New Statesman (106)

Everyone behaved like a total idiot in this week's Game of Thrones

Jon Snow: the bravest idiot of them all. This week marks the penultimate episode of the season of Game of Thrones – which usually means death, death and more death. Shock death, bloody death, mass death – you name it, a penultimate episode has brought it. And Beyond The Wall' brought what is ...

Despite his strong female leads', Joss Whedon's feminism was never about real women

Many men in TV and film praised for their powerful women are still writing with the male gaze. Kai Cole, the ex-wife of Joss Whedon, has written an essay alleging that the director isn't quite the feminist he appears to be. Colour me unsurprised. There's only so much good-guy posturing a feminist ...

Why are we so desperate to blame white supremacy on women?

Some people can't look at a neo-Nazi without condemning the woman who washes his socks for him.  Feminists have spent decades trying to get the value of women's unpaid labour recognised, to basically no avail. The trouble all along, it turns out, was the framing: instead of saying women deserved ...

Voters are turning against Brexit but the Lib Dems aren't benefiting

Labour's pro-Brexit stance is not preventing it from winning the support of Remainers. Will that change? More than a year after the UK voted for Brexit, there has been little sign of buyer's remorse. The public, including around a third of Remainers, are largely of the view that the government ...

Poo jokes and pessimism – the scatological legacy of British humour

Is it simply a testament to our good nature, or a sign of a darker kind of cynicism? Many Brits will have amused themselves this summer by packing a tent, stashing their narcotics and heading over to a muddy field in the middle of nowhere to brave the torrential rain at a music festival. Wallowing ...

It was like a religious ceremony': What happened at Big Ben's final bong?

Both inside and outside Parliament, people gathered to hear the clock's final midday chime before undergoing repairs. It's just hacks everywhere,' a photographer sighs, jamming his lens through a gap in Parliament's railings to try and get a closer look. New Palace Yard, Parliament's courtyard ...

Why Russia holds the key to resolving the North Korea crisis

China is propping up North Korea's economy, but it seems to get little influence in return. For more than half a century, China has seen North Korea as a dangerous irritant as much as an asset. It might be useful for keeping the United States off guard, and regarded as an essential buffer by the ...

A swimming pool and a bleeding toe put my medical competency in doubt

Doctors are used to contending with Google. Sometimes the search engine wins.  The brutal heatwave affecting southern Europe this summer has become known among locals as Lucifer'. Having just returned from Italy, I fully understand the nickname. An early excursion caused the beginnings of ...

How our actual real-life adult politicians are mourning Big Ben falling silent

MPs are holding a vigil for a big bell. Democracy in action in the Mother of Parliaments has always been a breathtaking spectacle, and today is no exception. For a group of our elected representatives, the lawmakers, the mouthpieces for the needy, vulnerable and voiceless among us, will be holding a ...

Brexit… Leg-sit

A new poem by Jo-Ella Sarich.  Forgot Brexit. An ostrich just walked into the room. Actually, forget ostriches too. Armadillos also have legs, and shoulder plates like a Kardashian.  Then I walked in, the other version of me, the one with legs like wilding pines, when all of them are the ...

The economic and moral case for global open borders

Few politicians are prepared to back a policy of free movement everywhere. Perhaps they should.  Across the world, borders are being closed, not opened. In the US, Donald Trump has vowed to halve immigration to 500,000 and to cap the number of refugees at 50,000. In the UK, the Conservative ...

Time to start fixing the broken safety net that no longer catches struggling families

We are failing to ensure we look after the children of families both in and out of work. Families on low incomes are once again bearing the brunt of a tough economic environment. Over the past decade, rising costs of items such as food, energy and childcare, combined with stagnating wages and cuts ...

Is Google Maps discriminating against people with disabilities?

Its walking routes are not access-friendly. I ended up having to be pushed through a main road in London, which was really scary.' Three weeks ago, Mary Bradley went to London to visit her daughter Belinda, who is just finishing her first year at university there. Her other daughter joined them on ...

The economic and moral case for global open borders

Few politicians are prepared to back a policy of free movement, everywhere. Perhaps they should.  Across the world, borders are being closed, not opened. In the US, Donald Trump has vowed to halve immigration to 500,000 and to cap the number of refugees at 50,000. In the UK, the Conservative ...

The internet dictionary: what is a Milkshake Duck?

Milkshake ducking is now more common than ever. The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! Oh, apologies. We regret to inform you that the duck is a racist. The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret ...

David Olusoga's look at a forgotten history shows there's always been black in the Union Jack

Black and British: A Forgotten History addresses on of the greatest silences in British historiography. Nineteen eighty-four was a transformative year for David Olusoga. Then a young teenager, he was driven out of his council home, together with his grandmother, mother, two sisters and younger ...

Peter Adey's wonderfully digressive book explores the science and history of levitation

From flying carpets to rocket men, we have always dreamed of defying gravity In the winding rooms of Rotterdam's Museum Boijmans, among DĂĽrer's eldritch owls and Man Ray's one-eyed metronome, is an extraordinary oil painting by the Haarlem artist Frans Post. Dated to 1648, it is notable not just ...

Scot of the South Seas: Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa

Story of author's time with his family in the island nation details a political awakening. A contemporary once saw Louis and Fanny Stevenson, with Fanny's son Lloyd, strolling barefoot along a Samoan beach. With their shawls and shells, floppy hats, pyjama suits and banjo, they could have been 1960s ...

The internet dictionary: what is a Milkshake Duck?

Milkshake ducking is now more common than ever. The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! Oh, apologies. We regret to inform you that the duck is a racist. This is the gist of a joke tweet that first went viral in June 2016. It parodies a common occurrence ...

The Lure of Greatness: Anthony Barnettt's punk polemic grasps the magnitude of Brexit and Trump

Despite its idiosyncrasies we need more books like it. If the early hours of 24 June and 9 November 2016 sit in your memory as times of racing thoughts and lurching anxiety, you will probably agree with the basic thesis of this book as a matter of instinct. Something irreversible has happened, which ...

"I teach dirty tricks": the explosives expert who shows armies how to deal with terrorists

Sidney Alford used to blow things up in his garage. Now his expertise is helping save lives. I'll fetch the hammer,' says Sidney Alford, leaving me in a laboratory filled with mysteriously named drawers and small bottles with skulls on their labels. When he has fetched it – it's a jeweller's ...

Ned Beauman's Madness Is Better Than Defeat brings jungle fever to a story of cinema

The author's lustrous and smart fourth novel never quite coalesces into purposeful significance. We were in the jungle… There were too many of us. We had access to too much money, too much equipment. And little by little, we went insane.' That's Francis Ford Coppola describing the filming of ...

Elmet leaves the metallic taste of blood in the mouth

Fiona Mozley's debut novel digs deep into the psycho-geology of Yorkshire.  In the autumn of 616 or 617 AD, one of the last remaining Celtic kingdoms of ancient Britain to withstand Anglo-Saxon settlement was conquered by its Northumbrian neighbours. Elmet, which covered what is now the West ...

The Earth moved: how we discovered ripples in space time

A new book charts the decades-long search to measure gravitational waves. Monday 14 September 2015 was no ordinary day. At exactly 09:50:45 Universal Time, for one-fifth of a second, the Earth was stretched and squeezed by a tenth of a quintillionth of one per cent. Everything on the planet expanded ...

Donald Trump was Steve Bannon's creation. What happens now he's gone?

Steve Bannon championed the "economic nationalism" agenda which drove Trump's election win and the early days of his presidency. Steve Bannon, perhaps more than any single person other than the man himself, is the reason Donald Trump is President of the United States. Bannon is a choleric figure who ...

What Charles Windsor's garden reveals about the future of the British monarchy

As an open-minded republican, two things struck me.  First we are told that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has lost his battle for a soft' Brexit. In a joint article, he and the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, the hardest of the ministerial Brexiteers, seem to agree that the UK will leave ...

White supremacists are embracing genetic testing - but they aren't always that keen on the results

Users of far-right site Stormfront are resorting to pseudo science and conspiracy theories when DNA tests show they aren't as "pure" as they hoped. The field of genomics and genetics have undergone almost exponential growth in recent years. Ventures like the Human Genome Project have enabled t ...

Why serving wine at room temperature is a myth

There is no such thing as room temperature: there are simply different rooms.  As a child, I loved Aesop's Fables – all except one. Like most children, I had an aggrieved sense of adults' perceived superiority, and enjoyed seeing them outwitted or outthought, in fiction at least, by fellow ...

"We are not going to change": Barcelona defies terror with a return to normality

After a attack which killed 14 and injured scores more, shock gives way to defiance and unity. A perfect summer afternoon in Barcelona suddenly turned into a nightmare on Thursday evening, a nightmare that has become far too common in Europe in recent years.  I was having a coffee here and was ...

The wildfire victims of forestry neglect - and the trees that saved them

Events in Portugal show how present mismanagement of the natural world reaches far beyond climate change, while also leaving communities more vulnerable to its effects. When guesthouse owner Liedewij Schieving first heard about the wildfire in nearby Pedrogado Grande, she wasn't overly concerned. We ...

Our union backed Brexit, but that doesn't mean scrapping freedom of movement

We can only improve the lives of our members, like those planning stike action at McDonalds, through solidarity. The campaign to defend and extend free movement – highlighted by the launch of the Labour Campaign for Free Movement this month – is being seen in some circles as a back door ...

Defining The Defenders: the long history of the superhero team-up

Netflix's new show draws on an established traditon of bringing together disparate characters. Today Marvel's The Defenders dropped worldwide. It's the culmination of Marvel Studios' interlinked series for Netflix, and all episodes will be available simultaneously as is the streaming services' ...

We need to talk about the online radicalisation of young, white women

Alt-right women are less visible than their tiki torch-carrying male counterparts - but they still exist.  In November 2016, the writer and TED speaker Siyanda Mohutsiwa tweeted a ground-breaking observation. When we talk about online radicalisation we always talk about Muslims. But the ...

Final Portrait sketches Alberto Giacometti in the winter of his life

Giacometti's life is glimpsed in revealing shards.  The last time Geoffrey Rush was cooped up on screen in a tatty grey room with a well-spoken man, the result was The King's Speech, not so much a film as a machine for winning Oscars. Final Portrait, in which Rush plays Alberto Giacometti during ...

We're racing towards another private debt crisis - so why did no one see it coming?

The Office for Budget Responsibility failed to foresee the rise in household debt.  This is a call for a public inquiry on the current situation regarding private debt. For almost a decade now, since 2007, we have been living a lie. And that lie is preparing to wreak havoc on our economy. If we do ...

Meet Anne Marie Waters - the Ukip politician too extreme for Nigel Farage

In January 2016, Waters launched Pegida UK with former EDL frontman Steven Yaxley-Lennon .  There are few people in British political life who can be attacked from the left by Nigel Farage. Yet that is where Anne Marie Waters has found herself. And by the end of September she could well be the new ...

Britain has built a national myth on winning the Second World War, but it's distorting our politics

The impending humiliation of Brexit is going to have a lot more in common with Suez. The Crown, Peter Morgan's epic drama covering the reign of Elizabeth II, ended its first series with a nemesis waiting just off-stage to shake up its court politics. In the final episode, Egyptian president Gamal ...

The love affairs of Stan Laurel: "If I had to do it over again things would be different"

A romantic who craved stability, the English comedian Stan Laurel led a Hollywood love life as chaotic as his films' plots The comedian Stan Laurel was, even by the standards of his time, a prodigious correspondent. The Stan Laurel Correspondence Archive Project contains more than 1,500 artefacts, ...

Barcelona van attack being treated as terrorism

The death toll has been raised from initial reports following the attack on Las Ramblas. At least 13 people are dead and 50 injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians on a busy shopping street in Barcelona. The white Fiat was deliberately targeting bystanders in the popular tourist area of Las ...

The UK must reflect on its own role in stoking tension over North Korea

World powers should follow the conciliatory approach of South Korea, not its tempestuous neighbour.  South Korea's president Moon Jae-in has done something which took enormous bravery. As US and North Korean leaders rattle their respective nuclear sabres at one another, Jae-in called for ...

Emmanuel Macron's power struggle with the military

Reminding your subordinates that you are "their boss" doesn't go as far as listening to their problems, it may seem. This is the sixth in a series looking at why Emmanuel Macron isn't the liberal hero he has been painted as. Each week, I examine an area of the new French president's politics that ...

Casting the Brexit movie that is definitely real and will totally happen

Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad Boys of Brexit will be gracing our screens, or just Farage's vivid imagination. Hollywood is planning to take on the farcical antics of Nigel Farage et al during the UK referendum, according to rumours .  Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad ...

Utopian tale of Milton Keynes weaves together social history and memoir

Meanwhile Bake Off squares up to the BBC's new Family Cooking Showdown. Central Milton Keynes: you've never seen anything like it, as the song on the Eighties promotional flexi-disc used to go. This is rubbish, of course. With its dreary shopping centres, boring-looking estates and endless ...

I was almost brainwashed by him': How male YouTubers get away with preying on young fans

A multitude of YouTube stars have been accused of taking advantage of young fans, but little is being done to tackle the problem. In June, a 24-year-old YouTuber named Austin Jones was charged with two counts of producing images of child abuse. Court documents allege that the internet personality ...

Songs of lust and melancholy on Rádio Amália

The Portuguese blues has soul but isn't sad. A summer Saturday night in Lisbon, and in a square in the old Graça district the local community listens to an evening of live fado – the Portuguese blues. Through the days, along the city's steep streets of distinctive small square limestone cobbles, ...

If tattoos could talk: Glen Campbell's life in music

The late singer made a trade of music, and made it look easy. There was a rudimentary tattoo on his left upper arm, which he'd given himself at the age of nine: a small cartoon dagger, scratched with a needle and filled with ink, 72 years ago, in the yard of the house he shared with 11 brothers ...

The trouble with a second Brexit referendum

A new vote risks coming too soon for Remainers. But there is an alternative.  In any given week, a senior political figure will call for a second Brexit referendum . It's not hard to see why. EU withdrawal risks proving an act of political and economic self-harm and Leave's victory was narrow . Had ...

Bertie Carvel's diary: What would the French think about infidelity to Doctor Foster?

The joy of debuting a new series, Rupert Murdoch's squeamishness and a sting in the tail. According to the adage, the first thing an actor does when he gets a job is to go on holiday. And so, having finished our sold-out run of James Graham's Ink at the Almeida and with the show about to transfer ...

The Brexit Beartraps, #2: Could dropping out of the open skies agreement cancel your holiday?

Flying to Europe is about to get a lot more difficult. So what is it this time, eh? Brexit is going to wipe out every banana planet on the entire planet? Brexit will get the Last Night of the Proms cancelled? Brexit will bring about World War Three? To be honest, I think we're pretty well covered ...

Charlottesville: a town haunted by the far right

Locals fear a bitter far right will return. On 12 August, a car ploughed down pedestrians in the street where I used to buy my pecan pies. I had recently returned to London from Charlottesville, Virginia – the scene of what appears to have been an act of white supremacist terrorism – having ...