New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 133, No. 4683, April 12

America: The Trouble with the New Liberal Talk-Radio Station Is That It's Not Very Funny. It's Easier for Right-Wing Shock-Jocks to Jeer at Those Seeking Compassion Than Vice Versa
If you drive across America and switch on the car radio you are bombarded with radio stations--some reaching a large audience and lasting many miles as you travel, others staying with you only an infuriating few minutes. The power of the transmitters...
Animal Rights/viewpoint 1: How We Cruelly Lobotomise Cats
At the beginning of this month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced it would not legislate to enforce the stunning of livestock before halal and kosher slaughter, despite recommendations from its advisory body, the Farm...
Animal Rights/viewpoint 2: Goodbye to the Fun of the Circus
There is nothing quite like a big old stripy tent to bring out the worst of the left and its killjoy tendencies. Roll up, roll up! Come and see the amazing animal rights activists plying their guilt at a big top near you. The bearded woman and the...
'Babies Have Now to Be Trained in the Protestant Work Ethic': As Parents Claim the Credit If Their Child Succeeds and Professionals Say There's Something Wrong with the Family If the Kids Do Badly, Suzanne Moore Explores the Implications of Not Trusting Children to Exercise Free Will
Until fairly recently, I thought that the need to black out a room entirely was something to do with the Blitz. I was wrong. No, curtains should have black-out lining and should be fixed on a track that is flush with the top of the window. There should...
Back to the Future: The 1960s Architectural Collective Archigram Had a Vision of Transforming Britain's Drab Postwar Landscape into a Technological Wonderland, but It Never Actually Built Anything. Thanks to Retro-Chic, Its Ideas Are Now Enjoying a Revival
With a world tour, a prestigious Riba Gold Medal and now a retrospective at London's Design Museum, the 1960s architectural collective Archigram has become increasingly difficult to ignore over the past couple of years. This is surprising, perhaps,...
Blair and Food: Exposed by His Sandwich
Which topic stumps Tony Blair most often? The reform of public services? Iraq? Top-up fees? Asylum and immigration? On these, he can usually manage fluent answers. But not on his eating habits. As a guest on a Sheffield radio phone-in the other...
Class Conscious: Basically, the Rich Don't Read Books, So Sod Them If They Don't like Paperbacks
Last week I wrote here that I was 42. That was a mistake. I am actually 41, as my wife has kindly pointed out, and a goal I would like to achieve before I'm, say, 50 is the publication of my fiction in hardback. My novel coming out in August--The Blackpool...
CND: Back on the Road to Aldermaston
This Easter we are witnessing one very timely resurrection. For the first time in 16 years, a multitude of peace campaigners, from committed Christians to sandalled scientists, are undertaking a four-day march from London's Trafalgar Square to the...
Competition: Win Vouchers to Spend at Any TESCO Store
Competition No 3824 Set by Brendan O'Byrne, 22March You were asked to spell a word backwards and then redefine it. Report by Ms de Meaner No room. [pounds sterling]15 to the main winners, [pounds sterling]5 book tokens for the single/doubletons....
Diary: I Love the Way the English Who Are Anti-Europe Say, "I've Nothing against the French. I'm off There on Holiday." They're like Men Who Visit Brothels Insisting They Really like Women
My left eye is bloodshot, painful. My contact lens is firmly glued to my eye. Ian, my optician, removes it while I yelp and tears run down my cheek. He sends me to the Western Eye Hospital in Marylebone Road. I'm seen almost immediately. They're wonderfully...
Even If You Buy Convenience Food, Here Are Three Things to Make at Home
The idea that, as a society, we are "cash rich, time poor" has always struck me as having a whiff of bullshit about it. The slogan first gained currency in the mid-1990s, around the time that a host of potentially time-saving technologies and products--the...
Fashion: A Fabric Fit for a Chancellor?
Where Tony Blair has gone wrong is that he's never worn velvet. If ever he looks out of his bombproof car windows these days, he may notice there are rather a lot of velvet jackets being worn au moment, by the younger, more fashionable male electorate....
Film: Video Nasty; A Documentary of a Family So Dysfunctional You Wouldn't Believe It If It Weren't True
Capturing the Friedmans (15) At a key moment in Andrew Jarecki's accidental study of modern gothic madness, an interviewee pauses briefly before alighting upon the word "dysfunctional" to describe his imploding family. It's a moment of arid irony,...
Grade Expectations at the BBC: Auntie's New Chairman May Be Very Popular, but He Won't Be Able to Choose the Next Director General
The arrival of a charismatic and popular new chairman may have transformed perceptions of the BBC, but all is far from sorted. The immediate issue is the appointment of a new director general to replace Greg Dyke. It is being assumed that Michael Grade...
Iraq: How to Move On
Those who opposed the invasion of Iraq have been proved right in almost every respect. Far from Saddam Hussein being ready to launch WMDs against the west, he had no such weapons. Far from the war making us all safer, we seem now in the middle of what...
Is Fascism Behind the Terror? Islamist Extremists Believe in a Worldwide Conspiracy Not Just of Jews, but Also of Freemasons. They Thus Echo the Rantings of Europe's Extreme Right in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Ever since 11 September 2001 reasonable people in liberal democracies have concluded that their enemies must at some level be reasonable, too. Surely such hatred must have been provoked by the west. Surely the solution must be for western governments...
Labour Rebellions: They Bark but Never Bite
It is easy to blame the gargantuan size of the government's majority for the failure of the top-up fees rebellion, which finally fizzled out at the report stage of the Higher Education Bill on 31 March. But it is as much to do with the inability of...
Multiculturalism? the Term Was Foisted on Us by Bureaucrats of the British State
The Commission for Racial Equality was set up by the British state to ensure that racial discrimination was brought to an end. It came into being when dark-skinned, former colonial subjects resisted attempts by whites to keep them in lowly positions....
My New Think-Tank Will Cure Voter Apathy: We Will Offer Prizes and Air Miles and Allow You to Swap Your Vote Here for One in America, So You Can Have a Say in British Foreign Policy
The chairman of the Electoral Commission, Sam Younger, is worried that turnout could fall to less than 50 per cent at the next general election. This would give anarchists the all-important statistic to proclaim victory. The state will immediately...
Panic on the Beaches: Fears That the Maori Own New Zealand's Seashore by Law Have Rocked the Labour Government
In secular New Zealand, the beach is not just a pleasant recreational space. It is a kind of vast sacred site--film set, wild museum, lovers' lane and escape route from claustrophobic suburbia. Probably not one family in a thousand has Christmas dinner...
Politics: Terrorism, Race and Asylum Have Combined to Become the Most Potent Mix in Modern Politics. but Blair Cannot, Even If He Wanted to, Pull Up the Drawbridge
There is a nightmare in Downing Street and it goes like this. Hundreds of people are killed by bombs on the Underground. A previously unknown Islamist terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda writes to a London-based Arabic newspaper claiming responsibility...
Surveillance Culture: Richard Cork Is Unsettled by the Bleak Reflection of Our Times at "Beck's Futures"
When I walked down the Duke of York Steps to the ICA, the assembled men in uniform posing for photographers looked like an emergency anti-bomb squad. But they turned out to include real-life street rangers, nightclub bouncers and, in the centre, the...
Television: The Failed Fascist; an Unexpectedly Fascinating Portrait of a Far-Right Bully
England Expects (BBC1) Single-issue dramas are usually doomed to fail because they are more interested in the issue than the drama. Their plots serve their author's argument. Their protagonists are allegorical. When the single issue is the rise...
Theatre: Secrets and Lies; A Superb Domestic Drama Takes Us to the Depths of Depravity
Festen Almeida Theatre, London N1 Two brothers and a sister rendezvous at the grand parental home to celebrate their father's 60th birthday. From the first moment, the audience feels uneasy. Why has Michael (a powerful performance by Tom Hardy)...
The Eternal Woman: Peter Conrad Marvels at the Many Incarnations of the Divine Renee Fleming
Opera, indulging its love affair with the female voice, has always been fascinated by that many-sided mythical being, the eternal woman. Because operatic composers are usually male, most of their heroines can be classified as either whores or Madonnas....
The Fan: If You Support an Unsuccessful Team, at Least the Parking's Easier
"All you seem to do is moan," said my wife when I got home from Spurs last Saturday. "I don't know why you bother going, you get so little pleasure. Why not just watch a game on the television instead?" [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "You don't know...
The Insider: Blunkett Wins Pankhurst Prize, Dog Fed Better Than MPs, and Why Millwall Fans Hate Ali
Downing Street has signalled Tony Blair's refreshed interest in immigration matters with yet another hands-on initiative. A Home Office trusty tells me that, much to his irritation, David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, often first hears about important...
This Man Has Been Called Zimbabwe's Che Guevara. Did Mugabe Have Him Murdered? in a Divided Land, Josiah Tongogara Is a Hero Claimed by Both Sides. Mark Olden Traces an Inspirational Life and Mysterious Death
You have probably never heard of Josiah Magama Tongogara, but he is Zimbabwe's Che Guevara, a liberation icon with streets named after him in almost every town in the country. Tall, bearded and charismatic, it was he who, as commander of the guerrilla...
When Men Have Lost Their Reason: Is the War on Terrorism Working? A Scientific Analysis Suggests That It Is Not and That It Has Succeeded Only in Keeping Us Scared and Compliant
Science is no good at telling us how we ought to behave, but it is very good at helping us to analyse problems. So it is odd, and in many ways shameful, that our government marches so abjectly to the drum of science if there is wool to be pulled over...
When the Italian Red Appeared, Even My Students Started Quoting Horace
Italian culture is a local product. It celebrates family, city and region; village ceremonies and village saints; local virtues, local vices and the local dishes that produce them. Its root assumption is that it is best to be where you are, and hurrying...
World View: Diplomats Have the Same Faults as Foreign Correspondents: They Don't Get out Enough, They Socialise Too Much with Their Own Kind and They Don't Know the Local Language
My next book--a history of Eritrea to be published in December--is in its final stages. As I trim bloated chapters and check references, a gleeful realisation dawns. With any luck, I may never have to use the Public Record Office in Kew again. Libraries...