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In this week’s New Statesman: The Pope on trial

Exclusive Mark Thompson interview | John Pilger: myth and reality | Caroline Lucas: Labour’s clones.

Pope

With just two weeks to go until the first papal visit to the UK since 1982, this week's New Statesman looks at the unending controversy surrounding Pope Benedict XVI. In our lead essay, the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson attacks the Catholic Church's claim to statehood and its protection of padeophile priests under canon law.

Also this week, in his first major interview since giving the MacTaggart Lecture, the head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, talks to James Macintyre about the corporation's past "left-wing bias", the Murdoch family and the need for budget cuts.

Elsewhere, John Pilger says the US withdrawal from Iraq is a poor disguise for America's determination to keep waging war, Tim Montgomerie says the coalition will drift leftwards unless the right organises, and the Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, argues that the Labour leadership candidates have failed to move beyond tribalism.

Also don't miss Francis Beckett's fascinating profile of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, the former Met head Ian Blair on the coalition's failure to tackle racism, and Will Self on the noble Aberdeen Angus Steak House.