In this week’s cover story, we look ahead to 2012. David Cameron’s hardline on Europe has pleased the public and his troublesome backbenchers, but it also exposes a potentially fatal weakness in his leadership, says Rafael Behr. Can Ed Miliband, on the sidelines, seize the moment? Meanwhile, Mehdi Hasan warns that there is scant hope of an economic revival in the year to come.
The magazine also contains a special package marking the life and death of Christopher Hitchens, the journalist and thinker. Jason Cowley, the NS editor, lauds Hitchens as “the enemy of the totalitarian”, while George Eaton sheds light upon the writer’s early days at the New Statesman, where he started his career in earnest. We also delve back into the archives for some vintage Hitchens writing, including his first long commission, written in the wake of the overthrow of the Greek junta in 1973, and his verdict on Gaddafi’s Libya in 1976.
Elsewhere, the novelist William Boyd has contributed a new short story, “The Green Park”. We also print the winning entries of the Webb Essay competition, which asked how poverty should be measured in the UK, while in the NS Interview, economist Muhammad Yunus discusses his Nobel prize, and greed in the west. In his column, John Pilger argues that India is on the verge of revolt.
The NS also visits four European cities, in a winter travel special. Michael Hodges walks across the Bosphorous in Istanbul. In Berlin, Jon Bernstein finds a city trying to leave everything unhidden. George Eaton visits Belgrade, a war-scarred place ready for the quiet life, and Samira Shackle is revived by the clear blue water and festive sparkle of Stockholm.