New Statesman (1996)

Articles from Vol. 142, No. 5139, January 4

A Sea Change: I Took the Wild Australian Coast for Granted-Until Property Developers Threatened the Coral Reef at Ningaloo. Then I Had to Learn to Fight
In the 20 years since I first published my memoir Land's Edge, I've stayed close to the water, living and working where desert meets sea in my native Western Australia. The littoral, that peculiar zone of overlap and influx, sustains my spirit and...
A Wig for WikiLeaks, the Political Party for Men and Michael Gove's Curves
On Christmas Day, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl died in Vadodara, a city in the Indian province of Gujarat. She was found in a "thorny bush", the Hindustan Times reported, where she had allegedly been left by her maternal uncle. He is accused of throwing...
Bedtime Reading
An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo Richard Davenport-Hines HarperPress, 416pp, [pounds sterling]20 This year will be the 50th anniversary of the death of the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, of Charles de Gaulle's veto...
Belle's Not on the Ball
Belle de Jour's History of Anon Radio4 A short series on the subject of anonymity in writing is presented by Brooke "Belle de Jour" Magnanti (31 December to 4 January, 1.45pm), who opened the first programme with her intense CV("... my anonymous...
Beyond the Couch: Psychoanalysis and the Human Talent for Unhappiness
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves Stephen Grosz Chatto & Windus, 240pp, [pounds sterling]14.99 What, exactly, is an "examined life"? One that is worth living, according to Plato's Apology, in which he records Socrates,...
By Candlelight, a Nation Confronts Its Dark Head
On the evening of 16 December, a 23-year-old woman set off for home with her fiance after watching a film at a south Delhi cinema. They hailed a chartered bus, a private vehicle used to ferry schoolchildren during the day and which prowls the city...
Comfort and Joy
There are lots of things I definitely don't want to see on television this year. Please, no more documentaries about hoarders, or fat people. What I do want is lots of seriously involving drama, and some good comedy, to help keep out the cold. Television...
Dames and Danes
Something is stirring in London's West End. When did it last boast two theatrical dames in new plays? Helen Mirren plays the Queen again, in Peter Morgan's first new work since Frost/Nixon. The Audience (Gielgud Theatre, from 15 February) imagines...
DiCaprio Unchained
Since the dawn of time, mankind has been guided through life by the passing of the seasons, the phases of the moon and the patterns of the film release schedule; 2013 is no different. There is the usual January logjam of awards-season heavyweights:...
Disorderly Conduct
This may be the year that makes you mad. A new psychiatrist's bible will be published in May and already it's mired in controversy. Many see it as a pretext for scandalous over-diagnosis and drug-pushing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of...
Feeling Guilty? Have a Bath
When actors do that scene in which Lady Macbeth washes imaginary blood from her hands ("Out, damned spot! Out, I say!"), most play it slightly mad. I'd prefer them to play it deadpan, partly because it would be funny and partly because recent research...
Infrastructure Research for a Sustainable Future: The Challenges Ahead
It is a widely acknowledged fact that job creation is a corollary of infrastructure investment and one of the few things most economists agree on is that creating more jobs holds the key to economic recovery. This simple argument has been used to back...
In Midwinter, Signs of New Life
All over England, in dark rainy towns, in misty flooded villages, people are flicking through seed catalogues. People with too many children, people trapped in their houses in winter--the thought of seeds is stirring them, giving them a tiny image...
Lessons from Harold
During the zoio Labour leadership campaign, much was written of the influence of Ralph Miliband, the brilliant Marxist academic and father of two rivals for the job of leader, Ed and David. Yet what of the man who influenced Ralph Miliband? Harold...
Many Happy Returns
The classical calendar next year is dominated by three composers celebrating landmark anniversaries: Verdi, Wagner and our own Benjamin Britten. Where better to go to commemorate the Suffolk boy Britten's moth birthday than the Aldeburgh Festival,...
My Exercise Is Limited to Bottle-Opening; It's Safer That Way
I am in the pub with a group of people I mostly do not know very well and I am preoccupied, my mind very much elsewhere, for reasons we'll get to, and someone starts talking about spinning, and what music to listen to while doing it. How sweet, I think,...
Playing the Long Game: Benefit Cuts, Europe, Gay Marriage-2013 Heralds Ever Deeper Divisions among the Tories and Opportunities for Labour, but Only If Ed Miliband Has the Courage to Seize the Initiative
It got easier in 2012 to imagine Ed Miliband becoming Britain's next prime minister--but not at the-same rate as it got easier to imagine David Cameron losing the next general election. The coalition is shedding credibility faster than the opposition...
Reading the Runes
Last year, the organisers of the Man Booker Prize did much to repair the damage caused in 2011 by Dame Stella Rimington's facile effusions about what constitutes "readable" and "enjoyable" fiction. They appointed a notably serious-minded judging panel,...
Right, Here Comes Your Half-Time Pep Talk
Got a call from Manhattan over the festive period from a Spaniard, rather hesitant, who wanted my advice. Happens all the time, when you get to my age and stage in life. He's rented this apartment for a year with his wife and three young children,...
Roma Kid
She watched her brothers sleeping but not for long and left them in the grey dim haze of a February morning that was not yet half to life; she did not speak the language but understood plainly the tone of the officials and their knotted gestures and...
Surprise, Surprise
First Novel Nicholas Royle Jonathan Cape, 304pp, [pounds sterling]16.99 Nicholas Royle's First Novel, which is really his seventh, contains a brief paean to the short story. "You can take risks that you wouldn't in a novel. How much time has...
The Drowned World: As the Planet Warms, Extreme Weather Is Becoming a Part of Our Daily Life, but Britain Is Still Ill-Equipped to Cope with the Floods
I arrived in Tewkesbury on the November day the flood waters began to subside. The Swilgate, the tributary of the Avon that runs round the southern edge of the town, had overflown its banks fours days earlier. The dark brown water had spilled across...
The Fiscal Cliff Has Not Been Averted, Just Postponed
Since the global economic crisis began, the United States has avoided the path of austerity so hastily pursued by the UK and countries of the eurozone. Subsequent events have vindicated Washington's decision to do so. While Britain and the euro area...
The Machiavelli of Non-Violence: In a Long Life of Scholarship and Dissent, Gene Sharp Has Been Imprisoned and Persecuted, but Never Silenced. His Ideas Continue to Inspire Resistance Movements across the World
Gene Sharp is not a typical pacifist. "When I used to lecture, I would always get complaints from the pacifists," says the academic, who turns 85 this month. "They would say I wasn't pure. They said that what I was proposing was 'still conflict'."...
The NS Crossword by Anorak: Ring in the New
The clues are presented in alphabetical order of their solutions, which then have to be assigned to their correct places in the grid. However, when entering four of the solutions, their opening has to be adapted to read figuratively. A further solution...
Under the Influence
These days, pop music appears to exist in three distinct worlds: young people's, older people's and the soul revival--a genre remarkable because a) it won't go away and b) people download it for free and buy the CDs in just about equal measure. The...
We Must Fight the Voice That Says: Stay Home, Keep Your Legs Closed and Your Eyes Lowered
"It's always sad to see young women become victims of sexual offences," wrote Heather Keating, the head of Hastings Police, on her Twitter feed on the last day of 2012. "Don't Drink too much on New Years Eve [sic] and regret your actions!" There's...
Will Labour Dance to the Chancellor's Baseline?
One of the most potent weapons in the arsenal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is "the baseline". With the aid of a small army of civil servants, the governing party is able to outline its post-election spending plans in advance ("the baseline")...
Year of the Blockbuster
After 2012'S artstravaganza (was its official name the Cultural Olympiad or the Twenty Twelve parody? I was never sure), you might expect an art hangover in 2013, but there are bounteous riches to tempt you outside. At the end of January, the Royal...