New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 139, No. 4987, February 8

Angry Young(ish) Man
The important thing for that most absurd of creatures, the separated man in his forties, is to contrive as much luxury as possible for himself in order to mitigate the pain of his circumstances. I learned this in a hurry after queuing up a couple of...
Cameron Is Worse Than We Imagined. Much Worse: 2015-David Cameron's Tories Have Been in Power for Five Years, Britain Is Ravaged by Deep Cuts, the Borders Are Closed to Non-EU Migrants, There Is Social Unrest, Labour Is Divided and Scotland Is Preparing for Independence
In a few months' time, we will face one of the biggest political choices in living memory. For the past few years, Britain has stumbled from crisis to crisis under the direction of one of the worst governments any of us can remember. Our economy is...
Competition, Puzzles, Facts and the Fan: The NS Crossword by Anorak
27 Down is the first of a series of words (all of them unclued) from 3 to 11 letters in length. Each is an anagram of its predecessor plus another letter. Across 1 (9) 6 (5) 9 Scottish town with northern aspect before noon (5) 10 Official...
Continental Drifters; the Greatest Cultural Shift of the 20th Century Was the Influx of Black American Intellectuals into Europe. Their Legacy Is Still with Us, Writes Jonathan Derbyshire
In June 1950, the back American writer James Baldwin wrote a piece entitled "The Negro in Paris" for a journal called the Reporter. He had arrived in the French capital two years earlier, on a one-way ticket and with no intention of returning to the...
Crimea Watch: Ethnic Tensions Rise in the First Presidential Vote since the Orange Revolution, Writes Justin Vela
On a typically snowy January day in the port city of Sevastopol, on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, a handful of residents are marching through the centre of town, their large Russian flags held high. The demonstrators are a mixed bunch: they vary in...
Does BoJo Have the Mojo to Be Our MoMo?
Who will be our Mo? This was the question that hung in the air like cheap cigar smoke, as Dave and I dutifully sat through two hours of Julie Walters acting her cotton socks off. Sam left the room before the opening credits (as she does whenever anything...
Fish Fingers; Catching Pike Can Be Painfully Funny, Writes Antonia Quirke
Living World Radio 4 The brilliant first episode of a new series of Living World (31 January, 6.35am) considered the mysteries of the pike. "Good conditions for catching pike?" asked the presenter, Lionel Kelleway, standing on the banks of the...
Five Great Political Speeches
1959 Enoch Powell House of Commons Enoch Powell was yet to give his "Rivers of Blood" speech when he stood before the House of Commons to denounce the beating to death of 11 Mau Mau rebels by British security guards at the Hola detention camp in...
Flipping Tory Policies Prove a Flop
So here we are in south-west Florida and it's still bloody cold. In fact, it was so nippy that lots of the local fish population shuffled off, as they say in fish parlance, this mortal coil. And the turkey vultures from miles around showed up to gorge...
Forget Blair-It's Brown or Bust
On the day Tony Blair testified at the Iraq inquiry, I bumped into a leading cheerleader for the former prime minister. "Your generation will now have to put up with a Tory government for the next decade," he said, jabbing a finger in my direction....
Frank Kermode
Has literary criticism lost the prestige that it once had? There was a period, when I was a young lecturer, when there were literary critics with immense reputations. I'm thinking of people like Northrop Frye, for example, who ruled the world with...
From a Sunny Outpost of the Roman Empire
While in St Barts, on my hols-yes thanks, had a lovely time -I was returning one day to my hotel, Eden Rock, when I noticed this rather nice little football stadium, with a decent-looking stand, handsome entrance. Yet the island has a population of...
Half Nelson; Mandela the Magnificent? Not on This Evidence, Writes Ryan Gilbey
Invictus (12A) dir: Clint Eastwood It is the fate of great men to become the subjects of mediocre movies. Even so, Nelson Mandela has been unluckier than most. First he was portrayed as a kind of Jiminy Cricket to one of his own prison guards...
Hamster Horror
Baby hamsters (awww!) double in weight every week, the New Economics Foundation reports. Which is kind of interesting, and kind of cute, but perhaps not the most obviously pertinent fact to the field of economics. Actually, the important point as...
"He Could Run and Win the Leadership"
Last summer, not long after his resignation from the government, I met James Purnell for coffee in Soho, where he lives. it was a warm and sunny morning. He was wearing jeans and flip-flops and seemed extraordinarily at ease,. less like the career...
Hugger Mugger; Rachel Cooke Applauds a Brilliant Portrait of a Formidable Woman
Two decades in the capital, and I'm still not used to the middle-class double kiss, especially when, as is increasingly the case, it is bestowed on me by a person I barely know. So it's not difficult to imagine how I would have felt about Mo Mowlam,...
Immaculate Conception
This is probably my final column as a non-dad. Any day now, my wife will give birth to our first child. Her waters will break in a dramatic fashion, most likely as she's walking around the supermarket. Events will then proceed at an unstoppable pace...
It Need Not Be a Nightmare on Cameron Street
There was much to admire in the early positioning of David Cameron after he won the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2005. He was the first Tory leader who seemed genuinely at ease in a plural, liberal, multiracial Britain. He was not a cultural...
Mandy: The Movie
Set your videos for Mandy: the Movie. I hear that the resurrected Prince of Darkness is to star in a fly-on-the-wall documentary. Eager to share his transformation from Labour outcast to potential saviour, the shy and retiring Lord of All-He-Surveys...
Peter Wilby on ... Pope on the Ropes, and Maggie's Soap
When I became the editor of the New Statesman in 1998, several readers protested after I appointed Cristina Odone, a prominent Roman Catholic, as my deputy. She was not, they said, a "suitable person" for the NS, with its history of secularism and...
Please, Not Just William Will Self
A couple of years ago a locksmith high on junk food pulled out of a McDonald's drive-thru without looking and wrote off my car. At the time, since I went in a split second from steel-cosseted calm to rain-drenched shock, I wasn't that pleased; but...
Primary Careers Advice
The government wants careers advice to start in primary schools. What is going on? Are we really to start talking to seven-and eight-year-olds about what job they should do and how to write their CV? "Don't take their childhood away", "They should...
Releasing Potential through Music
Children who learn a musical instrument at primary school are more confident and their learning shows improvements in other areas, according to a study published late last month by the University of the Arts London. The study focuses on the government-funded...
Simon Says Relax; Daniel Trilling Explores the Strange World of the Charity Pop Single
Everybody Hurts Helping Haiti Charity, as Withnail might have remarked, is free to those who can afford it. So it's no surprise, in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, to see the aristocrats of the 21st century making a beeline for the nearest...
Start the World, We Want to Get On: The Copenhagen Debacle Gave Little Grounds for Hope of Concerted Action against Climate Change, but Anthony Giddens Sees a Chance for a New Beginning
The climate-change meetings in Copenhagen proved something of a fiasco. The global nature of those December talks, with representatives attending from 192 countries--including many heads of state--certainly indicated that the world is taking climate...
The Ns Competition
No 4112 Set by Leonora Casement We asked for the first paragraph of a book that would instantly secure a huge advance from a publisher. This week's winners Superb. [pounds sterling]25 to the winners, the best of whom, Ian Birchall, also...
The Real Reason Salinger Sought Escape
Like 99.999 per cent of the population--considerably more, actually--I never met J D Salinger. Author of the iconic and quintessentially American Catcher in the Rye, Salinger died on 27 January, aged 91, on the 90-acre New England estate where he had...
The Single, Brilliant Idea: Great Oratory Is the Mark of a Great Leader. Sophie Elmhirst Asks Politicians, Historians and the Writers Who Worked for Clinton and Blair to Reveal the Secrets of the Perfect Speech
Around the oval table at the National Liberal Club, an old gentleman's club in Westminster, sits a group of men and women. In front of them, on a small television, perform an array of politicians. The films skate back through time: Blair, Thatcher,...
"We Wore Little Forage Caps and Looked like the Hitler Youth"
You turned 70 not long ago. Looking back over the years, would you say there was a plan? In retrospect, it looks like a master plan, but I just followed my nose. There are still things I haven't done--I need another 40 or 50 years of life. They...
Who's Going to "Do a Portillo" This Time Round?
Closing the net Few issues are more politically hazardous than immigration, but on the campaign trail it will be hard to avoid the subject. A recent YouGov poll of 57 marginal seats found that only the economy matters more to voters in these areas....
Why We All Love a Fight
Why am I obsessed with violence? Journalists covering protests are often accused (by non-violent protesters, funnily enough) of only caring when it erupts into a fight. The critics have a point. Violence always gets more column inches: just think of...