The Cold Web
16 June 2021
Leader: An avoidable delay
The rapid spread of the Delta variant was not an inevitability but the result of the government’s failure to control the UK’s borders.
Letter of the week: The trials of Dante
A selection of the best letters received from our readers this week. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your thoughts voiced in the New Statesman magazine.
Gareth Southgate has shown political leadership once again
The England manager understands the need for a patriotism that is generous and enhances national cohesion.
Boris Johnson’s failure to lift restrictions on 21 June has agitated his Tory critics
There is appetite in the cabinet for having difficult conversations with the country on Covid – but some MPs fear this hunger runs out at the top.
Douglas Kennedy’s Diary: The orchestra’s return, US abortion wars, and how to be a traveller in the time of Covid
Since last summer I have loitered with intent in Switzerland, Sicily and Greece. Am I a modern-day Typhoid Mary?
The Irish border question is unanswerable. The only viable option is to stop asking it
An issue as complex and sensitive as the Northern Ireland protocol won’t get fixed during a weekend in Cornwall.
The sunshine and smiles of the G7 summit masked deep divisions – and disappointments too
What came out of the talks was a cluster of middling commitments, rehashed versions of older ideas, unfunded aspirations and plans to make plans.
Surrogacy snaps the mother-baby bond in two – we should not celebrate it as progress
For defenders of the industry, it is the genetic link that matters, not the long months of pregnancy that transform a single cell into a legal person.
England’s players have won the nation over – on and off the pitch
After initially refusing to condemn the booing of players, this government appears to have realised that this is a team you cross at your peril.
Are new Covid variants more harmful to children?
The evidence suggests that the Delta and Gamma variants are more dangerous for everyone, including young people.
Commons Confidential: The unspecial relationship
Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster.
Peter Tatchell: “It’s important the left doesn’t resort to the methods of the right”
The human rights campaigner reflects on cancel culture and life as an activist.
First Thoughts: The Speaker’s wrath, the launch of GB News, and why we’re swearing more
Jess Phillips speaking openly about contracting HPV is admirable, but why is there stigma still attached to the virus?
Trapped in the Cold Web
How the US and Russia became entangled.
Martin Rees and Steven Pinker: Wagering on catastrophe
Four years ago these two eminent scientists bet on the likelihood of a man-made global biological disaster. Is it time to decide a winner?
By Martin Rees and Steven Pinker
Is the neoliberal era finally over?
As free-market globalisation recedes, countries from the US to the UK to China are embracing national capitalism.
What we can learn from Giuseppe Garibaldi
In the 19th century Garibaldi united a divided country. Today’s polarised politics could benefit from his pragmatic idealism.
Reviewed in Short: New books by Gillian Tett, Ruth Scurr, Edward White and Sjón
Anthro-Vision by Tett, Napoleon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows by Scurr, The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock by White and Red Milk by Sjón,
Gordon Brown’s convincing and clear-sighted vision for the future
In his new book Seven Ways to Change the World, the former prime minister achieves a fluency in prose that he rarely managed in office.
How politics lost touch with everyday life
Two new books argue politics is too often arrogantly distant from the things that really matter.
How Joni Mitchell’s Blue became pop music’s ultimate expression of loving and leaving
Fifty years on, the record still feels like a puff of air between your ribs.
Covid and the rise of the non-place
The pandemic has destroyed countless community and public assets, but the power of local identity remains vital to our recovery.
John Vanderlyn’s art of the New World
Why the artist was hailed by Aaron Burr as “the first painter that now is or ever has been in America”.
Ben Wheatley’s In the Earth is a trippy eco-horror
A well-meaning scientist with an interest in mushrooms travels to a remote ecological centre in the aftermath of an unspecified, disastrous plague.
By Philippa Snow
BBC Two’s Together is cheap and obvious pandemic piggybacking
In this tedious and excruciating film, Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy play a warring couple trapped together in lockdown.
BBC Radio 4’s Song of the Reed is a thoughtful drama about the natural world
Recorded on location at the RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, the programme is peppered with birdsong and the buzz of grasshoppers, giving it a lively, absorbing feel.
I find much Prosecco uninspiring, but English Col Fondo is something else entirely
Tillingham’s has the pleasant sourness of grapefruit, Little Waddon gushes pear juice, and if the Black Mountain was too funky for me, supporters of natural wine will love it.
A steep hill, a bellyful of Chinese and wine, and a pair of posh shoes… disaster beckons
A sprightly step and a fairly steep downhill slope, and what do you get? A fall.
In my newly wildlife-friendly garden, damselflies mate to a soundtrack of London traffic
There are more bees in the garden than I have ever seen before, more butterflies, more moths, more everything.
This England: Disappointing divas
This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s Richard II, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934.
NHS 111 is a political project – and proof providing healthcare on the cheap only makes matters worse
Why the round-the-clock helpline is a false economy.
Subscriber of the week: Annemarie Fugger
Email email@example.com if you would like to be the New Statesman’s Subscriber of the Week.
David Diop Q&A: “I don’t have a theme tune. I like songs to take me away from me”
The French novelist reflects on the work of Nelson Mandela, being painted by Chagall and 18th century French literature.
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