New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 129, No. 4507, October 9

A Jailbreak out of an Ealing Comedy
Pat Pottle, one of the duo who sprang the Soviet spy George Blake from prison, died last weekend. Nick Cohen recalls his extraordinary story At about six o'clock on Saturday 22 October 1966, George Blake, allegedly the most dangerous double-agent...
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Americans Should Call in Paxman
It is one of the most hypocritical media charades of all. Last Monday, reporters from across the world flocked to Boston for the first of the big presidential debates, which took place on the Tuesday night. Next Wednesday, they will magically materialise...
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...And Can Theoretical Physics Explain Labour's Slump the Polls?
Can the power law of theoretical physics, as outlined above by Mark Buchanan, explain the movements of opinion polls and, in particular, the sudden and unexpected collapse of Labour support last month? Pollsters and commentators, to say nothing of...
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At No 11, It's Victorian Values Again
Tristram Hunt argues that the Chancellor is an essentially Dickensian character In the run-up to the 1983 election campaign, Margaret Thatcher discovered "Victorian values". The Victorian age, she decreed, had been treated very badly by years of...
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Children Who Are Not So Special after All
New Labour wants social inclusion, but seems reluctant to fund special needs education. Is this not a form of segregation? They used to be called handicapped, thick, retarded. In these more enlightened times, we talk about children with learning...
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Class Conscious
Our society makes a fetish out of modernity, so it is taboo to talk in terms of class. Almost everyone I interview for this column denies its importance, whether it be an Oxfam spokesperson attesting to the broad appeal of diced organic mangoes from...
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CRISTINA Odone
Hague just can't get his head round England: it's way too big This Christmas, William Hague, Ffion at his side, will be sitting in his Range Rover, enjoying a bottle of wine and some turkey sandwiches as he feasts his eyes upon the Yorkshire Dales....
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DARCUS Howe
Joyce huffed and puffed, causing macho men to tremble The woes of the past few weeks required a period a long, long way from home, in a faraway place with a strange-sounding name. I chose Grenada, in the eastern Caribbean, off-season in tourist...
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Deaths in a Cause That Is Already Won
The bloodshed is in vain. Israel has decided to settle with the Palestinians; the real enemies are the Orthodox absolutists within its borders. Less than a fortnight ago, I walked across Temple Mount with Israel's official archaeologist. Tourists...
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Denmark
Its porn is fun, its cities clean, and in social justice it is leagues ahead of us. As for that No... "Sex, suicide and socialism": those were the three deadly words used by President Dwight Eisenhower nearly half a century ago to characterise Godless...
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Dennis Takes Deadly Aim at Labour
Dennis Canavan is the Scottish Ken Livingstone. Though he no longer sports what used to be the prickliest of the "wild man of the left" beards, his whole being still bristles -- with wounded pride, slighted self-regard, outraged dignity and explosive...
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Diary
The BBC producer was caught, on film, mouthing to a colleague: "I really want to have a bath with you" It is a tiny eye up in the corner of the studio, and so very easy to forget-it is early in the morning, and three hours of live radio requires...
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Do, Ray, ME
MUSIC RICHARD COOK on how Keith Jarrett's illness has intensified his appeal to his followers Much of the attention centred around Keith Jarrett of late has had more to do with the state of his health than with his piano playing. His physical...
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For Now, the World's Little Warriors Can Fight On
A charter to stop children becoming soldiers sounds good. But the US is not keen, reports Barbara Gunnell Nobody could be against a charter that aimed to protect children from the consequences of war, could they? And who would be so churlish as...
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Francs, Lies and Videotape
A dead man's confession about frauds and scams threatens to ruin Jospin, Chirac and the Fifth Republic itself France doesn't work. This is no glib commentary on the 35-hour week, nor on an economy that is doing well, despite each and everyone seemingly...
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Has Greg Dyke Goofed?
MEDIA IAN HARGREAVES sees merit in the BBC's decision to move its news to 10pm It was certainly sporting of ITN's website to offer us a poll on the BBC's decision to move its Nine O'clock News to 10pm, especially as the electronic ballot paper...
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History Lesson
TELEVISION ANDREW BILLEN on an attempt to make classrooms of our homes Fearing itself at the end of its own history, the BBC has never been more mindful of its charter's remit to educate and inform. Nor, in this year of Our Dyke, has its late...
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Hunter Davies
Joe wants to be a manager again. So he must be potty That's it then. No more football books. Done, got the signed jockstrap. My portfolio is now complete. I created this ambition for myself many years ago, back in 1972, when I did a book about a...
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In the Footsteps of H G Wells
The great author called for a Human Rights Act; 60 years later, we have it. At the beginning of the Second World War, H G Wells wrote a letter to the Times attached to a draft "Declaration of Rights". The celebrated author called for a set of written...
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It Figgers
BEE WILSON on a fruit that reaches the highs, and lows, of oysters FOOD Figs are like oysters. They come into their own in autumn. During the first months ending in "r", you know that oysters and figs are good to eat. The Romans referred to the...
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Lauren Booth
Tony's clones were discussing Prezza's mental health and Mo's farting Last Saturday night, I'd been invited by the incredibly trendy Charlotte Raven to her relaxed cocktail-cum-birthday party. It was at her home in NW3--and I was the only one wearing...
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Nothing Can Beat a Wee Dram
A visit to a distillery reminds Edward Russell-Walling of an endangered subculture I do not have children of my own. But I have something else that, in time, should give me almost as much satisfaction and rather less trouble -- a hogshead of single...
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Ozon Layer
FILM JONATHAN ROMNEY on sex and death in Bavaria Cinema's great overachiever, Rainer Werner Fassbinder had made more than 30 films by the time he died in his mid-thirties. The young French director Francois Ozon, conversely, has acquired something...
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PAUL Routledge
William Hague may laugh a lot, but he has scant sense of the absurd. He's banned the chicken-run, that hallowed Tory tradition permitting Tory MPs or ex-MPs to regard a safe seat as an inalienable human right. Previous beneficiaries include Michael...
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Remember the Project? It's Back
The seaside towns on the English south coast are safe again, left to the scudding autumn seas and the murmur of genteel voices in lounge bars and tearooms. The late-night plotting, the snatched affairs and the hangovers are now just a memory. But has...
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Schools That Teach Children to Lie
Hywel Williams, a former master at Rugby, marvels at the hypocrisies, ancient and modern, that continue to sustain the English public schools From obscure East Anglian Framlingham to vulgarly gin-and-tonic-belt Charterhouse, from rugged Rossall...
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Stiffed
BURIAL MICHAEL WATERHOUSE MICHAEL WATERHOUSE contemplates our gravest concerns Things have started to look up for death. This year, there have been new books on burial "the green way" and on how to have a good death. A series of fly-on-the-wall...
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Stop This Auction on Pensions
Many years ago, a pensions company ran an arresting advertisement that featured a man who looked cheerful at 25, but whose brow became more furrowed at ten-yearly intervals. The captions told the story: his insouciant "I can't be bothered to think...
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The Absolute End
APOCALYPSE DAMIAN THOMPSON is disappointed by the Royal Academy's lazy exploitation of shock value "Beauty and horror in contemporary art" is the subtitle of the Royal Academy' s "Apocalypse" exhibition. It's not a bad line. The fission of the...
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The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Moore
DRINK VICTORIA MOORE gets red-faced at the surgery For the first time in years, I went to see a doctor. I try to avoid doctors because I consider them to be people who will tell me that I am diseased, rather than people who heal. Anyway, the...
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The Country That Said Yes
Ireland, from inside the euro-zone, is booming. As inflation soars and wage pressures grow, are there any regrets? The Republic of Ireland, firmly inside the single currency, has done terribly well out of Europe. It is the most outstanding example...
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The Journal OF Lynton Charles
FIDUCIARY SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY Thursday Mr Brown arrives back from Brighton in thunderous mood. Even if you don't see him enter, you can often feel his presence two floors above, on the other side of Fort Knox, or -- in those moments that civil...
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Where Do We Go to Die?
With our cemeteries almost full, staying buried is getting harder. Fergus Fleming digs up some morbidly fascinating truths about funerary customs, and asks Where do we go when we die? Heaven and hell aside, the traditional answer is underground....
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Why the World Is Simpler Than You Think
Earthquakes, forest fires, wars and stock markets: do they all follow a universal law? In 1934, the historian H A L Fisher arrived at a rather bleak conclusion on the nature of human history. "Men wiser and more learned than I," he wrote, "have...
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