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New Statesman

The street-sweeper winked mysteriously, and asked what I thought of his “plan”

I was standing in the courtyard of the Cheshire Cheese pub on Fleet Street at lunchtime, eating a chicken sandwich. A pigeon fluffed itself at my feet. Then a street- sweeper came my way, broom out, with a folded piece of paper in one hand.

“Excuse me,” he said. ...

today 13:44 open_in_new
The godfather of Brit noir: cult crime writer Ted Lewis is due a renaissance

When he died in 1982 at the age of 42, the novelist Ted Lewis had achieved some success in “that London” but now lived with his mother in his north Lincolnshire home town of Barton-upon-Humber. He did the rounds of the town’s pubs each night, occasionally playing piano, then tramping ...

today 12:41 open_in_new
Why Test cricket is a game in decline

People who still think that Labour’s 1983 election manifesto was the longest suicide note in history cannot have been at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Test match between England and Australia. In terms of competitive energy, the contest was stillborn – no fault of the players, ...

today 11:38 open_in_new
Inside the madhouse: why the American oligarchy won’t let Trump fail – yet

In one of many inimitable utterances that Michael Wolff reports, Donald Trump seems to come close to achieving what might almost be described as self-awareness:

Once, coming back on his plane with a millionaire friend who had brought along a foreign model, Trump, trying to move in on ...

today 09:32 open_in_new
I'll admit it – watching football on TV is much better than seeing it live

When I was a lad, during the war and the Fifties, there were no live games on TV, apart from the annual FA Cup final and the England-Scotland match. It helped, of course, if you had a TV, which we never did.

Oh, the hours I used to spend sitting in the dark listening to ...

yesterday 15:41 open_in_new
The contradictory and colourful life of the Rolling Stone editor, Jan Wenner

A long lead into press time can cause severe problems when events come thick and fast. The Rolling Stone issue dated 27 December 1969 had a front cover picture of Mick Jagger headlined: “The Stones’ Grand Finale”. The lead story inside – “Free Rolling Stones: It’s Going To ...

yesterday 11:29 open_in_new
Sadly, Colin Firth’s words on Woody Allen have a power that women’s don’t

“I wouldn’t work with him again.” With just six words, Colin Firth generated scores of headlines, as he responded to a Guardian journalist’s query about his views on director Woody Allen.

Allen has been accused of sexual assault by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. The first ...

yesterday 11:29 open_in_new
By drawing parallels to Nixon, The Post pays Trump a compliment he doesn’t deserve

No review of Steven Spielberg’s latest film, The Post, has failed to mention how well-timed it is. It tells the story of how the New York Times and the Washington Post published documents that revealed the US government’s dishonesty about the Vietnam War – and Richard Nixon’s attempts ...

yesterday 10:26 open_in_new
Too much power and cash lies with firms whose names emerge only when they fail

Hands up all those who, before the past week, had heard of Carillion, the company that has just gone into liquidation and, it turns out, was supplying 32,000 school meals daily, providing 11,500 hospital beds and playing a major role in constructing HS2 and Crossrail, to give just a few ...

yesterday 10:26 open_in_new
What can Brexit Britain learn from Winston Churchill?
As the popularity of Dunkirk and Darkest Hour show, we remain entranced by the story of Britain’s heroic resistance to Nazism and its wartime leader. What are the lessons to be learnt? And why must we keep looking back? ...
yesterday 09:23 open_in_new
Nick Boles' tweet spells danger for Theresa May

You don’t need to be an expert in Westminster’s inner workings to decode Nick Boles’ latest tweet:  There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May's Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister. #worboys #HousingCrisis #NHSfunding ...

2018-01-19 21:44 open_in_new
The Conservatives can't afford to look this ridiculous

Imagine for a moment the entry on Downing Street’s media grid for 19 January: our Foreign Secretary will kick things off by suggesting that we build a large and expensive bridge to France, while one of our CCHQ vice-chairs will say that young people are “puritanical” in their responses ...

2018-01-19 20:41 open_in_new
Stephen Pollard’s Diary: Tony Blair was as good as it could get for Labour

My days of Labour Party membership are long behind me. I realise that this will further ostracise me, but as far as I’m concerned, Tony Blair was as good as it could ever get (and that’s not intended as damning with faint praise).

The results from this week’s election to the ...

2018-01-19 19:38 open_in_new
What the reaction to Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy reveals about New Zealand

This week, New Zealand Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she was pregnant with her first child. She will be the first leader, in modern times, of a Western nation to give birth whilst in office. The reaction in New Zealand, and the coverage to come, tells us a lot about the ...

2018-01-19 19:38 open_in_new
On the menu in 2018? Plates piled high with worthiness and a side order of good intentions

If 2017 was the year we went into glittery, rainbow-striped denial about global events, taking comfort in unicorn toast, raindrop cakes and cloud eggs, then the menu for 2018 looks a lot like the culinary equivalent of a hair shirt. Having trawled through every trend forecast I could find, I ...

2018-01-19 18:35 open_in_new
New Statesman Live: Brexit, Corbyn and Trump – is this the start of a new political era?

On Wednesday, the New Statesman hosted an evening of debate and discussion to ask if the political turmoil of recent years - the collapse of the political centre, the frailty of the liberal consensus, the rise of challenger parties, Trump’s victory, Brexit and the Corbyn surge – mark a ...

2018-01-19 18:35 open_in_new
I’ve tried and failed to go veggie before. But this time it’s not about me

I remember the first time as if it were yesterday: in Dallas Chicken at the bottom of Franciscan Road in Tooting, south London, less than a mile from the house where I was raised, that hot, tender, salty meat crossed my lips and filled my teenage soul with a bellyful of satisfaction.


2018-01-19 17:32 open_in_new
Law over democracy: the left’s constitutional crossroads

The Labour tradition was once characterised by a stubborn attachment to the ancient constitution and democratic authority. But for much of the last half century, many on the left have been steadily losing faith in electoral politics, putting their trust instead in the promise of the law, ...

2018-01-19 16:29 open_in_new
Skeleton crew: the animation in Pixar’s latest offering, Coco, is scrupulous and ravishing

Not since Beetlejuice has the afterlife looked as lively as it does in Coco, a computer-animated Pixar adventure set in the fictional Mexican town of Santa Cecilia during the Día de los Muertos celebrations. Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old with a solitary dimple and eyes ...

2018-01-19 16:29 open_in_new
What is it with Boris Johnson and erecting enormous things made of concrete?

The problem with trying to demolish Boris Johnson’s proposal to build a bridge across the Channel is that it’s a sort of category error. It’s not really about improving the communications links between Britain and France. (As Stephen points out, if you wanted to do that, you’d keep the ...

2018-01-19 15:26 open_in_new
Emmanuel Macron confronts the UK with a hard truth: it is burning its bridges to Europe

Building bridges is not something the UK has excelled at in recent history. Theresa May's refusal to guarantee European citizens' rights, Boris Johnson's World War II comparisons and Philip Hammond's description of the EU as "the enemy" all squandered goodwill during the Brexit ...

2018-01-19 14:23 open_in_new