New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 131, No. 4587, May 13

Alone He Did It: Adrian Noble's Reputation for Unilateralism Has Been His Professional Tragedy. but, Asks Katherine Duncan-Jones, Is the RSC Board Blameless in His Downfall? (the Back Half)
I am not sure whether Adrian Noble really is a rampant egotist, or whether he just talks like one. The wording of his press release last year, announcing plans to "redevelop" the Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, to withdraw from the Barbican,...
America: In California, a Man Stole a Few Kids' Videotapes from His Local Kmart. Now the US Supreme Court Will Decide If He Must Stay in Prison for 50 Years. (Columns)
Why is it that Britain and its chattering classes are so easily seduced by any old brash-sounding American idea? Is it the pervasive effect of American popular culture on the UK, I wonder? My heart sinks, for example, when I hear the likes of David...
Barbara Castle Changed People's Lives for the Better. Will Our Present Ministers? (Columns)
When the party faithful try to lure young, unsuspecting victims to join their ranks, they use a well-worn mantra as a draw: you can make a difference. Be elected MP (or councillor or mayor) and ordinary folk will eat/feel/sleep better -- or safer....
Blunkett Has Banned a Black Man Who Could Easily Be a New Labour Supporter. (Columns)
Buried beneath an avalanche of race and immigration analysis is the banning of Louis Farrakhan from the UK. Farrakhan is head of the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist Muslim group based in the United States. A branch here in the UK, led by Hilary...
Browned off. (Scotland)
On the day that Barbara Castle died, Wendy Alexander, almost unnoticed south of the border, resigned from the Scottish Executive. She was a victim of the misogynist political culture that Castle fought all her life and which many thought dead. But...
Cure for Boredom. (Murder in Holland)
The Netherlands is in a state of shock. For decades, the ruling class provided stability, consensus and dullness. The ruled thanked them with their vote. The main parties might combine power. They might alternate it. But essentially nothing really...
Diary: I Saw Jonathan Ross's Hair in Curlers in the Make-Up Room before His Show. Shockingly, He Was Fondled Openly by Four Hairdressers
What's worse than being mugged on the streets of Brixton at knifepoint -- decomposing into an emotional wreck and crying on national television? Being mugged by Jonathan Ross's sharp tongue in the company of the chart-topping Sugar Babes and the...
Did Euan Plump for the Tories? (First-Time Voters)
London was the one city where the Tories had a real surge in this month's local government elections. And London was where 18-year-old Euan Blair, frogmarched to the polling station by his mother, entered a polling booth for the first time. Young...
Doig Daze: Ned Denny on a Landscape Painter Who Invests Everyday Life with Spectral Brilliance. (Art)
The rapid ascendancy of Peter Doig has seemed to run counter to all the main trends in contemporary art. The general consensus in the last decade of the 20th century was that painting was finished, a hopeless anachronism in the age of virtual reality...
Fascists under the Bed: Call It Ignorance and Chauvinism, Even Fascism, If You like. but People Sense That Decisions Are Drifting Further Away from Them. (Leader)
We are back in the land of lost innocence; we must wakeup, eschew complacency, hasten to preserve democracy; the fascists are everywhere, under the bed, in the streets, on the radio, in the council chamber. The great and the good hear the echoes...
Food: What's on the Menu at Downing Street Dinner Parties. (Columns)
Margaret Thatcher is conservative about her food, as I've written here before. A passage in her latest book, Statecraft, confirms this trait. The Iron Lady recounts the horrors of being entertained at the table of Beijing's leading "tame capitalist",...
Freedom Song: Ross Diamond Says the New Levi's Promo Is All Talk and No Trousers. (Advertising)
An intense young man is pacing a bleak, strip-lit room. Melancholy, stately orchestral music and the unkind lighting compound the feeling of confinement, when suddenly he breaks into a sprint, crashes through the end wall, and keeps on blasting...
I Am Not an Anti-Semite. (Reporting the Middle East)
My father tells blood-curdling stories of escaping Oswald Mosley's fascist thugs in the East End when he was a child. He was a clever, wiry kid with curly black hair and a cockney accent, instantly recognisable as a Jew. Which is why I do not...
I Could Reet Murder a Joke, Pet: Andrew Billen Finds the Laugh Has Gone out of the Japes with Britain's Top Builders. (Television)
The only thing more depressing than the new series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (Sundays, 9 pm, BBC1) is the news that its first episode drew nearly 12 million viewers and crushed Granada's beautifully realised Forsyte Saga. What the figures do not reveal...
In Saddam's Land, They Hold Their Breath: Iraq's Streets Are Full of People Buying and Selling Goods from All over the World. Sanctions Have Failed. but Now the People Wait for War. Richard Gott Reports from Baghdad. (Features)
I flew into sanctions-closed Baghdad from Amman on a regular flight by Royal Jordanian airways. The plane has been making the one-and-a-half-hour journey four times a week for the past couple of years, and it is so commercially successful that the...
Letters
Send letters for publication to: Letters Page, New Statesman, 7thb Floor, Victoria Station House, 191 Victoria Street, London SW1E5NE Fax: 020 7828 1881 E-mail: letters@newstatesman.co.uk The party's over Toby Barrett (Letters, 6 May) suggests...
Look out, Prime Minister, That Napkin Could Be Dangerous! Your DNA Could Dribble Anywhere, Revealing Explosive Truths about You. Should We Worry? Are Liberties Threatened? Do We Need Legislation? (Essay)
I still possess somewhere a paper napkin bearing the seal of the vice-president of the United States, purloined from Air Force L. Two while writing a profile of Dan Quayle for the Economist. (Mementos do not come much more momentous than that.)...
New Labour Ministers Say "Bogus Asylum-Seekers" So Often That I Think They've Been Sponsored to Say It to Raise Money for Charity. (Columns)
Even before the local elections, talk was turning to how the far right might fare, and whether voter apathy was about to let racists into power. In the event, the turnout was higher than average in Burnley -- which returned three British National...
Now What? How Mick Hucknall Never Made a Pass at Me and Derek Draper Claimed He Did. (Columns)
A tabloid found yet another fatuous reason to print the long, exaggerated list of women (supposedly) linked by romance or a heady mix of hormones and alcohol to the singer Mick Hucknall. It used a picture of me looking like a startled llama and...
On the Sly: Peter Conrad Has Mixed Feelings about the Tragic Sequel to a Shakespearean Comedy. (Opera)
Happy endings are not made to last. Unfreeze the frame at the conclusion of a comedy, and you'll find that the sad, shelving descent towards tragedy has begun. This is what happens to one of Shakespeare's most sottishly buoyant comic characters...
Sarah Doesn't Go to School Any More: Proposals to Take a Tough Line on Truants Make Good Talking Points for Politicians; but They Simply Terrify Alison, Mother of Two Teenagers. (Features)
Alison is a 41-year-old care assistant living in the north of England. Her two elder children are in their early twenties, and live with her ex-husband. By her second partner - who has offered no financial assistance since he left seven years ago...
Sidelines: Just One Piece of Fatherly Advice: Do Not Drink Alcohol in the Morning. (Columns)
A friend just back from holiday in India was talking me through a typical day at his beachfront hotel. I wasn't really listening, but from his droning emerged the words: "Ten-thirty am, time for the first beer of the day." "Hang on a minute!" I...
The Business: Why Should a Clever and Powerful Man Want to Become Governor of the Bank of England? He Has to Make the Same Decision, Month after Month. (Columns)
I can see why Sir Howard Davies has been mooted as a candidate to take over from Sir Eddie George as governor of the Bank of England. He is politically sure-footed, brainy, populist, ambitious; and he has the CV of a serial overachiever. He's already...
The Fan: At Dinner, Everyone Was in Their Finery, Dressed to Kill or Score. Then There Was a Boxing Match, and They Started Shouting and Screaming. (Columns)
All these years writing about football, yet I've never been to the Football Writers' Annual Dinner. It could be because I'm not really a football writer, doing it mostly for fun, for love, and so I can justify spending so much time and money watching...
The Foreign Correspondent: Once, They Immersed Themselves in Foreign Parts; Now, They Rush from Afghanistan, Shedding the Flak Jacket for a Royal Funeral. (Profile)
The foreign correspondent is, and always has been, the envy of his or her peers, the despair of his or her family, the model of every aspiring young journalist, the rock or sinking sand, on to or into which a foreign editor will climb or sink. With...
The Insider: The Demise of the Lobby, a Lost MP, and Some Restive Fingers on the Tory Benches. (Columns)
The Prime Minister botched the job of abolishing the ancient, corrupt parliamentary lobby system. While Alastair Campbell laid his secret plans to stiff the body he once so assiduously exploited, Tony Blair was briefing "senior" political journalists...
The Journal of Lynton Charles: Chancellor of the Duchy of Durham. (Columns)
Friday Phew! Three hundred seats lost but no meltdown. In fact, not even a problem. Biggies Clarke has been all over the media doing his bluff bloke act with great gusto, but actually it's been an easy wicket to bat at. The Wing Commander has made...
The People Take to the Streets Again: In Italy, France, Venezuela, Argentina, the Netherlands, the Big Issues Are Being Fought through Marches and Demonstrations. Can Democracy Stand the Heat? (Cover Story)
The street is coming back into politics; it may represent growing danger for democratic practice. It has been best expressed in the demonstrations of the more militant global movements, where the street attempts to drain authority away from the...
The Sewers. (Mr Smith Goes To)
Is the Augean gloop squelching and slurping under the sole of my wader what I think it is? Well, yes and no. To deal with "no" first: no, it's good old Thames mud, which you'd naturally find underfoot if you had just popped out of a sewer under...
Watching Brief: If Pim Fortuyn Had Been a Left-Wing Politician, Would We Have Seen a Photograph of His Prostrate Corpse on the Front Pages of the Mirror and the Independent? (Columns)
It has long been said that you should be careful what you wish for--it may come true. When new Labour and the left-wing press set out not just to defeat but to obliterate the Tory party; they risked creating a monster of the extreme right. This...
Why Sweat? Be a Worm Instead; Management Gurus Claim You Need the Skills of a Boxer to Succeed. Wrong: A Toady's Will Do. (Features)
Alan Chambers tells the management lecture circuit how he led the first British unsupported walk to the geographical north pole from Canada. One of his lectures is called "Achieving the Unachievable: successful organisations overcome their challenges"....
Wine: Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Via the Groves of Languedoc. (Columns)
Readers of Proust will remember the young and charming Marquis de St Loup, who, by offering both manly protection and feminine submissiveness to a narrator who has done nothing to deserve either, comes across as the supreme fantasy object--the impossible...
Women's Business: Philip Kerr Enjoys a Low-Budget Movie That Puts the Girls on Top, for Once. (Film)
If there's one thing that irritates me about Hollywood today, it's the way that male movie stars get all the attention. It's the male film stars who get the best parts and the $20m fees, and whom the studios believe will "open a movie": a movie...