News and views about writing, eating, gaming and watching


A halo. Photo: Getty
The echo chamber of social media is luring the left into cosy delusion and dangerous insularity
By Helen Lewis - 22 July 13:04

News on Facebook travels through “Likes” and shares, and people won’t Like a crackdown on benefits, even if they secretly support it.

Rihanna's BBHMM shows sexualised violence against women. Photo: BBHMM screenshot
Let's talk about Rihanna's video
By Helen Lewis - 03 July 11:18

Spoiler alert: the sexualised torture of a rich white woman is still sexualised violence against women.

Dylan Roof appears in court via video link in North Carolina. But why is he not called a "terrorist"? Photo: Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images
When is a terrorist not a terrorist? When he’s a white man with a gun
By Helen Lewis - 02 July 14:12

Dylan Roof, Anders Breivik - these men aren't called "terrorists" because we're not allowed to fear white supremacy or male violence.

Nick Clegg looks sad during the election campaign. Photo: Getty
Do you miss the Lib Dems yet? Don't worry, you will
By Helen Lewis - 13 May 13:10

Those who voted simply for more of the same are unlikely to get it, as the new Conservative-only Cabinet tacks sharply to the right. 

Drawing of Nigel Farage by André Carrilho
An A-Z of the election campaign
By Helen Lewis - 07 May 8:50

From screaming hen parties to a trout called Nibbles, the most wonderful and weird moments of the past six weeks.

A river view of Worcester. Photo: JAMES HUGHES / ALAMY
Election 2015: Worcester Woman isn't angry – and that should worry Labour
By Helen Lewis - 30 April 11:52

Worcester is a true red/blue marginal – but as people's lives improve, Labour's core vote is fragmenting.

A baby boy is held by a midwife after being born in an NHS maternity unit in Manchester. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty
The battle for better maternity care shows the limits of the Amazon warehouse approach to medicine
By Helen Lewis - 27 April 12:23

The issues around maternity care are a microcosm of the bigger battles in the NHS – centralisation, protocols and “efficiency savings” v making a space for common sense, professional judgement and personal relationships.

Mhairi Black takes on Douglas Alexander. Illustration by Andy Watt
The battle for Paisley: will 20-year-old Mhairi Black defeat Labour’s chief election strategist?
By Helen Lewis - 10 April 10:01

Douglas Alexander, shadow foreign secretary and Labour’s election strategy, is fighting to hold on to his seat against Mhairi Black. 

Students graduate at Liverpool's John Moore university. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Life is full of people with bad ideas and awful opinions. Try to meet as many at university as you can
By Helen Lewis - 02 April 14:13

Universities should be havens of free speech. After all: where else can you find out what the Other Buggers Are Thinking?

Tony Blair. Photo: Sang Tan - WPA Pool/Getty Images
When Labour comes to terms with embarrassing Uncle Tony, it can finally start to defend its record
By Helen Lewis - 26 March 16:53

Blair's most memorable legacy, the Iraq war, has Labour MPs distancing themselves from their own time in power. But there's a lot more to the post-1997 years - and some of it's pretty good.

Drag is creative and subversive. Photo: Getty
The NUS bans drag as fancy dress - except it doesn't
By Helen Lewis - 25 March 10:25

The National Union of Students wants zero tolerance for students who cross-dress for "shock value". But cross-dressing is subversive and liberating - even when rugby players do it.

A protest over police practices in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo: Getty
The digital ducking stool
By Helen Lewis - 11 March 12:57

As Jon Ronson's new book shows, public shaming is cruel, random and effective - and it flourishes when we have lost trust in the system.

The state opening of Parliament. Photo: Getty
Maybe we don't need to move Parliament to Hull. But we do need to overhaul its alienating traditions
By Helen Lewis - 05 March 12:28

Woven into the very fabric of Westminster are assumptions about who the building – and, by extension, our democracy – is intended to serve. The lack of convenient disabled access and the shortage of ladies’ loos in the old palace are daily reminders that parliament wasn’t built with those groups in mind.

Fast lives: Galliano (left), Mcqueen and friends. Photo: Rex images
The dark side of fashion: on the lives of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano
By Helen Lewis - 26 February 11:37

With the genius of fashion increasingly subsumed by the demands of mass commerce, it's hard not to implicate the industry in Galliano and McQueen's fates.

Iain Duncan Smith. Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Welfare reform: proof that you can get away with failure if it's boring and it doesn't affect People Like Us
By Helen Lewis - 18 February 11:47

Don't believe the hype about the rollout of universal credit and how the Tories are finally "making work pay" - Iain Duncan Smith has presided over perhaps the failure of this parliament.

In the frame: David Cameron. Montage: New Statesman/Getty Images
What the Leonardo and the loo paper can teach us about modern politics
By Helen Lewis - 12 February 12:12

In painting and parliament, the best frames make themselves invisible.

Ed Miliband being patronised by Harriet Harman's pink sign. Photo: Getty
Beyond the pink bus: why we still need to talk about "women's issues"
By Helen Lewis - 11 February 12:59

The Labour women's campaign launch has been obscured by criticism of their pink bus. But ask yourself: would you rather be mildly patronised - or totally ignored?

A goldfish in a bag. Photo: Getty
Memo to the right: if Labour is as rubbish as you say, why aren’t the Tories streets ahead?
By Helen Lewis - 04 February 10:26

Kicking Red Ed is reassuring, like group therapy. Meanwhile, the Tories have gained no significant blocks of support since 2010. In the glee over Labour's troubles, the right are ignoring the bleak future of the Conservative party.

David Blunkett's guide dog Sadie at Labour conference. Photo: Getty
How can we make parliament more representative when we've scrapped the fund for disabled MPs?
By Helen Lewis - 23 January 11:39

For the last few years, aspiring MPs and councillors who have a disability have been able to get help from the Access to Elected Office fund. But it's being closed in March. 

Alex Garland with Alicia Vikander on the set of Ex Machina. Photo: Universal
Alex Garland’s Ex Machina: can a film about an attractive robot be feminist science fiction?
By Helen Lewis - 22 January 7:16

In Ex Machina, Alex Garland – writer of The Beach and 28 Days Later  suggests that the brave new dawn of artificial intelligence will not kill off our crappy old gender dynamics. Helen Lewis meets him.

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for AACTA
From a black James Bond to a female Sherlock, diverse casting isn’t PC gone mad – it makes stories better
By Helen Lewis - 15 January 10:39

There was a bit more to Agincourt than a dozen Rada graduates standing around between two curtains.

Sound and Fury: A civil correspondence about online rage
By Helen Lewis - 12 January 12:12

Keith Kahn-Harris, editor of the Jewish Quarterly, and Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman, discuss the anger that permeates the online world and how, as editors, they respond to it.

Ched Evans during his time at Sheffield United. Photo: Getty
If Ched Evans gets a second chance, his victim should have one too
By Helen Lewis - 07 January 10:43

As the footballer Ched Evans tries to sign for a new club, the woman he raped has had to move house five times. When will she have the chance of a normal life again?

Shark and santa.
Merry Christmas to all our readers (and some nerdy news and stats about this website)
By Helen Lewis - 23 December 12:32

In the year the NS launched two new sites, and hired several new faces, here's what else has been happening behind the scenes at NS towers.

Helen Lewis: Wonder Woman’s complex, contradictory origin story
By Helen Lewis - 22 December 15:57

Wonder Woman is riddled with contradictions: sexless, yet sexy; strong, yet vulnerable; a feminist hero created by a man.

A sign at the entrance to the Yarl’s Wood detention centre. Photo: Aliya Mirza/Women for Refugee Women
Helen Lewis on Yarl’s Wood: we are detaining people indefinitely who have committed no crime
By Helen Lewis - 19 December 15:58

There are 13 immigration detention centres in Britain but only the name of Yarl’s Wood really resonates – it’s where nearly 400 stateless, powerless women – the majority of whom say they are previous victims of sexual violence – are held.

Candy Crush. Photo: Getty
Pity the MP caught playing Candy Crush in a committee - he's only doing what evolution demands
By Helen Lewis - 10 December 14:47

My contention is this: Nigel Mills was unlucky - the frivolousness of the way he chose to divert himself was not sufficiently disguised. The rest of us just zone out by checking our emails.

Anonymous activists meet in Brisbane wearing signature Guy Fawkes masks, 14 November. Photo: Getty
The limits of hacker activism: if you really want to change the world, you need not to be Anonymous
By Helen Lewis - 04 December 10:00

Activism is utterly impossible if you have no way of keeping track of your fellow activists and of forming even weak ties with them.

Face-off: detail of Self-Portrait (2014) by Derren Brown
Derren Brown’s tricks of the eye
By Helen Lewis - 04 December 10:00

Helen Lewis meets the illusionist and secret portrait painter. 

Five killer whales performing at “Marineland” in Antibes, southern France in 2008. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty
What hubris makes us think we can imprison a 22ft killing machine?
By Helen Lewis - 26 November 12:20

Be careful if you watch Blackfish, a 2013 documentary that tells the story of orcas in captivity, framed around the experiences of a 33-year-old male called Tilikum. By the end, you’ll want to stop people in the street to warn them not to visit marine amusement parks.