New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 131, No. 4593, June 24

A Bit of Rough: William Cook Explains Why Brutalism, That Most Provocative Assault on Suburban Sentiment, Is Now Cherished Again. (Architecture Week/2)
Throughout the Thatcherite Eighties and Majorite Nineties, they were the buildings we all loved to hate. But over the past few years, something quite extraordinary has happened to the cityscape of Blairite Britain. Contrary to conservative expectations,...
America: The US Thinks It Is Fantastically Generous with Overseas Aid. but Even after Bush's Big Increase, It Will Spend Less of Its GNP on Aid Than Any Other Developed Country. (Columns)
A friend once suggested that I write a book called What Americans Don't Know About Themselves. There would be plenty to write, I told him, but there was one problem: Americans don't give a damn about what other people think of them, and such a book...
A Nation That Hates Its Women. (Conflict in Africa)
In the eastern forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there is a hidden war going on against women and girls. Abduction, rape, sexual slavery, torture and death have become an everyday reality for every woman. Three national armies,...
An A-Z of Old and Strange Remedies
Asthma: Rub goose grease on your chest and cover it with brown paper Baldness: Sleep on stones or wash your head in yarrow Cancer: Cover the skin with the ashes of an incinerated dog's skull Diarrhoea: Eat tree moss (collected on Ascension...
Arabian Frights: Ned Denny Digs through a Curatorial Mess to Find the Splendours of the Yemen. (Art)
A powerful air of deja vu hangs round this exhibition like a cloud of Yemeni frankincense, a feeling that, though the names and faces might have changed, we've been this way before. The grouping of ancient artefacts around the coquettish figure...
A Silent Majority Finds Its Voice: Venezuela's Hidden People-The Majority Who Are of Indian or Black Descent-Have Found a Champion in Hugo Chavez. but Can He Survive? (Features)
The great city of Caracas spreads over innumerable mountainous hills, and in the rainy season the peaks poke up through the clouds that hover in the valleys below. Several million people live on these steep slopes in barrios, a word which, when...
Barefoot Doctor: We Are Losing Control of Our World, but Taking Back Responsibility for Our Lives with Alternative Medicines. (Health)
Insecurity reigns. Traditions--and in particular, our Judaeo-Christian spiritual life-models--are no longer relevant to society as a whole, and they have left an untenable void, which is not filled by rampant consumerism. A misguided minority retrench...
Conflict Resolution: Daniel Libeskind Describes the Challenge of Designing a Building Intended as a Commemoration of War but Informed by Our Endless Struggle for Peace. (Architecture Week)
Architecture is a communicative art. All too often, however, architecture is seen as mute. Buildings are understood as disposable consumer items whose sole fate is to disappear with their use. In our day, the only distinction people make between...
Crystal Balls: Paul Finch on Why Transparency Does Not Guarantee a Clearer View. (Architecture Week/3)
"I can see right through you"; but transparency is not always a mark of approval. Yet in recent years, a cult of transparency has emerged within government and business. Inevitably, it has spread to architecture and buildings, and London has the...
Did the IMF Cause a Famine? Malawi Faces Starvation-After, It Seems, Heeding Western Advice on Managing Food Stocks. (Features)
As the world food summit ended in Rome this month in a drizzle of non-action (non-attendance in the case of Britain's development minister, Clare Short) hundreds -- possibly thousands -- had already died of hunger in Malawi. The only offer on the...
Disaster: 3,400 Dead, Many Most Injured! (Leader)
We live in an age of panic: about crime, mobile phones, medical blunders, drugs, railway safety, food, asylum-seekers, terrorism and more. We do not panic about motor cars, even though they kill 3,400 people a year--four times the number who are...
Do Alternative Remedies Work? the NS Asked Some of Those Brave Enough to Try Them out. (Health)
I have tried acupuncture and Chinese herbs. The acupuncture calms you down, but the Chinese herbs didn't do anything - they're just disgusting-tasting sticks. I was being treated for a liver problem, and the GP said they were bad for your health,...
European Commission Proposals to Amend the Advertising Directive
Joint Statement from European Patient Groups European patient groups believe that ALL patients, no matter their condition, background or nationality, have a fundamental and legitimate human right of access to all kinds of information about their...
Fight against the Clock. (Slow Movement)
"Time is money." "Lunch is for wimps." "You can't beat a Big Mac." If you violently disagree with all these statements, then the Slow Food movement is for you. It was launched in Italy in 1986 by the left-wing journalist Carlo Petrini as a pressure...
Food: Pop Festivals Are No More Utopian or Less Commercial Than Supermarkets. (Columns)
Take away the music, and the outdoor rock festivals that punctuate the young British summer are not much more than sprawling food marts, exchanging mainly deep-fried goods for hard currency. These events are like mini-metropolises, erected overnight...
Health Diary: Miranda Cloverley. (Health)
It-girl/TV personality as imagined by Lauren Booth (columnist/broadcaster/whatever). MONDAY 10.40am Damn, missed my alarm call--fear that all these years spent with photographers shouting my name have made me a bit deaf! Limp to the kitchen...
Information Is the Best Medicine. (Merck Sharp & Dohme)
Did you wake up this morning and breakfast on a bowl of cereal? Did you favour skimmed milk over Wits full-cream cousin? How long is it since butter darkened the door of your refrigerator? A word of caution for those of you congratulating yourselves...
It's Up to You (Not): Taking Responsibility for Your Health Is Easy If You Are Wealthy. the Poor, on the Other Hand, Often Lack the Assets, Diet, Exercise and Support Systems That Are Necessary for Well-Being. (Health)
Pages and pages of the tabloids and the broadsheets are devoted to the latest national obsession: our health and the ways in which we can conjure up eternal youth and immortality -- with the help of a fat wallet and sufficient cupboard space for...
Jeremy Vine. (Diary)
I was suspected of spraying "arse" on Paxman's desk because I wanted his job. Now that I'm said to want Jimmy Young's job, keep an eye on surfaces at Radio 2... My dad feels a right mug. He answered a bang at the door and found a pair of concerned...
Julie and the Scriptwriter: Suzanne Moore on the Fantasy World of the Columnist Whose Best Creation Is Herself. (Theatre)
I like a woman with an ego, so I've always liked Julie Burchill. It's the same with Jeanette Winterson. When, in one of those tedious "best books of the year" lists, Winterson recommended one of her own novels, I just cheered. In these days of ...
Ken Livingstone Will Not Succeed in Taking over the Notting Hill Carnival. (Columns)
The Queen's jubilee parade starred the Notting Hill Carnival. It was perhaps the first time that the British people have got a clear view of what the carnival--associated with bad police-black relations, racial stereotypes and bacchanalian revelry--is...
Letters
I am a 16-year-old girl and I have lust finished my history GCSE. On reading Philip Kerr's review of Monster's Ball, I had an alarming flashback to last Tuesday's exam, where I described how Hitler delineated the Jewish population by measuring the...
Mark Thomas. (Columns)
Blunkett revels in playing the hard man: he's the Millwall FC of Labour. For him to say he got it wrong is to enter new emotional territory, like admitting a need to read Iron John David Blunkett's decision to delay the introduction of new Labour's...
Never-Ending Childhood: Andrew Billen on Why Women's Tennis Usually Means Mum and Dad Stay in Charge. (Television)
It is clearly too late to ask now, but when did it become obligatory to call the World Cup the Fifa World Cup? My guess is it must have happened at about the time England managers became England coaches, but I am not sure. Nor had I appreciated...
New Statesman. (Health)
It has become conventional wisdom that we should welcome the government's conversion to high public spending on health. Indeed, judging by Gordon Brown's poll ratings, this year's budget was one of the most popular for many years, even though it...
Not What the Doctor Ordered: Loyd Grossman and a Team of Trendy Chefs Have Cooked Up Some Fancy Hospital Fare. but There's No Appetite for the Results. (Health)
Everyone has a dish that is the only thing they can bear to eat when they're feeling poorly. For me, it's tomato soup and macaroni cheese. For an Italian friend of mine, it's a plate of spaghetti simply dressed with olive oil and black pepper. ...
Now What? the Minibreak Turned into a Nightmare of Dodgy Food and Howling Wind
It always sounds so glamorous in the glossy pull-outs: "Le minibreak". It conjures up shiny town plazas, fresh air and, best of all, no need to reschedule meetings or work like a horse when you get home. We have no family summer holiday in sight,...
Politically Incorrect. (Columns)
The week of Black Rod, they are saying in Downing Street, was unlike anything they had been through before. Now they are convinced that the media will always damn them This was a panic waiting to happen. As the media redirect their sights after...
Prison in Lieu of Hospital for the Mentally Ill? (Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain)
A New Perspective What is so worrying in this increasingly punitive society is the huge lack of understanding of and compassion for the mentally ill. Psychiatrists must be largely to blame for this. They have cloaked their discipline in psychological...
Profile: Rosie Boycott. (Features)
Former druggie and drunk, and ex-editor of three nationals, this becalmed galleon is hailed by some as a new Joan Bakewell Maybe the letter went something like this: "Dear Ms Boycott: Thank you for your expression of interest in chairing our Blairite...
Rabbi Julia Neuberger: She Believes That New Labour Is Obsessed with Targets and Nervous about Money, and That It Made at Least One Daft Pledge in 1997
Rabbi Julia Neuberger is the chief executive of the King's Fund, Britain's most highly respected health think-tank. So it will be something of a relief to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that, after some serious pondering, she declares herself "moderately...
Rural Britain, Frustrated, Embittered and Ignorant, Truly Hates Foreigners. (Columns)
Ken Clarke said David Blunkett's plan to build centres for asylum-seekers in rural areas will not go down well with the inhabitants of remote villages and distant hamlets. Indeed, he predicts rows, protests and even violence as the native sons and...
Selling You a Cure on the Telly: One Day We May See Sven-Goran Eriksson Advertising a Cure for Baldness on Television. but If We Relax Our Ban on Direct-to-Patient Advertising, Who Will Really Benefit? (Health)
A worried-looking woman is pictured walking along a crowded New York sidewalk. The headline reads: "Millions suffer from chronic anxiety. Millions could be helped by Paxil." This was an advertisement published in the New York Times Magazine lust...
Show Me the Way: There's More to Evidence-Based Medicine Than Meets the Eye. (Health)
One of the most significant trends in medicine over the past decade has been the oddly named "evidence-based medicine movement". What, you might ask, were clinicians doing before, if not acting according to evidence? The arguments that have been...
Sidelines: Like the Rose Bush I Planted in My Garden, I've Never Taken to London
A friend of mine who comes from Stafford is thinking of buying a house in my native town of York. It's a bit much, I think, when people from the Midlands can just start buying houses in Yorkshire willy-nilly. Well, just as long as he doesn't...
Strawberries and Sex in Old Age; Baby Boomers and Their Children Beware: 100-Year-Olds Will Be Commonplace Soon, and We Need to Ensure That Their Health Is Good. (Health)
My mother's greatest wish once she reached the age of 80 was to die peace fully while happily mooching about in her garden. She often referred to one of my uncles, who visited London from time to time, always walking back to his hotel from a distant...
Talking in Tongues; Doctors Don't Speak like Ordinary Folk, but All Too Often Rely on Obscure Medicalese. They Shouldn't: It Separates Them Further from Their Patients, Argues. (Health)
Every profession is a conspiracy against the public, every profession has a language of its own" wrote the American novelist William Gaddis. No discipline illustrates Gaddis' point as clearly as medicine. Indeed, the medical profession are the archetypal...
The Burden of Knowledge: Patients Are Now Armed Not Just with Symptoms, but with Preconceived Ideas and Information. They Should Beware. (Health)
When Alexander Pope observed that a little learning is a dangerous thing, he failed to add that too much knowledge can also be hazardous. Recently I was asked to search the internet for information to help someone whose surgeon had left him with...
The Business: The Stock Market Slide Is Nature's Way of Redistributing Wealth from the Haves to the Have-Nots of the Next Generation, without a Penny of Inheritance Tax Being Forked out. (Columns)
Sometimes the stock market can be more revolutionary than any socialist. One of the great redistributions of wealth is taking place before our eyes, without a drop of blood being shed or a single factory being nationalised. After the steep falls...
The Fan: Why Do Fair-Haired Footballers Never Dye Their Hair Black? If Becks Were Really a Trend-Setter He'd Have Got out the Boot Polish by Now. (Columns)
At half-time during the England-Denmark game, my daughter Caitlin rang from Botswana. She was watching with her friend Beauty and her family. On the way to Beauty's house, her car had got stuck in the sand, this part of Botswana being near the Kalahari...
The Fattest Cats Get Together. (Broadcasting)
Suddenly, British television seems set to be transformed. Licences for an over-the-air digital service, to replace ITV Digital, will be allocated on 4 July. They were expected to go to a coalition of Britain's public and private broadcasters, who...
The Insider: Spooks at Work Again, Harriet's Prim Hello, and the Case of the Missing MP. (Columns)
Some MPs believe the affair of the Queen Mother's lying-in-state is a replay of the spooks vWilson game of the 1970s, which at one stage involved talk of establishment plots and military coups. They note that Black Rod is a Lieutenant-General and...
The Journal of Lynton Charles. (Columns)
Chancellor of the Duchy of Durham Sunday Ludicrous rows, episode 159. I knew that bloody Sir Percival Trench-Tooth, Lord Comptroller of the Household Privy (the bloke I had the run-in with during Cliff Richard's rendition of "Living Doll" at...
The Miracle Cure Myth: Today's Pharmaceutical Cures Are Often No Better Than the Ones Pioneered 50 Years Ago. Yet There Are Plenty of Experts Telling Us the Opposite. (Health)
The public image of the pharmaceutical companies has rarely seemed rosier. They may be immensely rich and powerful following a spate of mergers that created a dozen corporations, each with a turnover of billions of pounds, but they are also committed...
The Royals' Revenge: John Lloyd Reveals the Full Story of the Funeral of the Queen's Mother and How, to the Fury of Three Commonwealth Prime Ministers, It Put Elected Politicians Firmly in Their Place. (Cover Story)
The most breathtaking tricks are those invisible to the eye. A breathtaking trick has been played on us, and it is invisible largely because we have been made to see it as a natural thing. The trick is to convince us that an elected politician should...
The Unstoppable March of the Clones: We Have Failed to Control the Spread of Nuclear Weapons. So How Can We Hope to Control the Development of Designer Babies and Other Results of Biotechnology? (Essay)
Fidel Castro has ordered Cuban biotechnologists to clone a new breed of cow. The ageing caudillo sees the cloning project, which attempts to replicate White Udder, a cow that became legendary for its milk output in the 1980s, as a solution to Cuba's...
Toothless: Philip Kerr Finds That Novocaine Is Less Interesting Than a Visit to the Dentist. (Film)
BBC2 is currently broadcasting a series entitled Hollywood Inc, which "takes you inside the dream factory that is the American film industry". It seems like only yesterday that the BBC gave us Naked Hollywood, and the only major differences between...
Watching Brief. (Columns)
Blair has a nerve to say he doesn't like spin distracting from government. It was his vanity that turned a storm in a teacup into a cyclone around a sarcophagus Henry II it was who asked "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?", but then,...
Where Informers Are Patriots. (War against Terrorism)
The car arrived at my Rabat hotel around six o'clock on 13 June. I had asked for a comment from the Moroccan internal affairs ministry about the government's successful operation to dismantle an al-Qaeda cell that was planning attacks on British...
Where There's Blame, There's a Claim: Patients Are Increasingly Suing Doctors in Cases of Medical Negligence. Doctors Are Paranoid and Lawyers Richer, but What of the Patients? (Health)
Lastweek in my hospital's postgraduate centre, I noticed a stall set up by a large firm of solicitors, manned by some very cheerful and confident-looking people. It was a firm that specialised in medical negligence, and for a moment I felt much...
Wine: A Glass of the Finest Joins People Together like a Patriotic Song. (Columns)
The Queen's golden jubilee was celebrated here with an innocent devotion to symbols that would have scandalised our editor. The neighbours clothed their houses with the flag of St George. They attended church services where they meditated on the...