In this week’s New Statesman: Melvyn Bragg guest-edit

Exclusive: Unseen Ted Hughes poem on Sylvia Plath’s death | Gore Vidal interview | New P D James sto

Emin

This week's New Statesman is a special issue guest-edited by our greatest polymath, Melvyn Bragg, who recruited Tracey Emin (interviewed inside) to design our front cover.

The issue includes a remarkable and previously unpublished poem by Ted Hughes, "Last letter", describing the days leading up to the suicide of his first wife, the poet Sylvia Plath. Its first line is: "What happened that night? Your final night." -- and the poem ends with the moment Hughes is informed of his wife's death.

Elsewhere, Melyvn speaks to that grand old man of American letters, Gore Vidal, who warns that his homeland is heading for dictatorship, and we feature an exclusive short story by P D James, "The Part-Time Job".

And there's more. David Puttnam argues that the Tories' decision to abolish the UK Film Council betrays their ignorance of history, we publish an exclusive new poem by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and Marcus du Sautoy explains why maths holds the key to secets of the universe.

All this, plus Mehdi Hasan on why the cult of Cameron is fading, David Blanchflower on why it's too early for interest rates to rise and Alice Miles on why the coalition's child benefit cuts will create a less equal society.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

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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