New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 139, No. 5010, July 19

Boring Mandy and Eton Outstripped
I must report that, for the second time, Peter Mandelson has sent me to sleep. The first occasion was in 1998 when, as the new editor of the New Statesman, I was summoned--on the promise of a refreshing cup of tea, which never I materialised--to the...
Che Had Escaped
"I remember it as if it were yesterday," the man sitting across the table says softly. "Willy went up first; he was leading the centre group. We were almost at the top of the ravine when we heard them." His voice falls away, his eyes flash, and...
Doctor, Doctor, I'm Allergic to Modern Jazz
To the new doctor down the road. Until now I have resisted registering there on the grounds that ... well, no grounds at all, really, just a superstition that if I start putting down roots they will be torn up; the presumption of permanence will make...
Enshrined in Law: Secularism Became a Vital Part of the Indian Constitution after Independence, but It Is Now under Threat
The French writer Andre Malraux once asked Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, what his greatest challenge had been since independence. "Creating a just state by just means," he replied. Then, after a pause, he added: "Perhaps, too, creating...
Everyday Tragedies: Sue Hubbard on a Maverick Painter with an Eye for Human Vulnerability
Alice Neel: Painted Truths Whitechapel Art Gallery, London E1 Alice Neel's emotional intelligence and her commitment to figurative painting during the heyday of American abstract expressionism marked her out as a maverick. A painter of social...
Five Candidates in Search of an Idea
The Labour leadership election is starting to resemble Tony Blair's "masochism strategy". Week after week, the candidates traipse around the country to address the party faithful at various hustings while answering near-identical questions on cuts,...
Gaffe
We're drowning in gaffes this summer: linesman gaffes at the World Cup; Michael Gove's gaffe about school-building; Tony Hayward's glittering array of BP gaffes; Jeremy Hunt's Hillsborough gaffe; Prince Charles's immigrant-at-Glastonbury gaffe. We...
Gammon and Plotting with the Strangler
To Walton-on-the-Naze with Tebbit for a busman-style holiday, albeit one in which the coach is being driven by a balding pensioner with psychopathic tendencies intent upon laying waste to Frinton-on-Sea. Still, what David ("the best all-round prime...
Here's to Happy Endings
As the old trope goes, I have been completely vindicated; you have been cleared; he has been whitewashed ... I think that sums up the points of view on Muir Russell's Climategate report that came out on 7 July. A difference of opinion on a similarly...
Hot Little Plumber: Nintendo Shows How It's Done with Another Simple Classic
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Nintendo Wii In 1981, a carpenter (as he was then) encountered a gap between where he was and where he wanted to he. Taking a running jump, he leapt into space, cleared the chasm and landed safely on the other side. As he...
In Defence of Secularism
The United States, Turkey and India all have secular constitutions. However, none of them contains the definitive "secularism". There is no such thing. But these constitutions have a common aim: to protect religion. By not permitting the establishment...
In the Souses of Parliament
On the night of the long drinks in the Souses of Parliament, a snout muttered, a confused Ken Clarke marched into the Labour whips' office demanding to know when the Budget vote would be. The Justice Secretary was told that he had mistaken the opposition...
Land of the Red-Blooded Mail
I hope you have noticed my forbearance throughout the recent football tourney, resisting the urge to prate upon the follies of fandom, let alone the poisonous catalysis that ensues when they are admixed with patriotism. But now, with fair Albion lain...
Marshall Berman
Your book All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, which is being reissued this month, was first published in the United States in 1982, at the dawn of the Thatcher-Reagan era. Were you trying to say something in your writing about the spirit of the times?...
Never Can Say Goodbye: The Summer Blockbuster Season Is Tinged with Sadness
Toy Story 3 (u) dir: Lee Unkrich Inception (12A) dir: Christopher Nolan When someone lets you down, it becomes that much easier to say goodbye. This is how admirers of the Toy Story series may wish to rationalise any ambivalence towards...
No 4134
Set by Ian Birchall A government carrying through painful economic measures would be well advised to give the voters a few compensatory treats-diversionary measures that will be popular or entertain the voters, but at a negligible cost. The public...
Raoul Moat, a Hero of Our Times
The interesting thing about Raoul Moat was not that he was unusual--it was that he wasn't. A man filled with self-loathing who blamed his former partner for leaving him when he turned into a pathetic, self-pitying and ultimately threatening boyfriend,...
"Secularism Means Everybody Is Infallible except the Pope. Crazy"
How is life, now that you have left parliament? Absolutely wonderful. It feels like I left 20 years ago, rather than two months ago. How is the coalition faring without you? I I'd rather we didn't have one. Coalitions are bad news--you never...
Settling the Score
So that's it, another one over. I've put away all the charts, cleared the telly-room floor of four weeks of stains and debris, burned the England flag, binned the stupid blow-up England hand. Four weeks? Felt like four years. Now it's gone, 'twas a...
Tales of the Unexpected: Gazza, Des and Tony's Train Journey Take Peter Watts by Surprise
Touchline Taies Radio 4 Unexpected admissions on Radio 4, with Des Lynam musing bashfully: "Do you know who does it for me? Bobby Charlton." What prompted this sudden confession of Lynam's attraction to the tonsorially challenged inside forward?...
The NS Crossword by Anorak
Franglais. Across 1 There's a snake--stay on road! (7) 5 Ghastly whipped cream round a bun-top (7) 9 Dish up some lesser vegetables (5) 10 Obstruct pit return maybe (9) 11 Home is new and is in 2 (4) 12 Relative with one key in...
"There Is a Universal Human Nature": The Archbishop of Canterbury Talks about Religious Longing, How the Church of England Enriches Society and Why We Shouldn't Be Expected to Accept Austerity to Salvage the Economy
The last time the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, spoke to the New Statesman, it was at the end of 2008, a year that our writer, James Macintyre, described as "one of the most difficult for Anglicanism since the Reformation". The Lambeth...
Thundering against Consensus
The Times, nicknamed the Thunderer (from the line, published in the mid-19th century, "we thundered out the other day an article on social and political reform"), has inserted a firewall to stop free viewing of its website. I am not paying. The likely...
Tweet My Shorts
At the time of writing, I have 28,777 followers on Twitter. This means that, provided I can condense them to 140 characters, I can share my thoughts instantly with a potential audience of approaching 30,000 people: more people, probably, than I have...
Urban Jungles
Who doesn't like trees? Nobody. Everybody likes trees. But some people really, really like trees. The staff of the Woodland Trust, for example. "We need more native trees and woods in urban areas," insists the trust's report Greening the Concrete...
We Are in Denial about the Divine: Many of Us like to Think That We Live in a Secular Society-And Yet We Have an Established Church. So What Do We Mean by Secularism? and What Would We Lose If We Tried to Ditch Religion Altogether?
The same thing happens in both the first and second episodes of BBC2's new comedy series Rev. StSaviour's, a run-down inner-city church with usually a tiny congregation, is suddenly filled with newcomers. In the first episode, Reverend Adam Smallbone...
Why Women Make Better Traders
The normally heterogeneous members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) now have one thing in common: a Y chromosome. For the first time in the institution's 13-year history, there are no women around the table. Martin Weale, the...
Yet More Top-Down Prescriptions for the NHS
In his first address to the Conservative conference as leader four years ago, David Cameron noted that while it took Tony Blair three words to sum up his priorities for government ("Education, education, education"), he could do it in three letters:...