New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 131, No. 4582, April 8

At Last, They're Sitting in Again: In America, Campus Protest Is Back -- and This Time, the Campaign Is Not for Faraway Peasants, but for Workers Close to Home
The whiff of revolution hangs over Harvard. The rebels, backed by some of the biggest names in American academe, are launching an assault on economic disparity -- and are watching as similar action in support of the unskilled and the underpaid...
Bureaucrats Are Trying to Take over the Notting Hill Carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival, due on the August bank holiday, faces an enormous difficulty. It may not happen at all - and if it does, then it is likely to be a seriously truncated version of what we have known it to be. The chief executive of the...
Byers Market: Transport Crisis; a New Report Reveals the Full Horror of What Has Happened on the Railways; but the Present Transport Security Maybe the Best Hope for the Future
The misfortune of Stephen Byers is that his surname alliterates with both beleaguered and bozo. Yet despite the long list of his mistakes and mis-demeanours -- some of which, such as the Jo Moore/Martin Sixsmith business, would have amounted to...
Class Conscious
If find myself becoming too complacent in my relative prosperity - looking with contempt, for example, at the posters in my area advertising the Muswell Hill Journal s two-for-one bun offer" - then a trip to King's Cross puts me straight. There...
Counterblast to Grief. (Books)
SLOW AIR Robin Robertson Picador, 62pp, [pounds sterling]7.99 Discounts at www.newstatesman.co.uk Robin Robertson has the eye of a painter. This book, his second collection, is at once a series of still-life studies of natural forms and...
Culinary Curriculum: Bee Wilson Says Cooking Is the Most Important Subject. (Food)
The subject of food in schools is currently a fashionable one. Jamie Oliver's latest project is a TV programme called Oliver's Army, in which he will inspire a group of young children about the wonders of cooking. Gary Rhodes, too, has said that...
Death and Deference
What kind of country are we? Over the Easterholiday, some W dozens of people died horrifically in the Middle East. But it was not their deaths, nor the coverage of them, that led to commemorative newspaper supplements and national hand-wringing....
Deep in the Financial World, Yet Another Threat Emerges to the Freedom of the Press
Forget the philandering footballer and the oxymoronic publicity-shy supermodel. There is a more serious threat to the ability of the press to carry out serious investigations, which stems from a slightly odd alliance between a Belgian brewer and...
Devil May Care: Katherine Duncan-Jones on a Starry but Flawed Performance of Marlowe's Faustus. (Theatre)
From the 1930s until the 1970s, it was customary to view Marlowe's Faustus as a radical intellectual who dared to challenge orthodox beliefs and the authority of the state. Yet details of the text, especially the earlier "A" version on which David...
Diary: The Arab League Summit Reminded Me of Blackpool, Circa 1981, and Chaotic Labour Party Conference
Good breakfasts need not involve heaving tables, sticky things, bubbling pots and steam. The president of Syria, for example, likes them to be more frugal. Fussing with food, Bashar al-Assad has decided, inhibits the flow of conversation. So an...
Don't Believe It
"Prince blasts BBC" Where were you when the Queen Mum died? I was watching Spurs live on TV, and I think I would have put a brick through it, had the game been interrupted to give us live coverage of people in black telling us over and over again...
Eddie George Takes over Ukraine: A Surprising Election Result in the Former Soviet State Worries
"Everyone cheats, but it balances out," was Julia Lishchenko's verdict on the day after the Ukrainian parliamentary elections on 31 March. She is one of the leading journalists and cartoonists in Lviv, the major city in western Ukraine. From her...
Events
American empire or democratic world government Through a reformed and strengthened UN. Join world federalists AWF. NS, PO Box 34l0, Colchester CO7 6QW The best democracy money can buy Wednesday 8 May. Greg Palast is joined by George Monbiot...
Finally, I've Found a Political Film I like to Replace Lloyd Webber's Evita
Until this week, the last political film to have moved me was Evita, starring Madonna, based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. I know that sounds bad; there's no need to rub it in. Humming lightweight tunes about the exploits of...
Great Western Rip-Off
At the height of the tourist season last year, when South Wales and the West Country hoped to recoup some of their losses from BSE and mad-cow disease by attracting tourists, most of Great Western's train services were late, and nearly half of them...
If Only I Could Teach Them What I Have Learnt: Tim Lambon, in the West Bank, Watches the Israeli Soldiers and Sees Chilling Similarities to His Own Young Self, Serving in the Rhodesian Security Forces
It is hard to hold the camera steady when a Merkava tank lets rip with a high-explosive round. In a small street of stone buildings, the shock wave takes the lens and, try as you might, in an instant it jerks upward. It was equally hard to keep...
I Was Lunching with the Enemy, Said My Wife. Had I No Loyalty?
Arsenal double, that's what I landed last week, a double at Arsenal. I'll start again. For four seasons, I've had half a season ticket, courtesy of an Arsenal friend whose son has been away at college. This season, he returned to live in London...
Judgement Day: Andrew Billen on the Trials of the Late George Carman QC. (Television)
After the encomiums to HMTQM, it was a relief to get a warts-and-all obituary of another national hero, George Carman, the libel lawyer who smashed the reputations of Jonathan Aitken and Neil Hamilton. Get Carman: the trials of George Carman QC...
Kant and the Queen Mother: Philosophers Have Argued That Actions Have No Moral Worth Unless Done out of a Sense of Duty. So Did This Make Her Late Majesty Supremely Moral?
Longevity is a magical potion. With few exceptions, it transposes ordinary and even wicked people into loveable institutions, sometimes giving them iconic status. By living for a very long time, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother achieved just such...
Ken Loach in Bollywood. (Books)
FAMILY MATTERS Rohinton Mistry Faber and Faber, 352pp, [pounds sterling]16.99 Discounts at www.newstatesman.co.uk What a pity that Rohinton Mistry has already written a novel called A Fine Balance. The struggling Bombay family in his new...
Knock, Knock. Who's There? A Dead Man's Sprit
Peter Stanford attends a seance and is comforted to find a belief system system that does not require us to make the cut at the pearly gates Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stares out reassuringly from his portrait above the fireplace. The tilt of his...
Known as Deputy Chancellor, He's the Author of Six Budgets. Can He Ever Get the Top? (the NS Profile: Ed Balls)
Progressive universalism. It's hardly going to set the pulses racing. The new buzz phrase, which will define this month's Budget, is abstruse, earnest and idealistic -- just like its creator, Ed Balls. All Budgets are described "defining". New Labour's...
Lovers of Cahors: Roger Scruton Wrestles with the Spirit in His Glass. (Wine)
The beautiful town of Cahors, situated on the Lot, which it graces with a spectacular bridge of stone, was able, during the Middle Ages, to send its wine downriver to the sea. By the 14th century, "the black Cahors" was being exported all over Europe....
Mr Smith Goes To. an Oyster Bar. (the Arts)
Initiation into sophisticated adult tastes is one long suspension of disbelief. Your first mouthful of beer? Fermented millrace. The fiery disc that acquainted the roof of your mouth with throat lozenges? Your rightful reaction was to hawk it into...
Relatively Crazy: Philip Kerr on How Eccentricity Can Lead to Jail in New York. (Film)
Nearly every time Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr met for a beer, they argued about two things: space-time and the movies. Einstein believed that a movie could give a complete description of reality, and that there was nothing that was true about...
Sweet Revolution: Richard Gott on a Vision of Cuba That Transcends the Usual Romantic Cliches. (Photography)
Cuba remains as photogenic today as ever it was more than four decades ago, when bearded guerrillas first came down from the hills. The unexpected and surreal revolution of 1959 often seemed, to the voyeuristic outsider, to be as much about black-and-white...
The Currie Club: Louis Barfe Enjoys a Late-Night Snack of Politics and Sex. (Radio)
After Kenneth Clarke's Jazz Greats series ended, I thought about other politicians who have turned to the wireless. Some fare better than others. Once in the 1980s, when Neil Kinnock was depping for Jimmy Young, a cruel producer forced him to play...
The Death of the National Gallery: Julian Spalding Calls for the Reversal of a Scandalous Policy Decision That Is Killing off a Great Institution. (the Back Half)
Neil MacGregor, who is shortly to leave his post as director of the National Gallery, has been an outstanding helmsman, especially for his exhibitions and educational work, and for holding the line against admissions charges. But he has stifled...
The End of the Affair. (Books)
THE TRUTH OF POWER: INTELLECTUAL AFFAIRS IN THE CLINTON WHITE HOUSE Benjamin R Barber W W Norton, 320pp, [pounds sterling]19.95 Discounts at www.newstatesman.co.uk It seems that just about everybody who has ever met Bill Clinton has recorded...
The Future of Humanity: "How Beauteous Mankind Is!" Said Miranda in the Tempest. but Can Natural Evolution or Our Own Genetic Engineering Improve on the Present Model? (the NS Essay)
Are we it? Have we already seen the best of humanity? Was Plato or Shakespeare or Einstein or Buddha or Lao Tzu or the prophet Mohammed as clever as any human being is ever likely to be? Modern athletes with their minutely cultured hearts and limbs...
The Great Crime Panic: David Blunkett Is the Most Intelligent Home Secretary in More Than a Decade. So Why Does He Charge around like a Crazed Wildebeest?
"What a lot of garbage!" cried David Blunkett at criminologists who had asked him what he thought he was doing. "It's time people grew up in [this] country and helped me. What I'm determined not to do in this job -- whether people like me or like...
There Was Not One, but Two Deaths That Night - the Queen Mother, and the Career of Peter Sissons
The BBC's Peter Sissons discovered last Saturday night that burgundy is not the new black. For senior members of the royal family and millions of viewers, that tie has become a symbol of disrespect, of the night Auntie cocked a snook at Granny....
The Secret Lessons: Almost Unnoticed, a Revolution Has Taken Place in State Education. Thousands of Parents, outside School Hours, Are Paying for Private Tuition
"Do you think there's much private tutoring at your daughter's comprehensive?" I asked a father. He was taken aback. "No," he said, "I don't think so. I haven't come across it. But I'll ask my daughter, if you like." A day later, he sent me an...
Under the Snipers Bullets: Lilian Pizzichini Gets Little Chance to Make Peace as She Joins a Non-Violent Protest in Bethlehem
There is a large, handwritten sign on the fence that lines the road leading from Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport to the West Bank city of Bethlehem. It stands just by the checkpoint, and reads: "You cannot sit on a fence in the Holy Land." It was...
What about Hollywood Making a Film Called Operation Cyclone, Telling How the CIA Trained Islamic Terrorists and Starring Bruce Willis as Bush?
I sat down the other night to watch Mai Masri's film Frontiers of Dreams and Fears. It was on videotape; like most of her remarkable work about the Palestinians, ten films in all, it has not been shown in the cinema or on television in this country....
When I Sewed the Royal Hem
The year was 1984. The autumn leaves were golden, almost as majestic and beautiful, warm but regal, empathetic but distant, in their way, as she was. The Queen Mother. And I was fit to touch the hem of her skirts. Nay, I hemmed her skirts. Which,...
Why Israel Gets an Easy Ride. (America)
I was rung up by a bemused woman from a foreign radio network on Easter Sunday. Why, she wanted to know, is there no US condemnation of Israel's intensifying actions in Ramallah when almost the entire rest of the world is condemning them? Why doesn't...
Will the Murders Ever Stop?
The regimes that rule Iran, Iraq and North Korea have not strayed beyond their own national borders for a decade or more. However odious and cruel their treatment of their own peoples, they do not (Saddam Hussein partially excepted) have a record...