Nelson Mandela dies aged 95

The former South African leader has died, president Jacob Zuma has announced.

Nelson Mandela has died aged 95, it has been announced. 

He had been treated at home for a lung infection in recent weeks, after spending three months in hospital. 

The announcement was made by South African president Jacob Zuma, who said that "what made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves. Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell."

From the New Statesman's archives:

John Pilger, 2013: Mandela's greatness is assured, but not his legacy

Hedley Twidle, 2013: The last days of Nelson Mandela

Mamphela Ramphele: "Mandela said: never accept anyone telling you one sole organisation is the author of this freedom"

Nelson Mandela. Photo: Getty

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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If Seumas Milne leaves Jeremy Corbyn, he'll do it on his own terms

The Corbynista comms chief has been keeping a diary. 

It’s been a departure long rumoured: Seumas Milne to leave post as Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications and strategy to return to the Guardian.

With his loan deal set to expire on 20 October, speculation is mounting that he will quit the leader’s office. 

Although Milne is a key part of the set-up – at times of crisis, Corbyn likes to surround himself with long-time associates, of whom Milne is one – he has enemies within the inner circle as well. As I wrote at the start of the coup, there is a feeling among Corbyn’s allies in the trade unions and Momentum that the leader’s offfice “fucked the first year and had to be rescued”, with Milne taking much of the blame. 

Senior figures in Momentum are keen for him to be replaced, while the TSSA, whose general secretary, Manuel Cortes, is one of Corbyn’s most reliable allies, is said to be keen for their man Sam Tarry to take post in the leader’s office on a semi-permanent basis. (Tarry won the respect of many generally hostile journalists when he served as campaign chief on the Corbyn re-election bid.) There have already been personnel changes at the behest of Corbyn-allied trade unions, with a designated speechwriter being brought in.

But Milne has seen off the attempt to remove him, with one source saying his critics had been “outplayed, again” and that any new hires will be designed to bolster, rather than replace Milne as comms chief. 

Milne, however, has found the last year a trial. I am reliably informed that he has been keeping a diary and is keen for the full story of the year to come out. With his place secure, he could leave “with his head held high”, rather than being forced out by his enemies and made a scapegoat for failures elsewhere, as friends fear he has been. The contents of the diary would also allow him to return in triumph to The Guardian rather than slinking back. 

So whether he decides to remain in the Corbyn camp or walk away, the Milne effect on Team Corbyn is set to endure.

 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.