Gaga, Rilke, what?

Ah Gaga: artist, philosopher, self-confessed icon of the modern age

A rare trip to Celebrity Land with news of Lady Gaga's new tattoo on the Huffington Post (how can we resist something so earth-shattering?).

First up, the tattoo is penned by Rilke (not literally). It reads:

In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?

"Yes you must, Gaga!" we cry. The world would be lost without your musings. Whatever you do, keep writing. It is our literary oxygen.

But back to the tattoo: too long perchance? (I imagine it stretching up her arm, across her face, down the other arm and then having to go really small to fit the rest on her hand.) Aren't tattoos supposed to be four words long (I love you Mum; Come on you Spurs; Oh god I'm drunk), not an essay? And Rilke? (Her favourite philosopher, of course.) Why not just have the complete works of Heidegger etched into your skin while you're at it? Or a helpful little glossary of philosophical terms. Or some of your own lyrics, for God's sake - the philosophy of "Just Dance" would trounce Rilke any day of the week:

I've had a little bit too much, much
All of the people start to rush, start to rush by
How does he twist the dance? Can't find a drink, oh man
Where are my keys? I lost my phone, phone

But Gaga's cultural references are many and various, her comparisons so modest. An early contender for quote of the week goes to this:

I believe in the power of iconography, which was something that Andy Warhol did, and it's repeating an image over and over again. So I rarely change the shape of my hair.

Oh sweet Lord.

 

 

 

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.