New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 132, No. 4625, February 17

America: With the Protests Limited to Hollywood Bigmouths Such as Barbra Streisand and Sean Penn, No Wonder That the Latest Poll Shows Six in Ten Americans Are for War
Thank goodness for Barbra Streisand. Where would America be without her expertise? As the movie star Whoopi Goldberg told a large crowd while campaigning for Al Gore: "You guys are down there, and we celebrities are up here--so we can see what the...
A Modest Proposal: For Preventing Torturers in Liberal Democracies from Being Abused, and for Recognising Their Benefit to the Public. (Features)
(with apologies to Jonathan Swift) A new phase in the evolution of liberal values is under way in the United States. America's most celebrated defender of civil liberties has initiated anew debate on torture. The context of Professor Alan Dershowitz's...
A Nation Split Down the Middle. (the Britometer)
Citigate DVL Smith A poll carried out exclusively for the NS reveals that the country is profoundly divided on war with Iraq. And it has alarming news for Tony Blair. The NS/Citigate DVL Smith poll found that 36 per cent of respondents agree...
An Iraqi's Best Bodyguard? (Human Shields)
Ken Nichols O'Keefe has burnt his American passport. He has also tattooed "USA expatriate" on to his fist. The 33-year-old ex-US marine says he is ashamed of his actions in the 1991 Gulf war and wants to apologise to the Iraqi people. So this month,...
Arrested Beauty: Hephzibah Anderson on the Victorian Lady Who Invented the Close-Up. (Photography)
Short and plump, Julia Margaret Cameron was the ugly duckling of a famously good-looking brood of sisters, and spent her life in pursuit of Beauty. "I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me," she is often quoted as saying. "And at length the...
As the World Protests against War, We Hear Again the Lies of Old; "A Painful Decision," Say the Supporters of an Invasion. but It Is Not They Who Will Feel the Pain: It Will Be the Iraqi Infants Writhing in the Dust When the Cluster Bombs Fall. (Features)
In "Dulce et decorum est", his classic poem from the First World War, Wilfred Owen described young soldiers, doomed to die, "like old beggars under sacks", and a man's "hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin". If you could hear, at every jolt,...
A Victorian Idealist in the White House: The Left Opposes the War for the Wrong Reasons. Bush Is Not a Dumb Hick Who Wants to Fight the Iraqis for Their Oil; He Is a Clever Man Motivated by Righteousness. (Features)
"Our calling as a blessed country is to make this world better..." Yeah, right. As if. Change the channel. I suspect that few, if any, readers of the New Statesman will have heard (or read) President Bush's State of the Union speech from beginning...
Diary: The Romantic Spirit of Byron Lives on, and Is to Be Found in the Form of an 80-Year-Old Woman Who Is Lying Prostrate across the M3 to Protest against the War in Iraq
I was invited to give a talk at the National Portrait Gallery, to run in conjunction with an exhibition, on Lord Byron. I said how it seemed incredible that a Romantic poet could have been a major celebrity in England, given that the only romantic...
Doves Fly High in the East. (Protest in Europe)
One of the most unedifying aspects of the entire build-up to war has been the sight of the former communist party apparatchiks who now hold power in many eastern European countries falling over themselves to endorse the hawkish line of Washington....
Dramatic Response: Michael Kustow Argues It's Time That Theatre and TV Were Put on "Quick Reaction Alert". (Witness to War)
Nicholas Hytner takes over at the National Theatre in April with Shakespeare's morally charged Henry V. Whatever the state of the war we are in, this play, like so many of Shakespeare's histories, holds up a pitiless mirror. If Tony Blair thinks of...
Events
The ns guide to what's going on in politics, current affairs and culture CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY A 30-minute film about genocide and ethnic conflict in Armenia, Nazi-occupied Europe, Cambodia, East Timor, Bosnia, Rwanda and elsewhere, using the...
Goodbye to the Resurrection: Andrew Billen Enjoys a Bang-Up-to-Date Life of Christ That's Neither Satire nor Fantasy. (Television)
Two Decembers ago, Andrew Davies made Othello a Metropolitan Police commissioner. Now, in The Second Coming (9 and 10 February ITV1) Russell T Davies has brought Christ back to modern-day Manchester as a video-shop assistant. You don't have to have...
How Islington Man Became a Trigger-Happy Prime Minister; Five Wars in Five Years: Why Is Blair So Bellicose? Because His Vision of "International Community" Makes Him at Least as Much of a Hawk as Bush. (Features)
Five wars in five years: why is Blair so bellicose? Because his vision of "international community" makes him at least as much of a hawk as Bush. Cast your mind back to the Labour conference of 1997. Tony Blair had been given two nicknames by a...
How to Bring Down Saddam. (Alternatives to War)
I am marching against war on Iraq but with feelings of ambivalence. The Stop the War campaign ignores Saddam's human rights abuses: detention without trial, torture, execution and the ethnic cleansing of Kurds and Shias. While rejecting war, it...
In the Wake of Robert Lowell: Can Today's Poets Seize the Moment as Their Great Predecessors Did during the First World War and the Fighting in Vietnam? (Features)
Weekly assembly at my old school in Essex was a sombre, repetitive occasion. A recital of the Lord's Prayer, a homily or two from one of the senior masters, the obligatory warnings about the consequences of meddling with cigarettes or alcohol: it was...
"Lord Irvine Rejects [Pounds Sterling]22,000 Pay Rise". (Don't Believe It)
It is still difficult to believe that the Lord Chancellor was initially given a [pounds sterling]22,000 salary increase at the same time that troops and teachers were being given virtually nothing. What is even more unbelievable than awarding him an...
Modern Madonnas: The Tits and Bums of Soap Stars and Page-Three Girls Are Familiar Sights, but the Pregnant Woman Remains a Mystery. Rachel Cusk Welcomes an Artistic Rethink of a Taboo. (the Back Half: Arts, Etc)
One of the few virtues attributable to that 21st-century staple of parenthood, the pregnancy manual, is the utterance it has given to the female form, not only in the more dramatic gestational phases but in childbirth itself. These irksome, hectoring...
Northside: With My Wire Saw, Fish Hook, Needles and Match, I Prepare for War with Iraq
Talk of war always reminds me of my favourite shop, York Army & Navy Stores (nothing to do with the glossy London department store), which has sold many gas masks since 11 September, even though they come with instructions in Russian. First...
Now What? I Will "Try" to Respect the Subjunctive Form and the Unsplit Infinitive
The phone rings just as I'm about to leave the house for lunch with a TV overlord, a grand fromage in the media world. It's his personal assistant. "X is going to try and get to you for 1 pm. He's a little behind schedule..." That small word "try"...
Our Most Important Political Playwright Thinks the Cabinet Has Far Too Many "Deadheads", but He Still Respects Blair. (Interview: David Hare)
Word filters through that David Hare does not want to discuss politics. Our conversation should focus, I am told by a nice press agent, only on his work. Since Hare is usually billed as the greatest living political playwright, this is like hearing...
Sex and the Stiletto: At [Pounds Sterling]700 a Pair, Manolo Blahnik Shoes Are the Latest Celebrity Love Token and Status Symbol. but, Writes Suzanne Moore, They Tell Us More about Shopping and Lifestyle Than Desire. (the Back Half)
Manolo Blahnik is obviously the greatest Spaniard of all time. "He's Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton -- a genius. I fall at his feet and worship at his temple." So says Isaac Mizrahi. Fashion types, as you may have noticed, are not given to understatement....
Suede Boots, Pink Ladies: Lindsey Hilsum Finds Some Curious Visitors on the Streets of Baghdad. (Features)
As the band played ear-splittingly discordant martial music, my eyes strayed down and I watched the shoes marching past. Trainers, clumpy high heels, clogs, platform sandals. These were the female fighters in the Jerusalem Army, the popular militia...
The Business: The Business World Will Be Happy with War, and Just as Happy with Peace. What It Can't Stand Is All This Messing about. It Wants Bush to Press the Button Now. (Columns)
There is growing impatience with President George Bush in the business community. This is not because he maybe about to unleash his bombs on Iraq. It is because he won't-how can I put this delicately?-just get on with it and press the button at once....
The English Were out of Time and out of Place at Cricket's World Cup
What do they know of cricket who only cricket know? The late C L R James, that formidable Caribbean intellectual, poses the question in the finest book ever written on cricket, Beyond a Boundary. He insisted that cricket belongs to the family of high...
The Fan: Now the Refs Are Selling Advertising Space on Their Bodies-To Opticians
I've been in the West Indies during January and have seen no football at all, as we were in posh hotels that don't have satellite TV, so vulgar. But at a place called Cocobay in Antigua I noticed that the chef was Nigel Martin. I'd been wondering what...
The Insider: Trimble's Secret Meeting, Why You Can't Rip Up Your Labour Membership, and IDS at Play. (Columns)
Tony Blair's talks in Belfast with the Irish premier, Bertie Ahern, are only the tip of an iceberg. Extraordinarily, David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, went to the Irish embassy in London for a secret meeting with Ahern to discuss ways (I...
The Left Discredits Itself by Pursuing the Wrong Target. (Features)
The anti-war movement, argues JOHN LLOYD, is guilty of the worst kind of moral equivalence, equating Bush and Blair with Saddam and Bin Laden. It has been seduced by anti-Americanism. As the time nears for a decision on the invasion of Iraq, support...
Through Indian Eyes: Sheridan Morley on Two Very Different Journeys into the History of the Subcontinent. (Theatre)
In the history of British writing about India, no story has been more hauntingly adapted than E M Forster's A Passage to India. There was a stage version in the 1950s, as well as David Lean's 1984 movie. What is fascinating about Martin Sherman's new...
Today's Men Are Motivated by Insecurity, the Women by Ambition
I thought I wanted a Stepford husband. A docile, smartly dressed ever-purring sex machine with flawless DIY skills. In short, I used to dream of a male version of that feminist anti-heroine, the Stepford wife. The book and the film, you will remember,...
War: The Case Has Failed. (Leader)
Could anybody have imagined, a year ago, that we would now be so close to war with Iraq? Think back to how most people reacted when it first emerged that a faction within the US government wished to go to war against Saddam Hussein; how the idea prompted...
Watching Brief: Catherine Zeta-Jones Wept Tears at the High Court Because She Had Been Violated by a Cake Fork. but If She Defeats Hello! Will Journalists Be Able to Expose Hypocrites in Public Life?
When a woman stands up in court and tearfully claims she was violated, so devastated by an act of betrayal that she spent days crying on the telephone and years later had not recovered, you could be forgiven for thinking she was talking about the loss...
What a Hooter: Philip Kerr Can't Keep His Eyes off Nicole's Nose in the Overhyped the Hours. (Film)
Promoting the movie Red Dragon, Sir Anthony Hopkins discussed the challenges of playing a younger version of Dr Hannibal Lecter: "On this one, I thought, it's the vocal problem I've got, because my voice has dropped. So I thought...can I make it as...
What Happens If Saddam Fights Back with Chemical and Biological Warfare? London and Washington Insist the Iraqi Dictator Has Weapons of Mass Destruction. If So, War Planners May Have to Hope the Republican Guard Stops Him Using Them. (Features)
The UK has been mesmerised by the terrorist threat posed by chemical and biological weapons at home. Much more imminent and likely, however, is the use of these weapons on the battlefield--possibly against British troops. The BBC broke a story that...
Why a War against Iraq Would Be Illegal. (Features)
Both the US and UK governments have succeeded in diverting attention a way from the key issue that we should be debating at this point: the legality of the war. The war against Iraq is in contravention of the United Nations Charter and international...
Wine: The Only Way to Re-Sacralise Sex Is to Drink to It, So Reuniting Real with Idea
"Hail Bishop Valentine, whose day this is;/All the air is thy--diocese..." So wrote John Donne in 1613, memorably capturing the spirit of a religious festival devoted to the mating urge. Donne's "Epithalamion" expresses the change of air that occurs...