New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 135, No. 4815, October 23

A Dental Inquiry
The New Statesman 18 June 1921 One of the pleasures of travelling in America is the sight of fine, regular, clean teeth. The contrast with our own country is notorious. In the past six weeks I have encountered only one mouthful of carious and...
An Abortion of Human Rights
There was a time when you knew where you were with anti-abortion activists. They were the ones waving "Abortion is genocide" placards outside family planning clinics, wearing "Satan is pro-choice" T-shirts and vilifying abortion doctors and patients...
Apply Tolerance, but Test It against the Principles of the Good Society
Britain is a tolerant country, even if sometimes it seems that politicians are over-fond of saying so. This is not a smug pat on the collective back. Rather, it is an appraisal of the laws we have; the rigorous scrutiny to which our government, opposition...
Arts Diary
* Chuck D of Public Enemy once said that hip-hop was like CNN for the streets. It hasn't been the case for a while--in fact, much of it today is pretty apolitical. But could that be about to change? Maybe, if the London-based MC Braintax has anything...
Bags of Masculinity: Where to Keep Your iPod, Keys, Phone, Diary, Wallet? Annalisa Barbieri Has Just the Thing for You, Chaps
Some years ago I wrote a fashion advice column called Dear Annie for a newspaper. This was a bit like being a doctor at a party, but instead of being asked what I thought the pain in your lower lumbar might be, I'd be quizzed about where you could...
Blogging for Britain: Tony Sends a Secret Missive to the Troops, Bono Tells Him All about Africa, While the Naughty General Conspires to Give Gordon an Unwelcome Present
Scene 1: No 10. Tony is at a computer, posting a fake blog on a British army website. Tony: Hi Bloggers. OK, there's been a lot of talk about our mission in Iraq lately. Time to get some balance into the debate, yeah? Now, I'm a pretty straight...
Britain's Forgotten Hero: How Has It Happened That the Man Who Did More Than Any Other to Bring about the Abolition of Slavery Is Today without Honour in His Own Country?
"How do you spell his surname?" asked the woman at my local bookshop, when I asked if they had a biography of William Wilberforce. The bloke in Foyles had heard of him, but didn't have any books about him. Nor did Borders or Waterstone's. I was amazed....
Cabaret Works Its Wicked Way: Witches from Oz Are No Match for the Sexy and Sinister Kit Kat Klub
Wicked Apollo Victoria Theatre, London SW1 Cabaret Lyric Theatre, London W1 There's a new tune blowing through the West End. Broadway has arrived in London with several musical productions, including the delightful (if scatological) Avenue...
Communists: Russia, 1956 and My Dad
One had to admire his courage--not his wisdom. There sat Sir Nicholas Mosley trying, if not to defend, at least to explain the actions of his father, Sir Oswald, who in the 1930s terrorised the Jews of the East End. Sir Nicholas was addressing a meeting...
Cover-Up: The New Black
The fashion industry is no longer concerned with being elegant. It just wants to sell everyone the same outfit. It may be my elevated taste in fashion or just the likes of Paris Hilton wearing head-to-toe logos but looking none the less like a joke....
Events: New Statesman's Guide to Events in Politics, Current Affairs and Culture
FRIDAY OCTOBER 20 COMPASS RENEWAL ROADSHOW: MANCHESTER Speakers: James Purnell MP, John Harris, Cllr Sir Richard Leese, more to be confirmed. 6pm, Mechanics Institute. Free to attend. To register please email gavin@compassonline.org.uk...
Give Poetry Back to People: It Reminds Us Who We Are, Argues Neil Astley-But Only If We Shake off Academic Elitism and Celebrate Voices from Our Communities and around the World
Poets, and readers, have been grumbling about the decline of poetry ever since Aristophanes told the Athenians that Euripides just wasn't as good as Aeschylus. Centuries later, the crisis seems worse than ever. But, as Neil Astley, editor of the bestselling...
Hacked off by Phishing Frauds: We Are Right to Fear Internet Crime. but We Can Protect Ourselves, Writes Becky Hogge
Batten down the firewalls, release the anti-spyware hounds, and up the spam alert to red status: 21 per cent of us are now more worried about online crime than about being burgled. According to a survey for the UK's Get Safe Online campaign, fear of...
I Don't Wear a Veil Myself (Unless You Count Peter Mandelson's Christmas Party ...)
Adoption is all the rage. Imagine being plucked from a life of poverty and adopted by Madonna. I hope Guy Ritchie realises how lucky he is. I, too, have been caught up in this new trend. I've offered to adopt the fiery Scottish Parliament MP Tommy...
It Could Have Been Me: A Vietnamese Cyber Dissident Is Imprisoned by a Government Determined to Control the Internet
Nguyen Vu Binh is a former journalist, an advocate of reform and an independent voice in politics. I fall into the same three categories myself. The difference is that I am a free man and he is in his third year of a seven-year prison sentence for...
Legal Highs: The New 'Social Tonics'? Britain's Drugs Laws Are in a Mess, and into the Confusion Has Stepped a New Breed of Drugs Entrepreneurs Who Claim They Have the Answer: Safe, Substitute Substances
I meet my dealer, Matt Bowden, in the plush foyer of a Kensington hotel. He welcomes me with a big smile on his boyish face, hands over his business card and opens up his laptop. "I've got a PowerPoint presentation on the pills if you'd like to see...
Missing Their Marbles: As Greece Puts the Finishing Touches to a Building Fit to Hold the Parthenon Sculptures, Museums around the World Are Giving Their Fragments Back. How Much Longer Can the British Museum Cling on to Lord Elgin's Loot? Helena Smith Reports
Imagine a giant room, with giant glass windows, filled with sculptures of such beauty that they are hailed as one of mankind's highest achievements. Imagine this capacious space facing one of the world's exquisite monuments of classical art. Now place...
My Vanessa Feltz Fixation: She Is Witty, Warm and Clever-And I'm Not Being Ironic
As you may know by now, I cannot stand phone-ins. Nick Ferrari's breakfast show on London's LBC makes me ill, literally. The last time I heard it--I was in a cab, of course--I became nauseous and had to have a lie-down. Ferrari is a Tory of the...
National Distrust: Heritage Projects Preserve Buildings, but Can Neglect the People Attached to Them, Writes Ben Mallalieu
Corfe Castle is a toothachingly pretty place, the castle ruins and the town's old houses featuring on almost every box of Dorset fudge. The castle was once one of the greatest in England, built by the Normans and impregnable for more than 400 years....
Never Mind the Bastille, Here's a Sexy Picture: Style and Hedonism Trump History in Sofia Coppola's Flawed Biopic
Marie Antoinette (12A) dir: Sofia Coppola I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed (12A) dir: Serge Le Peron The opening titles of Marie Antoinette are in the garish font that graces the cover of the Sex Pistols' debut album. Sure enough, what follows...
Notes from Underground: Daniel Trilling Is Delighted That the Alternative Press Is Booming-Even in the Age of the Internet
I've always preferred the feel of paper between my fingers to the unforgiving glare of a computer screen. I know we are supposed to be living in the digital age, in which computers choose music on our behalf, tell us what films to watch and cook our...
"Oi, What's Wiv the Kiss in the Text?"
I've loved the city of Bath since 1980--even the permanent tension between modernity and our valuable status as a World Heritage site. The "Sack of Bath" that took place in the Sixties is visible in the vile buildings chucked up on the site of bulldozed...
One for the Road: With a Motorbike Mishap in France, Roger Scruton Discovered a Lesser-Known White Wine
I first came to understand the rottenness of British industry in 1966, when I was in the habit of travelling the French countryside on a 500cc AJS motorbike, my only possession. Everywhere I went, this machine was caressed by admiring hands and eyes,...
One Minister Who Understands the Problem: Ruth Kelly's Wake-Up Call about Islamism to Britain's Muslims and British Society at Large Is Far More Important Than Jack Straw's Opportunism over the Veil
When, in last May's reshuffle, Tony Blair appointed Ruth Kelly to deal with Islamism, I was sceptical, I admit. I felt the issue of how to integrate Britain's many different Muslim communities into wider society was too important to be dealt with by...
Parenthood by Piggyback
"What is it with celebrities and African babies?" asked a Guardian columnist after the news first broke that Madonna was adopting a 13-month-old Malawian boy. The writer, herself an adopted African, denounced it as a "vanity project", taking umbrage...
Poetry Picks
Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster An Arundel Tomb by Philip Larkin Amid the gloom which so often encircles that wonderful poet, I find this tentative affirmation of hope reassuring. Edwina Currie, former politician and novelist [ILLUSTRATION...
Portrait of the Artist No 3951
Set by Didier d'Argent Do our sports personalities need more accomplished ghost-writers? Report by Ms de Meaner David Silverman. Again. He just seems to be on a roll at the moment. Hon menshes to: Josh Ekroy (Zidane/Henry James), Neil Stone...
Privacy: Keep That Law Out
Anyone cheered by the recent libel ruling in the House of Lords, giving journalists a limited defence for acting in the public interest, should prepare for some dispiriting news from Ireland. A controversial new privacy bill is expected to go before...
Pump Up the Volume: Luke Wright Argues That the Best Poetry, like Music, Only Comes Alive on Stage
At Poetry International I will be debating with my fellow live poet Lemn Sissay, who will argue that performance poetry is dead, that maybe it was never even born in the first place. I will argue that it is very much alive and thriving. [ILLUSTRATION...
Remaking History: South Africa's Dynamic New Museums Are Not Just Showcasing the Past-They Are Reinventing the Country's Identity, Writes Andrew Meldrum
Red Location gets its name from the colour of the corrugated-iron shacks that once lined its streets. Built in 1903 to house black African workers who had been forcibly removed from the city, they quickly rusted to a sombre maroon. Today this dusty,...
Reports from the Front Line of Language: New and Unpublished Poetry in the NS
* Words Without Borders is an online magazine for international literature. Its new anthology, Literature from the "Axis of Evil", brings together writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea and other "enemy nations", and includes these poems by the Iranian...
Soccer Scholars: Cultured Passes, Not Rustic Tackles, Make the Beautiful Game, Writes Hunter Davies
What is a football brain? Is it like an ordinary brain? Would you have a better chance of acquiring one if you went to Eton or joined Wallsend Boys Club? Do they do transplants? I've received lots of such questions recently from Newcastle United...
The General Puts the Press in a Spin: How Would Max Hastings, Press Cheerleader for All Things Military, Cope with Sir Richard? No Problem. He Yomped on Regardless, Bravely Pocketing Another Cheque under Heavy Gunfire
Everything must now be conducted in the media limelight: marriage break-up (the McCartneys), child adoption (Madonna), mental illness (just about anybody connected with new Labour). So it should be no surprise that a general who believes politicians...
We Shall Not See Her like Again: Helen Mirren's Swansong as DS Tennison Is Deeply Satisfying to Watch
Prime Suspect: the final act ITVI The papers have given away Prime Suspect's unhappy ending: DS Jane Tennison dies. We won't know how until part two on Sunday (9pm, 22 October)--not even we critics, because ITV has meanly withheld the final 20...
What History Could Teach My Driver
We are in the middle of Black History Month, that period in which we ought to be reminding ourselves about where we have come from, where we are heading and the rate at which we are getting there. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In London, the month is...
Why We Must Ration the Future: You Can't Bargain with the Planet Because It Doesn't Care Whether or Not Targets Are "Politically Acceptable". So Unless We Secure a Deal Determining How Much Carbon Each Nation and Each Person Can Emit, We Simply Will Not Survive
The best indication of whether a person truly grasps the scale of the global climate crisis is not whether they drive a hybrid car or offset their flights, nor whether they subscribe to the Ecologist or plan to attach a wind turbine to their house....