New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 141, No. 5099, April 2

A Few Easy Wins Won't Calm Miliband's Restless Back Benches
It is never a good sign in politics to be winning the gratitude of your enemies. Until very recently, Ed Miliband was the recipient of this dubious honour. Conservative MPs cherished the Labour leader's apparent inability to exploit their conspicuous...
An Egg Is Not Just for Easter
The egg is one of those everyday miracles that one has to be very drunk, or feeling unusually thoughtful, to appreciate. So common is this humble foodstuff that we rarely give it a second thought. After all, eggs is just eggs, as the saying almost...
Appetite for Destruction
"Everyone knows one person out there they can help who's less fortunate than them. And I'm not talking about help financially. I'm talking about knowledge. Plant that seed." No, not the words of the late civil rights activist James Baldwin or those...
Ben Okri
Wild is your first poetry collection in many years. Has it been brewing for a long time? It's been long in the cooking, for sure. I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories...
Cam's Clubland Clash
Nicholas "Fatty" Soames has the build of a chap who could have been invited often to Cam Dine With Me, yet the Tory heavyweight is one Old Etonian who is persona non toff in Downing Street. The Conservative Party's rough wing sniggers that it's because...
Don't Frighten the Children
On 20 March, with a serial killer still at large, President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed a group of children at a middle school in Paris and did what he does best: frightened them. "Those children are exactly like you," he told his audience, the day after...
Empire of the Grandson
The chubby features of the 29-year-old Kim Jong-un are starting to materialise in Pyongyang after his sudden promotion to the role of "Great Successor". In the gift shop at my hotel, a stamp depicts him enjoying a laugh with his late father, Kim Jong-il....
Football Will Outlive Us All, Even Me
I remember, about two months ago, the herd - following the rinsters-of-the-obvious Match of the Day pundits - saying that Spurs could win the league, they really could. Then, a month ago there was some sort of poll, so Sky told us, of all the Prem...
Hatred in the Banlieue: In the Poor Outer Suburbs of France's Major Cities, a Generation's Alienation Has Erupted into Violent Loathing. They Are at War, and They Call It the "French Intifada"
It is hard to describe exactly what happens when a whole country goes into shock, but this is what seemed to happen in France on Monday 19 March. The most visible signs in Paris were armed soldiers in shopping malls and train stations, bomb alerts...
Heard but Not Seen: Two New Documentaries Find Drama in Confinement, Writes Ryan Gilbey
This Is Not a Film (U) dirs: Jafar Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb Into the Abyss: a Tale of Death, a Tale of Life (12A) dir: Werner Herzog In 2010, Jafar Panahi was convicted of working against the Iranian system. He was never the regime's...
"Honour Killing Is Murder in Cold Blood": Polly Harrar, Founder of Sharan Project
Why did you set up the Sharan Project? I left home about 20 years ago. I was very young, and realised there is a huge gap for women who have left home and would like someone to help them to get back on their feet and build their confidence and independence....
Is There Something Missing in Your Life? Get a Set of Mini Carpet Bowls
I am walking past the charity shop when I see something in the window. I shop here regularly: the Aquascutum jacket that made A Certain Person furious ("Someone's doing well for himself." "But I got it from Sue Ryder for fifteen quid!" "Another one...
It's Tories Who Should Be Worried about Complacency
Whisper it quietly, but the Tories won't win the next election. I say this not because of George Osborne's slashing of taxes on his rich chums - a move described by David Cameron's former speechwriter as "a basic blunder that sends a missile into six...
Land Reform Remains One of the Great Progressive Causes
The coalition government has listened to those who were opposed to its new planning guidelines for England and has amended them in a way that should appease many of those who were fearful that the bulldozers were poised to rip up swaths of our loveliest...
Learn from History and Make Peace Now
The Falklands war is hugely important. Many try to pretend otherwise, especially those on the left. The episode was an accident, they maintain, a bizarre throwback to colonial impulses, a tragic joke. US support was vital, so all the talk of our "winning...
Lessons from Leveson
If we have learned one thing from the first part of the Leveson Inquiry, it is this: for the first decade of this century there was a culture of casual lawlessness on many of the news and show-business desks in Fleet Street. Part of this can be...
Man of Great Compute
Imagine choosing to undergo chemical castration by oestrogen injection. That was how much Alan Turing didn't want to go to prison in 1952, having been convicted of gross indecency as a practising homosexual. Now imagine being handed this choice by...
Man Overboard: Rachel Cooke Thinks Julian Fellowes Would Have Been Better Suited to Crossroads
Titanic ITV1 When I was 17, I starred--I use the word loosely - in a school production of Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound. Perhaps you know this play. It's about a pair of theatre critics, Moon and Birdboot, who are supposed to be reviewing...
Noises Off: Yo Zushi Is Awestruck by a Polish Avant-Gardist and His Rock-Star Disciple
Krzysztof Penderecki and jonny Greenwood with the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra Barbican, London EC2 Some time in 1969, the guitarist Robbie Robertson came across the music of the Polish experimental composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Robertson was a member...
Put out Old Flags: As We Mark the 30th Anniversary of Argentina's Invasion of the Falklands, a Former British Diplomat in Buenos Aires Traces the History of a Conflict That Is Little Understood but Is Simmering Again over Discovery of Oil in the South Atlantic
On the eve of the First World War, Argentina enjoyed the third-highest standard of living in the world. Today, after a hundred years of woeful misgovernment, this wonderful and immensely rich country is in 45th position. The great Argentine writer...
Saggy Knees, Secret Courts and Why Granny Tax Isn't the End of the World
Who ever could have seen the "granny tax" revolt coming, eh? Well, everybody. Clobber pensioners and the retribution will be swift and universal, in the pages of the Mirror as much as the Mail. Ros Altmann of Saga called it an "outrageous assault"...
Sex Wars and the City
There's a persistent opinion knocking around that blames the financial crisis on one small molecule: testosterone. It is testosterone, apparently, that makes traders go feral as stocks rise, taking bigger and bigger risks until Lehman Brothers happens,...
Slings and Arrows: In a Meritocracy, the Winners Deserve to Win or Think They Do, and They Reward Themselves Accordingly. but Life Would Be Better If We Acknowledged the Role and Importance of Luck
It sounds crazy, given how often we refer to it in everyday life, but the idea of luck has been under attack. Denying the importance of good fortune is central to the way we like to talk about success. In a meritocracy, the winners deserve to win,...
Sprinting Start
Over the past is years, Sprint Festival has become one of London's most enduring experimental theatre festivals. On throughout March at Camden People's Theatre, the line-up includes a solo performer attempting a duet, a show improvised around live...
Survival of the Prettiest: Why Did the Peacock's Tail Make Darwin "Sick"? Because the World Is Full of Extravagant Beauty That Natural Selection Struggles to Explain
Popular commentators on evolution, such as Richard Dawkins, have become overly enamoured with the idea of the gene. Genetics is certainly the most powerful mechanism of evolution and was unknown in Charles Darwin's time but although we have learned...
The Lost Colony: The City Would Lice to Be a Cool Metropolis but Is Run as a Shanty Town, Says Chris Moss
My Anglo - Argentinian boss at the Buenos Aires Herald, Andrew Graham-Yooll, used to call the city where we worked "the forgotten colony", referring to the amnesia on the Anglo side. How, he asked, could all those years of investment, railway-building...
The NS Competition
No 4220 Set by Leonora Casement We asked you to think up some new ideas for educational toys to help children prepare for the possibly globally warmed (or worse) future. This week's winners First, a service announcement. You will notice...
The NS Crossword by Otterden
Four solutions are all by ID and lack further definition: Across 1 Strongholds of foreign dialects (8) 5 (see 9) 10 Once seen at funerals in a tweed suit (5) 11 Lebedev angry about this point of view (9) 12 Offensive pungent aroma...
The Trayvon Martin Case Shows US Politics Is Ruled by the Dog Whistle
It took Barack Obama a full is days to comment on the death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed, 17-year-old African-American boy wearing a hoodie who was shot dead by a trigger-happy vigilante in a Florida gated community. The president resisted increasingly...
Titanic
Anyone else bored of the Titanic? Perhaps that's insensitive but there is such a thing as overkill (sorry, sorry). It's the centenary, hence the TV show, the events, the exhibitions. I had a teacher once who was a Titanic obsessive - he collected memorabilia...
Twilight Zone: An Online Radio Blog Gives Antonia Quirke a Window into Teen Fantasies
Fireside Chat blogtallcradio.com The Hunger Games--in which 16-year-old Kat-niss Everdeen competes in a reality show fight-to-the-death against other teenagers--is now the highest-ever US/UK opening for a film not part of an already existing...