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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On Wheels

A new poem by Patrick Mackie

The hills swarm and soften towards the end of the day just as
flames do in a fireplace as the evening
loosens and breaks open and lets out night.
A nasty, grotesque, impatient year ended,
and the new one will be bitter,
tired, opaque. Words wrangle in every inch of air,
their mouths wide open in stupid shock
at what they have just heard every time they hear anything. Venus,
though, blazes with heavy wobbles of albeit frozen
light. Brecht, who I like to call my
brother just as he called Shelley his,
has a short late poem where he sits by a roadside, waiting
while someone changes the wheel on his car,
watching with impatience, despite not liking
either the place that he is coming from or
the place that he is going to. We call it
connectivity when in truth it is just aggression
and imitation writ ever larger. Poems, though,
are forms of infinite and wry but also briskly
impatient patience. Brecht’s poem seems to end,
for instance, almost before you
can read it. It wheels. The goddess is just a big, bright
wilderness but then soon enough she clothes
herself again in the openness of night and I lose her.

Patrick Mackie’s latest collection, The Further Adventures Of The Lives Of The Saints, is published by CB Editions.

This article first appeared in the 18 May 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Age of Lies

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