New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 140, No. 5040, February 14

Big Gov Is Back
"The era of big government is over," Bill Clinton memorably declared in his 1996 State of the Union address, and few disagreed with him. But since the financial crisis, Leviathan has risen from its slumber. Last year, 11 of the 30 OECD member states...
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Champion of the Underdog: Sadiq Khan Grew Up Poor, the Fifth of Eight Children Sharing a House with "Two and a Half Bedrooms". How Does He Feel about Opposing the Policies of a Cabinet of 22 Millionaires?
I arrive at Sadiq Khan's office in Tooting, south London, to find the shadow justice secretary chatting with one of his female constituents in Urdu. Khan is one of 19 Asian MPs and was the first Muslim to attend cabinet. "I don't call myself a Muslim...
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Egypt's Uprising Discredits Every Western Stereotype about Arabs
The uprising in Egypt is our theatre of the possible. It is what people across the world have struggled for and their thought controllers have feared. Western commentators invariably misuse "we" and "us" to speak on behalf of those with power who see...
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Gary's Georgian Gem and Wayne's Arty Kitchen
Over supper, I asked my wife to complete the following sentence: "A collection of Clarice Cliff ceramics, worth an estimated [pounds sterling]40,000, will be sold at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury on March 9, the property of Mr ..." Mrs Davies...
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How to Write the Perfect Sentence: Learning How to Put Words Together Is a Difficult Business. the Key Is to Concentrate on Craft Rather Than Content. Remember, It's Not the Thought That Counts
Look around the room you're sitting in. Pick out four items at random. I'm doing it now and my items are a desk, a television, a door and a pencil. Now, make the words you have chosen into a sentence using as few additional words as possible. For example:...
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I Am a Camera
For the past few weeks I've been out filming the growing protest movement against the coalition government's programme of cuts. I've now been invited by the New Statesman to become its first video blogger. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I want to build...
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It's Not Easy Being Green: A Play about Climate Change Overwhelms
Greenland National Theatre (Lyttelton), London SE1 Greenland, the National Theatre's state-of-the-planet pageant, places its audience in a shifting, uncertain landscape and asks how it intends to react to climate change. We could flagellate ourselves...
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Jane McGonigal
Why do you think computer games are so important? There are two things. One is the sheer number of people playing games and the amount of time they are spending on them. There are half a billion people on the planet who spend an hour a day playing...
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Mexico's Macho Blood Sport: Since 1993, Hundreds-Perhaps Thousands-Of Women Have Been Murdered in the Desert City of Ciudad Juarez. There Is No Clear Motive for the Killings and the Police Seem Reluctant to Investigate. What Is Going On?
On 6 January, the poet and activist Susana Chavez was found murdered outside an abandoned house in the city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Her left hand had been sawn off. In the late 1990s, Chavez coined the slogan "Ni una muerta mas ("Not one more death")...
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More Telling Than the PM's Cynical Speech Was Labour's Response to It
Can you guess who wrote the following words in the Observer in May 2007? "We cannot bully people into feeling British: we have to inspire them ... by using the word 'Islamist' to describe the threat, we actually help do the terrorist ideologues' work...
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My Noble Friends: Joan Bakewell Joins the House of Lords-And Its Debate over Arts Funding
It's like going up to university for the first time: exciting, bewildering and alarming in equal measure. The House of Lords has its own identity--as strong and mysterious as Hogwarts and, in other ways too, not dissimilar. Initially it's more like...
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Near the End of the World
Perhaps it will go down in history. At 4pm on 10 February, Jocelyn Bell Burnell is giving a lecture at the Royal Society in London which dismisses scare stories about the end of the world being imminent. At exactly the same moment, at the Palais des...
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Noble Bankers, Pesky Minorities and the BBC's Plans for Question Time
It didn't take long for the western media to decide that, with Hosni Mubarak still in office and the traffic in Cairo starting to move again (in so far as traffic ever moves in Cairo), the Egyptian uprising had run out of steam. Fourteen days after...
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Once We Had Gladstone and Disraeli. Now We Have Clegg and Cameron
The coalition government is beginning to unravel. There is no sense of intellectual coherence to the government's programme of the kind that underscored the Thatcherite counter-revolution. There is no commanding intellect or thinker in the cabinet...
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Out of the Woods: The Great Forest Sell-Off Will End Up Costing Us Dear, Writes Stanley Johnson
It is hard to imagine how the coalition government could have dug itself so deep into the mire over the proposed forest sell-off. On 6 February, the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, defended the consultation process that her department launched...
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Revolts Don't Have to Be Tweeted
An extraordinary thing has happened. In Egypt, a million-strong movement is continuing to call for the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's government, even though the state has pulled the plug on the internet. After over a week without reliable access to...
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Saucy Sally Doesn't Give a Sheet
That prisoners' friend, Ken Clarke, better watch out, because I hear Citizen Dave has started ridiculing the In-justice Secretary behind his back. Cameron entertained favoured scribes from the right-whinge media at No 10 by mimicking the cabinet old...
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Sultans of Smug: The Coen Brothers Are the Most Conservative of Directors
True Grit (15) dir: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen The Coen brothers could make slick, handsome genre pieces in their sleep, and that's what they've done with True Grit. Their version of the western, which takes its cue from Charles Portis's novel, is...
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The "Big Society" Is Unworkable in the Age of Cuts
It says much about the incoherence of the so-called big society that the coalition's own ministers struggle to define it. But the essence of the project is still best captured by David Cameron's declaration that "there is such a thing as society, it's...
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The Little Man with a Big Plan
If the upper classes have a flaw--and I, for one, am happy to concede the possibility--it is perhaps a tendency to overlook "the little man". This term, obviously, should not be taken literally. The people's historian Andrew Roberts may be diminutive...
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The New Israelites: Rachel Cooke Admires a Drama about the World's Most Intractable Conflict
The Promise Channel 4 Now the fuss about Boardwalk Empire has died down--come on: it's boring, isn't it?--perhaps we can all very calmly consider The Promise instead. Is Peter Kosminsky's epic new drama set in Mandate-era Palestine and 21st-century...
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The NS Crossword by Anorak
Across 1 Spot proverb in children's entertainment (3-3) 4 Fool's excellent cannabis (8) 10 Venue arranging big lunch--about time (5-4) 11 Trunk and spreading roots (5) 12 Some sacred larch? On reflection, no (5) 13 Paper and cash...
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The NS Interview
What sparked your interest in politics? Growing up during the 1980s in the north-east probably did it. My paternal grandfather was a miner--one of my first memories is of him being on TV during the strike. Which is home--Sunderland or London?...
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This Is Not an Islamic Revolution: Egypt and Tunisia's Uprisings Are Different from Those in Iran and Algeria a Generation Ago. Although Religion Is Vital in the Private Sphere, Its Political Influence Is Waning
In Europe, the popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been interpreted using a model that is more than 30 years old: the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Commentators have been expecting to see Islamist groups--the Muslim Brotherhood...
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Tough Guys Finish Last: Meet Raymond Chandler, the Bluesman of Dulwich, Writes Antonia Quirke
A Coat, a Hat and a Gun The Big Sleep Radio 4 "All us tough guys are just hopeless sentimentalists at heart," Raymond Chandler once wrote in a letter that described how, on the anniversary of his wife's death, he'd filled his house with red...
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Valentine
Unavoidable, grotesque--these are the sorts of words I associate with Valentine's Day. The world turns pink, and gifts not normally associated with adults--teddy bears, chocolate hearts--are bought in the name of romance. Mydearvalentine.com offers...
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We Can't Get the Country Working If the Country Can't Get to Work
About a year ago I sat in a Jobcentre Plus, listening as jobseekers discussed the hurdles they faced in getting back to work. Most were construction workers. The most common problem they raised was the cost of transport to interviews. Jobcentres will...
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Who Needs Books When We Could Be Watching Cheryl Cole?
You might think that it's impossible, as the great British public is made up of such a range of personalities, to generalise about what the "man on the street" likes. But there are people out there who specialise in doing just that. They are researchers,...
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