February 14," says Y Lolfa's director scathingly, " was simply a pagan festival to celebrate the spring." V Lolfa, however, should know a thing or two about the Welsh taste in greetings cards It does very well with a Christmas card bearing a caricature of Prince Charles and a greetint in pidgin Welsh ALUN CHALFONT Untied Europe tions by direct universal suffrage in accordance with a uniform procedure in all member States." Indeed, there already exists a draft convention setting out a plan for such elections ; and until this plan is realised, by one means or another, the limited powers of the European Parliament are unlikely to be substantially increased. The Social Democratic parties of Europe have always believed that when Britain, the traditional champion of the supremacy of Parliament, came into the European Community, added impetus would be given to the movement towards a directly elected legislature with real pqwer over the institutions of the communities, the activities of multinational industrial organisations and the allocation of budgetary resources. They may have been sustained in that belief by the declaration on Europe made by the Labour Government Jointly with the Government of Italy in 1969 which included the words- " Europe must be firmly based on democratic institutions, and the ' European Communities should be sustained by an elected Parliament as provided for in the Treaty of Borne, The role of the pre More or less simple Michael Lake on the VAT debate rrtHE only way we are ever going to find out whether or not VAT is a good thing or a bad thing, according to traditional advice, is to suck it and see. This itself may prove confusing since a toffee apple, considered a normal human food, is zero-rated, and a fruit gum bears VAT. There is no doubt people are confused about VAT. and the politicians do not make it any easier. There is a flaw in the idea that, given a subject arguably so complicated. Labour MPs will condemn it and Conservatives think it the best thing since instant coffee (zero-rated). Clearly politics outweigh the mathematics. Yesterday's Opposition move to postpone VAT for a year would create severe problems of mechanics, rather than principles since 2,000 civil servants are preparing to start operating the tax from April 1. In the Commons, the Opposition spokesman on Treasury matters, Mr Denis Healey, claimed that VAT would add 300 millions to the country's tax bill. Maybe he is right Few people have attempted this sort of calculation. But the Chancellor, Mr Barber, says that his total tax reforms will save the taxpayer 700 millions. How much more or less tax one will be paying depends on what you buy. If you are an old age pensioner, the chances are you will pay less, since there is no VAT on ordinary foods and household fuel, and only a marginal increase in the tax on clothes (from which the existing standard 11 per cent Purchase Tax on the wholesale price will be removed, and 10 per cent VAT imposed on the retail price). Typical of the confusion throughout the business world was the assertion yesterday by the chairman of the English Tourist Board. Sir Mark Henig, that hotel nrice would have to rise by at 'in 10 per cent because of VVT Sir Mark was oversimplifying. The hotelier will no longer have to pay Selective Employment Tax, nor will he have to pay Purchase Tax on his equipment . ., The director of the Retail Distributors Association, Mr John Dunse, believes that VAT will foster competition and encourage shopkeepers to cut prices. Thus if a retailer cuts his price now there would remain the full Purchase Tax on the original wholesale price. But after April 1 next year, if he cuts his price he also cuts the VAT. so the customer gets an automatic tax reduction. . , Both Mr Dunse and officials at Customs and Excise, ordinary mortals who have to collect the tax believe that the fears that have spread among small retailers about the incomprehensibility of the advice, and their inability to account for the tax. are greatly exaggerated. Customs and Excise are still giving away two booklets, a general guide Notice No. 700, and one on the scope and coverage of VAT Notice No. 701 which are both clear in general and simple in detail. sent European assemblies must be enhanced." So far as British representation is concerned, Mr Michael Stewart has already outlined a plan to provide for direct election. Apart Erom a few members of the House of Lords, presumably appointed to lend an air of elegance to the proceedings, the Strasbourg representatives would be chosen at general elections from a second list of candidates. To the normal constituency list would be added a list of candidates representing regions, each region consisting of a number of existing constituencies, inose eiecieu for constituencies would sit in Westminster; those elect ted for regions at Strasbourg. Although Mr Stewart's plan would be an effective transitional arrangement, it would almost certainly not meet the long - term requirement mainly because of the provision in the Treaty of Home for "a uniform procedure." It is unlikely that the countries of the EEC, the majority of whom adhere to some variation of proportional representation, would want to adopt the British system of the single-member seat. Whatever system is adopted, one thing is reasonably certain. Before very long there will be a directly elected Parliament for Europe and eventually it will have to represent not merely nations or regions or geographical constituencies, but the real interests of political groups across national and regional, boundaries. If those who believe in what the British Labour Party stands for are to have a voice, one' of the primary concerns of the leadership should now be full collaboration with the Social Denvxa-atic parties of western Europe. If they achieve that, tne prcmiein at Dartictaation in thelferopean . but no-one shouOd . -m-deluded Into thinking that X doe not matter. . -' " - .

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