Reasons to be cheerful

It's not all doom and gloom for British journalism

The possible closure of Britain's oldest Sunday newspaper, the Observer, is just the latest doomy portent to appear to an already beleaguered press. A campaign to save the paper is already gathering pace. But why? For the sake of the people who work there? Because it provides a liberal counterbalance to the right-wing excesses of its rivals? Because the loss of any paper, no matter its political orientation or preference for celebrity-driven content, is a loss for democracy? Sunder Katwala of the Fabian Society and Sunny Hundal over at Liberal Conspiracy have differing, but equally intriguing views on the matter.

Meanwhile, here are three reasons why our media just got a little more diverse, a little more exciting, and a little better-informed:

  1. The Frontline Club has launched a quartely broadsheet devoted to "high-quality" coverage of international politics and culture.
  2. Tribune, the left-wing periodical founded by Aneurin Bevan and that boasts George Orwell as a former literary editor, has relaunched.
  3. Everybody's favourite Jewish anarchist website, Jewdas, is back and better than ever. Jewdas, as if you didn't know, is determined to resurrect "the great radicalism of Jewish tradition, a tradition of dreamers, subversives, cosmopolitans and counter-culturalists." (And unlike elsewhere in the community, you don't have to be Jewish to join in.)

 

Daniel Trilling is the Editor of New Humanist magazine. He was formerly an Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

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“The Hole-Up”: a poem by Matthew Sweeney

“You could taste the raw / seagull you’d killed and plucked, / the mussels you’d dug from sand, / the jellyfish that wobbled in your / hands as you slobbered it.”

Lying on your mouth and nose
on the hot sand, you recall
a trip in a boat to the island –
the fat rats that skittered about
after god-knows-what dinner,
the chubby seals staring up,
the sudden realisation that a man
on the run had wintered there
while the soldiers scoured
the entire shoreline to no avail –
you knew now you had been him
out there. You could taste the raw
seagull you’d killed and plucked,
the mussels you’d dug from sand,
the jellyfish that wobbled in your
hands as you slobbered it.
You saw again that first flame
those rubbed stones woke in
the driftwood pile, and that rat
you grilled on a spar and found
delicious. Yes, you’d been that man,
and you had to admit now you
missed that time, that life,
though you were very glad you
had no memory of how it ended.


Matthew Sweeney’s Black Moon was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Prize. His latest collection is Inquisition Lane (Bloodaxe).

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt