New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 136, No. 4845, May 21

Africa's Secret Prisons
Regional African wars rarely excite much media interest and Ethiopia's invasion into neighbouring Somalia has been widely greeted with a collective sigh. Even reports of civilian bombardment and television pictures of refugees have failed to elicit...
A Good Start, but Gordon Brown Will Ignore the Left at His Peril
What if General Galtieri had not invaded the Falklands 25 years ago? What if Neil Kinnock had not held his Sheffield rally in 1992? What if John Smith had not died in 1994? Counter-factual history invariably intrigues, but rarely guides. And yet, as...
A Low-Budget Love Affair: Was Du Maurier's Sexuality Really the Most Important Thing about Her?
Daphne BBC2 Rick Stein in du Maurier Country BBC2 I am going to have to be stern this week. Daphne (Saturday 12 May, 9pm, BBC2), commissioned for the BBC's celebrations of the centenary of Daphne du Maurier's birth, was a disgrace. Elsewhere,...
And the Winner Is ...: It's the End of the Season and Time for Hunter Davies to Announce His Awards
It's that time again, so here goes, the long-awaited awards. Haircut of the year: Not given last season, but several contenders this time. David James had an excellent beard, but stupidly took it off. It then got picked up by Roy Keane, who added...
A Touchy Subject: Love Them or Hate Them, Skin Creams Really Do Work
The two most emotive subjects I've ever written about may surprise you. They've made otherwise calm friends pull me aside at social gatherings, wanting to set me right on "that piece you wrote", or prompted total strangers to send me hate mail. Those...
Belching Chimneys Instead of Solar Panels
Last November Greenpeace anticipated the Prime Minister's departure by climbing to the top of Didcot power station's main chimney and painting "Blair's Legacy" in 20-foot-high letters down the side. The point was well made: as I pointed out in this...
Beyond Organic: A New Wave of Young Entrepreneurs Is Using Our Passion for Healthy Lifestyles as a Way of Promoting Global Economic and Social Justice
Our small boat bobs along the unimaginably wide Amazon River, then heads up a fast-flowing tributary into the heart of the rainforest. Monkeys scamper in the trees above us as the motorboat chugs more and more slowly until the stream becomes too narrow...
Blair and the Guns That Kill Our Sons
Only a few weeks before Tony Blair's farewell speech, a small but representative group of young, black boys in London murdered each other with guns and knives in an explosion of madness. They were toddlers, in or just out of pushchairs, when Blair...
Boomsday Book: John Sutherland on a Sinister Plan for Ageing Baby Boomers
"Artists," Ezra Pound declared, "are the antennae of the race." If so, it is the novelists among them who best foretell the political future. Aged 67, Anthony Trollope, the workhorse of Victorian fiction, wrote a novel called The Fixed Period, in which...
Britain through the Lens: A New Exhibition of British Photography Sets out to Explore "How We Are", but the Images Show a Thinly Veiled Contempt for the Lives of Ordinary People, Writes Julian Baggini
Imagine curating a display of photographs collected from the homes of millions of ordinary Britons. In order for your show to be remotely representative, it would have to include many shots of special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries,...
Brownites and Brownies: The War Starts Soon
* The Labour leader is dead, long live the Labour leader! Blairites flocking with indecent haste to the incoming premier's cause have triggered bold predictions of an end of factionalism. But I bring you news of a new split: Brownites v Brownies. Big...
Brown Needs the Left: The Prime-Minister-in-Waiting Has Been Dismissive of His Challengers. but, as Martin Bright Reports, He Will Not Be Able to Brush Aside Their Politics for Long
At one of the endless meetings to decide who should stand as the left's "unity" candidate against Gordon Brown, one veteran member of the awkward squad was heard to voice his scepticism about Michael Meacher's claim to have 21 MPs backing him. "That...
Codes of Conduct: When Does a Simple Number Become Illegal? When the Movie Industry Says So
Psst ... What starts with "09f911", ends with "35688co", and has a whole lot of other numbers in between? Stumped? I'm afraid I can't tell you the answer, because that would be against the law. You can have prime numbers, real numbers, imaginary...
Dachau
The horrors of Nazi Germany were either not widely reported or downplayed in most of the British media during the 1930s. But nobody could claim they did not know that barbarism was being perpetrated inside Hitler's Reich. This anonymous article was...
Don' Diss the Daffs No 3978
Set by Ian Blake To attract teenagers to the Lake District, there is now a rap version of Wordsworth's "Daffodils". You were asked for rap versions of other well-known poems to tempt our yoof to visit other unlikely locations This was a popular...
Eastern Promise: En Route to Istanbul, Gavin Stamp Finds Bulgaria Has More to Offer Than Post-Communist Gloom
I had always wanted to explore Bulgaria. It had been one of the most remote of the countries behind the old Iron Curtain, though today the British seem to be busy buying property there. I had long been interested in its modern history, what with the...
Julian's Week: The Earth Moved for Me. Will It for Gordon?
I see great qualities in Gordon Brown. Patience, for one. Imagine waiting ten years to have a go at being prime minister. If I were Gordon Brown I'd have given up yonks ago and gone for a walk in the Highlands. I don't do waiting. If there's more than...
Keep the Powder Dry: Cameron's Plan Is to Wait for Brown to Trip Up, Says Tara Hamilton-Miller
Six tedious weeks of the Prime Minister saying adieu, and a Chancellor enthusiastically auditioning for the role, what's an opposition leader to do? In 2005, when David Cameron became Conservative Party leader, the government knew that getting any...
Lies, Damned Lies and Terrorists
We take it for granted that the terrorists stalking Europe are all Muslims. Hardly surprising, given that major terrorist atrocities in Europe from the Madrid bombings to the 7 July attacks were carried out by young Muslim men. Add daily headlines...
Local Lamb for the Chop
"We are being made scapegoats in a way that is patently inaccurate and that creates a lot of anger," says the New Zealand minister of trade, Phil Goff, visiting Britain to try to convince ethical consumers here that eating his country's produce is...
More Hits Than Misses: Radio 2 Is Still a Mixed Bag, but Hiring Glitzy New Talent Has Paid Off
BBC Radio 2 I have discovered the greatest nitwit broadcasting in Britain today. She is Sarah Kennedy and Radio 2 gives her a prime slot every weekday morning. On most radio stations, the breakfast DJ gets on air at six and gets off, while he or...
Naughty but Nice: I Feel Guilty Saying It, but Stock Cubes Are a Necessary Evil, Writes Nicholas Clee
We home cooks are in a state of insecurity following an endorsement by Marco Pierre White--the first British chef to earn three Michelin stars--of stock cubes. We had been sure that the ethical, economical, healthy, flavour-enhancing thing to do was...
Not So Quiet on the Eastern Front: In the Frontier Lands of the EU, Tension Is Growing as a Resurgent Russia Is Using Its Restive Minorities to Increase Its Influence. Roger Boyes Reports on a Crisis That We Ignore at Our Peril
It was a long, dusty summer. Three years ago, I embarked on a car journey down the eastern border of the European Union, the Wild East. I was travelling with Piotr, a garrulous Polish reporter, and our mission was to understand how EU enlargement was...
On Tour and off the Road: Spider-Man, Incredible Shrinking Man, Doctor Octopus ... at No Point in Any Science-Fiction Superhero Story Does Radioactivity Cause Anyone to Die a Slow, Lingering Death from Organ Failure
The big event of the year, as far as my seven-year-old son was concerned, was the opening of Spider-Man 3, to which I dutifully took him. All the 21st-century CGI wizardry can't disguise the Sixties B-movie premise of the whole bloated franchise--that...
Revolt of the Middle Classes: Peter Wilby on Why Inequality Will Top the Agenda
Consider this headline from the Daily Telegraph business section: "The backlash has started against income inequality." Or this, from the Daily Mail leader page: "I deplore the billionaires who contribute so little to Britain." Or this, from the Washington...
Round Table: When Is an Addict Not an Addict?
Sarah Mukherjee Thank you very much for coming. We have a stellar line-up and I am going to ask Caroline to kick us off. Caroline Flint Thank you. In our recent tobacco campaign, the Hook campaign, we tried to get across to smokers that we did understand...
Serbs Who Stayed Home
Last week, Marija Serifovic, a young Serbian singer, triumphed at the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki in a spectacular international event that seemed to symbolise the new Europe's open borders. But for millions of young people across the Balkans,...
Social Enterprise's Crowning Glory: Social Enterprises Are Now Challenging and Changing Markets and Industries as Diverse as Bottled Water, Couture, Electricity Generation and Travel, as Elena Egawhary Discovered at This Year's Edge Upstarts Awards at St James's Palace
Community spirited, ethically minded and environmentally friendly are not terms automatically associated with commercial success, and yet with each year a growing number of entrepreneurs are proving this assumption wrong, placing a social purpose at...
Stalin's Biographer Signs New Contract: Gordon Begs Kylie to Take a Job, Hilary Begs Gordon to Give Him a Job and Cherie Takes on a Global Job, Only for Someone Called Sebag to Find Himself New Job
Scene 1: The Treasury. Gordon is musing on the shape of his government. Gordon: Mustn't forget Kylie, of course. Dear, sweet, brave little Kylie. Got to squeeze her somewhere. I mean squeeze her in somewhere. [Beat] Got it! Lady Minogue! Chief whip...
Stopping the Conveyor Belt to Addiction: Addressing the Underlying Issues of Addiction Will Help Us to Tackle It
Public policy on addiction is anomalous in the extreme and arises from historically perverse attitudes. Some addictions have been actively encouraged whereas others have been demonised; some have been licensed, while others have been prohibited. Until...
The Hidden Burden on Young Shoulders
There are some issues that we can all agree on. War is hell; vegetables are healthy; we are heartily relieved that Paris Hilton's pop career seems to have been cut short in its infancy. Another example would be the situation of child carers. I think--I...
The Man Who Fell to Earth: A Bitter-Sweet Play about Mortality Lies Behind This Elaborate Production
A Matter of Life and Death Olivier Theatre, London SE1 In an attempt to adapt one of the most hallowed treasures of British cinema, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death, the National Theatre has come up with the...
The Price of Cast Iron: Few People Notice Reuters, but It Is a Very Big Player in Global News and Its Independence Matters. Now the Guarantees That Were Once Presented as Cast-Iron Seem Certain to Vanish in a Takeover Worth More Than [Pounds Sterling]8bn
Twenty-nine years ago this spring I got my hair cut, put on my new suit (light grey, narrow shoulders, wide lapels) and headed for London to be interviewed for a traineeship at Reuters. I remember the day vividly, right down to the way the world's...
There's No One Left: Andrew Stephen on How Politics Has Shifted Rightwards
If 60-year-old Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich was to abandon politics here, fly across the Atlantic and settle in his wife's native Upminster to embark on a new political career in Britain, I suspect he might fit in quite well. He is a likeable...
The War on Culture: As Creator of the West Wing, Aaron Sorkin Became a Hate Figure for the American Right. He Tells Stephen Armstrong Why His New Series Is Set in the Television Industry
Aaron Sorkin's bungalow office on the Warner Brothers lot feels more like a college library than a Hollywood writer's room. It is spacious, wood-panelled, comfortable and cluttered. There's a huge wooden table surrounded by sofas, and pictures of Tennessee...
Two-Way Traffic: Just as Western Acts Are Inspired by "World Music", African Artists Are Tapping into Rock, Funk and Jazz, Writes Kevin LeGendre
Herbie Hancock's gig at last year's London Jazz Festival was a patchy affair. The sound was poor, the drummer heavy-handed, and the decision to cover "I Just Called to Say I Love You", arguably Stevie Wonder's most sinful creation, questionable. The...
Watching the Detectives: This Thriller Defies Conventions to Show the True Personal Cost of a Murder Case
Zodiac (15) dir: David Fincher "That was the most frustrating film ever!" hissed the woman behind me, at the end of Zodiac. I could see her point. She'd come to watch what she'd thought would be a nice, grisly thriller about a bloodthirsty lunatic....
What about the Women? It's Now an Established Fact That the Female Vote Decides Elections. Gordon Needs More Than a Make-Over: He Won't Win Unless He Learns to Speak a Different Kind of Language, Argues Anne Perkins
Women are off politics, or at least politicians. No one really knows why, though it's not hard to think of quite a few good reasons. But the fact is that, when it comes to opining on Gordon Brown as the next prime minister, or David Cameron as the...
Women on the Streets
Selma and Zeriha were happily timing the length of their prayers when we met in Istanbul on an Izmir-bound flight. The stopwatches they produced every five or six seconds supplemented their long coats and covered heads. Gesturing, Selma made clear...