New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 137, No. 4880, January 21

A Dose of Passion: Jarvis Cocker Is on Hand to Expand Radio 4's Sometimes Limited Horizons
Zine Scene Radio 4 It took a good, long break from Radio 4 for me to feel the spontaneous urge to switch it back on. The house had become flooded with verbiage, with "issues", with declamatory announcements, as though it had been towed under...
Aid: Will the Food Run Out?
The weekly shop and the morning loaf of bread are becoming more expensive, but while most of us may barely have noticed, rising food prices are hitting the world's developing nations hard. Global reserves of cereals are at an all-time low, mounting...
America's Suez?
The New Statesman 9 February 1968 Has there ever been a war which constitutes such a devastating compound of horror, futility and political poison as the Vietnam conflict? In the confusion which followed the end of World War II, a group of empire-minded...
Art Attack: Banksy Attracts the Press Attention, but around Him Is an Increasingly Influential Movement of Political Artists Operating outside the Mainstream, Writes Peter Kennard
The phone rings; the number is withheld. It's Banksy. He wants to know whether I can go to Bethlehem over Christmas. He is putting on an exhibition, bringing together like-minded artists from all over the world to raise awareness of the situation in...
Crowdspotting: Fans Used to Wear Scarves, Then Didn't, Then Did. Time for a Study, Writes Hunter Davies
I'm looking at an action photo from a Spurs-Wolves game on 3 November 1951. Nothing memorable about the match and the picture's a bit blurry. It's a professional one, Fox Photos, with a ticker-tape caption stuck on the back. I got it from our window...
Crystal-Ball Gazing No 4010
Set by John O'Byrne "For me 2007 has been the year of the historians," wrote David Marquand in the NS. We asked you to fast-forward 12 months to 2009 and provide a TV historian's take on 2008 Report by Ms de Meaner A bumper postbag! But what...
Culture of Destruction: Jimmy McGovern Has Chronicled Life in Working-Class Areas of Britain for Television. Now He Is Fighting to Save Edge Lane in Liverpool from Demolition
Jimmy McGovern and I are pounding the streets of Liverpool in the bitter cold. The writer, who has given British television some of its most memorable, hard-hitting series--Cracker, The Lakes and, most recently, The Street--has something he wants to...
David Miliband Tells John Kampfner and Martin Bright That He Has Identified Four Great Progressive Causes for the World. and the Foreign Secretary Has Coined a New Catchphrase: The "Civilian Surge"
The timing is awkward. David Miliband has been urged by his top mandarins to cancel our interview. They don't want us in the building, after their case against our whistleblower (see page 12) collapsed so ignominiously at the Old Bailey. Miliband,...
Enough Playing Dumb: Am I the Only One Who's Getting Tired of Theroux's Old Routine?
Louis Theroux: Behind Bars BBC2 Not to be mean, but what is the point of Louis Theroux? What exactly does he bring to the coolfest that is documentary in 2008? Increasingly little, if you ask me. Journalists often make the mistake of referring...
Famous Saints: John Sutherland on the Religion Mitt Romney May Bring to the White House
Here's a challenge. Think of a famous Mormon--apart from the one who may well be the most powerful man in the world, come next November. No shame in being stumped. There's a good reason that Mormons are the invisible Americans. Mormons are scarred...
Gobby, Sticky or Monksy for Labour?
* A masterful hedging of bets, Welsh-style, on the fate of permatanned Hain the Vain over the messy business of all that loot, diamond dealers and a think tank that does no thinking. Invited by the BBC's Cymraeg language service to offer support to...
Healthy Advice: How Should You Dress When Full of Cold and Flu?
There are two things I am so far enjoying, sartorially speaking, about January. One is that the cut of trousers this past autumn was so much more forgiving. I noticed this as I swapped the trousers of winter 2006 for those of 2007. Whereas, for the...
Immigration: Border-Line Cruelty
Monica Naylor is in her first year at secondary school and doing well. But the challenges facing this 12-year-old from Bedfordshire go beyond mastering French verbs and remembering her PE kit. Her mother Eunice has recently had to see the headmaster...
It's Wrong to Publish League Tables: New Scores Tell Parents Nothing about Schools
This month saw the publication of the annual league tables for secondary schools in England, showing GCSE and A-level results. All the posh papers publish them, usually accompanied by a dramatic news headline (this year, we were informed, 500,000 pupils...
My Questions for Ken: The Mayor of London Must Be Open to Legitimate Scrutiny, Writes Martin Bright
I have now been working for six months on an investigation for Channel 4 into the office of the Mayor of London and the only man who has held the post so far, Ken Livingstone. The Dispatches programme is scheduled to air on 21 January (8pm). Since...
New Year, New Problems, but Nobody Will Gain from the Malaise
Mendacity, stupidity or audacity? Peter Hain has been accused of all three. "Audacity" has been used most regularly to describe his career. How dare this uppity South African, a Liberal to boot, court controversy within the Labour Party? How dare he...
Pandora's New Box: The Future of Music Radio Lies Online, Once There's a Way to Pay Artists Fairly, Writes Becky Hogge
My favourite Christmas present last year was a pink leather radio, DAB-enabled, to replace my old (and broken) analogue one. The reason I love it so much has little to do with the extra radio stations it lets me tune in to. Yes, it's fun to listen...
Paying the Price: It's Hard to Keep Your Conscience Entirely Clear While Shopping for Food, Writes Nicholas Clee
When you examine your shopping bag and your conscience, how easy do you feel? If you are a carnivore, is the meat free-range? Are the vegetables seasonal? What is their carbon footprint? Have you patronised small producers? Have you shopped at a supermarket...
Publish and Be Damned: The Literary Journal Granta Started as an Act of Rebellion, and Ended Up as the Establishment. It Must Shake Things Up Again If It Is to Survive in the 21st Century, Argues Dan Crowe
Reading the 100th issue of Granta is like bumping into a brilliant, yet somehow forgotten, old friend. It feels a bit like the best of Granta, or even the "chums of William Boyd" issue. That's not as strange as it may seem. Boyd, a long-time contributor...
Shattered Lives: Last Year, 26 People, Mostly Young Men, Were Killed in Gang-Related Shootings in London. Each Death Wrecks a Family and Tears the Heart out of a Community, as Harry Fletcher Learned
On 15 November last year I received a phone call from my eldest son, saying that his best friend's brother, Etem Celebi, had been shot dead in Stoke Newington at 9.50pm the previous evening. We both felt disbelief, grief and a sense of hopelessness....
Smitten by the Stars and Stripes: Confident of Closer Links with the White House, Tory Right-Wingers Have Surprising New Crushes
"Seven of the best West Wing scenes on YouTube!" This past week the Tory blog of choice, ConservativeHome, directed its fans to Playpolitical.com to indulge in the most rousing moments from NBC's political drama. No self-respecting Conservative would...
Stampeding the Democratic Process: It Was Journalism's Most Spectacular Collective Cock-Up in Years-A Prime Example of the Results of "Groupthink". and It Happened on the World's Most Important Story
The best of the best from the world's news media were there, with resources to match, while deskbound pundits looked on in their thousands. They had years of preparation, they had polls, they had databases, they had vast experience to call on, and...
Tactical Briefing
From: The Unit TO: GB Subject: Weeping * Another good week. Finally feels like things are back on an even keel. Like old times. Tories having a pop at scroungers, interest rates unchanged, even the Hain thing is showing up in our polling as...
Tender Truth about My Sheep
According to the philosopher of the animal liberation movement Peter Singer, and many a blogger on the Channel 4 Big Food Fight message board, eating meat is wrong and that's all there is to it. It is, Singer argues, the exaltation of one species over...
The Big Gig Begins: If Our City Really Has Risen Again, Why Do We Need to Keep Being Told So?
2008 Capital of Culture opening events Lime Street and Echo Arena, Liverpool The best views at the People's Opening of Liverpool's Capital of Culture year were had by some of my students, who occupy the housing association flats opposite St George's...
The Curse of South Africa: The Nation's Mineral Wealth Has Distorted the Economy for Generations and Continues to Do So. Moeletsi Mbeki, Brother of President Thabo Mbeki, on Why People Want Jobs Not Handouts
The conference of the African National Congress that was held last month was billed as a heavyweight contest between the party's president, Thabo Mbeki, and its deputy president, Jacob Zuma. The conference turned out to be much more than that. It was...
The Digital Divide: War of the $100 Laptops
Three years ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the media laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unveiled an inspiring vision. Give a laptop to every child in the world, and remove barriers...
The Dilemma for Kenya's Donors
As Kenya's crisis entered its third week, the country's foreign donors were agonising over their future dealings with the regional linchpin. The hurried inauguration of Mwai Kibaki as president, after a farcical vote-counting exercise, leaves aid donors...
The Shores Are Alive ... Beaches, Ruins and Blaring Pop Music Await Visitors to Turkey's Lake District, Discovers Simon Busch
Egirdir is difficult enough for English-speakers to pronounce (imagine the consonants as items of furniture and the vowels as the sound of them being shoved around a room; it worked for me--sort of), but the town already long had problems with the...
The Way I See It: Mark Oliver Everett; Artists Tackle Ten Existential Questions
Everett, aka "E", is lead singer in the rock group Eels. His memoir, "Things the Grandchildren Should Know", is out now (Little, Brown, [pounds sterling]14.99). [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 1 Does art make a difference? Yes, but not necessarily...
US Primaries: Obama Can Win the Race
I have just returned from the United States, where political insult and invective hit lows that would be considered beyond the pale in Britain. Race and sex stir deep emotions and there are undoubtedly deep hostilities in the presidential contest....
Welcome to the Fight Club: The Coen Brothers' Critique of Violence Seems Hypocritical, Given All the Carnage
No Country for Old Men (15) dirs: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Directors tread a tightrope whenever they set out to criticise violence. Cinematic brutality, unlike the real thing, can be such an electrifying spectacle that it takes a saint to resist...
What's the Point of "Church"? the Nation's Debt Crisis May Not Seem a Very Spiritual Matter, but Any Free Counsel the C of E Can Give Is to Be Commended
January often finds the Church of England trying to consolidate the friendly press it tends to get over Christmas. So I wasn't surprised to hear its New Year announcement of a campaign entitled "Matter of Life and Debt", by which advice is to be offered...
Why Britain Doesn't Need Nuclear Power
Three years ago I lost quite a few friends by writing an article for the New Statesman suggesting that new nuclear plants, while not an energy panacea, could have a role in Britain's future. Earlier this month, the government, too, lost a few green...
Why Leaders Love Davos: From High Political Office to Banking Is a Well-Worn Route for Tory Grandees. Now Labour Is in on the Act and Tony Blair Will Not Be the Last
The recruitment of Tony Blair by the bankers J P Morgan for a reported $5m a year is a first for Labour. But it shouldn't surprise us. Business and politics have become so interlinked, symbolised by this month's Alpine lovefest at Davos, that they...
With My Parents, Dishonesty Is the Best Policy. It Saves an Awful Lot of Ludicrous Explanation
There is a reason why the White House is called the White House. The clue is in the name. I don't think Barack Obama realises he's black, because he thinks he's got a chance of winning. Michael Jackson has more chance of getting into the White House...