New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 126, No. 4342, July 11

After Drumcree: What Are the Chances for Peace?
John Lloyd (below) says modernise the union. Suzanne Breen (right) says Sinn Fein wants a deal A perverse result of 18 years of rule by the Conservative and Unionist Party is to leave those who most wish to be part of the United Kingdom more defensive...
An Army of Knotters Is out in Strength (There's a War Going on You Know). Then Its Back to the Caravans, Beer Tents and Plastic WC Cabins
Nothing could be pleasanter than to sit on a grassy bank in the Somerset sun, eating a farmhouse ice-cream cornet, and watch 200 men try to kill one another. I see what brought the gentry of Brussels out to observe Waterloo. Muskets are so hopelessly...
A New House Style
A select committee wants to modernise the Commons. Over numerous dead bodies You start your new job, based at a picturesque but archaic building in the centre of London. It takes three weeks to sort out an office, longer to get your own phone. The hours...
A Sofa Is All You Need
Like the longed for reappearance of a friend, a new series of Friends returned to Channel 4 last week. The performances are as strong as ever, but it is the neatness of the scripts that is the show's true glory. Mind you, they have to be this good because...
At 81, the Man Who Shaped Labour's 1945 Manifesto and the Open University, Has a 16-Month-Old Daughter and a Passion for New Ideas
I would have been only mildly surprised if Lord Young of Dartington had appeared on his Islington doorstep complete with Sony Walkman, copy of Loaded magazine and Nike trainers. So fulsome are the tributes to his youthfulness ("He is more like a 21 year...
A Volcano Is Devastating Montserrat, a Tiny Speck in the Caribbean Sea. It Must Face Evacuation - or Federation with the Surrounding Islands
Perhaps the massive reportage on the transfer of Hong Kong to the Chinese gave the impression that the British Empire is at an end. Certainly a broad-sheet journalist was so influenced, and reacted in surprise when I explained that Bermuda, the British...
A Week in Music
Like Neil Hamilton faced with Sir Gordon Downey's findings, the rise and rise of composer Mark-Anthony Turnage leaves me "disappointed, devastated, perplexed, and amazed". Always given that a raucous mix of jazz and mainstream modernism is your thing,...
Blunkett's Plans for Raising Performance in Schools Will Fail Unless Some Gaping Holes in Them Are Filled. the Fillings Will Not Be Popular
It takes a government of great confidence and nerve to set explicit targets for schoolchildren's achievements. Nobody has done anything quite like it before. The great official tomes of the past - Newsom on secondary moderns (1963), Plowden on primary...
Bring England in from the Cold
Suppressed English identity contributes to racism and prevents Britain from embracing modern realities. Wear your Union Jack underpants with pride "You are a traitor. Just because you have married a bloody [sic] Englishman and have a half-caste bastard...
Collision Course
British Airways versus the Transport Union: who will alter course first? The union, probably British Airways is one tough airline. It became famous in the 1980s for improving efficiency through a scouring of its staff and executives, a policy initiated...
Get on the Bus
On 16 October 1995 Washington DC saw one of its biggest-ever demonstrations, with hundreds of thousands of black males converging on the city from every part of the country. The Million Man March was organised by minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the...
Grace Note
Up and coming from down under Samuel Adamson is an Australian country mouse who has turned into a dedicated Londoner, a young town mouse of talent. His first play, Clocks and Whistles, was a metropolitan comedy of manners, directed by Dominic Dromgoole...
How to Make Asylum Fair
Clear the backlog and overhaul a process which is a cause of national shame For its first 30 years, the 1951 Refugee Convention, with its commitment to protect those fleeing persecution, allowed western states to occupy the moral high ground, at very...
If Gardening Is the New Clubbing, Then Garden Centres Are Where You Go to Score Beforehand
So I'm lying in my bed in my usual workshy manner when I hear an unmistakable sound. It is the sound of a metal door being taken down by squatters. This is the sound of the city. At first I'm delighted. The house next door has been eerily empty for nearly...
I'm All for Simplicity and Have Sometimes Thought That Men Should Go Back to Marrying Virgins, If There Are Any Left
A letter has poured in response to the column about adultery and jealousy that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. To put it briefly, I had opined that a woman who wrote to an agony column saying that she still felt anger towards her unfaithful husband, even...
Labour's Commitment to PR Is about to Be Tested; It Is Also an Opportunity for Tony Blair to Prove He Is Not a Tribal Politician
Tony Blair is about to make a decision that will define the character of his administration as clearly as this week's white paper on education. It is a decision that has complicated logistical and practical implications, but is also deeply symbolic....
Leg-Spin Is Both Art and Science, and So Transcends National Loyalties
England's generally charmless bowling and abject mid-order batting at Old Trafford dramatically popped all the puff from their spinnaker. Any number of them will be quaffing at Headingley's last-chance taproom when the fourth of the six test matches...
Mr Blunkett and the Four Rs
The government's decision to set targets by which its education policies will be judged is commendable. Here are some tips on how to pass the exam There is no more reassuring member of the present government than David Blunkett. He brings to his subject...
Never Apologise
British demeanour over Hong Kong suggests we'll struggle to construct an ethical foreign policy The empire is dead. Long live the empire! This is a suitable epitaph for Britain's response to the handover of Hong Kong. There was barely a hint of New...
Not Just a Pile of Old Bricks: From Its First Sugar-Daddy to the Turner Prize, the Tate Gallery Has Usually Had the Ability to Annoy
The Tate Gallery is 100 years old this month. In 1897, it was estimated that it would cost [pounds]2,444 per annum to run it. In 1995-96 it received [pounds]43.2 million. These figures alone give an indication of the Tate's growth during the past century....
Seize the Moment
Labour has an historic opportunity to change Britain for good. It must not be squandered Now that the dust has settled, and the political landscape is clearer, the impact of Labour's landslide looks even more dramatic than it felt at the time. Those...
Sheffield's School of Scandal
Earl Marshal, on David Blunkett's hit list of failing schools, has a history of problems, but there are things about it that Ofsted doesn't reveal Alun Pelleschi looks worried, tired and harassed. "I've put my career on the line, my family life is stretched...
The Company You Keep
A new breed of business rewards staff with shares and a slice of the profits. This is the key to success in the knowledge economy Question: How much is the average company worth once its employees one home for the evening? Answer: Apart from a bit...
The Man Who Used to Run the City Council Now Promises "Drastic Action from the Centre" If Local Authorities Don't Deliver. What Can He Mean?
In the opening of the video that has been made to accompany the launch of this week's education white paper, David Blunkett says his passion for education is deeply personal. An extract is played from his speech at last year's party conference in which...
The Pro-Hunting Fraternity Say They Are Protecting Our Countryside. to Hunt Foxes Properly, They Need Hedges to Jump Over
My only brush with a blood sports lobby came during my smallholding days in Aberdeen. "Better lock that horse up," said the emissary, indicating the muddy hearthrug lurking in the yard. Why? The New Year shoot was imminent, he explained. Excess hubris...