New Statesman teams up with New Republic

The two historic left-leaning weeklies announce groundbreaking partnership.

The New Statesman has embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration with the weekly US magazine The New Republic. From this week, both magazines will be sharing some of each other's best content with their own audiences, ensuring that our great mix of commentary, analysis and cultural criticism is read on both sides of the Atlantic. 

The tie-up marks a unique partnership between two magazines with a shared history and purpose: to bring the best progressive thought, debate and reporting to as wide an audience as possible.

The New Statesman was founded in 1913, and the New Republic a year later. A century on, both are now in a strong position in both print and online. In 2012, the New Republic was bought by Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, who rejuvenated the title and relaunched an innovative website; meanwhile, the New Statesman has grown both its print subscription figures and its website traffic (by 70 per cent) in the last year.

Every week, we'll be bringing you three pieces from the New Republic - and vice versa. We hope you enjoy reading even more thought-provoking, intelligent writing. 

“Our relationship with the New Statesman is a perfect fit – its sensibility, readership, topical focus, and belief in the importance of both politics and culture all echo that of The New Republic,” said Frank Foer, editor of The New Republic.

Helen Lewis, deputy editor of New Statesman, added: "The New Statesman and New Republic were founded within a year of each another, and have a shared mission - to bring thought-provoking, intelligent political and cultural writing to the widest possible audience. Here's to a new Special Relationship!"

About the New Statesman

Irreverent, beautifully written and witty, the New Statesman is the essential read for bright thinkers everywhere. It is Britain’s leading, best written and most authoritative weekly political, cultural and current affairs magazine. The magazine’s award-winning team of editors and contributors seek to engage readers with great writing, arresting photography, intelligent analysis, bold campaigns and trenchant argument. 

For a century, our mission has been to provide readers with a rigorous examination of political culture as well as to amuse and entertain. Our provocative and acclaimed reports, columns and essays explore the issues that lead our national conversation, from politics to economics, the arts or the environment. The magazine is celebrated for its progressive politics, boldness, independence and skepticism. Subscribe today.

About The New Republic

Tailored for smart, curious, socially aware readers, The New Republic covers politics, culture and big ideas from an unbiased and thought-provoking perspective. Well-known for its century-old tradition of providing context and analysis beyond the daily headlines, The New Republic has been reimagined for the 21st century with fresh and compelling design across print, digital, and mobile devices.  If you like timely journalism that sparks important conversations, you'll love rediscovering The New Republic. Subscribe today.

 

New Statesman and New Republic.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.

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Air pollution: 5 steps to vanquishing an invisible killer

A new report looks at the economics of air pollution. 

110, 150, 520... These chilling statistics are the number of deaths attributable to particulate air pollution for the cities of Southampton, Nottingham and Birmingham in 2010 respectively. Or how about 40,000 - that is the total number of UK deaths per year that are attributable the combined effects of particulate matter (PM2.5) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).

This situation sucks, to say the very least. But while there are no dramatic images to stir up action, these deaths are preventable and we know their cause. Road traffic is the worst culprit. Traffic is responsible for 80 per cent of NOx on high pollution roads, with diesel engines contributing the bulk of the problem.

Now a new report by ResPublica has compiled a list of ways that city councils around the UK can help. The report argues that: “The onus is on cities to create plans that can meet the health and economic challenge within a short time-frame, and identify what they need from national government to do so.”

This is a diplomatic way of saying that current government action on the subject does not go far enough – and that cities must help prod them into gear. That includes poking holes in the government’s proposed plans for new “Clean Air Zones”.

Here are just five of the ways the report suggests letting the light in and the pollution out:

1. Clean up the draft Clean Air Zones framework

Last October, the government set out its draft plans for new Clean Air Zones in the UK’s five most polluted cities, Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton (excluding London - where other plans are afoot). These zones will charge “polluting” vehicles to enter and can be implemented with varying levels of intensity, with three options that include cars and one that does not.

But the report argues that there is still too much potential for polluters to play dirty with the rules. Car-charging zones must be mandatory for all cities that breach the current EU standards, the report argues (not just the suggested five). Otherwise national operators who own fleets of vehicles could simply relocate outdated buses or taxis to places where they don’t have to pay.  

Different vehicles should fall under the same rules, the report added. Otherwise, taking your car rather than the bus could suddenly seem like the cost-saving option.

2. Vouchers to vouch-safe the project’s success

The government is exploring a scrappage scheme for diesel cars, to help get the worst and oldest polluting vehicles off the road. But as the report points out, blanket scrappage could simply put a whole load of new fossil-fuel cars on the road.

Instead, ResPublica suggests using the revenue from the Clean Air Zone charges, plus hiked vehicle registration fees, to create “Pollution Reduction Vouchers”.

Low-income households with older cars, that would be liable to charging, could then use the vouchers to help secure alternative transport, buy a new and compliant car, or retrofit their existing vehicle with new technology.

3. Extend Vehicle Excise Duty

Vehicle Excise Duty is currently only tiered by how much CO2 pollution a car creates for the first year. After that it becomes a flat rate for all cars under £40,000. The report suggests changing this so that the most polluting vehicles for CO2, NOx and PM2.5 continue to pay higher rates throughout their life span.

For ClientEarth CEO James Thornton, changes to vehicle excise duty are key to moving people onto cleaner modes of transport: “We need a network of clean air zones to keep the most polluting diesel vehicles from the most polluted parts of our towns and cities and incentives such as a targeted scrappage scheme and changes to vehicle excise duty to move people onto cleaner modes of transport.”

4. Repurposed car parks

You would think city bosses would want less cars in the centre of town. But while less cars is good news for oxygen-breathers, it is bad news for city budgets reliant on parking charges. But using car parks to tap into new revenue from property development and joint ventures could help cities reverse this thinking.

5. Prioritise public awareness

Charge zones can be understandably unpopular. In 2008, a referendum in Manchester defeated the idea of congestion charging. So a big effort is needed to raise public awareness of the health crisis our roads have caused. Metro mayors should outline pollution plans in their manifestos, the report suggests. And cities can take advantage of their existing assets. For example in London there are plans to use electronics in the Underground to update travellers on the air pollution levels.

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Change is already in the air. Southampton has used money from the Local Sustainable Travel Fund to run a successful messaging campaign. And in 2011 Nottingham City Council became the first city to implement a Workplace Parking levy – a scheme which has raised £35.3m to help extend its tram system, upgrade the station and purchase electric buses.

But many more “air necessities” are needed before we can forget about pollution’s worry and its strife.  

 

India Bourke is an environment writer and editorial assistant at the New Statesman.