In this week’s New Statesman: The myth of Mandela

South Africa special | Pilger on Israel | Nadine Gordimer interview.

Mandela

With just eight days to go until the World Cup kicks off, this week's New Statesman is a special issue devoted to South Africa. In the cover story, Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC MP, warns that while the World Cup will create a feel-good factor, the same urgent problems will remain in the world's most unequal country. Elsewhere, in a moving essay, Gary Younge reflects on race, nation and football, and explains how he finally learned to cheer for England.

Also don't miss Samira Shackle's interview with the Noble Prize-winning novelist Nadine Gordimer and Tim Adams's cerebral guide to Fabio Capello.

Israel's assault on the Gaza aid flotilla has dominated the news agenda this week and, in his column, John Pilger describes the "master illusion" that allowed the Netanyahu government to mislead the media.

In British politics, Mehdi Hasan sees the first cracks in the coalition, Alan Duncan explains why he knows what David Laws is going through, and Alice Miles says that Labour needs Diane Abbott's name on the ballot paper.

The issue is on sale now, or you can subscribe through the website.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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