Editor's Letter

From Pinochet to Saddam, from Brezhnev to Marcos, our recent history has been studded with dictators of varying degrees of evil. In this week's magazine we identify the current era's top 10. The idea isn't to rank them per se, but to list them according to category. So look out for a number of surprises, and tell us who would have been in your list.

That's the main feature this week, in another of our successful special reports, but we have a packed array of other goods on show. Next up is Charles Clarke, he of former Home Secretary fame, who writes a very considered but piercing piece about the failure of leadership in the Labour government. He doesn't name names, but we all know who he means. As the political season gets off the ground, this marks the start of what I trust will be comprehensive and provocative coverage of the unpredictable British scene. We also have John Pilger this week on people power, JG Ballard's diary on working class tribes, while our very own Martin Bright and Kevin Maguire's Village Life are back with a vengeance. Look out also for Rory Bremner (what do Gordon Brown and Osama Bin Laden have in common? Find out by reading his column), while Alice O'Keeffe talks to Cuba's leading ballet diva and Yasmin Alibhai Brown travels around Andalucia to marvel at Islamic heritage. Oh, and, Hunter Davies is back from his post-World Cup break, and, as he points out, the beautiful game, it ain't...

A big autumn ahead at the NS, including a website revamp ... Enjoy.