Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 17 May 13:00

Why were Margaret McDonagh, the Labour Party general secretary, Ken Jackson, general secretary of the engineering union AUEW, and the party's chief fixer, Frazer Kemp MP, discreetly at table together in the members' dining room at Westminster four days after the elections in Scotland and Wales?

Counsellors have taught us to avoid sadness at all costs. But sometimes it's right to feel unhappy
By Cristina Odone - 17 May 13:00

In the left-hand corner, the pain-relief junkie, addicted to psychiatrists, painkillers and Prozac; in the right, the stoic with his stiff upper lip. Which camp do you belong to? If you're under 50 and raised in this country, probably the former.

The NS Profile - The British-American project
By Duncan Parrish - 17 May 13:00

Right-wing conspiracy or right-on broker of the special relationship?

Revealed: the amazing Nato plan, tabled at Rambouillet, to occupy Yugoslavia
By John Pilger - 17 May 13:00

The justification for Nato's attack on Serbia, now the outright terror bombing of civilians, was the Serbs' rejection of the "peace accords" drafted at Rambouillet in France in February.

My inability to solve dinner-party riddles is, it turns out, a sign of a predilection for fascism
By Laurie Taylor - 17 May 13:00

Could I ask a small favour? Even if you only intended to check out the general subject of this column before getting back to something more important, like shredding cabbage, would you be so good as to keep your eyes on the words in front of you and not let them wander aimlessly down the page?

Great men: Mao, Lenin, Malcolm X - but not Mandela
By Darcus Howe - 17 May 13:00

Nelson Mandela is finally saying goodbye to the world of politics. In a ticker-tape parade through Johannesburg, he accepted the plaudits of his people and refused any future role in public life.

Ever wondered why you never see billiards on TV? It's all Brian Walden's fault
By Sean French - 17 May 13:00

I won't be taking up BSkyB's offer of a "free digital dish and decoder box". If ever I get short of something to watch on TV, there's always the TV version of Peter Hall's production of The Oresteia which I taped in 1983 - unless the tape has decayed or been eaten by rats.

The Kosovars don't need Tony Blair's counselling or Cherie's tears, they need somewhere to live
By Suzanne Moore - 10 May 13:00

Margaret Thatcher went to war in a tank, Tony Blair goes to war in an open-necked shirt and black jeans. The Iron Lady's memorable photo opportunity came when she donned headscarf and goggles and sailed past, a tanked-up Britannia. When Blair went to Washington in a hawkish mode he wore a suit.

Have I found a new maturity in my later years? No, I'm just turning into my father
By Laurie Taylor - 10 May 13:00

Ever since I mixed up Antonioni and Fellini at Dave Spier's 40th birthday bash I've had to watch myself whenever the conversation turns to film. Somehow I never seem to have the same philosophical purchase on auteur theory as I do on early Marx or middle-period Foucault.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 10 May 13:00

New Labour's successes in Scotland and Wales mask a growing panic among MPs in marginal seats.

He believed that, to get on in life, you just needed to work fairly hard and be a nice guy. The bastard
By Sean French - 10 May 13:00

The one I feel sorry for is Mr Flett. Eric, his name seems to be. You know the story, do you? Kathryn Flett is a feature writer on the Observer. A few years ago her husband of just 17 months abruptly told her he was leaving. Well, that's men for you.

Once, my children, a black did not dare to walk alone
By Darcus Howe - 10 May 13:00

Brixton has been transformed, since last month's nail bomb explosion, into a political circus.

In contrast to sex, gardening offers us sensuality without messy embroilment or traumatic confrontation
By Cristina Odone - 10 May 13:00

A green thumb is sexier than a tongue stud; a flourishing allotment more coveted than a Notting Hill address. Garden centres have sprouted up and down the country; gardening shows proliferate on the box.

Like Nato, the Commonwealth is 50, but new Labour wonks should not expect it to strut across the world stage
By Cristina Odone - 03 May 13:00

It was just what you'd expect of a middle-aged birthday celebration: a modest, slightly self-conscious affair, with all the excitement of a bottle of plonk and a few stale crackers with cheese spread.

In Baghdad, the babies are dying: there's no anaesthetic, no antibiotics, no clean water, and sometimes no breast milk
By John Pilger - 03 May 13:00

On 26 March the New Statesman published a letter by Derek Fatchett, the Foreign Office minister, objecting to my suggestion that the enforced suffering of the people of Iraq by the US and British governments was a crime comparable with those of General Pinochet or General Suharto or Hen

Late score from the Caribbean: People 3, Rulers 0
By Darcus Howe - 03 May 13:00

The Caribbean masses are stirring. The peoples of these tiny island states have long followed a pattern of rebellious behaviour. One island explodes and then the others follow in a train of revolt. Thus was modern democracy established in the Caribbean in the 1930s.

What does the British Museum plan to do with all those severed penises?
By Laurie Taylor - 03 May 13:00

I suspected the conversation was spinning out of control when Geoff started on about Victorian penises. Until then I'd been rather satisfied with the first meeting of Paradox, our new conversation club.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 03 May 13:00

William Hague is thinking about who to sack. Tory insiders say he will reshuffle his shadow cabinet after the May elections if results are "good" (in other words, anything better than a total disaster), or in June, after the European elections.

How can a tone-deaf man going mad in a junkyard be superior to the early Tom Waits?
By Sean French - 03 May 13:00

I went to see Elvis Costello at the Albert Hall with an old friend whom I first met at university. The first time we went to see Costello together was in 1979. Has any pop performer ever been more resistant to routine? More eager to develop musically?

The NS Profile - Yevgeny Primakov
By George Lucas - 26 April 13:00

The secretive, unscrupulous and popular prime minister who has his eye on Yeltsin's crown

All great authors are charlatans; it goes with the job of being a writer
By Sean French - 26 April 13:00

Both Nicholas Shakespeare's biography of Bruce Chatwin and the television documentary he made to accompany it mention Chatwin's secrecy about the Aids that was killing him.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 26 April 13:00

Much entertainment at Westminster over DonaId Macintyre's new biography of Peter Mandelson. The big revelation is about how Mandy swept out of a pre-election meeting at Millbank after disagreeing with Tony Blair over an abstruse point of policy that nobody can now remember.

Tony Blair is one of life's cardinals: stand by for his emergence as our new Lord Protector
By Cristina Odone - 26 April 13:00

Get ready for a new Protectorate. We may not be subjected to Oliver Cromwell's roundhead puritanism again - no black cloaks or cone-shaped hats, no kill-joy sermons about the decadence of music and the bawdiness of dance.

As my child ran to the shops, a bomb exploded
By Darcus Howe - 26 April 13:00

Get off at Brixton Underground station on a Saturday afternoon, as I have done thousands of times in the past 25 years. As you climb the stairs you will see, at the top, Magic, a rasta man, plying joss sticks, as if they were coming out of his ears.

Friendships? Ah, they're just a 20th-century concept; we must now make do with unbonded friends
By Suzanne Moore - 26 April 13:00

Some years ago when a friend of mine was involved in producing a British version of Wired magazine, he took me out to dinner with some of the cutting-edge Americans involved. God knows why - I think I had only just graduated from an Amstrad.

Were Mike's theories on suburban alienation any help as he reached into the toilet bowl?
By Laurie Taylor - 26 April 13:00

It was flattering to be asked up to Birmingham to address a staff-graduate seminar, but even as I licked the stamp I was beginning to have serious reservations.

The British don't want to be thought conspicuously rich: that's why they steer clear of donations to good causes
By Cristina Odone - 19 April 13:00

Step right up and come this way please. Here is John Prescott, who will give you a guided tour of No 10 and rent you - at £3,000 a night - the Tony and Cherie suite. Think of it! You can live a life in the day of the People's Prime Minister, feel the hand of history upon your shoulder . . .

Journalists are not giving us the real story: the greatest expansion of US military influence since 1945
By John Pilger - 19 April 13:00

At the height of the first world war the prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided to C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: "If people knew the truth, the war would be stopped tomorrow.

My vindaloo martini wasn't quite the hit I'd been counting on
By Laurie Taylor - 19 April 13:00

I am, of course, an obsessive reader of this journal.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 19 April 13:00

Fresh report from the battle front. No, not Kosovo, but the really nasty little war among the Liberal Democrats. Paddy Ashdown has let it be known that he will lay a kingly hand on the shoulder of the would-be MP he wishes to inherit his Yeovil seat.

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