New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 141, No. 5109, June 11

All Creaturely, Great and Small
In 1989, Barry Lopez wrote a short book called Apologia, in which he described the ritual he had gradually developed of stopping for animals he found dead on the road and removing them, gently and with great care, to the safety of the verge. To...
A Question of Perspective
As newspapers struggle to save money and staff time, I'd like to suggest "Powerful man does off-colour thing" as a handily recyclable headline. A few weeks ago, Jeremy Hunt's only vice seemed to be that he danced the zouk lambada with enthusiasm....
Battery Farming
No one cares about batteries until they fail. Then, suddenly, they're a disgrace--what are battery scientists playing at? Point the finger at them, though, and they will pass the buck to lithium. Despite taking pole position in the Yellow Pages,...
Brute Force: Thirty Years after His Death, Fassbinder's Influence Endures
What a difference a vowel makes. You may think you hear the name of Germany's greatest postwar film-maker wherever you go these days. But it's the German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender who has been exciting all the chatter. No one is talking about...
Cackling in the Kitchen: Sixty-Year Careers Offer Glimpses into Worlds Apart, Writes Antonia Quirke
Newshour BBC Wor1d Service A week of short character profiles of people who have been in their job for more than 60 years was the highlight of the twice-daily Newshour on the World Service (26 May to 1 June). Each person in the seven nine-minute...
Cameron's Entourage Is Preparing for the Euro Mayhem to Come
The word "Eurosceptic" is in danger of losing its meaning. The problem is not a shortage of people to whom the label applies but the dwindling number who can realistically claim to be anything else. What rational witness to the crisis in the single...
Give a Little, Get a Little
The aptly named Hope Centre stands at the furthest edge of the Gasorwe refugee camp in Muyinga, northern Burundi. Were it not for its inconspicuous position, this beautiful new stone building would be hard to miss. You'd imagine that the International...
How Late It Was, How Late: Martin Amis's Changing Vision of London
Lionel Asbo: State of England Martin Amis Jonathan Cape, 288pp, [pounds sterling] 18.99 Although he is nowadays associated with American rhythms and American women and American real estate, and has a taste for writers with names such as Saul...
Isn't It Ironic? Sort Of
I am distressed to see that the hateful expression "builder's tea" doesn't have an entry in Jonathon Green's monumental, three-volume Green's Dictionary of Slang. "Builder's bum" does, with its allied coinage--previously unknown to me--"Dagenham smile";...
Labour Must Align with the British People on Europe before It's Too Late
Amid the eurozone crisis, it is easy to ignore one simple fact: maintaining a eurozone, even a smaller one, which remains the most likely outcome, will involve much greater integration for those countries that manage to stay in it. The very thing is...
Milburn: Time to Be Optimistic
Social mobility has become the British political equivalent of motherhood and apple pie. Cameron, Miliband and Clegg all affirm the belief that class should not determine destiny. Their concern is not surprising. As the important 4 June report on social...
Mitt Romney's Big Problem Isn't Trump or Obama, It's Mitt Romney
It is not easy to feel sorry for Mitt Romney. Like David Cameron and George Osborne, he looks too comfortably well off, his skin too shiny and tanned, his hair too expensively cut, his jeans too well pressed. He estimates his personal wealth at somewhere...
Monarchy in the uK: Rachel Cooke Winces and Blubs Her Way through the Royal Celebrations
Diamond Jubilee programming Various People say that the age of deference has passed. When you see Alan Titchmarsh performing his latest and most cherished role as royal television courtier-in-chief, not only do you know that they are right, but...
My Man in the Mankini
MPs and peers invited to Her Maj's jubilee garden parties (the usual excuse of sheepish Labour Roundheads is that they attend because - snort - the wife wanted to go) were miffed to be told that photography was not permitted but a [pounds sterling]19.50...
My Republican Tendencies Clash with My Fondness for a Party
I was slightly miffed to be left out of the New Statesman's Jewish issue a couple of weeks ago--as well as a little bit surprised. It would appear that this magazine is one of the very few bodies around that doesn't assume I'm Jewish. But, as J R R...
No 4229
Set by Leonora Casement We asked for imaginative descriptions of the introduction of style changes to items of clothing of your choke: zip flies, trouser creases, turn-ups, and so on. This week's winners Well done. A few of you misunderstood...
One Nation Textbook
How England Made the English: From Hedgerows to Heathrow Harry Mount Viking, 368 pp, [pounds sterling] 20 Something is stirring in the breasts of what we used to call One Nation or wet Tories. Perhaps it is another of those springs (like "the...
Persian Facts
To George Bush, it was the centre of the "axis of evil"; to film buffs, it is home to some of the finest directors. The NS offers an A-Z of Iran's complex culture, history and politics A is for Ahmadinejad He is the man most associated with Iran...
Peter Hennessy
One of the themes of your latest book, Distilling the Frenzy, is the danger of passing off "contemporary prejudices in fancy dress" as history. Is it one to which you've ever succumbed? The danger for me, which I have to watch, is that when I get...
Regression to the Mean: The Death of Social-Democratic Policing
The Conservative-led coalition government has taken a series of connected decisions about the police. First, it has consistently rehearsed the view, returning to their 1993 white paper on the subject, that "the main job of the police is to catch criminals"....
Scotland's Queen, the Nutty Boys and Simon Schama's Dancing Shoes
Has Scotland disappointed the Queen? That question was posed by the Today programme on the morning after the bank holiday jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace, to which I had the good fortune to receive an invitation. There had been fewer street parties...
Sex, Gore and the Good Ruler
Game of Thrones is many things but it's not subtle. HBO's popular swords-and-sorcery romp is a glossy smorgasbord of rape, gratuitous sex and ultra violence based on George R R Martin's fantasy novels. The goodies are the rough, noble northerners,...
The Beeb under Fire, Drone Strikes and Small Hope for Republicans
"Why WERE they left to shiver in rain for 4 hours?" demanded a Daily Mail headline. Ah, yes, but a day late. The morning after the Thames jubilee pageant, not a single newspaper expressed the slightest concern at the effects of exposing an 86-year-old...
The Cable Guy
Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet Andrew Blum Viking, 304pp, [pounds sterling] 12.99 The internet is all around us: at our desks, in our hands, transmitting emails and messages and millions of pounds every second. But for something...
The Horror That Followed
The Second World War Antony Beevor Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 88opp, [pounds sterling] 25 On 18 February 1943, Goebbels spoke at a mass meeting in the Berlin Sportpalast. From the podium he screamed: "Do you want total war?" The audience jumped...
The NS Crossword by Otterden
Across 1 Corrupt Tory expelled from mysterious regrouping (6) 4 Heard what you do with a Nutmeg Bird (5,3) 9 Room for shelter at the side of road (6) 10 Venue for Olympics held inconclusively in ski resort (8) 12 About to go off for...
The Owen Referendum Plan on Europe Is the Right One
The eurozone that emerges from the crisis will be unrecognisable from its present configuration. Whether or not Greece, Spain and Portugal relinquish their membership of the single currency, the likelihood is that it will survive, accompanied by a...
Tooth and Claw: Alexandra Coghlan Enjoys Two Operas Wrestling with the Follies of Old Age
The Cunning Little Vixen/Falstaff Glyndebourne/Royal Opera House, London WC2 Two weeks, two celebrated operas of old age. Janacek's folk fable The Cunning Little Vixen may have been just the first effort in a rich summer of creativity that also...
What's in a Name?
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky Simon Mawer Little, Brown, 320pp, [pounds sterling] 16.99 Simon Mawer's first novel--the now out-of-print Chimera (1989)--relates the story of David Hewison, a half-Italian, half-British spy parachuted into occupied...