New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 137, No. 4891, April 7

Albania: Explosive Politics
The Gerdec munitions dump explosion that killed 22 people on 15 March sounded, says a Tirana resident, "like Hiroshima", but the political shock waves are only now rattling the government's cage. The explosion has lifted the lid on a patchwork of...
All Shapes and Sizes: High-Street Designers Could Learn a Lot from the World of Film
Who saw the The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, set in Botswana and shown by the BBC on Easter Sunday? It is now being made into a series, so there will be more opportunities yet to see the superb fashions in it--most notably the wonderful print dresses...
A Natural Remedy: There's Nothing I'd like More Right Now Than a Cool Draught of Water, Writes Roger Scruton
I stagger out of bed after a night of fever and vomiting, thinking I must check the email before collapsing for the day. There is a message from the editor: I have forgotten to submit my copy, the deadline is approaching, and 500 words on drink are...
A Tale of Two Campaigns: While the Big Guns Are on Boris-Watch, Tory Ground Troops Are Being Drilled for "The Locals"
Election fever has kicked in. Mayoral or local, the Tories can't get enough, and the level of dedication has been worthy of the war effort. In a tale of two campaigns, the Boris cabaret continues gaffe-free (at time of going to press) but on-the-ground...
A Waste of Space: As NASA Turns 50, Expect to Hear Much about Lunar Landings and Giant Leaps for Mankind. but Today a Sense of Unease Hangs over an Agency That Badly Needs to Free Itself from the Shackles of the Past
Fifty years ago this month, President Eisenhower announced he was going to end his nation's space race humiliations. He would be establishing a national aeronautical agency that would control America's civil rocket launches and restore the country's...
Back to the Old School: The Eighties Are Affectionately Evoked in This Tale of Childhood Loyalty
Son of Rambow (12A) dir: Garth Jennings I should declare an interest in Son of Rambow, a British comedy about two 11-year-old boys in the early Eighties who shoot a sequel to First Blood (the original Sylvester Stallone Rambo film) in the woods...
British Jihad: Why Our Anti-Terror Strategy Isn't Working; There Is a Deep and Dangerous Confusion at the Heart of the Government's Approach to the Threat Posed by Violent Islam
Towards the end of March two short films were shown in very different circumstances, each in its way issuing a challenge to how we think about violent jihadi Islam, both with serious implications for our approach to combating terrorism in Britain....
Can We Create Space for Our Children to Be Safe and Free?
Hard on the heels of a spate of reports suggesting that British children are living through a uniquely awful era in which they are bullied by peers, spend little quality time with parents and are unlikely to live near any safe recreational facilities,...
Dagestan: Death of a Free Spirit
Murder in Russia is a brutal, murky and ingrained part of life. Journalism in Russia has become an increasingly dangerous profession. The intertwining of these two worlds was solemnly illustrated on 21 March when two renowned journalists from the volatile...
Denis Menaces Uncle Gordie
* An invitation worth refusing landed on desks, Tamsin at the National Farmers' Union seemingly under the impression that parliamentary researchers are dead ringers for Worzel Gummidge. The dress code for a 24 April reception at Whitehall's Farmers...
Free Press: Marilyn's Top Hack
The late I F Stone used to greet his audiences by welcoming the greybeards and FBI agents. If this great American journalist had dropped by at a celebration of his centenary at New York University early last month, that introduction would have been...
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
You don't have to be a financial genius to understand where responsibility lies for the credit crunch. The main culprits are the world's banks and their managers. Driven to accumulate ever-higher profits, which translate into mega-bonuses for senior...
Hot-Headed Murders That Can Be Stopped
Channel 4 issued a statement to the press recently announcing that "a campaigning programme" on gun and knife crime is in the making. The commission, as it calls the vehicle for the campaign, will be chaired by Cherie Blair who, along with others,...
Information Revolution: Civic-Minded Hackers Want to Bring Parliament into the 21st Century, Writes Becky Hogge
On the day that Jack Straw unveiled his plans for the constitutional renewal of Britain, a group of politically inclined geeks had their own campaign to announce--one that has the potential to do just as much for democracy in Britain. The campaign...
Inside the Revolution: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Is Iran's Premier Female Film Director. for 20 Years She Has Quietly Challenged the Status Quo in Her Homeland
In the late 1980s, Iranian post-revolutionary cinema burst upon an unsuspecting world. Isolated examples of pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema, such as Dariush Mehrjui's The Cow (1969) and Sohrab Shahid Saless's A Simple Event (1973) and Still Life (1974),...
In the Eye of Hurricane Carla
I could feel excitement in the air but I wasn't prepared for such frenzy. It was as if a hurricane had hit Britain. We soon called it Hurricane Carla, as in Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. The Daily Mail had set the tone, publishing a naked picture of France's...
It Could Be a Stalemate: The Democratic Race Is So Close That It May Be Decided by the Super-Delegates-And Planeloads of Lawyers, Writes Andrew Stephen
Remember those final weeks of 2000, when every US Airways flight from DC to Florida was jammed with lawyers representing either the Republicans or the Democrats? And how they were all determined to use every possible legal ploy to finesse their man...
It's Good to Be Back: The Former Hostage Makes a Moving Return to the Scene of His Kidnap
Brian Keenan: Back to Beirut BBC2 I was going to start by saying that Brian Keenan will hate me for saying what a good man he is. But that would be wrong: being truly modest, he can take a compliment. Only the corrupt and egomaniacal brush off...
Journey to the Promised Land: Martin Luther King Is Laid Bare, Neuroses and All, in an Honest Account of His Death
Radio 4's season of programmes looking at the pivotal political and cultural events of 1968 continued with 4.4.68 (29 March, 2.30pm), a forceful drama about the assassination of Martin Luther King by Jon Sen, a debut writer for radio. The hour started...
Leaving the Ghetto
Short of money and short of food, V S Naipaul found his early life as a writer in Fifties London harsh. Then the BBC offered him a lifeline with a radio programme, Caribbean Voices. It became an important influence, but one he later felt obliged to...
Lebanon: Who Needs a President?
As Hillary and Obama slug it out in the Democratic primaries, wits in Beirut have been remarking that the United States will probably acquire a new president before Lebanon does. Now that a surge in Arab and European diplomacy has failed to stop the...
My Car Thinks It's More Intelligent Than Me, Which Is Galling
I drive a German car with an attitude problem. It's annoyingly smooth, purring along the roads like a panther, adjusting its own temperature, turning on headlights as it sees fit, and telling me via a small screen on the dashboard when it feels the...
Physical Education: Wayne McGregor, Britain's Hottest Choreographer, Tells Alice O'Keeffe That Dance Holds the Answer to Our National Body-Image Crisis
Wayne McGregor leans his gangly body against the mirrors in the airy Jerwood Space studios and observes as his dancers perform a complex sequence of movements. First their heads bob down like so many birds, then their arms shoot rapidly up and down,...
Protect and Survive No 4021
Set by Hank T Romein After hearing that Brick Lane in London is to have its lamp posts padded to prevent people who walk and text at the same time from having accidents, we asked you for other measures to protect us from the vicissitudes of 21st-century...
Reclaiming the Streets: Joanna Moorhead Is Surprised to Discover That Polluted Mexico City Has Become a Green Pioneer
It's 9am in the centre of one of the busiest, most traffic-clogged cities in the world, and I am cycling, entirely alone and without a car in sight, along its central, tree-lined, four-lane boulevard. I brake as a roundabout approaches, but a police...
Scenes of Mild Peril: Despite What the Papers Say, We Live in Pretty Safe Times
Will ours be a "century of viral pandemics", "the century of drought"--or both, and more? These headlines (from the Independent) show how the media are always on the lookout for the next big scare. And both these threats are sure to feature on the...
Shame Academy: Why Does Investment in Training Fail to Pay off for England?
The 12-year-old grandson of a friend of mine has just had some bad news. After four years in Chelsea's Academy he has been declared surplus to requirements, redundant, not much use. For four years he and his parents have trailed three times a week...
Tactical Briefing
From: The Unit To: GB Subject: Ongoing reorganisation * So, first things first. Really good decision not to abolish the Unit. Can't tell you how good the atmosphere was here when this week's edition of PR Week arrived, and everyone nervously...
The Fire Last Time
The New Statesman 22 April 1988 A considerable industry has been at work for months to celebrate the 20th anniversary of 1968. The popular theme is that 1968 was a momentary delirium which seduced the youth of the time, but out of which that...
The Last Edwardian: An Overly Cautious Portrait of Harold Macmillan Fails to Win Our Sympathy
Never So Good Lyttelton Theatre, London SE1 This should have been a diabolical marriage made in heaven, the firebrand left-wing playwright on the last of the Tory grandee prime ministers, the showman politician bestriding the National's proscenium...
The Unhealthy Choice: Once the National Health Service Put Equality First
I am imagining, aptly for a man of my age and lifestyle, that I need coronary artery bypass surgery. From this month, I can choose any suitable NHS hospital in the country to carry out this and other non-emergency procedures. I can also choose from...
The Way I See It: Grayson Perry; Artists Tackle Ten Existential Questions
Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003. "Unpopular Culture", his selection of works from the Arts Council Collection, goes on tour from 10 May (details: www.southbankcentre.co.uk). [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 1 Does art make a difference? Yes, but...
Tibet Gives the Lie to the Great Change
Everyone says this is a period of profound historic change in China. I've said so myself, pointing to huge economic growth and the country's new diplomatic reach. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] But the speed with which the leadership has reverted to...
Welcome to the National Metaphor: There Was Hubris, There Was Bathos, There Was a Moral for Every Taste, and It All Happened Right on the Doorstep. the Great Heathrow Cock-Up Offered Newspapers a Feast Almost Too Rich to Eat
It was in many ways the perfect journalistic storm. We like any bad news, but some kinds of bad news are better to wallow in than others, and the opening of Terminal Five at Heathrow Airport was truly the best kind. First, nobody died or was maimed,...
Why Greens Should Vote for Ken
Whenever I hear cynics complaining that politicians nowadays are all in hock to vested interests and unprepared to show leadership, I respond with two words: Ken Livingstone. London's mayor has made the UK's capital a world leader on environmental...
Will You Be in My Tribe? Ari Versluis Spots Social Groups All over the World. Now He Has Come to the UK, Writes Katharine Hibbert
Do you think you stand out from the crowd? The Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis has devoted his career to proving you wrong. Together with the stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek, Versluis has spent the past 14 years travelling the world to identify...
Wonky Women: The Political and Social Agenda Is Increasingly Being Set by Women from Leading Research Organisations. They May Still Be Poorly Represented in Government, but Are These Top Policy Wonks Having a Greater Impact from the Outside?
"A brilliant woman is a plague," lamented Jean-Jacques Rousseau. "A plague to her husband, her children, her friends, her valet, everyone." Rousseau would not be happy if he cast his eye over the think tanks of the centre left today, as they are experiencing...
Zimbabwe Goes to the Brink: The "Big Man", Last of the Independence Leaders, Never Seriously Contemplated Electoral Defeat. but as the Results Trickled out, It Became Clear Mugabe's 28-Year Rule Was Threatened. He May Dig His Heels in but the Country Faces Certain Change
--As starry-eyed supporters of the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) queued to vote on Saturday 29 March there were far too many police around for them to dare make their feelings plain. So, instead, a series of irreverent...