October 2013: record traffic of 2.68m unique users on newstatesman.com

What you've been reading during an extraordinary and record-breaking month for the NS website.

**Unique monthly users of www.newstatesman.com soar past the 2.6 million mark in October after strong online growth all year

**October website figures smash previous record of 1.84 million in August

**Thousands of downloads of the all-new NS app in its first two weeks

**Magazine expands to 72 pages thanks to growing advertising revenue

The New Statesman today announced record traffic to its award-winning politics and culture website in October. More than two and a half million people visited newstatesman.com over the month – a new high which follows strong growth all year and a peak of 1.84 million unique users in August. The latest figures mean the New Statesman now enjoys an online readership more than twice that of the Spectator, sealing its place as Britain’s biggest political website.

Jason Cowley, the editor of the New Statesman, said: “These bumper figures are yet another cause for celebration as we draw near to the end of our centenary year. But these figures are not an outlier: they follow strong growth all year.”

Cowley said: “Since the successful redesign of newstatesman.com two years ago, our in-house team – led by our web editor, Caroline Crampton, and George Eaton, editor of our rolling politics blog, The Staggers – have made sure more and more online readers turn to us to find the very best writing about politics, ideas, current affairs, philosophy, religion and culture. I am delighted that the website has developed its own distinctive identity. Its success mirrors that of the print magazine, which has just expanded to 72 pages this week as a result of buoyant advertising revenues and a significant increase in paid-for circulation. Indeed, subscriptions are more than 20 per cent up [on last year] in 2013.”

Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman, said: “Russell Brand’s essay was a huge success for us, with more than half a million hits, nearly 90,000 Facebook interactions and 1,000 tweets. But in the same weekend, we had other, more low-key successes: a piece from our new blogger Ian Steadman which made the front page of Reddit, for example, and a great take on Educating Yorkshire which went viral on Facebook. It’s clear that this is no fluke: our traffic has grown by more than 400% since the site was relaunched in April last year.”

The New Statesman was the first British periodical to launch online (in 1995) and currently publishes all its magazine content online, free to view, a week after print publication. The website combines essays, cultural criticism and reportage with witty, irreverent and polemical blogs and social commentary. More than 40 per cent of the New Statesman’s web traffic is generated by online readers sharing content on social media.

The New Statesman’s powerful online presence has also helped to generate digital subscriptions via its new iPad and iPhone app. The NS app, a smartly designed digital representation of the magazine, has been downloaded by thousands of users since its launch just two weeks ago.

Jason Cowley continued: “Our digital subscriptions, including those on Kindle, are growing rapidly and we are now being read all over the world by people who are interested in good writing, original thinking and progressive ideas. We are especially committed to the essay and to long-form journalism.

“The New Statesman continues to reduce its losses and, because of the success of our centenary year, will be profitable in 2014. It’s a remarkable transformation in the fortunes of this great magazine.”

The NS app is available to download from the iTunes App Store and comes with a free copy of the magazine’s acclaimed centenary double issue of 12 April 2013. Digital subscriptions can be taken out through Apple (annual at £79.99, monthly £7.99, single issue £2.99).

 

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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.