New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 134, No. 4719-4720, January 1

2005
We know that the coming year will bring elections in Iraq; another attempt to focus the world's collective mind on world poverty and Africa; and, very probably, growing concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and America's handling of them. Beyond...
A Boom Financed by Taxes on the Poor: Inequalities Are Not Based Only on Wages. Peasants Have to Pay More Than 100 Levies to the Government, While in the Cities, Migrant Workers Face High Charges for Public Services
China's economic miracle has become a cliche. The figures bear out the country's amazing economic development. China has maintained 9 per cent annual growth for almost three decades. It has overtaken the United States as the world's largest recipient...
After the Brixton Riots of 1981, Caribbean Migrants Acquired a Sense of Belonging
The death in December of Lord Scarman, a former law lord, prompts us to revisit perhaps the most important moment in the development of the Caribbean section of the British working class. Scarman had a long and distinguished career in the law. On...
A Man of Our Time: Jessica Duchen Celebrates a Composer Whose Ideals Can Be Heard at the Heart of His Work
The composer Michael Tippett, whose centenary falls on 2 January 2005, is second only to Benjamin Britten among his 20th-century British colleagues. Both the man and his music had a unique charisma that inspired wide-spread love and loyalty. His work...
America: The Bush Administration, like That of Richard Nixon, Sees Enemies Everywhere. and It Goes after Them in the Same Sinister and Unscrupulous Way
It is not often, here in Washington, that you go to a holiday party--that is what we must now call a Christmas party, in much the same way that we should refer only to holiday trees, if we must refer to them at all--and end up talking to a Georgetown...
A Nation of Journalists: Technology Will Soon Give Us the Power to Tell Our Own Stories and Topple Monoliths
The future is a strange land. Half glimpsed in films and books, it is a place where utopian visions collide with dystopian nightmares. What kind of new media will we find in this land? Many who look to the future see a world of constant surveillance,...
Art of Endurance: Charles Saatchi Has Been Busy Ridding His Gallery of Messy Beds, Dead Dads and Sliced Cows to Make Way for Large, Colourful Canvases. So Will Painting Triumph in 2005? Richard Cork Is Not So Sure
The other week, I got a call from someone at the publisher Jonathan Cape. Would I like to write the catalogue essay for a big, ambitious cycle of exhibitions that Charles Saatchi is planning for 2005? Intrigued, I asked what the mega-collector had...
Can Labour Lose? Don't Trust the Conventional Wisdom: That Blair Is Heading for a Third Comfortable Victory. and Don't Think You're Helping the Poor If You Decide to Vote Lib Dem
Everyone agrees that it won't be worth staying up for the election results of May 2005. You can get a decent night's sleep, secure in the knowledge that when you wake up nothing will have changed. The average of the various polls published in the run-up...
Class Conscious: I Always Get Lost in Harrods, Because I'm Not Posh Enough to Know Its Layout
Growing up in York, I often used to come down to London on the train with my free first-class rail pass, which I owned by virtue of having a father quite high up in BR's north-eastern regional HQ. A communist at the time, I used to forgo first with...
Competition: Win Vouchers to Spend at Any TESCO Store
Competition No 3860 Set by Keith Norman, 29 November You were asked to select a genre and offer risk assessment and insurance advice to the characters. Report by Ms de Meaner Pas mal. An hon mensh to Lisbeth Rake for her footnote on wedding...
Could the Tories Ever Become Trendy? Even Its PR People Admit That the Conservative Party Isn't about to Become Achingly Hip. but with Topshop Stocking Tweed Twinsets and Strings of Pearls, There's Hope for the Future, Reports Alice O'Keeffe
"We're so uncool, we're becoming cool," said Boris Johnson of the Conservatives, before Michael Howard took the definitely uncool step of dumping his most popular minister from the front bench. Thus far the zeitgeist has never seemed further from the...
Danger in the Streets: Beware of Hell's Grannies
David Blunkett has hardly left office--and the Home Office is already dealing with another outbreak of public disorder. Our ever-vigilant government has set up a working party. The problem? The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa)...
Day of the Stealth Persuaders: The Sexy Hard Sell Is on the Way out. You Can Filter out Ads on Television and the Internet, and Many People Don't Buy Newspapers Anyway. So Advertisers Are Turning to More Sinister Methods, Reports David Cox
Asnorting bull mounts a busty blonde, who pleasures another bull with her hands while gripping a Big Mac in her teeth. Bull semen splashes up and forms itself into the McDonald's golden arches as the words "Made from 100 per cent beef" appear beneath...
Diary: Trying to Convince Some Ugandan Former Child Soldiers That I'd Be a Good Ambassador for Them, I Talked about the Films I'd Been in. I Suddenly Realised That Most Had Never Seen TV
It's so strange coming back to the UK after a week with the Acholi people in northern Uganda. The newspapers and the airwaves are full of the David Blunkett scandal--while the killing in Uganda remains ignored. It strikes me as amazing that we manage...
Double Trouble: The Cruelty Behind a Comedy Duo Is Made Painfully Clear
Not Only But Always (Channel 4) The problem Peter Cook and Dudley Moore shared was one that does not usually afflict performers. They did not take themselves seriously enough. So although it initially seems tricksy of this film to seat Pete and...
Drink: Those People Who Invested in a Hydraulic Corkscrew Must Be Gutted
I don't know where you stand on the issue of screw-top wine bottles but, to my mind, this development is in the same category as the disbandment of the Black Watch, the replacement of the school skirt with trousers, and the introduction of ID cards--all...
'Even in a Truly Liberal Society, Paternalism Must Sometimes Prevail': Should the State Control Private Behaviour? It's the Biggest Argument of Our Times-Think of Smoking, Gambling, Hunting, Smacking-But the Divisions Cut across Party Lines
Tessa Jowell's complaint spoke volumes. "I seem to have gone from 'the nation's nanny-in-chief' to a 'gambling gangster's moll' in a few weeks," she told the Observer. Labour ministers, including Tony Blair himself, are accused one day of gross invasions...
Events: The Ns Guide to What's Going on in Politics, Current Affairs and Culture
IRON LADIES: WOMEN IN THATCHER'S BRITAIN Original documents, photographs, posters and memorabilia examine the impact of Britain's first female prime minister. Alongside a consideration of Thatcher's own political career, the show looks at her legacy...
Food: Yes, Restaurant Waiters Are Sometimes Rude-And with Good Reason
There has been a rumpus going on of late about the quality of service in London. As is invariably the case with stories of this sort, it wasn't the intrepid investigations of journalists that kick-started it, but the publication of a book--Square Meal's...
Half a Superpower: China Still Punches below Its Weight on the International Stage, but It Is the Only Country That Could One Day Challenge American Supremacy
Three years ago, China "entered the world" (ru shi), the phrase coined by Beijing to describe joining the World Trade Organisation. Chinese politicians and economists celebrated, saying it was like "winning the economic Olympics". It seemed that the...
Hong Kong's Timid Pursuit of Democracy
Politics during the first six years after 1997, when Hong Kong became a Chinese special administrative region, was reassuringly dull and uneventful. Contrary to the many doomsters, the Chinese government barely interfered. In fact, it had no need to:...
How Sars Could Save a Nation: A Deadly Epidemic Has Persuaded the Government to Take Its People's Health More Seriously. Xiong Lei Reports
In the Chinese countryside, where 70 per cent of the people live, few choose to see a doctor when they are ill. They cannot afford to. The results are disastrous. The ministry of health says that the reason why nearly a quarter of poor Chinese are...
How to Spread the Net: Tom Armitage Explains How Public Service Websites Could Be Made Far More Accessible to Blind Users Than They Will Be in the New Year, despite the Freedom of Information Act
Alongside photographs of David Blunkett's face in the papers over the past couple of months, there have been articles about everything from his relationship with Kimberly Quinn through his attitude to jury trials and on to his support for ID cards--but...
Iraq: Shias Wait for Elections, or War
On a cold winter's night in Iraq, a young shopkeeper stands outside in the driving rain, his storefront illuminated by a sputtering petrol generator. It is a flickering pool of light in a city of darkness. Basra has been getting barely four hours of...
Is Painting Back for Good?
Michael Craig-Martin Artist The announcement of the return of painting is a triumph of public relations, not painting. Painting never went away. There are always artists making interesting paintings--sometimes they attract little attention, sometimes,...
It's Just Mechanics; Viagra Is Just the Start: We'll Soon Have Pills That Make You Feel Deep Love and Video Games That Give Vibrations. Ziauddin Sardar on the Masturbatory Society
Is your sex life normal? The question was raised recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Tell us, the show asked its 20 million viewers, what turns you on, what turns you off, and what makes good sex. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The problem with such...
Life in the Fast Lane: Get Sky-High on Flashy Visuals and Martial Arts Theatrics
The Aviator (12A) House of Flying Daggers (15) After the crushing disappointment of Gangs of New York (a film whose savage editing somehow made it seem even longer), it's a pleasure to be able to announce a partial return to form for both director...
Nature, the Most Deadly Bio-Terrorist of All: It May Not Be in the Next 12 Months, but Very Soon, a New and Virulent Strain of Flu Is Likely to Sweep the World. Globalisation Has Made the Spread of Disease All Too Easy. Robin McKie Reports
The cover of a recent issue of National Geographic magazine posed a simple, contentious question: "Was Darwin wrong?" Readers who nervously opened their copies, expecting to read a creationist diatribe designed to appease America's religious right,...
No Place like Home: When Ekow Eshun Visited Ghana in Search of His Roots, He Was Troubled by What He Dug Up
The BBC's recent television series Who Do You Think You Are?, in which famous people explore their family history, has delved into some dark places. David Baddiel traced his grandparents' flight from Nazi Germany. Bill Oddie discovered that his mother...
No Sex, Please, I'm Young
Am I bored of sex? Let's see. No. But change the emphasis slightly: am I bored of being force-fed its likeness 24 hours a day? Yes. I object to being bombarded with pop-up ads for "hot teen action!!!" while surfing the net in search of enlightenment...
Nothing to Lose but Their Power: The Workers' Party Has Become the Party of a Graduate Elite, and Its Cells Are Required to Ensure "Healthy" Company Development. Wang Chaohua Asks If Communism Can Survive Such Singular Contradictions
How long can the Communist Party of China retain its monopoly over a burgeoning market economy, without conceding to political reforms or initiating some kind of democratisation? The question is even more acute now than it was when China embarked on...
Once, Bosses Sacked the Employees; Now, It's the Other Way Round: Employers, Abetted by the Government, Have Made Work So Unpleasant and Unattractive That Millions Have Started to "Casualise" Themselves. Janet Bush Reports
As I was writing this on a train from Devon, where I live and work, a fellow passenger asked me what I do. I gave him my stock response--a vague, girly wave of the hand, accompanied by: "Oh, this and that." A friend of mine who decided to leave his...
One Region, One Vision: With Devolution Dead and Businesses in Decline, the North-East of England Is in Need of a Boost. Could Broadband Be the Answer? Alex Greenwood Reports
There was an unavoidable sense of missed opportunity at the round table on broadband held in Gateshead on 29 November. Even the spectacular views from the Baltic, the new centre for contemporary art, taking in the Tyne Bridge and Norman Foster's Sage...
Paradise Lost: A Bookstore Is the Setting for Novel Characters but Old Themes
Fix Up National Theatre, London SE1 "People don't want books, they want a party and to look good," moans Brother Kiyi, the proprietor of the Fix Up bookshop, north London, in Kwame Kwei-Armah's new play. Kiyi has created a shop with a comprehensive...
Power for a Purpose: As Tony Blair Heads for a Third Election Campaign as Labour Party Leader, John Kampfner and Peter Wilby, in a Comradely Spirit, Offer Him a Draft Manifesto, Power for a Purpose, Designed to Transform Him into a Proper Social Democrat While Keeping His Party in Office
FOREWORD BY TONY BLAIR Labour stands on the threshold of a historic third successive term of office. With your support, we can do what the party has never done before. An election victory would help us embed a social-democratic future for Britain,...
Radio 4's Little Sister Could Soon Become the Star of the Show: The Today Programme Was Once an Essential Part of Breakfast for the Chattering Classes. Now, the Phone-Ins on 5 Live Threaten to Usurp Its Place
Listen carefully when you switch on, and you might just hear the plates moving beneath the BBC's talk-radio networks. By the end of 2005, Radio 4 will still boast more listeners than its sprightly little sister, Radio 5 Live, but the gap will continue...
Rich Tomorrow, Maybe, but Filthy Today: Smog in the Big City Every Three Days, Acid Rain Falling on a Third of the Country, Most Water from the Yellow River Undrinkable. but There's Some Good News
Beijingers do not need warnings from meteorologists to judge the smog in their city. All they have to do is count how many skyscrapers disappear from the skyline. On a day of average haze, some of the more distant tower blocks fade from view. During...
The Adventure of Reason: Edward Skidelsky Has His Soul Comforted by the Ruminations of a Berlin Discussion Group
I am walking down Kastanienallee, centre of hip Berlin. It is already dark; candles flicker through cafe windows. Inside the cafes, young people sip coffees and listen to strange electronic music. I suppress a pang of envy. My destination is the freezing...
The Fan: For the First Time in Ages, Non-Fashionable Hair Has Become Fashionable
Halfway through the season, more or less, so time to take stock, look ahead, and see what the rest of it might bring for all those concerned. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Referee Graham Poll is probably dreading it. I first heard the chant during a...
The Lefties Who Believe in Pleasure: You Don't Have to Be Miserable to Oppose Globalisation and Care about the Environment. You Can Eat the Tastiest Food and Drink the Finest Wine-As an Essential Part of Your Mission. William Skidelsky Reports
Charles Martell, a distinguished-looking, bearded man in his late fifties, has dedicated a large part of his life to rescuing rare varieties of apple. Most of his efforts have centred on Gloucestershire, where, since 1972, he has owned a farm. He roams...
The Little Emperor Grows Selfish: The One-Child Policy Was to Benefit the Nation, but It Has Also Spawned Uncivil Individualism
Sparkling, marble-lined shopping malls and cutting-edge art installations, oriental elegance in interior design, global chic on the catwalk: China's social and cultural transformation dazzles the world with its displays of wealth and opportunity. Central...
The Principles of Freedom
Liberty is indivisible. Our commitment to it is not tested by easy cases: a fair trial for a middle-class Anglo-Saxon accused of driving offences; or a fair hearing for a critic of foundation hospitals or top-up fees. We are tested by hard cases: the...
The Right Turns on to Technology: The British Left Holds Up Howard Dean's US Campaign as a Model. How Wrong, Writes James Crabtree
An insurgent political campaign, led by a political newcomer, energised against an unpopular incumbent, fuelled with tens of millions of pounds and running off state-of-the-art technology. For the upcoming British election, which party most resembles...
The Shame of Failure: Today, We All Think It's Our Own Fault If We Haven't Become as Rich as Bill Gates, Writes Alain De Botton
If you go into any large American bookshop and study the contents of the self-help shelves, you are likely to be able to group the titles on offer into two broad categories. First, the books that tell you how to make a lot of money quickly. And, second,...
The Snake and the Hedgehog: You Could Say That, in Marrying State and Market, China Is Pursuing the Third Way. but the Whole Political and Economic System Could Collapse If It Goes Wrong, Writes Peter Nolan
Is it possible for China to build a civilised, socially cohesive society over the next few decades? Can it do this during the still early phase of its industrialisation, when there remains a huge rural reserve army of labour? Since the late 1970s,...
The Year Ahead: Celebrity Biography, Bush-Bashing and Cookery Books Are on Their Way out; 1980s Blockbusters Are Going to Make a Comeback. Toby Mundy Predicts What Will and Won't Be Hot in 2005
At the turn of the 20th century, the philosopher George Santayana wrote: "Fashion produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit." Although the same might be said of British publishing in the 21st century, it is still possible to...
UK Arms Firms Will Get Advance Warning of Any SFO Investigation for Corruption. This Is like the Police Telling Crack Dealers That the Sniffer Dog Has a Cold, So They'll Pop Round Later
Bribery is a habit that many major British arms companies indulge in, but few are prepared to talk about in public--a bit like middle-aged married men masturbating while their wives are out. If you are caught doing the latter, though, I would recommend...
Viagra for the Economy; Aromatherapy, Life Gurus, Shiatsu: Self-Esteem Will Be Even Bigger Business in the Coming Year. Is That Because We Are Feeling Terribly Insecure, or Is It Just Self-Indulgence?
"Always have at least one treat to look forward to. Ideally you should have one mini-treat each day, a slightly bigger one every week and a bumper one each year. People with low self-esteem rarely treat themselves enough." So writes Gael Lindenfield,...
We Punish the Man, but Protect a Corrupt System: Who Is Guiltier, a Minister Who Fast-Tracked a Visa or a Prime Minister Who Lied about the Need to Go to War? the Budd Inquiry Proves That Real Justice Will Continue to Elude Us under Blair
The year 2004 ended as it began, with an inquiry into the misconduct of government. David Blunkett has been found wanting, by Sir Alan Budd, of fast-tracking a visa for the nanny of the woman who so infatuated him. A man who was to personify Labour's...
Why Everybody's Got a Headache Tonight: A Girl's Dream Date Is Now Seductive Music, Candlelight ... and Yoga for One. Blame IVF, Two-Career Families, Stress and All That Talk of Equality
No wonder we're confused. The government is launching a multimillion-pound campaign to fight the growing sexual health crisis, and yet we are apparently having less sex than ever before. More women are turning to cosmetic surgery to make themselves...
Will Tibet's Culture Simply Fade Away?
In a prison cell in the province of Sichuan, a 54-year-old Tibetan lama awaits execution. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was convicted two years ago of causing explosions in Sichuan and sentenced to death. His sentence was deferred for two years, but when the...