My apologies to Stanley Johnson

Fears I may have offended Pater Johnson, reports from inside China and Burma plus what's going on in

I fear I may have offended the amiable Stanley Johnson - father of London's new mayor. Stanley - a one-time Tory MEP and their enthusiastic if unsuccessful candidate for Teignbridge at the last general election - has expressed a desire to succeed his Bozza as MP for the über-safe Tory seat of Henley.

The news prompted me to fire off a rather cheeky email to Pa Johnson who occasionally contributes to newstatesman.com.

It read: "So Stanley, what's the plan? You going to run in Henley and if so how will you still rumours that you are merely keeping Boris's seat warm?"

Back came a very prompt reply:

"Hello, Ben,

If you look at Wisden you will see that there are plenty of night-watchmen who have gone on to score a century!

all best

Stanley"

And although I never want a Tory to win, I do hope they give him a chance because - let's face it - if Henley insists on voting Conservative (AND when things are going so badly for Lexus Dave, Oik and the crew!) we might as well have someone with a bit of wit and colour about them up the road in Westminster!

The lovable Kate Hoey and charismatic Frank Field excepted of course.

So apologies Stanley - no offence meant.

Anyway moving on.

Lindsey Hilsum - our woman in China - is going to be filing from Sichuan and the absolutely devastating earthquake which has taken the lives of thousands.

We're also getting regular reports from inside Burma and some of the few Western aid workers operating in the cyclone-hit country. We've already heard from Save The Children child protection advisor Katy Barnett. You can donate and find out more about Save the Children's work in Burma by clicking on their website or give by going to the Disaster Emergencies Committee.

More from Katy later.

We're also going to hear from Victor Hulbert, of the Adventist Development Relief Agency.

Other than that, this week we've had an article from India about the mistreatment of India's hajiras – the 200,000 or so male to female transsexuals who often are subject to appalling harassment.

Deepa, a 72 year old hijra living in Mumbai, said: “Nobody says, 'I’d love to be a hijra!' Not if they know what happens to us. But what else can we do? A hijra has a man’s body, but the soul is a woman.” In order to scratch a living many hijras end up in prostitution. Others perform as wedding dancers and, in one region, as tax collectors. Check out this extraordinary story and find out how things may be changing for these people.

Bryan Gould, ex-Labour leadership hopeful, writes on what Gordon Brown must do if he is wants to win the next election.

In blogs we've got Sian Berry already thinking of her next campaign, Scotland's foremost writer AL Kennedy, plus Paul Rodger's Science Decoded and much more.

Ben Davies trained as a journalist after taking most of the 1990s off. Prior to joining the New Statesman he spent five years working as a politics reporter for the BBC News website. He lives in North London.
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Work with us: Wellcome Scholarship at the New Statesman

Be one of our 2016 science interns.

Britain needs more great science writers – particularly from backgrounds which have been traditionally under-represented in the media.

To address this, the New Statesman and Wellcome Trust, in partnership with Creative Access, have come together to offer annual placements to student or graduates from an ethnic minority background*.

The final 2016 placement will take place this Autumn/Winter (the exact date is flexible) and will last for four weeks.

Over the course of the placement, the successful applicants will:

  • Work alongside the New Statesman web and magazine team, learning about the editorial and production process, and how articles are conceived, written, edited and laid out;
  • Undertake a data-driven journalism research project on a scientific topic, which will be published on the New Statesman website
  • Visit Parliament and learn about how science-based legislation is developed and debated in the select committee system
  • Have an opportunity to interview a leading scientist or policy-maker
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  • Receive regular feedback and editing from the editorial team
  • Meet journalists at other titles in the sector (previous Wellcome Scholars have met writers for the Atlantic, and presenters for the BBC)

Over the course of the placement, you will be paid London living wage.

To apply for the placement, follow the steps below and apply direct to the New Statesman. 

Please write an 800-word blogpost on a recent or upcoming scientific development which you feel has the potential to change lives significantly, explaining clearly and concisely what stage the research is at, and how it is likely to proceed. It should be written as if for the NS audience - interested, intelligent laypeople.

Please also write up to 200 words on why you are right for this placement and what you would hope to get out of it. You don't need to send a CV.

Please only use Word files, or paste your text into the body of an email. 

Send your application by email to Helen Lewis (Helen @ newstatesman co uk) with the subject line “Wellcome Scholarship 2016”. 

Applications close on 30 September 2016. Interviews will take place soon after.

This is a positive action scheme under the Race Relations Act.