New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 131, No. 4606, September 23

A Breakthrough Party. (Mr Smith Goes To)
These men are miners, and more worldly readers won't be surprised to see that they indulge in a spot of arm-wrestling over a few pints. What's more remarkable is that they've come out of the ground not in the Rhondda or South Yorkshire, but in Cricklewood,...
America: George Bush Plans to Start Pounding Those Patriotic War Drums in Time for the Mid-Term Elections in November. but the UN's Kofi Annan Threatens to Spoil Everything. (Columns)
If there is one theme I try to convey in these columns, it is this: that the US is not content with being the world's only superpower but also wants to be the world's boss. American logic, indeed, assumes that with unchallengeable military power...
Celebrities on Holiday: A Rough Guide. (the Back Half)
Aside from love, few activities seem to promise us as much happiness as travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs and landscapes. However, it also seems that few events...
Diary: The Media-Ocracy Have Invented a New Term, Born of the Events at the Barrymore Party; "To Lubbock". as in, I've Really Lubbocked Myself with This Mortgage
I have a friend who works for the Iraqi National Congress. He's very good at his lob and, as a result, I've been brainwashed by anti-Saddam propaganda for a lot longer than most people outside the White House have. Even so, there are still certain...
Doing the Rounds: Ned Denny on How to Visit 20 Leading Galleries in One Morning. (Art)
A smart idea, this. Instead of holding another show as nakedly attention-seeking as "Sensation" or "Apocalypse", the Royal Academy has surrendered curatorial authority (well, sort of) and handed over its main rooms to 20 of London's leading commercial...
Don't Punish the Poor for Being Poor: Relative Poverty Is the Only Sensible Basis for Debate-It Makes People Feel Poor and It Prevents Their Children Getting Equal Opportunities. (Leader)
At last, and quite deliberately, Tony Blair has allowed the word to pass his lips: redistribution. The political motives are plain. The public needs to be softened up for next year's rise kin National Insurance contributions, while the Labour rank...
Drink; If Colour Is the Only Guide You're Offered, Stick to Red: At Least It's Got Tannin. (Columns)
"White or red?" must be three of the most uninspiring words ever to be uttered. If the wine is so bad that it only qualifies for description as generic alcohol, I'd probably rather not drink it--though, in desperation, for safety, I'd go with the...
Food: If You Have a Quince Tree to Hand This Is What You Do with It. (Columns)
One of the most fashionable ways either to start or to finish an urban dinner party these days is with slices of salty Manchego cheese and squares of quivering membrillo, the sweet jellied quince paste from Spain, which is prized by foodies everywhere...
Great Figure-But Can You Trust It? (Polls)
On 15 September, the Sunday Times reported growing support among the British public for an attack on Iraq. Though 57 per cent would oppose Britain contributing troops if the US decided to go it alone, 80 per cent would back UN action if Saddam refused...
Here, Even Doctors Are Not Trusted: In Kashmir, It Is Said, the Disputed Border Runs through Every Street, Every Office, Every Room. Amitava Kumar Reports on a Country Controlled from Bunkers. (Features)
Srinagar is dusty, the dust choking the busy streets and clinging to the dark wooden houses covered with corrugated iron. At every few feet stands a soldier with a rifle, his head under a helmet and a bulletproof vest on his chest. Outside an...
How to Become an Armchair Polyglot: Philip Kerr on Why Watching Foreign Films Makes You Feel Superior. (Film)
One of the main pleasures of watching a foreign-language film is listening to the dialogue and understanding everything the characters are saying. It's incredible how suddenly all this Babel chatter makes perfect sense. Because watching a foreign-language...
If It Weren't for Fox-Hunting, We Would Now Be in the Middle of a Civil War. (Columns)
The talk is of war. The mood is tense, with politicians whispering of retaliation, experts murmuring of an imminent strike. Observers claim the enemy is running scared. Are we talking Iraq? No, stupid, fox-hunting. The time has come to free the...
If We Could "Just All Get Along": Bonnie Greer Watches a Rose-Tinted Adaptation of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. (Television)
A fine adaptation not only renders a literary work into watchable drama, but it can also illuminate the novel itself and throw up hidden parts that are sometimes obscured by the very language and style of the book. Simon Burke's four-part dramatisation...
If You Want to Know How George W. Bush Will Go about Getting International Support for War, Look at How His Father Did It 12 Years Ago. (Columns)
The making of a United Nations fig leaf, designed to cover an Anglo-American attack on Iraq, has a revealing past. In 1990, aversion of George W Bush's mafia diplomacy was conducted by his father, then president. The aim was to "contain" Americas...
Must Silence Wait for a Murder? (Noise)
There is one, and only one, advantage of modern mass mawkishness: the minute's silence that it engenders with increasing frequency. Sometimes, indeed, it seems as if our only hope of relief from the jangling noise of modern society is the minute's...
No Go Britain: Senior Police Officers Believe That Too Much Crime Policy Is Driven by the Righteous Indignation of the Middle Class. (Cover Story Crime)
MARTIN BRIGHT detects a defeatist mood among the police, fed by the government's obsession with targets, and warns that the public is rapidly losing confidence in the fight against crime Earlier this year, a teenage relative of mine was the victim...
Now What? Don't Get Pregnant Unless You're Living in the Right London Borough. (Columns)
I feel like the Yozza Hughes of the health world: "Gizza GP! Go on, gizza GP!" I haven't had a family doctor for well over a year now. We tried to join a practice in Crouch End last summer, after moving from another London borough. The baby and...
Primitive, Illiterate and Untutored? the Kurds Ought to Be One of the Left's Great Causes. but Opponents of War, Who Say Saddam's Fall Would Bring Chaos, Just Echo Old Imperialist Attitudes. (Features)
In 1920, the great powers promised the Kurds their own state, in Article 64 of the Treaty of Sevres. In 1930, the Foreign Office sent the League of Nations a memo which, with well-bred condescension and ill-disguised irritation, described the expectation...
Sidelines: A Yorkshireman Is Rude Equally to His Wife, His Parents, His Friends and His Dog. (Columns)
Professor Michael Argyle, the psychologist who died this month, once published a study of the number of times that couples sitting in cafes touched each other: in Mexico City it was 180 times an hour; in Paris it was 120 times; in London it was...
Sipping Tea, as the War Clouds Gather: Even on a Small, Distant Island, Gazing at the Ocean, Lucy Irvine Feels Power and Arrogance in the Air. A Writers' Petition Must Be Drafted, and Signatures Gathered. (Features)
I've been insular since leaving home aged 12. I started living on small is lands in my twenties. I lived on one uninhabited dot for 400 days--resulting in my first book, Castaway. Surviving near-starvation, I discovered a passion for mere existence....
Stiff Resistance at the Stag Inn. (Campaigning)
Rush hour in Dufton, Cumbria, starts at five most afternoons. Emerging from the slopes and grasslands of the north Pennines come walkers with bulging rucksacks. The village springs to life in anticipation of its new guests. Liz Rawlinson rolls up...
The Case for Tyrannicide: It Is Not an International Crime to Possess Nuclear Weapons. We Need New Laws to Deal with Despots Who Violate Human Rights. (Features)
In the 1960s, the White House coined the term "peace offensive" as a euphemism for its war on Vietnam. Today, by "regime change" in Iraq, it means killing Saddam Hussein. The case against him does not hinge upon his breaches of UN resolutions, ...
The Fan: I've Found Something Brilliant. Honest, I Really Have. (Columns)
Until last week, I'd been to Preston only three times in my fun-filled life. In the late 1950s, I spent a long weekend there in order to graduate as a Ribble bus conductor. I was nervous about the exams but I got through, phew, and attended a passing-out...
The Insider: A Mysterious Operation, an Unethical Pay-Off, and Case of Untimely Chatter. (Columns)
John "Treble Chins" leader of the GMB and scourge of new Labour on "creeping privatisation" of the NHS, let slip in a Daily Telegraph interview that, after a recent eye operation, he no longer has to wear glasses. My medical consultant advises:...
The Ns Guide to What's Going on in Politics, Current Affairs and Culture. (Events)
EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM Florence, Italy, 7-10 November. A huge gathering of anti-capitalist activists, trade unionists and campaign groups. Tens of thousands are expected at the European Social Forum, the first time a Europe-wide popular gathering...
The Policing Revolution: Back to the Beat; the Battle against Crime Is Far from Hopeless, as New York Shows. but If We Don't Learn the Right Lessons, We Risk a Return to the Early 1800s, and the End of a Single Public Police Force. (Crime)
The chattering classes, particularly those who are products of the Sixties and Seventies, instinctively oppose any extension of police activity. Yet the events of the past few years make many of them uneasy. Last autumn, following on from the saturation...
The Unbearable Briefness of Being: Sheridan Morley Asks Why Three Excellent Plays Have Been Given Such Short Runs. (Theatre)
At a time when both the National and the RSC have shamefully and, in my view, unnecessarily abandoned one of the central reasons for their existence--the maintenance of a permanent company through a season of widely different work--it has been left,...
Triumph without Triangulation. (Sweden's Election)
Sweden's Social Democrats have won yet another general election, confirming their position as the most successful political party in the world. They have governed for 61 of the past 70 years, a record without equal among democratic societies. They...
Unknown to the Public, This Old-Fashioned, Assiduous Civil Servant (Public School and Oxbridge, Naturally) Runs UK Policy on Iraq. (Profile: David Manning)
David Manning finds trouble wherever he goes. A week into his present job--special foreign policy adviser to the Prime Minister--he went to Washington to introduce himself to the US administration. He decided to fit in a couple of meetings in New...
Watching Brief: The Success of the Daily Star Sunday Is Proof That, from Hampstead to Tunbridge Wells, the Middle Classes Are Still Having a Clandestine Love Affair with the Red Tops. (Columns)
Foreseeing that there would be little demand for the newly launched Daily Star Sunday among Hampstead's liberal elite, I took the precaution of ordering it from my newsagent. When it failed to arrive, I was told that they had been promised delivery--of...
Why Did Police and Councillors Fail to Attend a Debate on a Dub Threatened with Closure? (Columns)
On 16 September, I fulfilled a long-standing appointment in Reading. It is a town with a buzz which has accommodated the IT industry with ease, extended its artistic and leisure activities, and expanded the economic horizon for its multiracial community....
Yah Boo to a Daily Mail Myth: The Offspring of Poor, Dysfunctional Families Have Been Dubbed "Feral Children" by the Right-Wing Press. but They Have Found a Champion in a London Charity. (Features)
Very quickly, a new way has sprung up of talking and thinking about the most disadvantaged kids in Britain. We have begun to dub them "feral children", a term that originally referred to young people who had been quite literally raised by animals...