New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 134, No. 4750, July 25

A Catalogue of Warnings: Blair Was Told about Muslim Rage Not Just by His Critics, but by Some of His Closest Advisers, Writes Michael Smith
Tony Blair has been at his most contemptuous when dismissing the idea that the 7 July bombers might have been angry about Iraq, Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. "Their cause is not founded on an injustice," he declared. "It is founded on a belief, one whose...
A Community in Denial: Reporting from Leeds and Bradford, Shiv Malik Finds a Worrying Willingness among Ordinary Muslims to Believe Conspiracy Theories, and to Close Ranks against outside Investigation
Two weeks after the London bombing, the conspiracy theories had gone mainstream outside the Leeds Grand Mosque. "Even if it was how they say it was, you've got to think, who benefited most from this? It goes all the way to the top. It's a battle against...
A Long, Hot Summer: A Turbulent Year-Iraq, Bombs, the Election, Leadership Acrimony and Much More-Has Reshaped Our Political Landscape. as MPs Break Up for Their Recess, Three Writers Review the Altered State of the Parties and Look Ahead To
DAVID PUTTNAM ON LABOUR 'Now is the time to bridge the chasm between government and the governed' Perhaps I am an optimist, but I believe you've got to go back about seven years to recall a more united and positive atmosphere in the Labour Party....
America; Right-Wing Radio Stations Have All the Best Lines, While the "Liberal" Stations Are Amateurish and Embarrassing. Result: The Right Can Decide on the "Facts" with Impunity
This week I did something that very few Americans do: I listened to "liberal" talk radio, the supposed antidote to the jungle of right-wing broadcasting that deluged the nation from the moment Ronald Reagan forced the end of the "fairness doctrine",...
Angela Merkel: Forged in the Old Communist East, Germany's Chancellor-in-Waiting Is Not like the Others
Helmut Kohl, with typical oafishness, used to call Angela Merkel "das Madchen"--the Girl, his girl, his discovery. It was never as simple as that. Although she retained the look of a blackboard monitor deep into middle age, Merkel's girlhood was over...
Beyond Blame and Shame: What We Must Do Now; Young Muslims Have Been Totally Marginalised by Their "Community Leaders". Nothing Will Change until They Are Given Representation, Argues Ziauddin Sardar
"What are we going to do?" This is the question Muslims are asking in hastily arranged meetings and conferences throughout Britain. There is a strong indication that Muslims are going beyond self-justificatory and self-satisfied Islamic rhetoric to...
Blair's Bombs: The Senseless Repercussions of Interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine Demand That We Renew Our Anger at Our Leaders. Our Troops Must Come Home. We Owe It to All Those Who Died in London on 7 July
In all the coverage of the bombing of London, a truth has struggled to be heard. With honourable exceptions, it has been said guardedly, apologetically. Occasionally, a member of the public has broken the silence, as an east Londoner did when he walked...
Class Conscious: Buttons and Buttonholes Are Funny Old Things That Come with an Etiquette
I have spent a good chunk of the past three years editing a dictionary of humorous quotations. Obviously, the section on "class and snobbery" is pretty huge. I include a joke told by Maureen Lipman: "Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: To see...
Commentary: Why Are There So Few Female Adventure Writers? Do Women Not Write Action-Packed Novels? or Are They Trapped by Publishing Conventions? Kate Mosse Goes on a Quest for the Tough Girls of Fiction
I grew up reading the great adventure novels of the 1960s and 1970s, from Alistair MacLean's Ice Station Zebra to Wilbur Smith's The Sunbird. I enjoyed the combination of action and landscape, the sense of mystery and the certainty that, whatever trials...
Competition: Win Vouchers to Spend at Any TESCO Store
Competition No 3889 Set by Valerie Yule, 4 July You were asked to devise a fair way to determine the salary packets of a top chief executive and his office cleaner. Report by Ms de Meaner An array of highly amusing answers. J Seery, as...
Daytime Heroes: A Quartet of Preening Pin-Ups Fails to Work Any Magic
Fantastic Four (PG) In recent years, big-screen comic-book adaptations such as Bryan Singer's X-Men and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies have happily acknowledged their "adult" fan base, giving the grown-ups much to ponder, even as the kids shriek...
Diary; as I Write, I Can Hear Banging from the Lane Behind the House. Back in a Minute ... This Is Absolutely True: I've Just Got Back from Chasing Two Motorcycle Thieves
We spent the weekend recently among terrifying, bearded men wielding swords. Peel, on the Isle of Man, where we have a bolt-hole, was holding its annual Viking festival. This is run concurrently with the Peel go-kart Grand Prix--the Manx will take...
Drink: Private Suites, Silver Service and Plenty of Sake-Has Karaoke Grown Up?
There are some things that you literally cannot contemplate when sober. One of them is rifling through the stickies in the drinks cabinet. Another is ringing your ex to tell him exactly what you think of him. Cossack dancing is a third (the crouched-down,...
Food: Picnics with My Mother Involved as Few Man-Made Elements as Possible
To celebrate my birthday last week, I decided to have a picnic. It was a decision I reached only after some prevarication, because in my experience picnics can be divisive affairs. I remember my parents arguing when I was young about what our picnics...
Harry Potter: My Hermione Hell
As the frenzy of publication subsides, some high points of Harry Potter excess linger in the mind. There was, for example, that Edinburgh masque, in which 70 children rode to the castle by horse-drawn carriage while parents lined the route under orders...
London's Bombings Ensured That the Deep Dissatisfaction of Muslim Youths Will Stay Buried
What the young Pakistani boys and the single West Indian did on that fateful day in London was morally wrong. And what is morally wrong is invariably politically disastrous. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Let me give an example. Immediately after President...
Manners: Say Please. No Thanks
Indian newcomers to Britain, whether immigrants or tourists, have a habit of rubbing the locals up the wrong way. By the end of my first week here, a friend who was also new to the country had managed to annoy an impressive number of people. The exchanges...
Minister of Sound: As Claims of Corruption Rocked His Country's Government, the Brazilian Minister for Culture Still Encouraged London Audiences to Get Up out of Their Seats and Samba. Sue Steward on the Idiosyncratic Politician Gilberto Gil
This month, as Brazil spun into its most serious political crisis since the former metalworker Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva became president, a secretary at the office of the minister for culture, Gilberto Gil, said Gil was "on holiday". But in London,...
Notebook: Think Baddiel and Skinner. Shakespeare, like Football, Is Coming Home
Who owns Shakespeare? When the National Theatre decided to produce Henry IV this year, the general consensus was that this meditation on kingship and national power was being done by the "right" theatre. There are other claimants, though: Shakespeare's...
Patricia Hewitt: 'People Need to Stand Up against the Perverted Form of Islam That a Minority of Muslims Wants to Impose'
On the morning of the London bombs, Patricia Hewitt was one of the key ministers who attended the first meeting of the cabinet's emergency group, Cobra. As the session broke up, the new Secretary of State for Health was asked by her predecessor, John...
Price of Success: Ricky Gervais's Celebrity Satire Is a Little Bit Too Smug
Extras (BBC2) One of the tricks The Office managed to pull off was dispelling the fallacy that you cannot make interesting programmes about dull places. Television series about work usually confine themselves to law enforcement or life saving. Most...
Rip It Up and Start Again: The Pompidou Centre Has Rehung Its Modern Masterpieces in a Thematic Style. Richard Cork Is Seduced
Until now, the collections in France's finest museum of modern art have been displayed in chronological order. When Tate Modern opened and adopted a thematic selection, some horrified visitors compared it unfavourably with the Pompidou's more traditional...
Rory's Week
There was a slightly misleading story in last week's Sunday Times, claiming that I'd been asked to provide Gordon Brown with jokes to lighten up his image. He did indeed approach me for help with a speech ten years ago (I declined), but as his visit...
Small Rubber Thing? Main Squeeze: Feel That Your Pulling Power Is Waning? Buy a Stress Ball, Writes Hester Lacey
Ladies in sparkly T-shirts were handing out small, squishy, pink pigs at Brighton station this past week. Shamrocks, penguins, rhinos, UK flags, snowmen and hand grenades are also now available in small-squishy varieties. I was recently given a small,...
Sport: Look on His Works, Ye Golfers, and Despair: The Age of the Tiger Is upon Us!
Nothing exposes inequality of talent more greatly than sport. Sport is all about measurable exceptions, about quantifying ability--about showing who the best is and why and how he or she compares with those who went before. It confirms one of the earliest...
Tea and Cakes and Substance Abuse: At [Pounds Sterling]550 a Day, Little Wonder That the Priory's Home Counties Branches Feel More Country-House Hotel Than Hospital
There is a point where the road suddenly turns into a mock-country lane, then a gravel track, lined with meadow-sweet. And tucked oh so discreetly away is the sign, the Priory Clinic. Beyond that there are cars--Mercedes, Jaguars, BMWs, Audis, Volvos...
Ted Heath: Held in Misguided Contempt
As a new MP in 1994, I was fascinated by the brooding spectacle of Edward Heath. I made my maiden speech in a debate on Europe just after he had spoken. Two themes at the heart of Heath's politics, Europe and appeasement, came together. Anti-Europeanism...
The Business: The Consensus among Economists Is That We Have Reached the Turning Point with Unemployment-And There Is Worse to Come
For the first time in years, unemployment is creeping back on to the radar screen. However you measure it, the 12-year golden era of rising job numbers and falling joblessness has quietly drawn to a close. The number of people claiming unemployment...
The Insider: The Case of the Hoity-Toity Whip, Awkward Angela's Triumph, and Carry on Cobra
As potential feuds go, this one is very promising. Placid until provoked, the government whip Joan Ryan is plotting revenge against Edward Garnier, the Tory home affairs chap--who, I confidently predict, will come to regret having called Ryan "hoity-toity"...
The Legacy of Bedazzled: The DVD Release of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Finest Flick Reveals Why the Career of One Man Soared ... and the Other's Didn't, According to Their Biographer William Cook
Normally nothing dates quite so quickly as a dead comedian, but since Peter Cook and Dudley Moore cashed in their chips (in 1995 and 2002, respectively), they have become the height of fashion. Over the past few years, there's been a steady stream...
The Politics of Delusion
Two forces are playing themselves out on the global stage--the politics of grievance and the politics of denial. They are being practised by terrorists and governments alike to terrible and lasting effect. The first reaction to the London bombs...
The Press: When Is a Source Not a Source?
The only thing more small-minded and treacherous than the Bush administration jailing Judith Miller for a crime it committed, is Judith Miller covering up her Bush administration "source". Judy, Karl Rove ain't no "source". A confidential source--and...
Three's Company: Sex, Politics and Paternity-The Spectator Farce Arrives on Stage
Who's the Daddy? King's Head Theatre, London N1 How can a magazine's two theatre critics write and stage a play cruelly lampooning not only their own editor and publisher (manager), but also two of their colleagues and, indeed, the entire publication?...
Thrill of the Chase: How Better to Understand Duchamp's Iconic Urinal Than Go in Search of a Real One, Asks Natalie Brierley
The game was over. As we turned the corner and saw the clamps on the car wheels, our hearts sank. Moments earlier our team, "Hackney empire", had registered for Tate Scavengers, Tate Modern's 100-clue, London-wide scavenger hunt. Yet Southwark Council,...
Watching Brief: Today Is in Danger of Becoming Yesterday's First News Choice. the Sound of Jim Naughtie Flirting with Sarah Montague Had Me Reaching for the Sick Bag
When you are away from Britain for some time, as I have recently been, there are some things you really miss--the humour, the humidity, the hustle, the hassle and the Today programme. So it pains me to say that while the former remain faithful to my...
When Extreme Opinions Become Intolerable: Karl Marx Was Allowed to Live Here despite His Inflammatory Ideas, but the British Welcome Has Much Stricter Limits Today. Nick Cohen on the Difference That Bloodshed Can Make
In 1871 the governments of Europe were horrified by the Paris Commune, the world's first socialist rebellion, and sought to stamp on the thinkers who inspired revolution. The German ambassador to London urged Lord Granville, the home secretary of the...
Why Maggie Was Wrong; the Falklands War Was Impeccably Handled: So Said Andrew Roberts in Last Week's NS. Richard Gott Disagrees
A British "official history" is just that: an official history of the activities of the British state. So it was a trifle naive of Andrew Roberts to imagine that the work on the Falklands campaign of Sir Lawrence Freedman would be anything other than...