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The editor of The Oldie Richard Ingrams resigns – for being "too old" to attend a disciplinary hearing

The former Private Eye editor and founder of The Oldie resigns following a long-running dispute with the magazine's publisher.

Richard Ingrams, founder and editor of The Oldie, has resigned. Photo: Getty

 

Richard Ingrams, 76, who edited Private Eye for over 20 years, has stood down as editor of The OldieHe co-founded the magazine for the over-60s, which was established to "produce an antidote to youth culture", in 1992.

Ironically, his reason for resigning is because he considers himself "too old". To attend disciplinary meetings, that is. Ingrams has been in a long-running dispute with the magazine's publisher, James Pembroke, whom he describes as "impossible to work with".

Ingrams, who acknowledged that this story is something he'd once have relished at Private Eyecommented:

I had had a long-running dispute with him [Pembroke] about various things, culminating in his summoning me to this disciplinary hearing and saying if I was found guilty of misconduct I would be give a final written warning – in other words, threatened with the sack, really. I was hoping that we could discuss this yesterday [Thursday], but it transpired that Pembroke was determined to have this disciplinary hearing on Monday regardless. I was put in an impossible position, really.

The dispute involves a recent dip in the magazine's sales, as well as disagreements over its front covers. 

Here is a testimonial about The Oldie, from one of its better-known readers, Joan Bakewell:

Their trick is to make all this grumbling seem such fun.

But among its managers, it seems the fun has given way just to grumbling...

I'm a mole, innit.

Getty Images.
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Voters are turning against Brexit but the Lib Dems aren't benefiting

Labour's pro-Brexit stance is not preventing it from winning the support of Remainers. Will that change?

More than a year after the UK voted for Brexit, there has been little sign of buyer's remorse. The public, including around a third of Remainers, are largely of the view that the government should "get on with it".

But as real wages are squeezed (owing to the Brexit-linked inflationary spike) there are tentative signs that the mood is changing. In the event of a second referendum, an Opinium/Observer poll found, 47 per cent would vote Remain, compared to 44 per cent for Leave. Support for a repeat vote is also increasing. Forty one per cent of the public now favour a second referendum (with 48 per cent opposed), compared to 33 per cent last December. 

The Liberal Democrats have made halting Brexit their raison d'être. But as public opinion turns, there is no sign they are benefiting. Since the election, Vince Cable's party has yet to exceed single figures in the polls, scoring a lowly 6 per cent in the Opinium survey (down from 7.4 per cent at the election). 

What accounts for this disparity? After their near-extinction in 2015, the Lib Dems remain either toxic or irrelevant to many voters. Labour, by contrast, despite its pro-Brexit stance, has hoovered up Remainers (55 per cent back Jeremy Corbyn's party). 

In some cases, this reflects voters' other priorities. Remainers are prepared to support Labour on account of the party's stances on austerity, housing and education. Corbyn, meanwhile, is a eurosceptic whose internationalism and pro-migration reputation endear him to EU supporters. Other Remainers rewarded Labour MPs who voted against Article 50, rebelling against the leadership's stance. 

But the trend also partly reflects ignorance. By saying little on the subject of Brexit, Corbyn and Labour allowed Remainers to assume the best. Though there is little evidence that voters will abandon Corbyn over his EU stance, the potential exists.

For this reason, the proposal of a new party will continue to recur. By challenging Labour over Brexit, without the toxicity of Lib Dems, it would sharpen the choice before voters. Though it would not win an election, a new party could force Corbyn to soften his stance on Brexit or to offer a second referendum (mirroring Ukip's effect on the Conservatives).

The greatest problem for the project is that it lacks support where it counts: among MPs. For reasons of tribalism and strategy, there is no emergent "Gang of Four" ready to helm a new party. In the absence of a new convulsion, the UK may turn against Brexit without the anti-Brexiteers benefiting. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.