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CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE
RUSHANARA ALI is associate director of the Young Foundation TASH AW’s

novel The Harmony Silk Factory won the Whitbread first novel award in 2005

contents
Issue one hundred and twenty-two May 2006

PHILIP BALL’s most recent book is The Devil’s Doctor (Heinemann) SIMON BARON-COHEN

is director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University

COVER STORY

AS BYATT

is the author of The Little Black Book of Stories (Vintage) is an economic consultant

22
Divide and heal
GARETH STANSFIELD

HARVEY COLE

MARK COUSINS

is the author of The Story of Film (Pavilion Books) is a psychiatrist

ROBERT DRUMMOND

ANTHONY DWORKIN is executive director of the Crimes of War project STEPHEN EVERSON

is writing a book on metaphysics and the mind is a freelance writer based in Bristol

ROBERT GORE-LANGTON

JONATHAN HEAWOOD

is director of

English Pen
DAVID HERMAN is a contributing editor to Prospect RW JOHNSON

Despite the imminent formation of a government of national unity, Iraq is splintering into its three historic provinces. The western powers and Iraqi nationalists must now accept that radical federalism is the only alternative to civil war.

is the southern Africa correspondent for the Sunday Times is a writer living in France

OPINIONS

ESSAYS

TIM KING

12 My mate MSG
ALEX RENTON

28 Hammer and tickle
BEN LEWIS

is the author of two historical novels for teenagers, Power and Stone and Shield of Fire (Penguin).
ALICE LEADER PHILIPPE LEGRAIN is the author of Open World: The Truth about Globalisation (Abacus) BEN LEWIS

Monosodium glutamate gets a terrible press, but without it there would be no Marmite.

Communism is the only political system to have created its own international brand of comedy. Even Stalin told some good jokes.

13 Councils in charge
HARVEY COLE

34 Chastened hegemon
ANTHONY DWORKIN

presents BBC4’s Art Safari is deputy

ALEXANDER LINKLATER

editor of Prospect
ALEX MCBRIDE is a criminal barrister working in London

British local authorities are starting to regain more power over their own budgets.

16 Their riots…
TIM KING

Neoconservatism is dead. And, as Francis Fukuyama’s latest book spells out, a new US foreign policy consensus is emerging.

is author of When The Rivers Run Dry (Eden Project Books)
FRED PEARCE RICHARD REEVES

is co-founder of Intelligence Agency, an ideas consultancy is a writer living in

Who governs France? Not parliament, trampled on by the street and the president.

38 Goodbye isiXhosa
RW JOHNSON

17 …our riots
RUSHANARA ALI

ALEX RENTON

The South African constitution guarantees “parity of esteem” to no less than 11 languages. But English will soon crowd out the rest.

Edinburgh
GARETH STANSFIELD

is a reader in middle east politics at Exeter University

Five years ago, the northern riots exposed Britain’s racial divides. Have things improved?

BRIEFING NOTES

IAN STEWART

is professor of mathematics at Warwick University

44 Water, water, everywhere 18 Newspaper studies
ALICE LEADER FRED PEARCE

book A Royal Affair is published by Chatto and Windus
STELLA TILLYARD’s

I couldn’t get my pupils interested in news—until I threatened to fail them.

Can desalination—the removal of salt from seawater to make it drinkable— solve the world’s water shortages?

4 PROSPECT May 2006

www.prospect-magazine.co.uk

PORTRAIT

48 John Stuart Mill
RICHARD REEVES

Mill left no systematic legacy—there is no “Millism.” But 200 years after his birth, his liberalism is still relevant. And Britain’s greatest ever public intellectual was often surprisingly contrarian.

arts&books
68 Can you get Lost?
JONATHAN HEAWOOD

Enlightenment philosophers, polar bears and pirate ships all feature in Lost—but it’s really about America.

COLUMNS

69 A taste of the Wigmore
STEPHEN EVERSON

10 Tillyard’s tales
STELLA TILLYARD

Ailing in Italy.

John Gilhooly’s first season as artistic director of the Wigmore Hall will be a test of judgement, not personality.

20 Out of mind
ROBERT DRUMMOND & ALEXANDER LINKLATER

COLUMNS

Phantom paralysis.

62 Widescreen
MARK COUSINS

21 Washington watch
TUMBLER

Time to rethink the 100-minute film.

Can the Dems sweep the midterms? FICTION

71 Private view
BEN LEWIS

43 Lab report
PHILIP BALL

56 The American brick problem
TASH AW

The Serpentine supercurator.

What can we learn from the catastrophic Northwick drug trials?

My father learned about Malaysian rubber from me, and began burning it to make bricks.

72 Cultural tourist
An unknown heads up the Edinburgh festival. Plus Under the radar.

47 Inefficient markets
PHILIPPE LEGRAIN

77 Smallscreen
REVIEWS
DAVID HERMAN

Pascal Lamy must save Doha.

64 The science of belief 54 Brussels diary
MANNEKEN PIS AS BYATT

What went wrong with Green Wing?

How Eurosceptic is Gordon Brown?

80 Common law
ALEX MCBRIDE

Sceptics increasingly seek to explain faith as a product of nature. Lewis Wolpert’s new book suggests it is down to tool-making.

FORTHCOMING Yvonne Ndege on land reform in South Africa Steve Kelly on US soccer International symposium on Iran and the west Michael Lind on Richard Rodriguez
THE NEXT ISSUE OF PROSPECT IS PUBLISHED ON 25TH MAY

Mitigating circumstances.

65 Global Shakespeare
ROBERT GORE-LANGTON

REGULARS

6 Letters 8 News & Curiosities plus Enigmas & puzzles IAN STEWART 13 Numbers game THE CRUNCHER 73 Classifieds 78 The generalist DIDYMUS 79 The list

Critics of the Globe Theatre have been proved wrong—it has some of the best Shakespeare in the country.

66 Learning to be ordinary
SIMON BARON-COHEN

There are many books about autism, but few as original as Kamran Nazeer’s account.

PROSPECT May 2006 5