New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 126, No. 4358, October 31

A British Au Pair Has Been in the Dock in New England. the Reaction Back Home Shows What a Self-Deluding Attitude We Have to Child Welfare
Working parents may miss the loveliest parts of their children growing up. They also bypass the nightmares. I have only second-hand recollections of the baby choking on a chunk of wood and the toddler disappearing into Regent's Canal clutching his duck-feeding...
A Guide to London's Best Cellars
"Would you please explain what it is, the wine bar?" So went the commission for an Italian magazine, which will shortly be dedicating an issue to the tricky business of restoring oneself in London. I invented the answer, but I like it so well, I've...
A New Wave of Moralizers Would like to See Hallowe'en Abolished. but Those Who Bang on about Occultism Are Missing the Point
In this northern school, they still bob for apples at Hallowe'en, hollow out pumpkins, and draw cobwebs, broomsticks and witches on sheets of sugar-paper for the classroom wall. The piano teacher has some spooky tunes. But in schools in the south of...
A Soap That Really Washes
Damn. BBC World Service launches its "Soap Opera for the World" this week and it's really good. Damn. Back in May 1995 Lynne Truss and I got belated news that the World Service was inviting tenders for a soap. We had until sundown to knock something...
Ban Hunting, Say MPs in Our Poll
As the Commons returned this week, we asked MPs to indicate their views on Mike Foster's forthcoming anti-hunt bill. Their message is clear If foxes could read they would be busy organising a small celebratory feast of stolen chicken, fresh off the...
Beyond Chaos and Dogma
George Soros, the man who broke the Bank of England, talks to Anthony Giddens about the need for a global polity to regulate the world economy George Soros is widely acknowledged as the leading financier of the world today, "the man who moves markets"....
Breast Cancer's Hidden Victims: An Official "Awareness" Month Masks the True Scandal of This Disease
October has been Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As more than 30,000 women a year in England and Wales are diagnosed with breast cancer, anything that can be done to help must be a good thing; after all, a higher proportion of women who get the disease...
Bull, Bears and Emus
The most turbulent financial markets for a decade have resulted in stalemate. So, it seems, have the government's internal struggles on the European single currency This was the week that globalisation turned into a high-speed animated film. One day...
Cowards, Liars, Cultural Despots and Subsidized Cronies: A Portrait of Britain's Film Industry - from the Inside, Naturally
Like the old cardinal whose political life goes up in smoke when a younger man is chosen as Pope, I was rather miffed when my friend Jeremy Thomas - who is a year younger than me - became chairman of the British Film Institute five years ago at the tender...
Despite Huge Leaps in Every Other Field of Human Endeavor, Airline Food Is Still Firmly in the Embrace of the Rubber-Chicken School of Cuisine
The first time I flew in a plane was in a little Caravalle to Gothenburg. That was the year 2001: A Space Odyssey came out, with its vision of scheduled passenger flights into space and computers that could talk and think. I flew in a 737 last week...
Eurosceptics and Europhiles Are All Still Smiling after Gordon Brown's Statement. and They Said It Wouldn't Last
Both sides of the new Labour coalition were delighted with Gordon Brown's statement in the Commons. The Times celebrated his intention to stay out of the single currency for the lifetime of this parliament. The Independent danced to the declaration that...
Footballers Used to Be Tops at Self-Destruction. Sadly, Sense Now Prevails
Why does the world love a bad lad? Especially a bad lad with skill and talent, flair and originality, who then throws it all away and self-destructs? Two questions there, I think, trying to creep out. First, why does the person himself- and it usually...
Getting in Touch with My Real Voice Has Helped Me Come to Terms with My Sigourney Weaver Fixation
I was having a normal Tuesday evening chat with Geoff in the Marquis of Cornwallis about such vital topics as whether Alan Green was a better commentator than Andy Gray, and how I could kick my persistent fascination with the moment in Alien when Sigourney...
His Scepticism on Europe and Constitutional Reform Mark the First Post-Election Hint of Clear Blue Water between the Tories and New Labor
Towards the end of the flaccid response that Peter Lilley, the shadow chancellor, gave to Gordon Brown's speech on monetary union on Monday was a passage on the threat that EMU posed to the British constitution. Weakly delivered, misplaced and (by the...
Hong Kong's Hang-Up: The First Crisis under Chinese Rule Has Been an Unexpected One - Whether to Accept Help from the Motherland to Bail It out of Its Financial Dilemma
It wasn't meant to be like this. Go back four months and revisit the predictions of what was going to happen in Hong Kong after Britain's last major colony returned to China on 1 July. There were sombre warnings of shades of Tiananmen Square, with Chinese...
How I Drove Labor to Expel Me
An innocent response to the New Statesman's questionnaire has brought the wrath of Walworth Road down on Steve Bruce's head Last Friday the postman dropped a bombshell through my letterbox. It was a letter from John Smith House, Labour Party HQ, to...
How Much Longer Will Caribbean Politicians Keep Coming to Britain for Favors Instead of Sorting out Their Own Economies?
Last Sunday the Royal Festival Hall played host to a benefit evening for the victims of the volcano which has all but destroyed the Caribbean island of Montserrat. A cast of young black British artistes gave their time and talent to entertain a family...
Is There a Spin-Doctor in the House?
Monday OK, so last week I was all in favour of anonymity and sinking out of sight, one's duties to perform. And this week I'm not so sure. Part of it was that things were a bit low after the party conference, and the Tories had their week in the sun...
"I've Never Knowingly Hugged a Terrorist in My Life," Says the Northern Ireland Secretary. but She'd like to Get Her Hands on the Stormont Leaker
Leading up to Mo Mowlam's ministerial base in Westminster there is a corridor with framed photographs of her predecessors. First I glimpse Merlyn Rees and Roy Mason, former Labour Northern Ireland secretaries. As her office gets closer Willie Whitelaw,...
LA Confidential
Everyone's in showbiz nowadays. The television screens are busy with celebrity doctors, celebrity shrinks, celebrity journalists, celebrity coppers. It wasn't always thus, of course. Back in 1953 the only celebrity policemen were those who - literally...
More Justice, at a Better Price; the Lord Chancellor Replies to Critics of His Reforms of Legal Aid
My radical plans for modernising civil justice have been attacked as cost-cutting surgery, with the sharpest knife honed for the poor. Nothing could be more wrong. Everyone attacks the civil justice system. It is too expensive. Its cost is out of control....
No More Muslim Apartheid: Islamic Extremism Has Been Nourished by a Century of Bigoted British Policy. Let Us Confront Prejudice and Give the Moderates a Chance
The launch of the Runnymede Trust's report on Islamophobia last week marked a watershed. If new Labour implements its wide-ranging recommendations it will signal a switch from a two-centuries-old relationship between the British establishment and Islam....
Pictures on the Box
All television is problematic but arts television seems more difficult to get right than most. The phrase "arts programme" shoots liquid lead into my heart. It is not true of arts sections in newspapers - some days I turn to them first - and I never...
PR: The Piecemeal Revolution
AMS? STV? FPTP? Labour's ambivalence towards constitutional reform is evident from the bewildering patchwork of electoral systems on offer If you were planning to transform Britain's electoral habits, you might mention it. You might make a fuss about...
Richard Belfield Finds Animal Madness Isn't Peculiar to the British. the Americans, Too, Are into Heavy Petting
It's generally assumed that the British are the world's most sentimental animal lovers. You know, all that stuff about how we prefer to talk to a mute mutt than another human being, believing that somehow this is a higher form of communication. If you...
The Brave New World of Talking Books
Next Friday is the day for the Talkies, the spoken-word industry's equivalent of the Oscar or Booker awards, now in its third year. The ceremony will be attended by a glitzy line-up of stars; actors and authors of international stature enjoy reading...
The "Radical" Bishop of Worcester Is Driven Less by the Need for Church Reform Than the Conviction That New Labor Must Reorder Its Financial Policies
All Church of England bishops carry, except when they re actually performing liturgical functions, a little leatherette suitcase, slightly bigger than a briefcase. When in London it acts as their overnight bag, carrying a toothbrush, a book to read and...
What Parents Don't Realize, Say Senior Policemen, Is That the War against Pushers Is a War against Our Own Sons and Daughters
I am in the middle of writing a book about Acid House, and the revolution in British clubbing that followed it. Which in itself is bad news for my editor, since by now I should be finishing it. In theory this was an easy book to do. Ever since I was...
Who Is More Magnificent, Medici or Saatchi?
Historic Florence is an intimidatingly butch city. No wonder the Medici had to have six balls on their armorial bearings - even if four fell off, they still had two to play with. The back of the Palazzo Vecchio stands so sharp to the pavement that you...