Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3577 Set by Harry Cohen MP

We asked for verses supporting your candidature for the post of Millennium Poet. (Sadly, the poet was announced before your poems could be seen.)

Report by Ms de Meaner

Now, now. The instructions were to write something supporting your candidature for this highly sought-after post. Those who sent in pieces about the millennium were condemned out of hand. Those who sent in doggerel a la Pam Ayres got pretty short shrift. I liked John O'Byrne's title ("Ozymandelson"), although the poem underneath was a bit slight. Hon menshes to Will Bellenger, Mary Holtby, Eric Swainson, Gerard Benson, Ian Birchall, Chas F Garvey, Frank Dunnill and D A Prince. £15 to the winners. The bottle goes to Basil Ransome-Davies.

We have received a letter from a regular, Susan Therkelsen, who has noticed that the moment Tesco started sponsoring the comp, her branch in Weybridge, Surrey, stopped selling the New Statesman and started selling Another Magazine instead. Immediately she leapt into action, writing to the manager with her complaint. She received the following: "I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your suggestion - that we supply the New Statesman - to our buyer at Head Office. Your idea will be taken into consideration, along with any others we have received at our next review." Many thanks, Susan.

The elms of Surrey nobly stand

In England's royal, historic land.

ensign keep diadem

lanyard arctic roll throne

castle rod panoply

In April arrives

The real birthday, and in June

The official one.

(You want pentameters, and verse that rhymes?

No prob: a poet laureate serves the times.)

When the bastards get me down

with their great hairy knobs and

their farting

and their addictions to beer and football

I think of Xena

or the Queen Mother and

it heals me.

Of course a pinch of satire may contrive

Heroically to keep my wit alive

And, while I play the courtly public role,

Help save my proley, honest, northern soul.

Cattle in emerald fields

raise fibreglass horns in salute.

I and I not fraid fi work

give us da job, bitch

Basil Ransome-Davies

I see New Labour, New Britain. New Millennium.

New Deal. New Vision. New inclusiveness.

I foresee a new keeper for United next season.

I anticipate new series beginning in the autumn,

new websites, new channels, new news, newness eternal.

I imagine new ways to use a truffle, new recipes for polenta.

On the side, I read the New Statesman.

I accept the necessity for new rules for refugees and immigrants.

I wonder at the new, bigger bar, extra peanuts!

I await the new single by Geri Halliwell, she's lovely.

New to the neighbourhood? Get switched on

to new products, new leisure styles.

New traditions? I'm the first to revere them.

I admire our new non-regal monarchy, it's so new.

And the Dome? you can't get newer than that.

It's really new, so new it's yet to be,

like the new laureate.

G M Davis

I am the very model of a new millennial poetess;

I've written ladette limericks and poems praising coitus;

My lines in celebration of the Beckham-Posh Spice nuptials

Were printed in the Sunday Sport in stanzas of two syllables;

I've scribbled loads of facile odes on Internet pornography,

Colonic irrigation and my intimate geography,

On silicone implanting and the management of cellulite,

(The couplet on the chemistry of collagen was hell to write).

In Channel 5 productions of my racier material

To pass as underclass I feign an accent estuarial;

At readings of my poetry I set my Wonderbra alight,

(It gets a lot of coverage on Rupert Murdoch's satellite).

I've published trendy triolets in rhyming slang and gangsta-rap,

(My agent's sold translation rights for Urdu, Iroquois and Lapp);

I'm sponsored by Monsanto to endorse their GM soyabread;

My Limehouse loft has featured in a five-page Hello! photospread.

I'm currently employed composing jingles for the Femidom;

My verse on giving birth to octuplets appears on CD-Rom.

In short, in matters trivial, postmodern or gratuitous,

I am the very model of a new millennial poetess.

Nick MacKinnon

No 3580 Set by George Cowley

Comp winner David Silverman (pretending to be Ms de Meaner) wrote: "We have started to compile a Comper's Profile of most of you." We'd like a profile of a typical comper (not necessarily of anyone in particular, unless you feel inspired). Max 200 words and in by 27 May.


This article first appeared in the 17 May 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The NS Essay - A culture of pretence

Photo: Getty Images
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It's time for the government to think again about Hinkley Point

The government's new nuclear power station is a white elephant that we simply don't need.

Today I will welcome Denis Baupin, Vice President of the French Assembly, to Hinkley.

His own choice to come and visit the site of the proposed new nuclear power station reflects his strong desire to prevent the UK disappearing up a dangerous dark alley in terms of energy policy. It also takes place as France takes a totally different path, with the French government recently adopting a law which will reduce nuclear energy in the country.

Greens have opposed Hinkley ever since the government announced its nuclear strategy. Hinkley, with its state aid and an agreed strike price of £92.50 per megawatt, has always been financially and legally suspect but it is now reaching the level of farce. So much so that George Osborne is required to be economical with the truth in front of a House of Lords committee because he cannot find anything honest to say about why this is a good deal for the British people.

Mr Baupin and I will join hundreds of protestors – and a white elephant – to stand in solidarity against this terrible project. The demonstration is taking place under a banner of the triple risks of Hinkley. 

First, there are the safety and technological risks. It is clear that the Pressurised Water nuclear reactor (EPR) – the design proposed for Hinkley C – simply does not work. France’s nuclear safety watchdog has found multiple malfunctioning valves that could cause meltdown, in a similar scenario to the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US.  The steel reactor vessel, which houses the plant’s nuclear fuel and confines its radioactivity, was also found to have serious anomalies that increase the risk of it cracking. Apart from the obvious safety risks, the problems experienced by the EPR reactors being built at Flammanvile in France and Olkiluoto in Finland have pushed the projects years behind schedule.

Secondly, Hinkley poses risks to our energy security. Hinkley is supposed to produce 7% of the UK's energy. But we now know there will be no electricity from the new nuclear plant until at least 2023. This makes power blackouts over the next decade increasingly likely and the only way to avoid them is to rapidly invest in renewable energy, particularly onshore wind. Earlier this week Bloomberg produced a report showing that onshore wind is now the cheapest way to generate electricity in both the UK and Germany. But instead of supporting onshore wind this government is undermining it by attacking subsidies to renewables and destroying jobs in the sector. 

Thirdly, there is the risk of Chinese finance. In a globalised world we are expected to consider the option of allowing foreign companies and governments to control our essential infrastructure. But it is clear that in bequeathing our infrastructure we lose the political control that strengthens our security. The Chinese companies who will be part of the deal are part owned by the Chinese government and therefore controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. What a toppy-turvy world globalisation has created, where our Conservative British government is inviting the Chinese Communist party to control our energy infrastructure. It also seems that China National Nuclear Company is responsible for the manufacture of Chinese nuclear weapons.

Of course it is the Chinese people who suffer most, being at the hands of an oppressive government and uncontrolled companies which show little respect for employment rights or environmental standards. By offering money to such companies from British consumers through their energy bills our government is forcing us to collude in the low human rights and environmental standards seen in China.  

Research I commissioned earlier this year concluded we can transform the South West, not with nuclear, but with renewables. We can generate 100 per cent of our energy needs from renewables within the next 20-30 years and create 122,000 new quality jobs and boost the regional economy by over £4bn a year.

The white elephant of Hinkley looks increasingly shaky on its feet. Only the government’s deeply risky ideological crusade against renewables and in favour of nuclear keeps it standing. It’s time for it to fall and for communities in the South West to create in its place a renewable energy revolution, which will lead to our own Western Powerhouse. 

Molly Scott Cato is Green MEP for the southwest of England, elected in May 2014. She has published widely, particularly on issues related to green economics. Molly was formerly Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at the University of Roehampton.