New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 135, No. 4822, December 11

A Doctor's Scream: As the Prime Minister Defends Reforms in the Health Service, Morale Is at an All-Time Low. and Yet More Money Has Been Poured in Than Ever before. So What Has Gone Wrong? Lucy Chapman Describes the Ordeals of a Modern Hospital
No one is at their best at the 5am trauma call. It is the sound everyone dreads. It is the hour of the night shift when doctors begin dying on their feet: and then the emergency bleep--the drunk driver who's in a coma after colliding with a lamp-post,...
Read preview Overview
A Mythic Creature: Carmen's Feminine Power Entices Audiences from Covent Garden to Cape Town, Writes Peter Conrad
Opera often borrows characters from myth--witches such as Medea, militant saviours such as Siegfried--but seldom creates archetypal figures of its own. The exception is Carmen. The wily gypsy of Georges Bizet's opera has come to symbolise eternal womanhood,...
Read preview Overview
An African on African Life
A review of Facing Mount Kenya, by Jomo Kenyatta The New Statesman 17 September 1938 Facing Mount Kenya counts as an event in anthropological literature. How often has a man of a primitive race written a book about the customs, rites and institutions...
Read preview Overview
Buying into a Recession: America's Annual Spending Frenzy Is under Way and Even Sub-Zero Temperatures Won't Stop People Camping out to Snap Up Bargains. but Falling House Prices Point to Trouble Ahead, Writes Andrew Stephen
I spent Thanksgiving this year in Alaska, and it was very, very cold. The temperature never rose above minus 20[degrees]C, and while I was there, an 18-year-old was fatally struck down by hypothermia yards from his house and a few blocks from where...
Read preview Overview
Changing the Rules: Is a Problem with Next Door's Music a Matter of Taste or Grounds for an Asbo? Is Santa's Grotto Fit Only for Athletic Types? Let the New Statesman's Legal Expert Solve Your Civil Liberties Dilemmas
I have recently moved, and love everything about my new flat--except the couple next door. One of them seems to be learning some kind of wind instrument, and since I started drowning out the din with some proper music, they have given me no end of...
Read preview Overview
Dave, You're in Deep Trouble: Before the 1997 Election, Blair Attracted a Stampede of Commentators Previously Hostile to Labour. I See No Prospect of the Same Thing Happening in Reverse
How much support can David Cameron count on from Fleet Street when he goes into the next election? There will always be Bruce Anderson, now of the Independent, who will support any Tory leader even if he is Iain Duncan Smith or the proverbial orangutan....
Read preview Overview
Events: New Statesman's Guide to Events in Politics, Current Affairs and Culture
MONDAY DECEMBER 11 MELTDOWN IN IRAQ: TIME TO EXIT? Patrick Cockburn, Middle East writer. [pounds sterling]10, ICA, The Mall, London SW1. Tel: 020 7930 3647. www.ica.org.uk EXPLORING THE RHYTHMS OF LIFE Susan Hallam, Institute of...
Read preview Overview
From the Old East End to the Bobster: Hidden Gems on Radio 4, and Radio 2 Signs a Real Treasure
Radio 4 is full of hidden gems just now. A case in point was the short but deliciously sweet documentary Free George Davis (6 December, 11am). George Davis, as you might remember, was the East End minicab driver who, in 1975, received a 20-year prison...
Read preview Overview
Gay Football Action Had Me Cheering from the Sidelines like John Inman
My best friend is rich, handsome, intelligent, successful, funny--and has a huge house. So obviously he is gay. This week I went to watch him play gay football. This is not like straight football, where they score goals and bite ears off if they don't...
Read preview Overview
How to Start an Arms Race: Tony Blair Says We Must Have New Weapons of Mass Destruction. but Renewing Trident Could Frustrate the Treaties That Control Nuclear Weapons and Which Exist to Encourage Disarmament
No one, it seems, will be impressed if Britain fails to renew Trident. With Tony Blair leading the arguments, backed by his cabinet and David Cameron's Tories, the accepted view in the Westminster village is that nuclear proliferation is occurring...
Read preview Overview
It Was One of Our Rogues after All: Tony Shows Some Kids Who's Really Cool, John Considers a Nuclear Dilemma, Gordon and Cherie Are Plunged into Darkness, and Vlad Helps Them All Solve the Mystery
Scene 1: No 10. A class of inner-city kids and their teacher have gathered for a seminar on gun crime. In baseball cap and gold medallion Tony trots into the room, shadow-boxing. He punches the air. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Tony: Whassup guys!...
Read preview Overview
Little Fish: Angel Delight
I'd always fancied an aquarium full of slowly swimming tropical fish, even before the next-door neighbour gave me an old fish tank. I even managed to sell the notion of "Tropical Fish as Pets" to my family. I should have known better. "Are they...
Read preview Overview
Litvinenko: What the KGB Did Next
I know who killed Alexander Litvinenko; it was the KGB, at least in spirit. For me, as for nearly everyone brought up under the Soviet Union, the KGB meant far more than the intelligence arm of the Communist Party. When the so-called Russian oligarchs...
Read preview Overview
Loadsa Money, Loadsa Woe: For All the Complaining, There Is Good News, Argues Niall Dickson. Power Is Being Devolved to Local Hospitals and Signs Are Encouraging
It is a terrible thing when your clocks are not synchronised and the government has a serious horological problem. The electoral clock and the NHS reform clock are badly out of sync. The next general election is doubtless being planned for May 2009,...
Read preview Overview
Made in England: China Can't Get Enough of Our Premiership, Writes Hunter Davies, a Hit There Himself
I was big in China last week. If you happened to be there last Sunday evening, and tuned in to national radio, you might well have been one of the 58 million who caught me chuntering on. I didn't know I was going to be so honoured. A producer called...
Read preview Overview
One Early Christmas Present and One Turkey: A Tale of Blunt Reality Sparsely Told and a Beauty Commercial Relentlessly Oversold
It's Winter (12A) dir: Rafi Pitts Kabul Express (15) dir: Kabir Khan From the title down, It's Winter is about as straightforward as cinema gets. In the film's first ten minutes, Mokhtar (Ashem Abdi) loses his job and leaves Iran to seek...
Read preview Overview
Portrait of the Artist: Damien Hirst's Obsessive Collecting Could Prove the Death of His Own Creativity, Writes Jacky Klein
The opening-night queues for Damien Hirst's exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery snaked out on to the pristine grass of Kensington Gardens. A consummate collector with a fortune worth more than [pounds sterling]100m, Hirst has acquired an artistic...
Read preview Overview
Prisons: Addicted to Punishment
Britain's status as the most punitive nation in western Europe was finally confirmed by the news that the prison population had passed the 80,000 barrier (which, together with 2,660 detained immigrants, is more than enough to fill the expanded Twickenham...
Read preview Overview
Promoting Learning and Showing Respect
Ten years ago, as Labour prepared for power, Tony Blair promised that his new government's three top priorities would be "education, education and education". If, as seems almost inevitable now, Gordon Brown leads the party into the next election,...
Read preview Overview
Red Dave Goes Slaphead
* A bird's-eye view from the Press Gallery of Red Dave's barnet permits me to record that his bald patch is spreading, fast. A follicle-free zone the size of an eggcup a year ago, when the boy seized the Tory crown, now looks as big as a teacup. With...
Read preview Overview
Setting the Limits of Invasion Journalism
On 14 November, Bridget Ash wrote to the BBC's Today programme asking why the invasion of Iraq was described merely as "a conflict". She could not recall other bloody invasions reduced to "a conflict". She received this reply: [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]...
Read preview Overview
Somalia's Ragtag Islamists Are Here to Stay
The next African war has already begun, though you may not have heard of it, as the television cameras have yet to arrive. By the time they do begin to take pictures of the hungry and displaced, it will be too late to avoid another man-made disaster...
Read preview Overview
Stap Me Vitals! We're Having a Ball: Rollicking Show Brings a Flamboyant 18th-Century Heroine Back to Life
The Bitches Ball Hoxton Hall, London N1 The main problem with The Bitches Ball, on in London to 10 December and across the country from the New Year, is that the title is all wrong. It would have been much better to call it The Harlot's Progress,...
Read preview Overview
Taking Sides: John Sutherland on Why We Couldn't Care Less about US Book Prizes
It's the season of London literary parties. Next time you're at one, and conversation flags, try kick-starting it with the following questions: "What do you make of the National Book Award for fiction a couple of weeks ago? Did you enjoy the book?...
Read preview Overview
The Empire Gets Its Revenge-On Me! the Four Men in the Lorry Cab Drove Us before Them on the Narrow Causeway like a Flock of Sheep. We Broke into a Trot. It Was Patronising, but Not Really Malicious
Orchha, for 200 years capital of the Bundela Rajputs and their kingdom, is on the fringes of the tourist map. But the temples of Chaturbhuj and Lakshmi Narayan are as spectacular as anything India has to offer. Dilapidated isolation adds to their charm....
Read preview Overview
The Evil of Pointy Shoes: Practicality Rules Men's Footwear, Writes Annalisa Barbieri, Though Whimsy Sometimes Gets a Toehold
Silly fashion commentators (not serious ones like me), or elderly female relatives with not much to do, will tell you that you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes. This is nonsense, but also true. You can tell a lot about what a man thinks of himself...
Read preview Overview
There's No Place like 127.0.0.1: Cute Novelties and the Latest Console ... Becky Hogge Makes a Christmas List for the Geek in Her Life
I had a strange dream last night. In a living room that bears no resemblance to my own, but in which I was entertaining friends, one of my guests found a box marked simply "Wii". "What's this?" he asked accusingly. It could only be one thing. As we...
Read preview Overview
Third Age: A History Lesson
Not many authors publish a book at the age of 90, and fewer still do so when they are already halfway through another book. Can there be more than one in that position, and who is also virtually blind? Lorna Arnold, official British nuclear historian...
Read preview Overview
To Prezzagrad with Love: In the Thirties, Planners Imagined a Magnificent Road Linking Liverpool to Hull. but the Dream Soured, as Joe Moran Discovered
"Why don't we cross the city limit/And head on down the end of 62?" The Liverpool group, It's Immaterial, posed this question on "Driving Away From Home", a haunting road song that was a hit in the summer I sat my O-levels. The chorus warmly recommends...
Read preview Overview
Trident-It's Not Too Late to Stop Blair's Latest Military Blunder
It was the not so late, and not so great, Donald Rumsfeld who said: "There are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know." We know there is an enemy out there somewhere who might one day, over the next few decades,...
Read preview Overview
Watching the Waiter: At an Unexpected Restaurant in County Leitrim, Owen Sheers Discovers the Reality Behind a Televised War
The restaurant is a surprise. A low, peach-coloured bungalow isolated at the side of the road outside the village of Jamestown, County Leitrim. Everything else in that evening scene is to be expected--the silhouettes of the three men fishing on a curve...
Read preview Overview
Welcome to Planet Blitcon: Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan Dominate British Literature-And They're Convinced That Islam Threatens Civilisation as We Know It
The names of the most famous contemporary writers have become international brands. When they speak, the world listens. And increasingly, they speak not just through their fiction, but also via newspaper opinion pages, influential magazines, television...
Read preview Overview
We Meet at Last No 3958
Set by Hank T Romein John Humphrys, on Radio 4's "Humphrys in Search of God", sought to find Him. But what if He had actually appeared before the great sceptic ... Report by Ms de Meaner A popular comp, and about God, which is somehow fitting...
Read preview Overview
What They Didn't Tell Us about WMD: As the Iraq Study Group Reports on US Operations to Remove Saddam, Brian Jones, a Former Intelligence Officer, Gives an Exclusive Account of "Report X" and How the Government Spun the Evidence in Britain
As Britons and Americans learn more about the gravity of the disastrous adventure in Iraq, they are demanding answers to questions, not only about how the war is being handled now, but also about how we got into the mess in the first place. Almost...
Read preview Overview
Who Needs Perfection? the Fat Duck Would Be Thrilling, Says Nicholas Clee-But the Local Tratt Will Be More Fun
Hats off to Hugh Briss, an Amazon reviewer of Heston Blumenthal's In Search of Perfection. Briss actually tried, as the book had recommended, blowtorching a steak and pre-cooking it in the oven for 18 hours on low heat. Alas, he confesses: "This just...
Read preview Overview
Who Says the Cuppa Is Disappearing? A Nostalgic History Shows That Britain's Tea Tradition Is, in Fact, Alive and Well
Disappearing Britain Channel 5 Spot the odd one out: mines, wakes weeks, cups of tea. In the first two episodes of this series, Ricky Tomlinson reminisced down deserted coal mines and Sarah Lancashire prised from retired Blackpool landladies...
Read preview Overview
Year of the Woman: At the Beginning of 2006, the Prospects Looked Bleak for Strong, Idiosyncratic Female Pop Acts. Jude Rogers Meets Three Remarkable Artists Who Changed All That
I remember telling a friend, at the start of 2006, that there was little hope in my heart that idiosyncratic, outspoken young women could succeed in mainstream music. To be big these days, I said, you have to be bland. If you make pop, you have to...
Read preview Overview
Yes, We Have No Political Prisoners
My guide at China's first human-rights exhibition explained that the purpose was to raise people's awareness of this important issue. "Human rights are written into our constitution!" he said proudly. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Why, then, the bevy...
Read preview Overview