Thank you Oliver Postgate

We pay tribute to Oliver Postgate who has sadly passed away. He wrote for between N

Oliver Postgate, who died on Monday 8 December, should be remembered as one of the great children's storytellers of the 20th century.

Generations were transported by his imagination - and thanks to creations like Bagpuss and Ivor the Engine - were inspired to use their own.

He wrote for between November 2006 and February of this year. In the closing months of his life his primary preoccupation seemed to be with man's wilful destruction of the planet.

His musings on the subject were suitably whimsical. This year in his God Dialogues he wrote on the inherent worthlessness of money, the deeply damaging effects of religion ("The separation between law and religious injunction has got to be absolute and stay that way, otherwise fear will come back into the land") and nuclear weapons.

Oliver died in Kent aged 83. I last heard from him on 1 July. I'd asked him to write for us again.

He wrote: "Dear Ben, Been(am) very ill. The world will have to manage without me for a bit.
all the best Oliver".

You can read all Oliver's contributions to by clicking here

Ben Davies trained as a journalist after taking most of the 1990s off. Prior to joining the New Statesman he spent five years working as a politics reporter for the BBC News website. He lives in North London.
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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.