New Statesman Declining into Irrelevance

A few years ago the New Statesman withdrew from having circulation for the print edition independently audited by the industry’s Audit Bureau of Circulation. This caused a lot of raised eyebrows in the trade. Guido has managed to get his hands on the newsstand sales figures for the two years up until March this year. The numbers are dire.

The data above says it all, the sales decline has continued, some weeks the New Statesman sells less than 4,000 copies. By way of comparison Guido’s blog usually has 4,000 readers a day before the Today show has a finished in the morning. This figure does not include subscribers, Guido suspects that may not even number into five figures.

Online nothing has changed since 2009, Guido still has comfortably more online readers than the Staggers. Incidentally tracking data suggests that a fair number of Staggers readers are Guido readers, this site is the ninth most visited site by Staggers readers – despite the magazine’s policy of not linking to this site.

The relative decline of the Staggers versus the Speccie suggests that it is not just because the printed magazine business is in trouble. The Speccie has a paywall yet still has more online visitors than the Staggers, the Speccie sells an online edition, the Statesman does not.

The problems at the magazine are manifold, readers are increasingly unwilling to pay for comment unless it done with panache, yet they got rid of the flamboyant Dan Hodges. There is a distinct lack of news in the magazine, Labour HQ has just experienced a near mutiny, something that would be of great interest to the natural readership of the Staggers and would in the past have been covered in forensic detail. Nothing appeared in the magazine. The only “news” in the magazine that you have not read elsewhere is usually found in Kevin Maguire’s gossip diary.

Mehdi’s Muddle on Iran’s ‘Bombastic’ President

Followers on Twitter will have enjoyed many, many Twitterspats between Guido and the New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan. They follow a familiar pattern with Mehdi usually citing someone who wrote something in the New York Times once and then calling Guido stupid for disagreeing. He’ll often write an article that no one reads in the Staggers “proving” his point.  

Last week he wrote a 1000 word response to a tweet Guido did about bombing Iran’s nuclear programme. Normally Guido can’t be bothered to respond in kind at length. This time an article in response is up on The Commentator.

Labour HQ’s Cheltenham Loser

Following the car crash of a staff meeting on Monday at Labour HQ, staff were further outraged to learn the reason Iain McNicol was not in the office the following day (Tuesday) was, in true David Brent fashion, that he had gone to the races at Cheltenham.

Talking of Charles Allen, one staff member tells Guido

“it is complete disgrace that the NEC has allowed an ex-Goldman Sachs advisor to take over the party, be appointed the Chair of the Executive Board and in effect be the General Secretary in all but name, as Iain McNicol has proved to be such a numpty and not up to the job.”

Comrades, comrades, where is the love?

UPDATE: Over at the New Statesman – which in its heyday would have been all over a developing story like this about trouble in Labour HQ – Mehdi Hasan is complaining that Guido and his former colleague and bitter rival Dan Hodges are getting the scoops that people want to read whilst he is just wails on about Iran and Israel. If Ed Miliband’s biographer wasn’t such a patsy for the Labour leadership he would be reporting the story rather than exhorting Labour to sack our sources. 

An extraordinary stance for a journalist – to want to silence whistleblowers..

Ed’s Guru Glasman Goes For Jugular

Ed Miliband seems to have missed out on those popular few months that even Gordon managed to achieve in the summer of 2007 and has gone straight to the continual leadership crisis stage. Just when Guido thought the Don’t Unseat Ed Miliband Association had got through a successful day of defeating the traitors, Ed’s own guru Maurice Glasman pops up with his Staggers column. The Kray brother lookalike has given Ed two barrels, telling him  “to show some leadership”:

“There seems to be no strategy, no narrative and little energy. Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the shadow cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour’s record in all the wrong ways – we didn’t spend too much money, we’ll cut less fast and less far, but we can’t tell you how. But we have not won, and show no signs of winning, the economic argument. We have not articulated a constructive alternative capable of recognising our weaknesses in government and taking the argument to the coalition. We show no relish for reconfiguring the relationship between the state, the market and society. Ed . . . has not broken through. He has flickered rather than shone, nudged not led.”

How is that for gratitude? Ed might want to think twice about who he puts in the Lords next time. If there is a next time…

UPDATE: Glasman ends his article with: “And we all need to show him love and support in return. I’m backing Ed Miliband.” That should smooth feathers over in Ed’s office this afternoon!

UPDATE II: Glasman has a pop at Ed’s ideological and spiritual father too:

“The problem with Brownite political economy is that, even though it was true that a 3% deficit was not excessive in the context of economic growth, it was debt that was growing at the time, rather than the real economy. A vast, sustained expansion in private debt fuelled the financial sector throughout Brown’s tenure as chancellor and then prime minister”.

Guardian Hack: "I'm a Dodger"

A classic snippet from Kevin Maguire’s column that Guido thought deserved more than New Statesman’s niche, and still declining, audience:

“Boris Johnson’s pledge to take the last of London’s bendy buses off the road by Christmas could prove costly for Zoe Williams, the Mayor of London’s foe-in-chief at the Guardian.Williams, I discovered, is a self-confessed fare dodger. Your columnist’s eye was directed to a hitherto overlooked admission in the pages of her rag. “I actually had a lot of affection for bendy buses, mainly because evading your fare was so easy that to pay was almost missing the point,” wrote Williams in May. “We used to call it ‘freebussing’. I said that to the photographer and she said: ‘But they only came in a few years ago. You weren’t 12 . . . You weren’t even a student. You were . . .’ I was 31. Can I be arrested for saying this? Ach, I will just pretend it was a joke.”

Do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do from a Guardian hack? Well, well. Perhaps Rusbridger can use the same “it was just a joke” line when it comes to their investment and tax affairs

Dan Hodges Joins TelegraphConfirms Guido's Scoop

After a bidding war across the mainstream media blogs, Dan Hodges has signed up to the Telegraph, which is sure to put a few noses out of joint.

“On Thursday morning I got a call from Throatdeep. There had been “an editorial meeting”. This, I knew, was bad. No good ever came from editorial meetings.

The party “incident” had been discussed. Ed’s team were apparently unhappy. Their people had been talking to our people. Three issues had been identified: me and Ralph Nader; the fact that week’s interview between Ed Miliband and Mehdi Hasan hadn’t been featured prominently on the front of the magazine”

He’s blown open the truth about why he left the New Statesman, leaving Ed’s office and the Staggers with red faces:

“And that was it. I shook hands with Throatdeep, in that awkward way men do when they know their paths are diverging. I should give it until Friday, he said. That was fine, I responded. Unless he heard from me, he should take it I’d resigned.

And resign I did. In that dignified and time-honoured manner so beloved of Westminster insiders: the story was leaked to Guido Fawkes.

Did I jump? Was I pushed? Did I flounce? The answer to all three is yes.”

Ed Miliband’s press office tweeted a public denial of any pressure from them:

Hodges has left some parts of the story in code. So Guido thought he would decrypt them for you:

  • “One long-serving staff member” – Mehdi Hasan
  • ThroatDeep – Obviously Jon Bernstein
  • Ms. OrangeTotal Politics political editor Amber Elliott.

Guido won’t hold his breath for an apology after the New Statesman trashed his story at the beginning of the week. He’ll let you be the judge…

Today's Staggers Cover

Ed to Staggers: Rid Me of This Turbulent Hodges

The NewStatesman’s party on the Sunday of Labour conference usually sees the party leader turn up and glad-hand the great and the good. This year Ed walked in one door and walked out the other door barely stopping to shake a hand. On his way out he muttered dismissively that this was his “thirteenth event of the night”. Ed’s people let it be known that it wasn’t bad luck that he snubbed the Staggers, the primary reason for his minimal technical attendance was Dan Hodges’ article that morning attacking Miliband’s strategy as “bold, brave, and politically suicidal” calling Ed the “Ralph Nader of British politics”. You can see how that might hurt.

This brought about a managerial crisis of confidence in editorial plurality. Friends of Hodges say that he thought the understanding was that “Mehdi licked Ed’s arse and Dan kicked him in the balls”. In the Thursday edition published during party conference Dan Hodges’ article about the booing of Blair was spiked and didn’t appear in the magazine – in fact it ended up being published on IainDale.com. Hodges was told he would be rested from the magazine for a few months but allowed to continue to blog for the magazine. Friends say Hodges was told explicitly that the Staggers’ relationship with the Labour leader’s office was important and he was damaging that relationship. Hodges has now resigned.

Could Hodges end up writing for the Spectator? When Martin Bright was pushed out after pressure from Gordon Brown he shifted from being the Staggers’ political editor to writing for their more successful rival. All in all it reflects pretty poorly on the Statesman that it has caved into pressure like this again. The Speccie positively revels in poking party leaders in the eye…

UPDATE:

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they…

Mehdi Hasan, the political editor at the Staggers and sympathetic biographer of Ed Miliband has just tweeted, “For all of you asking me to #SaveDanHodges … I don’t want to”.  Hmmm…

Couldn't Organise A…

Rather optimistically this email has just gone out to Tory and LibDem MPs:

Dear Colleagues

We will be sending you an invitation to Labour Party Conference Events shortly.

Most grateful,

From the Office of
Geoffrey Robinson MP
Chairman
New Statesman

Omni-shambles…

UPDATE: Why is Geoffrey Robinson MP using his taxpayer funded parliamentary email address to send emails out for a commercial organisation in which he has a financial interest? One for the Sunlight Centre to investigate methinks…

Quote of the Day

Prediction by New Statesman’s James Macintyre made 6 May, 2010…

“I predict that David Cameron, having failed to convince an intelligent electorate that he has fundamentally changed his party, will fail to form a government this week and will never become prime minister.”

"Make It Up" Macintyre Tweets Another "Exclusive"

James Macintyre no longer has a column in the New Statesman in which to share his insights. He now has only his Twitter to pass on wisdom. Yesterday he had a ground breaking “Twitter Exclusive” revealing that Gordon’s new book makes no mention of Tony Blair.

For Macintyre it is an exclusive from “a top Whitehall source”, for the rest of us it is a month old story we read everywhere. Wonder how his book is coming along?

Macintyre Retires

James Macintyre denies he was fired from the The New Statesman as Guido revealed yesterday. That’s not what the more than one source* from the Staggers said however, despite theiramicable departure statement. Though one source did say to go easy as he was a little “fragile”.  James claims he has left to write a book. Presumably fiction…

*Double sourcing, if only Macintyre had.

Exclusive: Macintyre Pushed Before He Staggers

Here’s a line Guido has been waiting to write for a long time – the New Statesman’s James Macintyre has been fired.

As regular readers will know Guido has had a less than cordial relationship with the thirsty sidekick of Derek Draper. There are two different versions of events as to what happened after the Statesman’s Labour Party Conference bash. Macintyre claims he was mugged on the way home, but witnesses say he was paralytic. Either way he didn’t wake up with his work laptop or phone. He was put on leave, but has now finally been shown the door after months of humiliating errors and dud stories.

In honour of his departure Guido thought he would list of some James’s Greatest Hits:

How can anyone forget when he called Michael Kaminski, the current leader the Tory ECR group of MEPs, a neo-nazi, on camera? Or when he accused the whole Conservatives of being institutionally racist? What about that time he got the Staggers sued for some serious cash by Daniel Hannan for equally outrageous claims?

There have also been some fantastic quotes from the widely respected journalist. By far the greatest must be those that showed his incredible foresight:

“With a few exceptions, the dark briefings by ministers against other ministers within Labour went away with the departure from Number Ten of Tony Blair”

He was destroyed by the Tory bloggers during the election after making up a story about them based on a menu he found. He also called the election for Labour:

“a small overall majority for Labour is the most likely outcome”

Guido has had some hilarious run ins, such as the time young James accused him of working for the Intelligence Services. Guido was particularly proud of of his put down.

Who could forget the his email chain with his former “close friend” Derek Draper about the cuteness of boys and girls, and the drunken denial of an unasked question at Tory Conference in Manchester 2008:

“I did not have sex with Derek Draper”

One of the final straws that broke the camel’s back must have been his calling of the Labour leadership for Diane Abbott. Presumably post lunch.

It is not known at this time whether he has finally got that job he coveted so much with Ed Miliband…

Boris Clashes With New Statesman

The biggest event on the Tory fringe this week is the Rally for Boris being held this evening, it will be packed – the Tories know Boris will be fun. Guess what time the Staggers have scheduled their party? The same time, not only that it is some way outside the security zone and it is pouring with rain here in Brum.

So if you are interested, there’ll be plenty of Cheesy Wotsits to go round…

UPDATE : If any Tories are going, they can take the opportunity to ask James Macintyre if he still thinks the leader of the Tory grouping in the European Parliament is a “neo-nazi”…

No Takers for Staggers Diane Abbott Victory Party

The word is that the New Statesman are having a little bit of trouble drumming up the numbers for their party at Labour conference this Sunday. Guido is surprised the finest and shrewdest political journalists of the left aren’t more popular. Their circulation may have plummeted, but there is free booze after all. Who wouldn’t want to go along to what will be the Diane Abbott victory party:

Well there goes Guido’s spot on the guest-list…

Deficit Deniers Exit the Reality-Based Community

The knee-jerk reaction from the left to being called “deficit deniers” is nigh on hysterical, this morning Comrade Maguire over at the Mirror indulges in a ritual denuciation of Maggie, quotes Neil Kinnock approvingly and says “I’m proud to be called one of George Osborne’s deficit deniers”. Given that the polling shows the public understands the need for spending cuts and the peril the deficit presents, our Kev is advertising his exit from what could be described as the reality-based community.

Over at the Staggers, Medhi Hussein, too says “I’m proud to be a deficit denier”.  Confusingly, for a self-described polemicist, he then qualifies what he writes, claiming that he doesn’t “deny the existence of this country’s largest Budget deficit since the war” nor “pretend that cuts will never come”. Which somewhat suggests that one of the few media admirers of Balls isn’t such a proud deficit denier after all.

The deficit-denier-in-chief, Ed Balls, one half of the duo that abolished “boom and bust”, is the bookies favourite to be eliminated in the first round of the Labour leadership election. Nevertheless Balls is sticking to his “so what?” position, claiming deficit reduction is the “economics of the madhouse”. Absurdly Balls reckons even Alistair Darling’s modest deficit reduction plan was wrong: “Halving the deficit in four years by cutting public spending… I think was a mistake. In government at the time in 2009 I always accepted collective responsibility, but at the time in 2009 I thought the pace of deficit reduction through spending cuts was not deliverable, I didn’t think it could have been done… I’m not happy to accept cuts in any part of the budget…” Guido thinks that is really the “economics of the madhouse”…

Stagnant Staggers Struggles for Staffers

With job openings in journalism a rarity these days, with newspapers laying off staff left right and centre, graduate schemes having thousands of applicants for one place and talk of not paying interns laughed out of the media world, you would think the post of assistant editor to a once prestigious and well read magazine would have the applications flooding in. Not at this dying magazine though…

The New Statesman have had to extend the application process for their assistant editor, presumably because of a lack of interest or quality hats thrown in the ring. Who wouldn’t want to be responsible for the dirth of talent at the struggling magazine?

With such cutting edge insight from the Political Editor Mehdi Hasan such as “The next Labour leader will be called Miliband and the renowned “Mr Scoop” himself, James Macintyre on board, the job would be a breeze, just watch out for those writs. With circulation rapidly heading for rock bottom – just the libraries that subscribe – perhaps those budding lefty hacks have realised the Staggers is a place to end your career rather than start it…

UPDATE: Mehdi got in touch to insist that he is not the Political Editor but the Senior Editor (Political). If that is the only part of the story he could find to refute then things were worse than Guido thought….

Guy News: Staggers Continues to Promote Smears

Despite having paid substantial damages and apologising to Daniel Hannan, the New Statesman‘s website is still actively promoting James Macintyre’s smear from last August against the leader of the conservative grouping in the European Parliament, Michal Kaminski:

Macintyre better hope Kaminski isn’t feeling litigious about this accusation. The Chief Rabbi of Poland accused Macintyre of misrepresenting  his views.  Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich cleared Kaminski of the charge of being an anti-semite, and if anyone should know, he should know. Macintyre, as this video shows, still accuses Kaminski of being “a former neo-nazi”.

UPDATE: A gruff James Macintyre couldn’t get off the phone quick enough when Guy News asked whether he stood by the accusation that Kaminski was a “former neo-nazi”. “I refer you to my original email and have nothing else to say“, whatever that means. Let’s see what his boss and New Statesman publisher Spencer Neil has to say about it…

Staggers Coughs for Slurs

Former intimate friend of Derek Draper, James MacIntyre, the New Statesman’s wayward political editor, got his fingers well and truly burnt in a smear straight out of the MacBride/Draper play-book. Macintyre has been moaning about the apparent easy ride the Tories are getting in the press. It seems he likes to hold them to extreme accounts, regardless of the truth. It took Guido days to trawl around for the last edition of the New Statesman but he finally managed to snatch one from a passed-out tramp. Hidden away in it was this apology:

A Carter-Rucking later and a substantial five figure sum gives us confirmation of what was already common knowledge in the  Westminster village: make-it-up-Macintyre smears Conservatives as racists.

Staggering Hypocrisy

Given what a shining New Statesman’s James Macintyre took to top freelance totty Rowenna Davis, it was only going to be a matter of time before she ended up writing for the struggling magazine. Last month she wrote a piece slamming parliamentarian’s use of unpaid interns suggesting that “MPs’ dependence on unpaid interns gives those from richer backgrounds a headstart on breaking into politics.” A fair point perhaps, so what’s this Guido reads?[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Michael Crick on Safe Seats:

“In effect, new MPs are being elected day by day now, as, amid huge secrecy, small cabals of party bigwigs pick candidates for safe seats.”

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