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Encyclopedia > New Statesman

The New Statesman is a left-of-centre political weekly published in London.

Contents


Origins


The New Statesman was founded in 1913 by Sidney and Beatrice Webb with the support of George Bernard Shaw and other prominent members of the Fabian Society, and its first editor was Clifford Sharp. Sharp remained editor until 1928, though during his last two years in post he was debilitated by chronic alcoholism and the paper was actually edited by his deputy Charles Mostyn Lloyd, who stood in after Sharp's departure until the appointment of Kingsley Martin as editor in 1930 – a position Martin was to hold for 30 years. Although the Webbs and most Fabians were closely associated with the Labour Party, Sharp was drawn increasingly to the Asquith Liberals. Categories: UK Labour Party politicians | British MPs | Peers | Secretaries of State for the Colonies (UK) | 1859 births | 1947 deaths | People stubs ... Beatrice Webb Martha Beatrice Potter Webb (January 2, 1858 - April 30, 1943) (also called Beatrice Webb) was a British socialist, economist and reformer, usually referred to in the same breath as her husband, Sidney Webb. ... George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856 – November 2, 1950) was an Irish playwright and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. ... The Fabian Society is a British socialist intellectual movement, whose purpose is to advance the socialist cause by social democratic, rather than revolutionary, means. ... Clifford Sharp was the first editor of the New Statesman. ... The Labour Party has been the principal left wing political party of the United Kingdom since the early 20th century (see British politics). ... Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith (September 12, 1852 - February 15, 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. ... The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the early 19th century until the 1920s, and a third party of varying strength and importance up to 1988, when it merged with the Social Democratic Party (the SDP) to form a new party which would become...


The Statesman under Kingsley Martin

At the same time as Martin became editor, the Statesman merged with the Liberal weekly the Nation, and changed its name to the New Statesman and Nation, which it remained until 1964. The chairman of the Nation's board was the economist John Maynard Keynes, who came to be an important influence on the newly merged paper, which started with a circulation of just under 13,000. The New Statesman is a left-of-centre political weekly published in London. ... John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB, (pronounced kānz / kAnze), ) (June 5, 1883 – April 21, 1946) was an English economist, whose ideas had a major impact on modern economic and political theory as well as on American and British fiscal policies. ...


During the 1930s, Martin's Statesman moved markedly to the left politically. It became strongly anti-fascist and was generally critical of the government policy of appeasement of Mussolini and Hitler (though it did not back British rearmament). It was also, notoriously, an apologist for Stalin's Soviet Union. In 1934 it ran a famously deferential interview with Stalin by H. G. Wells. In 1938 came Martin's celebrated refusal to publish George Orwell's despatches from Barcelona during the Spanish civil war because they criticised the communists for suppressing the anarchists and the left-wing POUM. "It is an unfortunate fact," Martin wrote to Orwell, "that any hostile criticism of the present Russian regime is liable to be taken as propaganda against socialism." Iosif (usually anglicized as Joseph) Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), original name Ioseb Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვილი; see Other names section) (December 21, 1879[1] – March 5, 1953) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and leader of the Soviet Union. ... H. G. Wells at the door of his house at Sandgate Herbert George Wells (September 21, 1866 – August 13, 1946) was a British writer best known for his science fiction novels such as The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Time Machine. ... George Orwell on Time Magazine cover from 1983. ...


The Statesman's circulation grew massively under Martin's editorship, reaching 70,000 by 1945, and it became a key player in Labour politics. The paper welcomed Labour's 1945 general election victory but took a critical line on the new government's foreign policy. The young Labour MP Richard Crossman, who had been an assistant editor before the war, was Martin's chief lieutenant in this period, and the Statesman published Keep Left, the pamphlet written by Crossman, Michael Foot and Ian Mikardo that most succinctly laid out the Labour left's proposals for a "third force" foreign policy rather than alliance with the United States. Richard Howard Stafford Crossman (15 December 1907 to April 1974) was a British politician and writer. ... For the South African Trotskyist group of the same name see Keep Left (South Africa) Keep Left was a pamphlet published in Britian in 1947 by the New Statesman, written by Michael Foot, Richard Crossman and Ian Mikardo that advocated a democratic socialist third force foreign policy – a socialist Europe... The Right Honourable Michael Mackintosh Foot (born 23 July 1913), British politician, was leader of the Labour Party from 1980 to 1983. ... Ian Mikardo (9 July 1908 - 6 May 1993), commonly known as Mik, was a British Labour and Co-operative politician. ...


During the 1950s, the Statesman remained a left critic of British foreign and defence policy and of the Labour leadership of Hugh Gaitskell (though Martin never got on personally with Aneurin Bevan, the leader of the anti-Gaitskellite Labour left). It opposed the Korean war, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament grew directly out of an article in the Statesman by J. B. Priestley. Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell (April 9, 1906 – January 18, 1963) was a British politician, leader of the Labour Party from 1955 until his death in 1963. ... not to be confused with Ernest Bevin Aneurin Bevan, usually known as Nye Bevan (November 15, 1897–July 6, 1960) was a Welsh Labour politician regarded as a hero of the left, primarily for his role in the formation of the National Health Service. ... The Korean War, from June 25, 1950 to cease-fire on July 27, 1953 (the war has not ended officially), was a conflict between North Korea and South Korea. ... Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament logo In British politics, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has been at the forefront of the peace movement in the United Kingdom and claims to be Europes largest single-issue peace campaign. ... J. B. Priestley John Boynton Priestley, OM (September 13, 1894, Bradford, England - August 14, 1984, Stratford-upon-Avon) was an English writer and broadcaster. ...


After Kingsley

Martin retired in 1960 and was replaced as editor by John Freeman, a politician-journalist who had resigned from the Labour government in 1951 with Bevan and Harold Wilson. Freeman left in 1965 and was followed in the chair by Paul Johnson, under whose editorship the Statesman reached its highest ever circulation of 90,000. The Right Honorable Major John Freeman, MBE was born on 19 February 1915. ... The Right Honourable James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was one of the longest serving Labour Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom. ... Paul Johnson (born Paul Bede Johnson on November 2, 1928 in Manchester, England) is a British Roman Catholic historian, journalist and author. ...


Decline and crisis

After Johnson's departure in 1970, the Statesman went into a long period of circulation decline under successive editors: Richard Crossman (1970-72), who tried to edit it at the same time as playing a major role in Labour politics; Anthony Howard (1972-78), whose recruits to the paper included Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis and James Fenton (surprisingly, the arch anti-Socialist Auberon Waugh was writing for the Statesman at this time before returning to his more natural home of The Spectator); Bruce Page (1978-82), who turned it into a specialist in investigative journalism and sacked Arthur Marshall, who had been writing for the Statesman on and off since 1935, as a columnist, allegedly because of the latter's support for Margaret Thatcher; Hugh Stephenson (1982-86), under whom it took a strong position again for unilateral nuclear disarmament; John Lloyd (1986-87), who swung the paper's politics back to the centre; Stuart Weir (1987-90), under whose editorship the Statesman founded the Charter 88 constitutional reform pressure group; and Steve Platt (1990-96). By 1996 it was selling 23,000 copies a week. Richard Howard Stafford Crossman (15 December 1907 to April 1974) was a British politician and writer. ... Anthony Michell Howard (born February 12, 1934) is a prominent British journalist, broadcaster and writer. ... Christopher Hitchens Christopher Eric Hitchens (born April 13, 1949) is among the best known and most controversial figures in contemporary media. ... Photo of Martin Amis by Robert Birnbaum Martin Amis (born August 25, 1949) is a British novelist. ... James Fenton (born 1949, Lincoln, England) has been, at various times, a journalist, poet, literary critic, and professor. ... Auberon Alexander Waugh (November 17, 1939 – January 16, 2001) was a British author and journalist. ... The Spectator is a conservative British political magazine, established 1828, published weekly. ... Arthur Marshall (1910-1989) was a British writer and broadcaster, born in Surrey in the UK. Most known as a team-leader on the BBCs Call My Bluff. ... Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925), is a British politician and a former barrister and chemist. ... Unilateral nuclear disarmament, the policy of independently revoking nuclear arms, has been advocated in Britain by the Labour Party left and by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since Britain became a nuclear power in the 1950s. ... Charter 88 was formed by progressive (mainly liberal and social democratic) British intellectuals and activists in 1988. ...


The Statesman acquired the weekly New Society in 1988 and merged with it, becoming New Statesman and Society for the next eight years. In 1993, the Statesman was sued by the prime minister, John Major, after it published an article that discussed rumours that he was having an extramarital affair with a cook. Although the action was settled out of court for a minimal sum, the paper's legal costs came close to bankrupting it. Sir John Major, KG, CH (born 29 March 1943) is a British politician who served in the Cabinets of Margaret Thatcher as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer before succeeding Thatcher as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1990...


The past decade

The Statesman was rescued by a takeover by the businessman Philip Jeffrey but in 1996, after prolonged boardroom wrangling over Jeffrey's plans, it was sold to Geoffrey Robinson, the Labour MP and businessman. He fired Platt, and appointed Ian Hargreaves as editor, who in turn fired most of the left-wingers on the staff and turned the Statesman into a strong supporter of Tony Blair as Labour leader. Hargreaves was succeeded by Peter Wilby in 1998, who moved the paper back to the left. John Kampfner, Wilby's political editor, succeded him as editor in May 2005. The Statesman currently sells some 24,000 copies a week. Geoffrey Robinson (born May 25, 1938 in Sheffield) has been a British Member of Parliament for Coventry North West, a safe Labour seat, since a by-election on 4 March 1976 caused by the death of former MP Maurice Edelman. ... The Labour Party has been the principal left wing political party of the United Kingdom since the early 20th century (see British politics). ... Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. ...


References

  • Hyams, Edward. The New Statesman: the history of the first fifty years 1913-63. Longman. 1963.
  • Rolph, C. H (ed) Kingsley: the life, letters and diaries of Kingsley Martin Victor Gollancz. 1973. ISBN 0-575-01636-1
  • Howe, Stephen (ed) Lines of Dissent: writing from the New Statesman 1913 to 1988. Verso. 1988. ISBN 09-86091-207-8
  • Smith, Adrian The New Statesman: portrait of a political weekly. Frank Cass.1996. ISBN 0-7146-4645-8

External links

  • New Statesman Home Page - Official site

  Results from FactBites:
 
New Statesman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (719 words)
The New Statesman was founded in 1913 by Sidney and Beatrice Webb with the support of George Bernard Shaw and other prominent members of the Fabian Society, and its first editor was Clifford Sharp.
In 1993, the Statesman was sued by the prime minister, John Major, after it published an article that discussed rumours that he was having an extramarital affair with a cook.
The Statesman was rescued by a takeover by the businessman Philip Jeffrey but in 1996, after prolonged boardroom wrangling over Jeffrey's plans, it was sold to Geoffrey Robinson, the Labour MP and businessman.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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