Tony Blair, Boris Johnson, Vince Cable and the Milibands join party for New Statesman centenary edition

The New Statesman celebrates its 100th birthday today with a souvenir issue which includes columns from Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and Vince Cable.

There's also an interview with Labour leader Ed Miliband and contributions from Michael Gove, David Miliband, Tom Watson and Douglas Hurd among others.
 
Perhaps more impressive though are the archive articles from a century of New Statesman contributors including TS Eliot, George Orwell, Eric Hobsbawn, Virginia Woolf, Tom Maynard Keynes, Angela Carter and Graham Greene.
 
The Tony Blair column was widely followed-up today, providing some robust advice for current labour leader Ed Miliband and obliquely criticising his failure to put forth a robust vision and policy agenda: "The guiding principle should be that we are seekers after answers, not the repository for people's anger."
 
Editor of the NS since 2008 Jason Cowley reflects in the issue on a note a received from Tony Howard, editor from 1972-78 (who died in 2010):  "It will be very hard. But you must hang on until the centenary."
 
Anthony Barnett has shared with Cowley his applicaton for the NS editorship in 1986: "In almost all respect the paper is close to bankruptcy," he said at the time.
 
Cowley says that today (with Kindle and digital) print circulation of the NS is approaching 30,000, with monthly website visitors of 1.4m in March.
 
He writes: "Could it be that, even as many newspapers grapple with ruinous losses and falling circulation, a small, politically engaged magazine and website such as the NS which controls its costs and is committed to pubishing the best long-form journalism and cultural criticism as well as spiky blogs, can not only survive in the digital era but actually thrive."
 
The New Statesman reached its zenith in print under Kingsley Martin (editor from 1931 to 1961) who took sales from 12,000 to more than 70,000.
 
Norman Mackenzie, who joined as assistant editor in 1943, is now 91 and a contributor to the centenary issue.
 
He shares insights with Cowley about some of the great names associated with the NS over the years including: George Orwell ("a difficult man, no-one was close to George"), Asa Briggs ("The only man I knew who was ever a snob about himself") and Richard Crossman ("He was an awful New Statesman editor, the sort of man who would review his own books") and Arthur Koestler ("a clever shit").
 
Norman said he stopped reading the NS when it became preoccupied with what he called "the silly left" and started reading again last year.
 
He said: "It's like coming back to the place again after 30 years away to find someone has been polishing the doorknobs."
 
The New Statesman, like Press Gazette, is part of the Progressive Media group.

 

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