New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 131, No. 4597, July 22

A Kindergarten for Murderers. (Middle East)
In the Middle Eastern kindergarten, the Israelis claim that they will not withdraw their tanks, they will not remove or even freeze the settlements, before the Palestinians put an end to terror and incitement. At the same time, the Palestinians...
A Material World: Ned Denny on How Clothes Can Reveal a Painting's Hidden Mysteries. (Art)
In The Doors of Perception, his excellent and undervalued account of an experiment with mescalin, the novelist Aldous Huxley relates how, deep into his trip, his gaze suddenly fell on his own crossed legs. Not his legs themselves, exactly, but the...
America: In the Heartland of Capitalism, the Captains of Industry Have Now Fallen below Lawyers and Even Journalists When It Comes to Public Trust. (Columns)
It was pretty dramatic stuff, all right. A front-page headline in Tuesday's New York Times read: "Bush is to Propose New Powers in Domestic Security", and went on to detail "sweeping changes" in a top-secret plan to protect the nation's critical...
A New Urban Terrorist. (Foxes)
For many decades, fox-hunters have been quietly saying among themselves that townies would only understand foxes once fox-hunting was abolished. They predicted that encroachment on hunting would drive foxes into the towns, and that it would only...
A Subaltern or a General? European Leaders Are as Uneasy as Their Citizens about Their Role Vis-a-Vis the US. Soon, They Must Make a Choice -- and Their Decision Will Change the World for Ever. (Features)
For the past decade, since the end of the Soviet Union, we have been confused about the shape of the world and about the strategic role that Europe can play. But now, as the US begins to clarify its own stance, the options become more apparent....
Britain's Anti-Americanism Is Blamed on Jealousy. This Must Mean We Want the Highest Obesity Rate in the World and a Leader Who Can't String Two Sentences Together
Over the past year, Britain has seen such a fantastic increase in anti-Americanism that I really feel there should be prizes, or at least badges, to hand out for this great effort. Not in the old Soviet style of badges of dead politicians' faces;...
"Brown's Big Gamble". (Don't Believe It)
I don't suppose Gordon Brown will be too upset to see his spending review described as a big gamble, because he knows it isn't. To my knowledge, the Chancellor has never gambled in his life. The only thing he has had to do with gambling was the...
Buy Shares in Social Democracy. (Leader)
Put away your doubts and your grievances. Sup press your disappointment that this is not a more liberal government on immigration, a more egalitarian one on education, a more comradely one on trade unions or a more pacific one abroad. Ignore all...
Cold Comfort: Katherine Duncan Jones Is Moved by a Mother's Chilling Plight. (Theatre)
One of Peter Porter's fine recent poems is called "Going into the Garden with the Wrong Secateurs". At the beginning of Bryony Lavery's poetic play Frozen, a little girl goes to Grandma's garden with the wrong secateurs: or rather, she makes her...
Dairy: Tony O'Reilly Met Frank Longford in the Shower after an Ireland V France Rugby Match. O'Reilly Was Naked, Longford in a Black Overcoat and Homburg Hat
The Cafe de Paris in Piccadilly Circus was the venue for an extraordinary string of performances last week. First, it swarmed with teenagers of all shapes, sizes and sexes. This was Kids Company, made up of youngsters excluded from school, some...
Food: Cobbett Was a Man Who Loved Corn as Much as He Hated Injustice. (Columns)
Whenever I eat an ear of sweet summer corn on the cob (so good in the markets just now, piled up in its green husks), I think of William Cobbett, that great Tory radical of the early 19th century. Cobbett was a man who loved corn as much as he hated...
Gone, and (Almost) Completely Forgotten: They Were Big When They Were Young -- Breaking Records, Producing Hits. Where Are They Now? (Best of Young British)
Swampy Daniel Hooper had to work hard for his celebrity status. Imaginatively named "Swampy" because he claimed to live in a swamp (well, a boggy field), the 23-year-old became a star after he inhabited a small tunnel for seven nights in protest...
Johnny Depp's Set. (Mr Smith Goes To)
If you're looking for the film column, I'd normally tell you that you'd come to the wrong place. But today I have an exclusive on a blockbuster so new that they haven't even finished shooting it yet. Thanks to my neighbour, Philip Kerr, and his...
Living la Vida Loca: Spain Has Always Signified Release, Irresponsibility and Sensuality to the Composers of Northern Europe. Peter Conrad Succumbs to Spanish Fever. (the Back Half)
The Royal Albert Hall is about to turn itself into the world's largest and most nutritious tapas bar; a Spanish leitmotif interconnects this year's Proms, illustrating the appeal of a culture that produced the obsessive libertine Don Giovanni and...
Love the Music, Laugh at the Plot: Andrew Billen on Whether Wagner's Anti-Semitism Is Too Absurd to Matter. (Television)
If you or I were a reformed pin-up of the Tory right, would we have agreed to star in a documentary about the famous anti-Semite and Hitlerian fixation, Richard Wagner? Only, perhaps, if we had ruled out all hopes of an electoral comeback. If I...
Noises Off: Peregrine Worsthorne Argues That the Power of Youth Has Increased, Is Increasing and Ought to Be Diminished; but Suspects That the Worst Excesses Are Got Up by the Media. (Best of Young British)
What do I immediately think of when hearing the word youth"? Increasingly -- and most recently hearing UW young Henmaniacs at Wimbledon -- the answer has to be NOISE. Among the many things that have changed in my nigh on four score years and ten,...
Not Enough Brass: Sholto Byrnes on Why British Jazz Shouldn't Blow Its Own Trumpet. (Music)
The last day of July sees the second-ever BBC Radio Jazz Awards. Hurrah, we're all supposed to say, and it's certainly true that the recognition such an official bunfight brings to jazz is welcome. But it's also an appropriate time to consider precisely...
Now What? What Is It about Summer That Brings the Wolves out in North London?
I would like to start this column with the words "In My Experience", so that politically correct souls won't be too incensed by what I am about to say, so here goes: In My Experience, men in north London fall into two camps when the sun comes out....
Secrets of the Cloth: Philip Kerr on a Powerful Expose of the Most Culpable Silence in History. (Film)
I would trust Jeffrey Archer on oath before I would trust a Roman Catholic priest to be alone in a room with either of my sons. As one Roman Catholic diocese after another is revealed to have been a hotbed of paedophile priests and mendacious monsignors,...
Sidelines: For Politically Incorrect Seaside Entertainment, Just Visit Scarborough
I was given pause in my plans to write about Naval Warfare in Scarborough this week by the news that the Spanish had sent warships to north Africa following the Moroccan capture of Perejil. But I decided to go ahead anyway. This may well be the...
Sport: A Man with a Sense of Metaphor, Poetry and Even Grammar Has Joined TV's Cricket Commentators -- but Can the Old Pros Cope with Him?
The fantastic one-day cricket final between England and India at Lord's, when two vibrant teams shared 650 runs and India won with three balls to spare, almost had the pundits throwing aside the aspersions they usually cast at one-day cricket. Almost,...
The Angry Young Men Turn on Blair. (Trade Unions)
Sir Ken Jackson's humiliation in the election to be general secretary of the Amicus-AEEU union at the hands of an unknown left-winger from Sheffield (as we went to press, further recounts were delaying the final result) is just the latest sign of...
The BBC Gets It Wrong on the Caribbean and Undermines Its Reputation
For nearly 30 years, I have been writing and speaking about the Caribbean. Not the sentimental trash about sun, sand and sea and the beautiful landscapes that make for good tourist advertisements, but the degeneration and consequent revolt of Caribbean...
The Best of Young British: From the Stage to the Boardroom, from Millbank to Feminism, the NS Celebrates the Nation's Most Promising Young (under 35) Achievers
Scientist Selected by: Susan Greenfield, director, The Royal Institution Hairnei Chen, 28. Science Graduate of the Year Award winner who's in the third year of her PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Chen's research incorporates new design features...
The Business: Company Directors Usually Get off Lightly at Shareholders' Meetings and in Sessions with the Press. How Refreshing, Then, That MPs Can and Do Give Them a Harder Time
The other day, I witnessed something highly unusual. I saw business leaders actually called to account. Obliged to answer questions. Put on the spot. Grilled. In a public place. On the record. By democratically elected representatives. It was beautiful....
The Health Secretary Is Determined to Press on with Easing Central Control over the NHS. but Is the Chancellor Onside. (Interview: Alan Milburn)
Alan Milburn's office looks on to the Treasury, on the opposite side of Whitehall. It matters, because relations between the man in charge of our health and the man in charge of our money are decidedly scratchy. The latest contretemps has been triggered...
The Insider: A Rise in Clare's Fortunes, the Worksop One, and a "Find a Job for Mandy" Competition
So who would be deputy leader under Gordon Brown? The question was being asked at the TUG'S summer reception, amid plaudits for the Chancellor. It was answered by a splendid entrance by a beaming Clare Short. She has emerged as the favourite to...
The Sweet Voice of Reason: Joe Klein's Mission Is to Kick Sense into Europe. (Features)
You can't escape Joe Klein these days. The time when he was "Anonymous" is now a cherished memory. In discussions on television, in the pages of the Guardian, over the airwaves of Radio 4 - he is everywhere, offering his kind counsel. Klein's...
The Writing's on the Wall: In 1993, Granta Magazine Published a List of Best Young Novelists. Philip Kerr, Who Was One, Remembers the Jealousy, Bitching and Backbiting That Followed Its Appearance. (Best of Young British)
It was the best of times, it was the worst at times... it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us -- we were Granta magazine's Best of Young British Novelists. No single literary...
Watching Brief: David Blunkett Has Installed an ISDN Line So He Can Broadcast More Clearly on the Today Programme, but He Refuses to Sit on the GMTV Sofa. GMTV Should Count Its Blessings. (Columns)
In the week when Gordon Brown finally put some serious money behind his party's promise to deliver the three Es (education, education, education), perhaps it's time to do something about the other education kids get, from television. The Broadcasting...
When the Forests Go, Shall We Be Alone? Some Scientists Think That, as It Destroys Other Species, Humanity Will Leave the Age of Mammals for the Era of Solitude. but John Gray Expects Something Far Worse. (Essay)
According to Edward O Wilson, the greatest living Darwinian thinker, the earth is entering a new evolutionary era. We are on the brink of a great extinction the like of which has not been seen since the end of the Mesozoic Era, 65 million years...
Wine Club
Our hay is uncut, and the cows are cooped up in the barn. The ash-leaves unfurled only days ago, and the fox cubs are still living under the hedgerow. The potatoes have not flowered nor have the beans gripped their poles. The ponds are cold and...