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ISSUE 135 JUNE 2007
Contributors to this issue
JULIAN BAGGINI is the author of Welcome to Everytown (Granta Books)
PHILIP BALL is a science writer and the author of The Devil’s Doctor (Arrow)
DEREK BROWER is a journalist who covers oil, gas and energy politics
LESLEY CHAMBERLAIN is the author of Nietzsche in Turin (Quartet)
NICHOLAS CLEE is a former editor of the Bookseller
PAUL COLLIER is sub-warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford University
MARK COUSINS is the author of The Story of Film (Pavilion Books)
JASON COWLEY is a senior editor at the Observer
WILLIAM DAVIES is a sociologist and policy analyst
ROBERT DRUMMOND is a psychiatrist
PETINA GAPPAH is a writer and lawyer. She lives and works in Geneva
CARLO GÉBLER ’s play Henry & Harriet premiered at the Cathedral arts festival
AC GRAYLING ’s most recent book is Against All Gods (Oberon Books)
ROBERT HAZELL is professor of government and the constitution at UCL
CHRISTOPHER HIRD is joint managing director of Fulcrum Productions
ERIC KAUFMANN is a lecturer in politics and sociology at Birkbeck College
NIBRAS KAZIMI is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, Washington
TIM KING is a writer living in France
RICHARD LAYARD was director of the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance
BEN LEWIS presents BBC4’s Art Safari
SHIV MALIK is a freelance journalist. He is writing a book on British terrorism
DAVID MCWILLIAMS is the author of The Pope’s Children: Ireland’s New Elite (Pan)
PHILIP OLTERMANN co-edited How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors (Rizzoli)
MICHAEL PREST is a freelance writer specialising in business and economics
JONATHAN RÉE is a freelance historian and philosopher
WILLIAM SKIDELSKY is deputy editor of Prospect
IAN STEWART is author of Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry (Basic)
ERIK TARLOFF is a novelist and writer
BELLA THOMAS is programme director at the Ax:son Johnson Foundation
Coverstory My brother the bomber What turned Mohammad Sidique Khan,a softly spoken youth worker,into the mastermind of 7/7? Shiv Malikspent months in a Leeds suburb getting to know Khan’s brother.A complex and disturbing story of the bomber’s radicalisation emerged.
14March of the HiBrits For 50 years, the children of Irish immigrants have been the most important innovators in England’s popular culture. DAVID MCWILLIAMS
15Gordon’s go Tony Blair’s departure leaves much constitutional business unresolved. It’s up to Gordon Brown to ﬁnish the job.
16Against unhappiness Paul Ormerod splits hairs over methodology. People want to be happy, politicians should help them. RICHARD LAYARD
17Defending Hodge The belief that those who have lived in a community longest should have housing priority isn’t racist.
18Challenging Chomsky Universal grammar is the most important theory in linguistics. Has the language of one tribe now disproved it?
19An unusual oilman John Browne turned BP into the oil industry’s leanest machine, but his costcutting now looks like a liability.
42For richer and for poorer Two new books offer contrasting explanations for why some countries fail to develop: one blames culture, the other trade liberalisation. Though both analyses are ﬂawed, neither can be dismissed. PAUL COLLIER
48The democracy of Don Quixote Novelists have always turned their hands to essays. The two forms share an inherent pluralism and scepticism that makes them natural allies of democracy. JONATHAN RÉE
52A Cuban death rehearsal With Castro apparently on the verge of death, I returned to Cuba to visit old friends. Life for most Cubans remains harsh. Yet western visitors continue to romanticise the place. BELLA THOMAS
57Tax credits: the success and failure Gordon Brown’s tax credits policy has directed billions to the low paid. But the failure of the policy’s architects to consider its real-world application has severely hampered delivery.
4 Prospect JUNE 2007 Columns
12These islands Belfast is beyond strife now—isn’t it?
22Washington watch Obama and Hillary ﬁght over talent.
24Inefﬁcient markets China’s stock market frenzy. MICHAEL PREST
28Out of mind Phantom pregnancy. ROBERT DRUMMOND
51France profonde Sarkozy’s mythmaking. TIM KING
56Rivers of Babylon Baghdad’s wall. NIBRAS KAZIMI
63Lab report Who will ﬁnd the Higgs boson ﬁrst?
64Brussels diary Can Brown and Sarkozy be friends?
88Modern manners I’m not going on holiday this summer. LESLEY CHAMBERLAIN
06Letters 08News & curiosities 10Grayling’s question AC GRAYLING 10Enigmas & puzzles IAN STEWART 81Classiﬁeds 86The generalist DIDYMUS 87The list
Jack Thurston on the Tour de France. Ferdinand Mount on the Tories. Tony Sewell on Shaun Bailey. Tom Nuttall reviews The Black Swan. The next issue ofProspectis published on 28th June
Arts and books
65 Oration for a dead hero My husband died a national hero, exalted by the president. But I know them both for worthless dogs. PETINA GAPPAH
72 End of the book postponed The eBook, the rise of the online retailer, the blog and the print-on-demand book all provide challenges for booksellers and publishers. Some may not survive. NICHOLAS CLEE
74 Chaos and horror Don DeLillo has a gift for creating an atmosphere of inchoate dread. But his latest novel feels ﬂat and static, and lacks a sense of purpose. ERIK TARLOFF
75 Life on planet Boyle Danny Boyle’s trippy ﬁlms delight in moments of rapture—from which they ﬁnd it hard to come down. MARK COUSINS
77 Lives not led Lionel Shriver’s latest work is a subtle examination of the difﬁculties of decision-making. I met her in her south London ﬂat. WILLIAM SKIDELSKY
78 The poverty of liberalism The individualism and universalism of western political elites are on a collision course with the popular desire for moorings in time and place. ERIC KAUFMANN
71Private view Who will be Miss Venice Biennale?
80Between the lines Cormac McCarthy’s astounding novel.
85Smallscreen What The Apprentice gets wrong. CHRISTOPHER HIRD
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FIRST DRAFTS —the Prospect editorial blog
CHARLES GLASS AND OTHERS reply to Edward Luttwak
LESLIE LEE ’s dispatches from the Hay festival
YASMIN KHAN reviews Ramachandra Guha’s history of India
KAMRAN NAZEER concludes his Thomas Pynchon reading diary
GEOFF MULGAN pays tribute to the late Mary Douglas
Revisit our past coverage of some of the topics covered in this issue.
GEORGE WALDEN on Cuban prostitution STEVEN HILL on America’s obsession with Fidel Castro’s health
AMARTYA SEN on the rights and wrongs of development
NGAIRE WOODS asks if aid works
PHILIP COLLINS and ROGER WICKS ask if New Labour’s big welfare idea is too complex
DAVID HARKER on the tax credits overpayments scandal
Prospect JUNE 2007 5