New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 126, No. 4363, December 5

A Question of Willow Power
Britain's coppices could provide a cheap and renewable source of energy. The government is finally starting to take the idea seriously "It's precisely the same as the bouncing bomb," says Ken Stott, who recently retired after 40 years as willows officer...
Read preview Overview
Audio Books
Christina Hardyment offers sound advice for those who want to listen There can be few easier ways of Christmas shopping than going to the spoken word department of your local book or record shop. Their novelty is still high: who'd have thought you'd...
Read preview Overview
Bath Was the Place Where Beau Nash Marketed Sin, the Pleasure Ground of the Slave Traders, the Town They Visited to Spend Their Money and Have Fun
What do people do with ill-gotten gains? Mostly, they have a good time spending them. Armed robbers aren't notable for their love of the Protestant ethic. If they favoured deferred gratification, I assume they wouldn't be armed robbers in the first place....
Read preview Overview
Books on the Web
If you don't like that ending, choose another. Roger Ridey clicks with "e-text" Imagine you are reading a novel. You come to the end of a page and instead of simply turning to the next you find you have the option to turn to three, four, even a hundred...
Read preview Overview
Britain Is No Longer All the Raj
After the Queen's disastrous visit to India, the lessons for a modernising government are still to be learnt. Frigates, by the way, are out When Margaret Beckett came to Delhi last month - the first British minister to visit since the Queen's illstarred...
Read preview Overview
Children's Books
You can forget the story, says Amanda Craig, but the image is there forever An embattled headmaster recently told me that all his life he'd carried with him a vision of mountains soaring up to the sky, which consoled him in moments of crisis. He believed...
Read preview Overview
Conspiracy against the Consumer
The BBC licence fee is part of a worn out system designed to help politicians defy technology and keep control of broadcasting. Will Labour ever learn? Soon after I joined the BBC, in 1964, as part of my general traineeship I was despatched to spend...
Read preview Overview
Crime Novels
Michael Leapman finds the modern sleuth relying on e-mail and psychology You don't have to be a sadist to enjoy a good thriller, but it helps. After the first five pages of Daniel Easterman's 1940s fantasy K (HarperCollins, [pounds]16.99), 48 inmates...
Read preview Overview
Cultural Revolutions
In the last of their dialogues Martin Jacques talks to Stuart Hall about the forces reshaping politics, business and just about everything else The word "culture" is now ubiquitous. From politics to business, from lifestyle to the media, everyone talks...
Read preview Overview
Fiction for 8-12s
Amanda Craig finds anxiety and grief in abundance for young readers Literature, said Dr Johnson, exists better to help us enjoy life or better to endure it. Nowhere is this more obvious than in fiction for children aged 8 to 12. On one side we have...
Read preview Overview
Gilt, Velvet and Nice Safe Shows: British Theatre Is Little More Than a Rich Man's Plaything. Here's How to Steal It Back
Theatre is out of touch. We no longer bother to question this. The odd sparkle of Soho chic from the Royal Court and others excepted, live drama serves wealthy and conservative tastes. For most people the word "theatre" is itself a turn-off, and attempts...
Read preview Overview
Green-Green: Feed the World
One green revolution transformed crop yields. Its successor needs to do the same, but on a sustainable basis, if we are to cope with rising population Is there enough food in the world? The naive answer is yes. If we add up all the world's production...
Read preview Overview
Harriet Harman Is Following the Old Tory Line in Using the Poorest Women as a Soft Target, except She Dresses It Up as a Crusade for Empowerment
Whenever I think of lone parents, I remember Angie from down the road. Pregnant at 15, mother of three by 20. The fathers of her children never stuck around. No maintenance, but she coped. Nice council maisonette, kids dressed in new season Mothercare....
Read preview Overview
I'm in the Green Banana Gang
Men have a lot in common with chimps. New studies of primate bonding could yield clues as to how to prevent ethnic conflict, says Marek Kohn President Tudjman of Croatia recently suggested that certain elements might be "genetically programmed" against...
Read preview Overview
In the Steps of Tony Benn
Who will lead the parliamentary left's revolt, if there's to be one? John Lloyd profiles Alan Simpson, the man most likely to come up with the ideas and, overleaf, Steve Richards offers his form book on the other runners Since Neil Kinnock turned decisively...
Read preview Overview
Kyoto and the Full Monty
Weary of international conferences that lead nowhere, we are in danger of underestimating the potential of the global climate meeting in Japan Rio de Janeiro 1992, Kyoto 1997. The place of the big environmental conference sits in our intellectual imagination...
Read preview Overview
Labour Is Moving So Slowly in Its Programme of Reform That It Must Win the Next Election If It Hopes to Carry It Out
An advertisement in this week's Guardian for a senior Labour Party press officer included the words: "Planning for the next election has already begun." Early shopping for Christmas in January sprang to mind, until I recalled the party's general secretary,...
Read preview Overview
Poetry Books
Michael Glover finds a few poetic gems among the patronising, safe and dull Something is amiss in the small world of poetry for children. Last year about 150 titles were published, a mixture of picture books for younger children with rhymes for texts,...
Read preview Overview
Poetry Books
Michael Glover enjoys the subversive Americans and the stoical Brits "In a neighbourhood frequented by muggers and rapists after dark, I bring my soapbox and shout: 'Everything I have ever said has been completely misunderstood!'" Those words were...
Read preview Overview
Science Fiction
Roz Kaveney on quantum effects, confused robots and resurrected popes Science fiction can be a vehicle for ideas; too often it has been a lecture theatre with a sparse audience; much of Jules Verne remains unread for that reason, and a lot of late Wells....
Read preview Overview
Shall I Compare Thee to a Reeking Corpse? Good Old Shakespeare, He Knew a Thing or Two about Mature Love and Desire (and Teenage Fantasies)
This week I'm going to write about love, sex and slime: not separately, but all mixed up together. A treat of the past couple of weeks has been browsing through the new volumes in the Arden Shakespeare. EAJ Honigmann's edition of Othello is a reminder...
Read preview Overview
Teenage Fiction
Michael Glover finds love and war top of the agenda for an "uneasy" category Things have moved on a long way since the Bodley Head (then a major force in the world of children's books) decided 30 years ago to create a readership category called "young...
Read preview Overview
The Head of Our Leading Health Think-Tank Has Checked Her Ideas with Prince Charles and Several Ministers. but Will the Government Buy Them?
Dawn has barely broken when Julia Neuberger steps from her black cab. She is clutching a battered briefcase. Her vermilion fingernails, glued together and revarnished earlier that morning, glitter in the half light. "I am", she explains to the bemused...
Read preview Overview
The Prime Minister Needs a Machine to Match the Treasury's: Your Job Is to Build It
Dear Sir Richard, You'll be aware - perhaps from the recent row over government information officers - how Sir Robin's authority wanes, like a dying king's. He needs you by his side. We are slightly puzzled you are still at the Home Office. When Robin...
Read preview Overview
The True Aim of Electoral Reform
It is to marginalise the Tories for good, so don't expect a relaxed approach The new world of British politics may have begun not with a bang, but a whimper. After intense negotiation, a small body with a big task - the "independent" electoral commission...
Read preview Overview
To the Competing Factions of Ulster Unionism, I Propose a Think Tank. to My Astonishment, They All Agree. What Can This Mean?
The rift in Ulster unionism is wide and deep. It runs between those who see the certainty of treachery, and those who see the possibility of settlement, in the current talks process on the province's future. On the one side, the Democratic Unionist...
Read preview Overview
View from Santiago
Pinochet may have gone, but the ghosts of his regime still haunt Chile The Ukrainian state ballet came to town. Their visit had been eagerly awaited, until the ballet lovers of Santiago discovered that the only hall the company could afford to hire...
Read preview Overview