7 Days

Trickle, not drip Stephen Byers, Peter Mandelson's replacement at Trade and Industry, reassured City folk against a "drip drip" of measures acting to stifle enterprise. The Employment Relations Bill would be the "final word" on employment legislation until after the next election, and he echoed familiar trickle-down economics in acknowledging that "wealth creation is now more important than wealth distribution". Is this enough to pre-empt a brain drain?

Guerrillas in the mist The Today programme was quick to reprimand a Serbian government spokesman Miodrag Popovic for drawing a comparison between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the IRA, explaining to him that "the big difference here is that the British government doesn't go into Northern Ireland and butcher people". The anniversary of Bloody Sunday was observed on 30 January.

Packet racket Responses to the public-sector pay review announced on Monday were mixed. A 12 per cent rise for 27,000 newly qualified nurses was acknowledged to address the recruitment crisis, but not the difficulty of retaining 270,000 more experienced staff. Some teachers, meanwhile, suspected that school headteachers' mouths were being "stuffed with gold" in advance of proposals to introduce performance-related pay.

Ninth life Glenn Hoddle's unorthodox faith finally provided the means of crucifixion sought by inquisitors since his unpopular shepherding of the England World Cup squad last year. The outcry over one article of said faith, that the disabled are paying for sins in previous lives, demonstrated that freedom of conscience is no match for minority rights.

Gene genies Species-hopping viruses caused concern for Lord Habgood, who is assessing a proposal to license the first transplantation of pig organs into humans. Legislation was announced to tackle the sale of genetically modified foods without explicit labelling. Transgenic news included the discovery of the primate ancestor of human HIV in healthy chimps, which raised hopes for a breakthrough in Aids research.

Adieu, Germinal Mick McGahey, staunch trade unionist, miner's representative and Communist Party stalwart, died of emphysema, aged 73. Despite his distinctly old Labour credentials, his passing was noted with regret by all, from Tony Blair to Alex Salmond. The PM saluted Scargill's lieutenant as a man of "principle and toughness of mind".

This article first appeared in the 05 February 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Essay - Think, think and think again