New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 127, No. 4408, October 23

Are Snails Wiser Than Marxists?
At such an early stage in its life, this government must be the most analysed in history. Much of the analysis comes from the government itself, with its annual reports, end-of-100-days reports, first-year celebrations and semi-authorised biographies....
A Woman's Nightmare in Pakistan
Jill Mackenzie thought she had married a mild, liberal man. In Lahore, he turned into a tyrant I was married, for seven years, to a Pakistani. My husband was a well-educated, well-travelled businessman. My life with him was hell - and even now, though...
Britain's Elite Is Not a Thing of the Past; It Has Simply Become a Thing of the Stomach
They're getting rid of hereditary peers, trimming the fat cats' perks and next week they' re marching against the monarchy. So you'd think new Labour means no snobbery. Think again - or just look around. There are people talking truffles, sushi and walnut...
Can a Liberal Society Tolerate Eastern Culture?
Dr Theodore Dalrymple argues that arranged marriages test multicultural ideals to the limit When I read of the lives of celebrities in our newspapers, I sometimes wish we had a freedom from information act. But since the disharmony in the marriage of...
Can Labour Kick the Winning Habit?
David Marquand on the deep paradoxes at the heart of Blair's government Even now, it is hard to grasp the scale of the electoral earthquake that struck British politics on 1 May 1997. The geography of the result was as portentous as the arithmetic....
David Willetts: "We Have Ended Up in a Situation Where the Treasury Tries to Control Everything Local Government Does." (British Shadow Cabinet Member)
David Willetts may not have the aura of Michael Portillo, who was recently described by the Times as the Conservative Party's"philosopher king", but he is a more influential figure. Portillo can offer banalities in speeches and be treated with the utmost...
Delia's How to Cook
I once had a friend who wrote a technical column for a hi-fi magazine. He would start with the basics and gradually work himself up into a state of some sophistication - at which point he would tell readers that it was time to get back to basics. The...
Do School Tests Lower Standards?
Tony Mooney warns that new exams for five year olds could lead to an educational disaster This country's schoolchildren now take more formal national tests of their abilities than any other children on earth. We have had tests at the ages of seven,...
How Woodrow and Margaret Helped Their Chum Rupert
I had thought to entertain New Statesman readers this week with press coverage of the global financial crisis, but my attention was distracted by a man with a plump cigar and chins so numerous that, whenever I talked to him, I worried lest the Havana...
If Prince Charles Thinks His Saga of Middle-Aged Love Can Make Him a Popular Hero, He Is Sadly Mistaken
From out of the ether, two great love stories emerge. One is the tale of Paul McCartney and his late wife, Linda; the other, that of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Mrs Parker Bowles, though living, is a spectral presence. The Queen, notes...
In Praise of Empty Gestures
It has been said, with some truth, that war crimes are committed only by the defeated. The idea that justice should operate across international boundaries is almost entirely a 20th-century one, largely invented after the second world war to deal with...
I've Been Celibate and I've Been Non-Celibate, and I Know Which I Prefer
The abandonment of privacy' in British public life has been so precipitous over the past few years that it comes as a shock to come across it being preserved - albeit in an eccentric manner. I've just read Bryan Magee's book, Confessions' of a Philosopher...
Like a Scrolling Stone
Bob Dylan's website is one of the most beautiful I know, and certainly the most efficient. It offers samples from every track he has ever recorded, and a selection of whole songs in delicious live recordings: official bootlegs from every period of his...
Misogyny Is Still Free on the NHS
... as Liz Hunt discovered when she dared to contradict her male consultant I always liked doctors. First I wanted to be one, and then I wanted to marry one. Instead, I had to settle for writing about them. And I continued to like doctors - until I...
Of Mandelson, Mice and Milk Chocolate
The pleasure of being a conspiracy theorist is that the world makes perfect sense. Where there is paranoia, there is also clarity. But to avoid synaptic overload and consequent insanity, you need a measured approach. It is in no way peculiar, for instance,...
Playing Silly Bookers
The Booker prize is 30 next Tuesday. Martyn Goff, who has sat in on every meeting of the judges since 1972, recalls the gossip and the scandal A metaphorical bomb was thrown at the 1984 Booker prize dinner when Richard Cobb - professor of modern history...
Rostropovich: The Russian Years
"He was an exceptionally nice man." Mstislav Rostropovich is factually flat, but sincerely touching, about the composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. In the Prelude from Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras No 1 for eight cellos and one solo cello he is more expressive....
Russia Sinks in Slow-Motion
John Lloyd, visiting Moscow, sees a great tragedy unfolding: he predicts famine this winter and detects an ominous growth of anti-Semitism A great tragedy is playing itself out on the eastern borders of Europe. Russia is plunging into chaos. The collapse...
Scotch Mist
Hamlet, I am sure, would have drunk whisky. No other alcohol is compatible with his melancholic soliloquies. Had he been on the grape juice, I can't imagine him coming up with anything as articulately miserable as: "How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable...
Sorry, Leo, We British Blacks Don't Need Your Help
I went to the "10,000-man" assembly in Trafalgar square, London, last weekend, dressed unobtrusively, to the point of disguise: a hooded black top, courtesy Gap; black peaked cap; and dark shades. At one point I overheard a couple discussing whether...
The Best Man for Hoddle's Job? It's Got to Be a Woman
So who will be the next England manager? Dunno. Could we have guessed five years ago that Blair would be PM, or two years ago that Hague would be Tory leader, or two weeks ago that Gazza would be a born-again Christian and teetotal? OK, that's not happened....
The Health of Nations
A great deal of nonsense has been written about complementary medicine lately - not least in the New Statesman. It has been accused of being "unscientific" and "dangerous". But such accusations betray dumbfounding ignorance. To begin with, the rubric...
They Still Want Him Now He's 77
I first met John Glenn about seven years ago, and my immediate impression was unchivalrous: he's an old man! He was then just 70, but seemed older and more doddery than most people his age. Whether I'd subconsciously been expecting a super-fit, crew-cut...
Throwing Light on Darkness
It's tempting to view Charlotte Salomon's visual autobiography as "Holocaust art". But to do so, argues Charles Darwent, does her genius a disservice To describe Charlotte Salomon's pictorial autobiography, Life? or Theatre?, as sad is to succumb to...
Velvet Goldmine
"Although what you are about to see is a work of fiction," teasingly announce the opening titles to Velvet Goldmine, "it should be played at full volume." Todd Haynes's extraordinary panorama of the glamrock years seems certain to face resistance from...
What about the "Good" Dictator?
Mario Vargas Liosa cheers Pinochet's arrest, boos Castro's stardom One of the very few people who did not rejoice at the news of General Pinochet's detention in London last weekend, at the request of two Spanish judges, was Fidel Castro. On the contrary,...
Where People Paid Gas Bills, I Find a Gallery of Damsels
"Welcome home," says Birmingham Voice, the city council's free-sheet. The man it is welcoming back has been dead for a hundred years. But the heart of Birmingham's huge collection of Edward Burne-Jones paintings has returned to the city art galleries...
Why Did So May Give Aid and Comfort?
Simon Heffer finds the British establishment culpable in the case of Mohamed Fayed We all make certain assumptions about our country. I had always believed, for example, that had we been occupied by the Nazis, we would not have collaborated with evil...
Woolfing It Down
Exactly 70 years ago, Virginia Woolf came to Cambridge. Her experiences there in October 1928 formed the skeleton of A Room of One's Own, a masterpiece of food writing as well as feminism. The book is about the trials and tribulations of women writers....
You Know You're Getting on a Bit When Your Feet Grow and Your Head Shrinks
Mrs J Waddington of Hornchurch sends a slightly smudged postcard to say that she saw me on the new Family Channel last Wednesday and found her attention distracted from the subject of the debate (the pros and cons of parents allowing their young children...