Issue

Prospect Magazine

Issue 154

Issue 154

January 2009

Contents

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A progressive manifesto

David Bodanis
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Through misreadings and mistranslations, the ten commandments have come to be seen as the rantings of a vain and vengeful God. In fact, they are an early blueprint for self-government forged by refugees escaping tyranny

The art of prize-fighting

Tom Chatfield Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Prizes are a vital part of the modern market for serious literature, but they're also increasingly flawed and compromised

All cannot have prizes

Geoff Mulgan Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Charles Murray, the controversial conservative social scientist, has turned his fire on the belief that almost anyone can excel academically. But his latest book is hastily written, largely unconvincing and possibly immoral

Making banks boring again

John Kay
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

In the modern financial services industry, banks have become casinos attached to utilities. The aim of any regulatory overhaul should be a rigorous separation of the two, with protection only to be extended to retail customers

The classical bazaar

Richard Jenkyns Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Seldom has writing about the classical world been so popular, and so good. And most of the writers are interested in it for its own sake

Science wakes up to sleep

Philip Hunter
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Scientists have made strides to unravel one of life's great mysteries: why sleep matters. New studies reveal how health, creativity and memory all depend on a good night's rest. And with sleep deprivation now seen as a form of torture, political attitudes are changing too

Where do we go from here?

Robert Skidelsky Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

A return to selfish nationalism is possible. If we are to avoid this sombre outcome, we must find ways to rub the rough edges off globalisation

Oil and troubled waters

Derek Brower
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Plagued by piracy, Islamic extremism and endless civil war, surely it can't get any worse for Somalia? It might if they find oil in the province of Puntland

A political Paul

Jonathan Power
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The Beatle talks about schooldays, the 1960s, 9/11, FR Leavis and the responsibilities of wealth and celebrity with his old schoolmate Jonathan Power

An intellectual surge

James Crabtree
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Thinking up the surge, "winning" the war in Iraq, and rethinking America's military strategy. David Petraeus is a worthy pick for Prospect's public intellectual of 2008

What's the big idea?

James Harkin
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Crowdsourcing, nudging and mass collaborating jostled eagerly. But was 2008 a vintage year for ideas books? It was a mixed bag—and perhaps not serious enough

How should we rate 2008?

prospect
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Which political and cultural events have been most overrated and underrated this year? We asked 100 Prospect writers

How should we rate 2008? (2)

prospect
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Which political and cultural events have been most overrated and underrated this year? We asked 100 Prospect writers

How should we rate 2008? (3)

prospect
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Which political and cultural events have been most overrated and underrated this year? We asked 100 Prospect writers

How should we rate 2008? (4)

prospect
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Which political and cultural events have been most overrated and underrated this year? We asked 100 Prospect writers

Paul McCartney: a preview

Jonathan Power Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Prospect's interview between Paul McCartney and his old school-friend Jonathan Power has made headlines around the world. Read the first 1,000 words for free here

Labour's golden myth

Patrick Diamond Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Since the Wilson years, Labour have revered Attlee's 1945 government. But, as a new history by Giles Radice suggests, the modern party must shed this uncritical fascination if it is to win a fourth term

Victorian celebrity

Jonty Olliff-Cooper Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Toby Young may be right that modern society is ruled by a celebrity elite. But so were the Victorians.

Obamabot, meet nostradumbass

Adam Rosenthal Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The last decade has been bleak for fans of linguistic sloganeering. But, spurred on by Obama's election and crunch, 2008 has been better.

A dedicated leader of fashion

Hettie Judah Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Currently celebrating its 20th birthday, Martin Margiela is the most radical, chic name in fashion. And if you've never heard of him—well, that's all part of the plan

Letter from the West Bank

Paul Adrian Raymond Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The Israeli army can destroy Gaza. But they will find the real battle for the future of Israel and Palestine, in the West Bank, much harder to win

Muslim misperceptions

Edward Luttwak Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The Muslim world howls at the injustice of Gaza. But their reaction is inconsistent, while Israel's attacks are surprisingly humane and effective

Gaza's brief honeymoon

Trevor Mostyn Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

What might have happened to Gaza had Israel granted it real independence after its withdrawal in 1994?

The case for an international agency

Prince Hassan of Jordan Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The stalemate between Israel and Gaza is unlikely to be resolved either by Hamas, Israel or the UN. It is time to ask: could the creation of a temporary international agency dedicated to enforcing peace be the solution?

Remembering John Mortimer

Colin Murphy Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The celebrated author of Rumpole of the Bailey has died at the age of 85, after packing more into one life than most men would manage in three

Sounds good

Philip Collins
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Obama's inauguration speech is unlikely to disappoint. His words may be unremarkable; his delivery won't be

All change for Britain's railways

Andrew Adonis Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Even America is investing in high-speed rail. It's time Britain did the same, says the transport minister

Mumbai's bloodied elite

James Crabtree
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The Mumbai attacks hit India's rich the hardest. They may now take democracy more seriously

Getting our houses in order

John Beddington
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Protesters occupy airports. But old fashioned loft insulation is more important than stopping flying

As good as Heaney

Julian Gough Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

It's easy to be blinded by the dazzle of Clive James's many talents. Yet his most enduring claim to greatness is not his novels, satire or journalism, but his exquisite essays and poems

The courage to be afraid

Tom Streithorst
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Dexter Filkins has produced an astonishing book about Iraq: an account that tells us everything we don't want to know

Desert storms

Shereen El Feki
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The prophet Muhammad's love life is a sensitive subject. But was the book Random House decided not to publish worth all the fuss?

Tomorrow I shall be sober

Sam Leith Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Kingsley Amis was one of the great drinkers of the 20th century—opinionated, blustering, offensive, and rarely less than hilarious

Widescreen

Mark Cousins Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

I keep seeing the word "porno" in huge letters on the side of buses. Am I justified in feeling that its normalisation is bad for cinema and bad for society?

Performance notes

Martin Kettle Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The next five years will see an avalanche of anniversaries—which only serve to highlight the fact that the glories of classical music lie in the past

Smallscreen

Peter Bazalgette Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

BBC drama and Channel 4 documentaries could be your best allies during the credit crunch. Just don't let Niall Ferguson write your one-liners

The Ghost

Toby Litt
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Since my father died, something has been wrong with my son. At least, I hope it's something wrong with him

Matters of taste

Alex Renton Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

What will the credit crunch do for our eating habits? Sweep away some of the mega-chain restaurants; help us rediscover the joys of mince and cheap cuts; create a new new cuisine

Washington watch

Tumbler Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

It turns out that Obama didn't win because of a surge in young or black voters, or small-time donors. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is dynamite with the folks in Georgia

Letter from Georgia

Thomas de Waal Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

The would-be border between South Ossetia and Georgia is being entrenched. Will the Georgian government own up to its role in the war and help the displaced return home?

This sporting life

David Goldblatt Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

It's time to tackle the cost of the 2012 Olympics. Let's start by opening the books. Plus, Michel Platini switches sides on the regulation of European football—for now

Crisis watch

Jonathan Ford Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

If we are to educate people in finance to avoid future sub-prime crises, there's no better source text that Beatrix Potter's financial fable, "The Tale of Ginger and Pickles"

China café

Mark Kitto Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Religion in Chinese public life can be a delicate balancing act. My neighbours still managed to put on an early Christmas service—complete with a deafening brass band

Lab report

Philip Ball Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Does dark matter exist? New evidence from cosmic rays is promising but inconclusive. And in five years' time, one company hopes to sequence our genomes while we wait

Brussels diary

Manneken Pis Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Doesn't everyone think Gordon Brown did well in the financial crisis? Er, no—Jean-Claude Juncker doesn't. Plus, does the EU need super-commissioners?

Confessions

Aaron Banks Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Obama's transition looks serene. But, underneath, people like me are trampling on friends and principles in a desperate scrabble to work in highway reconstruction policy

Editorial

David Goodhart Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Letters

prospect Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

News and curiosities

prospect Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Tom's words

Tom Chatfield Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Grayling's question

AC Grayling Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

In fact

prospect Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154

Enigmas and puzzles

Ian Stewart Free entry
17th January 2009  —  Issue 154







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