Notes from the NS archive


Enoch Powell and Ian Paisley at a Unionist meeting in Belfast in 1974. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images
From the archive: a 1987 NS profile of Ian Paisley, the “Ulster Autocrat”
By Peter Brooke - 12 September 14:19

As part of a series of profiles in the NS of politicians who “inspire fear and loathing abroad yet are often worshipped at home”, in 1987 Peter Brooke examined the patronage politics of the Reverend Ian Paisley.

Get down with the common people: Annus Mirabilis, Rose Blake's tribute to Larkin and the spirit of the Sixties. © Rose Blake
From the archive: The Menace of Beatlism
By Paul Johnson - 28 August 16:32

In February 1964, then future NS editor Paul Johnson wrote an article attacking the Beatles and all they stood for. It became the most complained-about piece in the Statesman’s history.

Ben-Gurion, pictured in December 1953, after he stepped down as Israeli prime minister for the first time and moved to a settlement in the desert
David Ben-Gurion: prophet in the wilderness
By New Statesman - 11 August 10:00

A 1955 archive profile of the founder and first prime minister of Israel, shortly after his return to power. 

Crowds congregating outside the House of Commons on 4th August, 1914
From the archive: Desmond MacCarthy’s diary “August the Fourth” on the outbreak of the First World War
By Desmond MacCarthy - 04 August 12:30

The Bloomsbury-group writer and critic describing the night the First World War began for Britain, observes the madness in London, the onset of war-fever, and laments the irony of international conflict.

The NS First World War poems: Edward Thomas and Robert Graves
By Edward Thomas and Robert Graves - 03 July 10:00

Two poems by the First World War poets both appeared in the pages of the New Statesman – the first in June 1918, the second March 1919.

The NS First World War poems: Siegfried Sassoon
By Siegfried Sassoon - 03 July 10:00

Sassoon (or “Sashûn”, as he signed himself here) was one of only a handful of Great War poets who survived the fighting. This poem was first published in the New Statesman of 22 May 1926.

Felix Dennis.
“Is there anything you consider indecent”? Felix Dennis at the OZ trial from the NS archive
By Jonathan Dimbleby - 24 June 10:31

Jonathan Dimbleby reports from the OZ trial, where the late Felix Dennis (1947-2014) and his co-editors Richard Neville and Jim Anderson stood trial for "conspiracy to corrupt public morals".

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou 1928-2014: An extraordinary mix of innocence and depravity, elegy and celebration
By Nicci Gerrard - 28 May 15:04

From the archive: Nicci Gerrard on Maya Angelou's second volume of autobiography, Gather Together in My Name, first published in the New Statesman 17 May 1985.

Portrait of Josef Stalin (1933) by Isaak Izrailevich. Image: Bridgeman Art Library
H G Wells: “It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr Stalin”
By H G Wells - 18 April 9:00

In 1934, Wells arrived in Moscow to meet a group of Soviet writers. While there Stalin granted him an interview. 

Pipe dream: a 1980 portrait of Benn by Ralph Steadman.
Tony Benn: A fight for common sense
By Tony Benn - 28 March 15:03

In a piece originally published in the New Statesman on 31 March 1961, Tony Benn explains the decision to renounce his peerage.

“To say it country simple, most folks enjoy junk”: William S Burroughs on addiction, rehab and Opium Jones
By William S Burroughs - 05 February 17:08

On the centenary of his birth, we republish William S Burroughs's 1966 New Statesman essay on apomorphine, the drug which helped him kick his heroin habit in London.

Winston Churchill interviewed in 1939: “The British people would rather go down fighting”
By Kingsley Martin - 06 January 10:04

In January 1939, as Germany and Russia rearmed, Kingsley Martin, the editor of the New Statesman, spoke to the former chancellor and war secretary about the prospects of conflict and how Britain should prepare.

New Statesman
Should we hang Mr Churchill or not?
By Clifford Sharp - 10 October 11:13

Reflections on the General Strike of 1926.

New Statesman
From the Archive: Will Tom Clancy be taken seriously in death?
By Sean French - 02 October 17:06

In this article originally written on 2nd September 1994, Sean French wonders why Tom Clancy was hardly ever discussed at all during his lifetime.

Tolstoy and the Lesson of the Artist
By Robert Morss Lovett - 11 September 8:07

In 1928, Robert Morss Lovett marked Tolstoy's centenary in the <em>New Republic</em> with this essay exploring the existential questions that haunted the author throughout his life.

27 June 1969: It’s impossible to fault Seamus Heaney's clean language and sensuous delight
By Anthony Thwaite - 30 August 13:42

In 1969, the poet Anthony Thwaite reviewed Seamus Heaney's collection Door into the Dark, alongside other newly-published works, under the heading "Country Matters". He found Heaney's poems to be without peer, but also strangely exotic in their appeal.

Brazilian football team.
“A kitten with a ball of wool”: The Brazilians by Danny Blanchflower - 4 January 1963
By The Old Statesman - 16 August 14:00

From the archive: Football legend Danny Blanchflower on the 1963 Brazilian team after their appearance at Wembley, "prince and heirs" to the crown of world football.

Martin Amis smoking.
Martin Amis: Why I had to quit the New Statesman
By Bithia Large - 31 July 10:00

The BBC's Meeting Myself Coming Back this week features the novelist Martin Amis, who remembers his days as Literary Editor at the New Statesman and explains why he had to leave.

elson Mandela and his then-wife Winnie raise fists upon Mandela's release
From the NS, 19 January 1990: Mandela at large
By Ivor Powell - 04 July 18:26

After 27 years in detention the release of Nelson Mandela was awaited like a second coming. On the eve of the prison doors opening Ivor Powell wondered if he could fulfil these great expectations.

From the archive: An interview with Nelson Mandela on Bisho, de Klerk and the new South Africa
By Shaun Johnson - 04 July 18:12

On 7 September 1992, 28 ANC supporters and one policeman were shot dead in Bisho after protesting in an attempt to have the Xhosa “homeland” of Ciskei reincorporated into South Africa. Less than a month later, Shaun Johnson spoke to Nelson Mandela about h

Nelson Mandela: The mouse that roared
By Sarah Baxter - 04 July 17:59

From the New Statesman, 15 April 1994. The assassination of Chris Hani, the leader of the South African Communist Party, in 1993, proved a turning point. As the country threatened to erupt in violence, a date for the first multiracial general election was

Norman Mackenzie.
Norman Mackenzie: Editor, teacher, writer . . . spy?
By Adrian Smith - 28 June 14:41

Remembering the former NS staffer, who died on 18 June.

Mandela in Randfontein, South Africa, November 1993, Getty Images
Mandela's power has come: The ANC's challenges in government
By Sarah Baxter - 10 June 16:50

While the ANC has spent years bravely resisting apartheid, it has no experience of government. Sarah Baxter assesses the problems facing Nelson Mandela in power.

Nelson Mandela in 1990, Getty images
10 June 1988: Mandela's image problem
By Marek Kohn - 10 June 15:35

Marek Kohn examines Nelson Mandela's image through the prism of the mass media world.

The newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II on the road in 1953.
13 June 1953: There's nothing like a Coronation to test one's scepticism, one's innate Republicanism
By Angus Wilson - 04 June 10:25

The novelist and short story writer Angus Wilson writing in the New Statesman on the Coronation festivities in Essex in 1953: "As our car came down the hill, we could see the jolly jack tar hats and ribbons that mark the merry morris, and there indeed it

New Statesman
3 July 2000: Does protest need a vision?
By Naomi Klein - 02 May 13:12

After worldwide May Day riots, Naomi Klein argues in favor of the anti-corporate movement's "decentralised" nature.

Malcolm X.
When the NS met Malcolm X
By Brian Glanville - 29 April 15:11

12 June 1964.

8 March 1991: What feminism means to me
By The Old Statesman - 29 April 13:44

Diana Quick, Margi Clarke, Vanessa Redgrave and others.