New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 138, No. 4976, November 23

20 Green Heroes and Villains
On 7 December, world leaders and climate change negotiators will meet in Copenhagen to discuss the future of our planet. As the debate intensifies, the New Statesman's panel of environmental experts have chosen their heroes and villains--politicians,...
And the Winner Is ... Nobody
When Festus Mogae retired last year, he was given 200 chickens, 117 cows, nine horses, four donkeys, four ostriches, two pigs and two dogs. Oh, and [pounds sterling]3m. The former president of Botswana won the world's biggest prize, funded by Sudanese...
Big Kids
"Ooohh." A noise goes up from the crowd of big kids looking at the shiny red sports car. The car is parked on a raised dais and a man with a microphone attached to his head stands next to it. He has just opened the door and the big kids throb and mill...
Brothers Grim: Bodily Revulsion Is at the Heart of the Coens' Work, Writes Ryan Gilbey
A Serious Man (15) dirs: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen It is reassuring to discover at the end of A Serious Man that "No Jews were harmed during the making of this film". But the same cannot be said of the reputation of its directors, Ethan and Joel...
Chantal Mouffe
You argue that politicians should seek to create a "vibrant 'agonistic' public sphere". What do you mean by that? What I have in mind is not simply a space for the expression of any kind of disagreement, but a confrontation between conflicting notions...
Cloud Control: Drastic and Immediate Cuts in Carbon Emissions, as Advocated by Most of the Green Lobby, Are an Expensive Way of Doing Very Little Good. They Would Reduce Growth and Especially Hurt the World's Poor. but There Is Another, Better Way
There is a disturbing tendency among many in the climate debate today to deride as "deniers" anyone who does not advocate making huge and immediate carbon cuts. The framing began nearly a decade ago with discussions about the science of climate change....
Cold War Modern: Remnants of the Wall Are Luring Tourists to Berlin, Writes William Cook
East Side Gallery Berlin On the east bank of the River Spree, something strange is happening--the German government is renovating a section of the Berlin wall. This is by far the biggest remainder of the so-called anti-fascist protection barrier...
Competition, Puzzles, Facts and the Fan
THE NS CROSSWORD Across 1 Piece that moves twice? (6) 4 A giant destroyed by a single princess (8) 10 A number of intellectuals found in a body (7) 11 Skippers become ships after three (7) 12 Tory paradise (4) 13 A sailor goes...
Cuts Won't Cost the Earth
Economic reality is a curious thing. The term has a solid, reassuring sound. To go against it would be very foolish and immature. But what exactly is it? It is certainly unpredictable, even fickle, as we saw during the credit crisis when boom--real...
Dawn of the Dead: The Dark Shadow of History Has Always Loomed over Stephen Poliakoff's Dramas. but Glorious 39, Set on the Eve of War, Is Bleaker Than Ever
From the very first moments of Glorious 39, you know that it's a Stephen Poliakoff film. It's partly the familiar music: he has worked with the composer Adrian Johnston for more than a decade, so his best-known films have a very distinctive soundscape....
Don't Drop the Pilot: Antonia Quirke Salutes Whoever Persuaded Joan to Do Radio
Armatrading for Mayor Radio 4 On Radio 4, the 681st Lord Mayor of the City of London, Ian Luder, invited Joan Armatrading to "come through the magic curtain" and spend a week hanging out. "Come and meet the Worshipful Company of Gardeners," he...
Hugh Gaitskell Had Lived
It is January 1963, and Hugh Gaitskell, the leader of the Labour Party, is feeling unwell. Four days into the new year, he checks into the Middlesex hospital. The experts are baffled; he seems to have some kind of virus, but they cannot work out what...
Like It or Not, Brown's a War Leader
Is there a more agonising decision for a British premier to make than to send troops into harm's way? In recent weeks, various ministers have been heard privately despairing at the rising British military death toll in Afghanistan With the British...
Load of Old Balls? No, Football's Crown Jewels
I try to visit the National Football Museum in Preston most years, as it's so amazing, wonderful, marvellous and also depressing, because I think why do I bother, they have all the best stuff, how can I ever compete? This twin reaction happened...
Night at the Museum: As the Guardians of the Souls of Our Communities, Local Cultural Institutions Must Fight and Adapt in the Face of Budget Cuts
Remember the turn of the millennium? An era associated with shiny new buildings and the launch of major gallery projects across the country, when culture was used as an engine for regeneration. Alongside the big-money projects, there was a demand from...
Nurses, Cricket and Anti-Semitism
One of the great diseases of the modern era--somebody once called it the "diploma disease"--is to require ever higher qualifications for what used to be straightforward jobs. Librarians once needed only a love of books, accountants a head for figures,...
Oh, for a Bonfire of Banality!
Oh, it has been a dispiriting week. I have found myself questioning the very purpose of my vocation. Where does power really lie? In the hands of the elected? The righteous? The just? [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] No, I conclude. In the mucky paws of...
Other World Music: Sholto Byrnes Applauds a Jazz Performance That Is Full of Fireworks
Chick Corea/Bela Fleck Barbican, London EC2 Shortly before he underwent heart surgery, the late drum virtuoso Buddy Rich was asked if he was allergic to anything. "Country and western music," was Rich's reply. Quite what he would have made of...
"People Are Surprised When I Say I'm the Son of Osama Bin Laden"
What is it like having the world's most infamous surname? I am proud to have the name of my grandfather, Mohammed Bin Laden. He travelled to Saudi Arabia, worked hard to build a construction empire and put himself at the right hand of King Abdulaziz....
Political Police
The debate over how to run the police force and whether some of its senior members should be elected is one of those arguments where each side is accusing the other of the same thing, like two tearful siblings each trying to convince their parents...
Should Britney Sync or Sing?
Recently, Britney Spears got into trouble for miming her way through shows. She'd sold her tour as a live performance, when in fact the songs are pre-recorded and lip-synced. We're all very familiar with the idea that people singing on TV are, often,...
Terrorists Don't Instal Disabled Toilets
In 1996, when you travelled through the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico, soldiers would get on the buses every half an hour or so to check on the passengers. They'd look at papers, search random bags and occasionally take people off for a chat. Some did...
The NS Competition: No 4102
Set by Leonora Casement We asked you to compose an ad in the "Flatsharers wanted/Room for rent" classified section in any paper or magazine so that no one in their right mind would reply. This week's winners Well done. [pounds sterling]25...
Uganda Is Sanctioning Gay Genocide
I recently reorganised the books in my study, and collected my remnants of feminist theory on a separate shelf; a fragment of another world. There were copies of Feminist Review, work by Betty Friedan, Simone de Beauvoir, Andrea Dworkin and Mary Daly....
Umbrellas Are like Love Affairs
The sun is shining as I write, but I have learned not to trust it. As soon as I step outside, it will start raining. This generally seems to have been the pattern of things for the past couple of years. Indeed, if there were only one piece of advice...
We're All with the Brand
Last summer I was walking through an interminable caravan park atop a cliff in Norfolk when I began clocking the makes of the vans. There was the Windsor and the Coronation and the Aspen. Naturally, the Aspen, I said to myself as I plodded past its...
World Leaders Need to Become Green Heroes Too
"It may seem impossible to imagine," wrote Elizabeth Kolbert in Field Notes from a Catastrophe, her important book about climate change, "that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are in...
Wrong on the Way Down and Up
This has been an interesting couple of weeks. On 5 November, Bonfire Night, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at the Bank of England announced that it would extend its programme of quantitative easing by [pounds sterling]25bn. More important, for...
You Can Ring My Belle
"The thing is that people are complex. People lead complicated lives." So said the research scientist Brooke Magnanti, when she "came out" in the pages of the Sunday Times earlier this month as the blogger better known as Belle du Jour. The identity...