Friday, March 21, 2008

Who Wants to be Editor of the New Statesman?

I was talking to a friend yesterday lunchtime about what's going on at the New Statesman. It's a good few weeks since John Kampfner walked the plank, yet news of his successor comes there none. Could it be that editing the 'Staggers', as it is affectionately known, is not quite such an attractive proposition as it once was? If Private Eye is to be believed, New Statesman proprietor Geoffrey Robinson wants to appoint Neal Lawson as the new editor. If this is true, I predict the end the NS as a serious magazine.

Lawson is the nearest you can get, with the possible exception of Kevin Maguire) to the original Gordon Brown 'arselikhan'. He was a former Brown bag carrier prior to the 1997 election, then went on to form the lobbying company LLM, before starting the Brownite think tank cum pressure group Compass. So far as I know he has never edited anything in his life, let alone been a journalist. Surely the New Statesman deserves better. Peter Wilby, John Lloyd, Ian Hargreaves and John Kampfner must be turning in their editorial graves.

There are plenty of people out there for Robinson to choose from, all of whom would do the New Statesman proud - Mark Seddon, Steve Richards, Jackie Ashley to name but three. The trouble is, I suspect that John Kampfner's departure will have made them all think twice.

12 comments:

asquith said...

The last 2 articles of the New Statesman featured nothing from my mate Lynsey Hanley. I hope they haven't done anything to her!? Not only is she a superb writer on her own terms, I like her personally because she is working-class. Her account of her limited childhood on an estate is a must-read. I gave a very pale echo of it in one of my posts.

http://hh-asquith.blogspot.com/2008/03/this-should-be-speech.html

And I read some horrific sub-Spectator rubbish in the NS last week. What's going on?

Anonymous said...

But I thought Compass was 'Old Labour' rather than Brownite, with 'Progress' being the Mandelsonian New Labour arm ? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick ?

Anonymous said...

Talking of journalists....Did you read Polly today...A 40% reduction in crime under Labour...How in heavens name does she get away with it..Let alone paid for that kind of drivel

Martin

Anonymous said...

Neal Lawson edits the excellent Renewal magazine (Lawrence and Wishart).

Anonymous said...

I'm sure a lot of your readers read Private Eye too muppet!

Newmania said...

Her account of her limited childhood on an estate is a must-read.
Oh Jesus I am just reading it and what a dull self obsessed dirge it is..

She brings the the light celebratory fizz of Fatima Whitbread to what is already a depressing subject and the not very sub , sub text of the whole ponderous melodrama ,is look how bloody brilliant I must be .

" I walk down the brutal street where Mrs.Sod died of being poor and her leporous daughter commited suicide because she wasn`t in the media ...only I I I saw the way to become MIDDLE CLASS"

asquith said...

Morning Newmania, nice to hear from you again :) I noticed the self-congratulation too. But it doesn't bother me. I think it's justifiable. How many other people in the media are working-class? I think she is a big person, probably bigger than I am, for not hating the people she has left behind.

Because I grew up on a sink estate (and still live on it) and I find it hard to not simply loathe the people on my street, from my old school, and so on when I see the way they carry on. Although I do try, I generally have the same reaction as everyone else when they shout abuse, play their shit music, and generally carry out low-level asb and make life worse for me.

It's a lot easier to sneer at people and shout abuse at them than to see them as human beings no different from anyone else. It's very easy to be cynical and congratulate yourself on how "realistic" you are. But this country certainly doesn't need more of that sort of attitude.

asquith said...

There was an article by my mate in the Guardian today. I read it just a few minutes ago. I wasn't paying very close attention, and I managed not to notice who was its author. Then I read the sentence "I had to go to university and become middle-class before I found out what a chickpea actually is" and I just knew. I looked at the header and was confirmed in my "suspicion".

It's like Tony Makara on ConHome. I can spot one of his comments before I get to the tagline, because he keeps running certain themes and sying certain things like no other contributor.

Martin Kettle's article was a load of shite.

Splashitallover said...

Seddon, yes! Start a "Draft Mark" campaign. Though why he would want to give up a nice gig with Al-Jazeera to immerse himself in the slime of Labour left-politics again, I can't imagine.

Southpaw Grammar said...

As a compass member, i cannot understand you making the comment about Lawson being too Brownite. Compass has been vocally independent from the New Labour Government on many, many issues, and is seen as the most prominent centre-left movement (perhaps the only one!).

I am not passing comment on the skills needed to be an editor as i do not know, but to call Lawson somehow a New Labour stooge is simply not true.

Its funny how Iain is very keen to paint the 'editor' link with such lack of irony, nothing to do with your own come uppance over Total 'we are independent honest guv' Politics. I will wait before i pass judgement on the output of total politics...

Iain Dale said...

Southpaw Grammar, and what comeuppance would that be then?

Southpaw Grammar said...

Well, perhaps i am pulling your leg a little regarding the whole Lord Ashcroft funded politicallly 'neutral' total politics (which i actually look forward to).

The point still stands thought, Neil Lawson is not a New Labour stooge, and is chair of the most prominent organisations of the centre left.