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ISSUE 139 OCTOBER 2007
Contributors to this issue
PHILIP BALL is a science writer and author of The Devil’s Doctor (Arrow)
MARK BELL is a researcher at the liberal think tank CentreForum
DAVID BIRCH is an author and consultant. He chairs the Digital Identity Forum
VERNON BOGDANOR is professor of government at Oxford University
BARTLE BULL is writing a history of the fertile crescent for Atlantic Books
JOHN CORNWELL is the author of Darwin’s Angel: An Angelic Riposte to ‘The God Delusion’ (Profile)
MARK COUSINS is the author of The Story of Film (Pavilion Books)
ALEX DE WAAL is a director at the Social Science Research Council and the author of Darfur (Zed Books)
ROBERT DRUMMOND is a psychiatrist
CONOR GEARTY is the author of Civil Liberties (OUP)
AC GRAYLING ’s latest book is Towards the Light (Bloomsbury)
CHRISTOPHER HIRD is joint managing director of Fulcrum Productions
IAN JACK is the former editor of Granta. He writes for the Guardian
MARTIN KETTLE is a Guardian columnist
BEN LEWIS presents BBC4’s Art Safari
GWYNETH LEWIS was Wales’s first national poet from 2005 to 2006
ALISON MACLEOD ’s short story collection Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction has just been published by Penguin
ADAM MAREK is the author of Instruction Manual for Swallowing (Comma Press)
FERDINAND MOUNT ’s most recent book is The Condor’s Head (Chatto & Windus)
ALASDAIR MURRAY is director of the liberal think tank CentreForum
MICHAEL PREST is a freelance writer specialising in business and economics
ALEX RENTON won the 2006 Glenfiddich award for best food writer
DAVID ROBINS ’s books include Knuckle Sandwich and We Hate Humans (Penguin)
FREDDIE SAYERS is a commentator on British and American politics
IAN STEWART is author of Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry (Basic)
JACK STRAW is justice secretary and lord chancellor
KEVIN WATKINS is senior research fellow at Oxford University’s global economic governance programme
Coverstory 22In search of British values In July,Gordon Brown published a green paper called “The Governance of Britain.”The final section said that we need to be clearer about what it means to be British.It proposed “to work with the public to develop a British statement of values.” We asked 50 writers and intellectuals what they thought.
14Northern Rock lessons What led to a mini-crisis in Britain’s banking system? MICHAEL PREST
15No more Mr Nice Guy Gordon Brown should abandon this nicey-nicey politics. FREDDIE SAYERS
16Send in the peacemakers Diplomacy and a peace deal offer the best hope of solving Darfur. ALEX DE WAAL
18Politics without a majority How will politics be changed by a hung parliament? ALASDAIR MURRAY & MARK BELL
19Living with West Lothian “English votes for English laws”will cause the union to break up. JACK STRAW
28Mission accomplished With most Sunni factions now seeking a deal, the big questions in Iraq have been resolved positively. The country remains one, it has embraced democracy and avoided all-out civil war. What violence remains is largely local and criminal. BARTLE BULL
34Dilemmas of terror There are two approaches to counter-terrorism in Britain—the judicial track, emphasising evidence and due process; and the secret service track, which focuses on intelligence. How does today’s terrorist threat affect the balance between the two? CONOR GEARTY
40Rebuilding Conservatism David Cameron wants to heal the rift between Thatcherites and modernisers while also coining a distinctive new Tory ideology. To achieve this, he must ditch flashy initiatives and show that he is truly committed to decentralising Britain. FERDINAND MOUNT
46A poet at Cern As poet-in-residence at Cardiff astronomy department, I want to understand the sub-atomic science and the people behind the world’s largest particle collider. GWYNETH LEWIS
50A summer of stabbings It is not clear whether gun and knife crime is on the rise, but it does seem to be increasingly concentrated among resentful young males in thrall to the cult of cool. DAVID ROBINS
4 Prospect OCTOBER2007 Special report
52Making national identity work The government should not scrap its ID scheme, but radically rethink it. The ID card should be postponed, and we should focus instead on allocating a unique national identity number, backed by biometrics, to each citizen. DAVID BIRCH
12Out of mind Teenage suicide. ROBERT DRUMMOND
21Washington watch Mitt Romney’s weird nicknames. TUMBLER
33Lab report Hybrids and humans. PHILIP BALL
49Matters of taste The end of cheap food? ALEX RENTON
55Brussels diary Neverending treaty talks. MANNEKEN PIS
80Confessions I was glad to be called a “literary babe.” ALISON MACLEOD
06Letters 08News & curiosities 10Grayling’s question AC GRAYLING 10Enigmas & puzzles IAN STEWART 71 & 73Think tank directory 74Classifieds 78The generalist 79The list
ADRIAN LEVY & CATHY SCOTT-CLARK find out what Pervez Musharraf has been up to
JOHN CASEY on Catholic culture wars
TONY LERMAN on Jewish self-hatred
WILLIAM SKIDELSKY reviews Philip Roth and JM Coetzee’s new novels The next issue of Prospect will be published on 25th October
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Archives Every article from every issue of Prospect .
56Cuckoo Alice was half my age but twice as intelligent as me. She was an enigma threatening to dissolve my marriage. ADAM MAREK
64A way in the world VS Naipaul’s latest book describes his early friends and influences. IAN JACK
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66Symbolic language Steven Pinker writes about metaphor without reading any poets. JOHN CORNWELL
67Hitler the gentle opera lover ANWilson’s new novel should have been an essay. VERNON BOGDANOR
68Common sense and hot air Bjørn Lomborg’s scepticism is based on distorted evidence. KEVIN WATKINS
62Widescreen Let’s ban sex. MARK COUSINS
70Private view Why is Henry Moore unfashionable?
72Performance notes A golden age for London orchestras.
77Smallscreen Piers Morgan is too soft.
ASHISH BHATT,YASMIN KHAN & OTHERS reply to Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad on the Indian middle class NICK FRASER on making ten films about democracy JOHANN WENNSTRÖÖM on Tory lessons from Sweden
Revisit our past coverage of some of the topics covered in this issue.
GORDON BROWN,ROGER SCRUTON,LINDA
COLLEY,BILLY BRAGG & OTHERS on the British and their national identity
DAVID GOODHART asks if Britain is becoming too diverse
BERNARD CRICK & DAMIAN GREEN debate whether citizenship should be taught in schools
GARETH STANSFIELD advocates splitting up the country
RORY STEWART on his time as deputy governor in the south
BARTLE BULL on the rise of Shia Iraq
TIM HAMES tells the Conservatives what not to do ROBIN HARRIS argues that the party must be led from the right JOHN O’SULLIVAN tries to cure the party’s nervous breakdown
Prospect OCTOBER2007 5