Journalist Suzanne Moore used a Mail on Sunday column yesterday to launch an excoriating attack on the New Statesman and to explain why editor Jason Cowley’s decision to let Alastair Campbell guest edit the mag had prompted her to resign as a contributing editor.
She is the latest in a series of journalists to depart the left-wing weekly since Jason Cowley joined as editor from literary magazine Granta with a promise to invest in the quality of writing.
Although Moore intended to resign, she admits that she may in fact have been sacked:
“I tried to get my name taken off the masthead of a magazine on which, until last week, I had been a ‘contributing editor’. This is probably of no great concern to the world and in any case I failed: the magazine in question is the New Statesman, and no one answered the phone. Then I saw that my name had been removed anyway. ”
Moore said that Campbell’s edition read: “as if the past ten years had never happened”.
She says: “There is no mention of Iraq and Afghanistan, Cameron is useless and everyone will vote for Gordon. Talk about civil liberties is just chattering-class waffle. See, it’s all about leadership, teams, players (yeah, that’s right, football).”
Moore writes: “As with many Left organisations, the New Statesman has always treated its employees appallingly. At the moment it is refusing to let them have a union. I can’t say I am surprised. When I was the film critic and expecting a baby, the magazine grudgingly offered me two weeks’ maternity leave. As the baby was overdue, that got taken up and I was literally being wheeled somewhere on a trolley, in labour, when they phoned to me to ask what films I would be reviewing that week.
“Sometimes the magazine turned entirely inwards and became wholly about Labour Party policy. Yawn-making wonkery. There was the editor who explained to me that what readers really wanted was ‘more graphs’.
“But there has always been huge commitment and loyalty from those who saw themselves as connected to the Left. People who have worked for ideals and not just money.
“Now, though, I must reposition myself. Away from this. New Labour is done and moody shots of Campbell and Blair’s ramblings about conscience make my stomach turn.”
Responding to Moore in The Guardian today, New Statesman editor Jason Cowley said: “I like Suzanne very much but it’s ironic that she chooses to criticise us … in that celebrated left-liberal institution, Associated Newspapers.”
In January the New Statesman’s books editor and associate editor were both made redundant and two other contributors resigned amid concern among NS journalists that the mag’s management did not recognise the National Union of Journalists.