ISSUE 147 JUNE 2008

Contributors to this issue

PHILIP BALL ’s novel The Sun and Moon Corrupted (Portobello) is just out

PETER BAZALGETTE is a former reality television producer

TIM BOUQUET is the co-author of Cold Steel (Little, Brown)

JOHN R BRADLEY is the author of Saudi Arabia Exposed (Palgrave Macmillan)

TOM CHATFIELD is assistant editor of Prospect

PHILIP COLLINS is the former chief speechwriter to Tony Blair

MARK COUSINS is Prospect ’s film critic

ALEX DE WAAL is programme director at the Social Science Research Council

ROBERT DRUMMOND is a psychiatrist

ANTHONY DWORKIN is director of the Crimes of War project

DAMON GALGUT is a novelist

DAVID GOLDBLATT is the author of The Ball is Round (Penguin)

AC GRAYLING is a philosopher

MARTIN KETTLE is a Guardian columnist

OHNMAR KHIN is assisting relief efforts in her native Burma

MARK KITTO runs a caféé near Shanghai

ROBIN LEANSE is a poet

BEN LEWIS presents BBC4’s Art Safari

ALEXANDER LINKLATER is associate editor of Prospect

CLARE LOCKHART is director of the Institute for State Effectiveness

GEORGE MAGNUS ’s The Age of Aging will be published by Wiley in September

ROBERT PAARLBERG is professor of political science at Wellesley College

RUTH PADEL ’s most recent book is The Poem and the Journey (Vintage)

MARK PAGEL writes on genetic, linguistic and cultural evolution

ELIZABETH PISANI is an epidemiologist

STEPHEN POLLARD is a political columnist

RICHARD REEVES is author of John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand (Atlantic)

IAN STEWART is a mathematician

ERIK TARLOFF is a novelist and writer

DAVID TRIMBLE won the Nobel Peace prize in 1998

DAVID WILLETTS is a Conservative MP

ALISON WOLF is the author of Does Education Matter? (Penguin)

JONATHAN ZITTRAIN is the author of The Future of the Internet (Allen Lane)

2 Prospect JUNE2008


Coverstory 24Rage against the machines Modern video games mean big business,and big controversy. Yet most of the charges levelled against games—that they stunt minds and spark addiction—are based on an outdated understanding of what gamers do when they sit down to play explains Tom Chatfield


12Liberalise or die Labour must turn its back on its centralising tradition and embrace liberalism. PHILIP COLLINS & RICHARD REEVES

13Primary school What did we learn from the US primary season? ERIK TARLOFF

14Noblesse oblige We should welcome the return ofthe elite to political leadership. STEPHEN POLLARD

16Cairo’s failing fundamentalists The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is weaker than it seems. JOHN R BRADLEY

17An Ulster betrayal By going soft on Sinn Fééin, Tony Blair and Jonathan Powell allowed Ulster’s centrists to be sidelined. DAVID TRIMBLE

18Against gunboat philanthropy Bernard Kouchner’s idea of providing aid at gunpoint is dangerous posturing. ALEX DE WAAL & OHNMAR KHIN

20The truth about food Rises in food prices hurt city-dwellers, but they do not increase global hunger. ROBERT PAARLBERG


30The plague is over,let’s party An HIV diagnosis in Britain is no longer a death sentence. But as the spectre of death fades, so do the reasons to avoid risky behaviour. Now the Aids prevention industry has a new set of problems. ELIZABETH PISANI

34What’s up,doc? Last year’s medical training fiasco was a failure of NHS centralisation. And a surge in the number of medical students, plus an open door for foreign doctors, means there will be a mismatch between applicants and jobs for years to come. ALISON WOLF

40The failed state we’re in The international community has spent billions on reconstructing Afghanistan— yet the country has made dismayingly little progress. It’s time for a radical new approach to state-building. CLARE LOCKHART


46Likud on the terraces Seventy per cent of Jewish Israelis say they want a two-state solution. But that doesn’t mean they have a high opinion of Arabs. Consider the hardcore fans of Beitar Jerusalem FC. DAVID GOLDBLATT


52Lakshmi Mittal He is the wealthiest steelman since Andrew Carnegie. But there’s little sign that the Indian tycoon shares his predecessor’s political engagement or philanthropic instinct. TIM BOUQUET

My story

58Movies made me They are art, big business and soft power—but movies are a lot more than just that. On a six-hour flight, I worked out exactly why cinema matters to me. MARK COUSINS