New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 134, No. 4765, November 7

A Casualty of Circumstance: Simon Poe Looks into the Sad Tale of Simeon Solomon, at Last Given His Due as an Artist
On 24 February 1873, a young Jewish artist was prosecuted at Clerkenwell Sessions for "unlawfully attempting feloniously to commit the abominable crime of buggery", having been caught in flagrante with a chance-met companion in a public lavatory a...
Ambushed; Why America Turned on Dubbya: This Isn't Just Another Washington Crisis; It Is the Worst Calamity to Befall a President since Watergate. an Administration Built on Lies Stands Exposed as Never before, Writes Andrew Stephen
We should not let recent events distract us too much. We have known for weeks that the right was deserting George W Bush and that his presidency was imploding (see New Statesman, 3 October). We have known for much longer that, having promised to bring...
A New Trident Makes No Military Sense
The only surprise is that there is any surprise. A ruling party unaccustomed to open discussion among its members or parliamentarians on day-to-day issues is hardly likely to throw open a debate about the future of its nuclear deterrent. Ministers...
An Island of Dusty Rooms and Dirty Plates: Hotels
The hotel receptionist, head down over a book, made no attempt to greet us. The manager appeared. "Karen," he said sharply. "Sorree," she said, and--slowly--rose to check us in. "Is there any 'choice' of room?" we asked. She repeated the word, washing...
A Very Un-English Practice: Torture Is Alien to Our Tradition, and Evidence Extracted by Its Use Should Never Be Accepted, Argues Nick Cohen
We always see the past through the lens of the present. Some compare the Roman Catholic conspirators who nearly decapitated England's government 400-years ago with al-Qaeda. For all the dangers of twisting history, it's not a bad cliche. [ILLUSTRATION...
Blood, Babies and Guts: Rubens Not Only Had a Prodigious Skill, but the Ability to Learn, Says Richard Cork
Once, at the Prado in Madrid, I saw a guide march into a Rubens room and proudly tell his audience: "Here is the master of the chubby women." I laughed, but the idea that Rubens painted nothing but plump, dimpled and amply endowed females will not...
Competition: Win Vouchers to Spend at Any TESCO Store
Competition No 3904 Set by George Cowley, 17 October You were asked for Bible limericks. Report by Ms de Meaner I knew it! Allowing either four limericks that could be all devoted to the one story or given over to four different stories...
Diary: But What Do I Wear to the Party? I Have Only Two Looks These Days, TV Mummy and Gardening Mummy. I'm Couturially Challenged, a Fashion-Free Zone
Friends come to see us in the Dordogne for a "break" with their children. They don't get one. Instead of chilling out, we all spend 72 hours enslaved to the kids. I prepare breakfasts of fresh fruit salad, porridge and brown toast, and it's off to...
Do You Remember an Inn? Pubs
Blame the government, the times, the young or the global economy; blame who you like, but our traditional meeting places, pubs and hotels--the inns of old--are in a terrible mess. Here, two writers measure the depth of the problem ********** ...
Drink: Skint? the Ideal Wine Guide from a Bloke Who Gets the Way Most of Us Drink
If you aren't already familiar with Matt Skinner from BBC2's Saturday Kitchen or his book, Thirsty Work, then you will be pretty soon. Skinner is to wine what Jamie Oliver is to cooking, which is to say an unaffected 30-year-old bloke who is determined...
Eternal City: The BBC's Big Toga-Saga Drags, despite an Imperial Budget
Rome (BBC2) I was once talking to a Fox PR person just before Titanic, the most expensive film ever made, was released by her studio. The rumours were flying and most of them said it was going to be a turkey. The PR wondered why. If Ford had spent...
Farrell and Owen-A Brief Guide
Colin Farrell first came to notice in 1998 in Ballykissangel. His part was small, but the series was huge and it wasn't long, via a friendship with Kevin Spacey, that he found himself in Hollywood. In 2000, he took the lead role in Tigerland, an anti-war...
Food: Is Eating Black Forest Gateau the Way We Mourn Lost Culinary Innocence?
In recent years, a fashion has developed for revisiting the classic foods of the 1960s and 1970s--dishes such as prawn cocktail, steak and chips and Black Forest gateau, which once appeared the height of sophistication but now seem irredeemably naff....
Guantanamo Prisoners Describe the Pain of Force-Feeding as Unbearable: So Do Not Read This While You Are Eating
A long time from now, after George Bush has left office, after the massed ranks of American forces have withdrawn from Iraq, way into the future, perhaps at a time when the US is not the most indebted nation on the planet, an enduring image of American...
ID Cards: Taking Their Message to the Malls
A couple of days before the third reading of the Identity Cards Bill in the Commons last month, "sources close to Charles Clarke" were quoted in the press as saying that a roadshow of the fancy technology involved in the cards "had found little public...
In Iraq's Wild West: Even Saddam Didn't Enjoy Full Control over the Far-Western Tribal Belt, So What Can the Americans Hope to Achieve-And What Will Happen When They Leave? Lindsey Hilsum Is Travelling with the US Marines
Clouds of sand billowed around as our Humvee rolled across the desert for endless, uncomfortable hours, carefully following the tyre tracks of the vehicle in front to avoid landmines. Dust got into everything: noses, mouths, cameras, computers. The...
Left Behind on Climate Change, Too
As if he didn't have troubles enough, George Bush faces rebellion at home over his approach to climate change. Nine north-eastern states, including New York and New Jersey, are poised to set legal limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power stations,...
Meanwhile, What about Iran?
"The question people are going to ask," said Tony Blair, "is, 'What are you going to do about Iran?' Because--can you imagine a state with an attitude like that having nuclear weapons?" The Prime Minister responded to the Iranian president's threat...
Notebook: If You Must Attempt a Solo Macbeth, Better Not Keep the Whole Company Onstage with You
There always has to be a reason to perform Macbeth. A good reason. And not just because you are an ambitious 40-year-old, and it's about time. That's the opinion of one of the actors in Max Stafford-Clark's company, whose astonishing Macbeth is currently...
Past Crimes: Agatha Christie's Deadliest Weapon Is 1930s Snobbery
And Then There Were None Gielgud Theatre, London W1 Can modern technology revive Agatha Christie? The director Steven Pimlott has set himself that challenge in bringing And Then There Were None back to the West End stage. Is it possible with...
Property: Why I Don't Want My Foot on the Ladder
In a country fond of declaring that an Englishman's home is his castle, it is hardly surprising that attitudes to renting have traditionally been negative. To admit, beyond your early twenties, that you're still a tenant is to send middle-aged heads...
Radio: Thousands of People Fear Switching on 6 Music in Case They Get a Blast of Jethro Tull
I used to avoid BBC 6 Music. I had an idea that it was aimed at the kind of man who keeps his copies of Mojo magazine in date order in a set of special folders: in other words, it was for nerds. I was wrong. Although its credentials are quite beardy--it...
Rory's Week: Bans on Hunting and Smoking Are Either in Force or on Their Way, Much to the Chagrin of the Beagle Population, Who Now Have Few Pleasures Left
Just as a valve appears to have gone on David Blunkett, so it seems new Labour itself has blown a gasket and is now misfiring badly. What on earth is going on? The ban on drinking on public transport, proposed and almost immediately disowned, might...
Tax 1: The Perk of the Irish
As every aspiring author knows, writers and artists living in Ireland do not pay income tax on money earned for creative work. Now, however, the Dublin government has this unusual perk under review and, while the Irish Arts Council is lobbying hard...
Tax 2: The Revenue Gives a Green Light
In recent months the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise have been pursuing hundreds of couples across the country for extra tax, often extending back over several years. These people run small businesses as builders, electricians plumbers and computer...
The Business Column: There Is Not a Single Case of a Chief Executive of a Major Financial Services Company Resigning over Mis-Selling
No one celebrates the beneficence of market forces more heartily than those in the financial services industry. Bankers, insurers and investment professionals wax happily about the near-mystical way that individual choices, though selfish in themselves,...
The Download
Ambient music gets a bad rap. We believe music ought to be anything but ambient: brashness, boldness, and personality are the primary qualities valued in modern pop. Album titles such as Rhythms of the Rainforest or The Song of the Sea Cucumber do...
The Edge: They May Be Trying to Prepare Us for the Idea of Camilla as a Dormant Queen, but What Do We Get Instead? A Doormat Queen
The Prince of Wales is keen to be seen as a modern monarch in waiting, hence his recent outpourings on global warming and eco-friendly farming. The palace PR machine has had some success portraying him as a caring single dad with two fit sons. Now,...
The Fan: Yes, Premiership Football Is Watched All over the World-By the Brits
Pathetic, really, going all that way, spending all that money to stay at the wonderful Elounda Beach Hotel, the sun shining on the blue Mediterranean outside, and there we were last week, sitting inside, watching Man Utd vSpurs on the telly in a bar....
The Media Column: I Could Fill a Book with Stories about Montgomery and His Peculiar Personality. but These Are of Less Interest Than What His Career Tells Us about Newspaper Ownership
When David Montgomery was chief executive of the Mirror Group in the mid-1990s, the journalists called him Rommel--because, they said, Montgomery was on our side in the war. I suppose he will at least be spared this soubriquet in his new role as publisher...
The Politics Column; Blunkett's Journey Has a Heavy Symbolism in the Labour Movement: New Labour's Totemic Proletarian Hero Has Become Its Greatest Class Traitor
There was a time, not so long ago, when the ownership of shares was seen as a sin against socialism in some Labour circles. Forget, for a moment, whether David Blunkett broke the ministerial code in his dealings with DNA Bioscience; this latest saga...
'Unless Gordon Brown Can Get a Grip on Government Policy, and Soon, and Reverse Course on Some of His Cherished Policies, He Will Almost Certainly Lose to the Tories, Who Seem to Be Selecting a Little Child to Lead Them out of the Wilderness': The Leading American Economist, Who Has Advised Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Foresees Almost Certain Doom for the Chancellor
Despite talk of "generation-skipping", Gordon Brown will most likely, although not certainly, lead the Labour Party into the next general election. After all, it is one thing to skip a generation that includes the likes of Ken Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind,...
Up to His Old Tricks: Gilliam's Grotesque Fairy Tale Lacks the Sparkle of Real Magic
The Brothers Grimm (12A) The Daily Mail is correct. Movies do corrupt. Monica Bellucci plays the prototype evil fairy-tale queen in Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, and the Italian supermodel is such a sensual vision of mature hauteur that it...
Urban Life: Why Couldn't Those "On the Ground" in Birmingham See What Was under Their Noses?
What is to be done? I refer to the violent clashes between Caribbean and Pakistani youths that exploded on the streets of Lozells and Handsworth in Birmingham, taking two lives in swift succession. The Home Office points to some remote standing committee,...
Village Life: Dozy Dave's Fantastic Plastic, Trouble On't Trains and the New Price of Spin
That rare political animal, a real-ale-swilling, Aston-Villa-supporting Old Etonian, the chap otherwise known as David "Call me Dave" Cameron, has, I'm reliably informed, a problem remembering his Commons security pass. Dozy Dave is in the habit of...
Will Hollywood's Blokes Please Stand Up? with the Absence of Good Old-Fashioned Heroes to Provide the Cliff-Hangers and Clinches, Hollywood Has Started Outsourcing Its Parts for "Proper" Men to Hunks from Australia, Britain and Ireland, Writes Boyd Farrow
Twenty-five years ago, aged 50, Steve McQueen finally succumbed to lung cancer on 7 November. One of the best-loved movie stars of his generation--"girls wanted to sleep with him and men wanted to be him" went the oft-quoted line--McQueen oozed debonair...