In this week's New Statesman

The trouble with Palin

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This week's issue looks at the most polarising figure in US politics today -- Sarah Palin. In the week that she joined Fox News as a political commentator, Andrew Stephen reports from Washington on her rise and on the right-wing Tea Party movement she has inspired. Elsewhere, Sarah Churchwell turns in a stinging review of Palin's memoir, Going Rogue, and concludes: "Palin is a fan of free speech -- unless the speech criticises her."

Back home, our political correspondent James Macintyre has an exclusive interview with the International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, who insists that despite press reports, he's still on good terms with Gordon Brown. But in a special diary for the NS Peter Watt stands by his claim that Alexander said of Brown: "We have always thought the longer the British public had to get to know him, the less they would like him as well."

Elsewhere, John Pilger heralds a new global movement challenging Israel over war crimes in Gaza; Isabel Hilton reports on rising tensions between India and China; and Gaby Hinsliff looks at the downfall of Iris Robinson, "an unlikely latter-day Helen of Troy".

In The Critics, Margaret Drabble explores Vincent Van Gogh's haunting letters; Ryan Gilbey is impressed by Hirokazu Kore-eda's Still Walking; and Will Self declares his love for Pizza Express.

UPDATE: Our cover has made it to the heady heights of the Daily Mail. Its foreign service reports: "Sarah Palin has been portrayed as the devil -- with lipstick as horns -- on the cover of a left-wing British magazine."

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Keir Starmer's Brexit diary: Why doesn't David Davis want to answer my questions?

The shadow Brexit secretary on the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers, the Prime Minister's speech and tracking down his opposite in government. 

My Brexit diary starts with a week of frustration and anticipation. 

Following the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers, I asked that David Davis come to Parliament on the first day back after recess to make a statement. My concern was not so much the fact of Ivan’s resignation, but the basis – his concern that the government still had not agreed negotiating terms and so the UKRep team in Brussels was under-prepared for the challenge ahead. Davis refused to account, and I was deprived of the opportunity to question him. 

However, concerns about the state of affairs described by Rogers did prompt the Prime Minister to promise a speech setting out more detail of her approach to Brexit. Good, we’ve had precious little so far! The speech is now scheduled for Tuesday. Whether she will deliver clarity and reassurance remains to be seen. 

The theme of the week was certainly the single market; the question being what the PM intends to give up on membership, as she hinted in her otherwise uninformative Sophy Ridge interview. If she does so in her speech on Tuesday, she needs to set out in detail what she sees the alternative being, that safeguards jobs and the economy. 

For my part, I’ve had the usual week of busy meetings in and out of Parliament, including an insightful roundtable with a large number of well-informed experts organised by my friend and neighbour Charles Grant, who directs the Centre for European Reform. I also travelled to Derby and Wakefield to speak to businesses, trade unions, and local representatives, as I have been doing across the country in the last 3 months. 

Meanwhile, no word yet on when the Supreme Court will give its judgement in the Article 50 case. What we do know is that when it happens things will begin to move very fast! 

More next week. 

Keir