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A letter from the editor on the future of the New Statesman

We’re asking those who get the most out of the New Statesman online to support our journalism.

There’s no denying that we are living through an era of extraordinary politics, and the world is changing fast.

Between fake news and Twitter bots, it’s hard to know who or what can be trusted.

For more than a century, the New Statesman has been Britain’s leading weekly political and cultural magazine – offering everything from progressive ideas, to book reviews, essays and long reads, and insightful interviews. Led by our firm commitments to truth-telling and quality, we publish world-class journalism on the issues that matter most.

Recent years have seen our print magazine revitalised, while our website has continued to introduce millions of readers to our celebrated journalism.

But great writing isn’t cheap, and we don’t want to rely on advertisers alone. While we’re happy for you to continue to read some of our content for free, we’re asking those who get the most out of the New Statesman online to contribute to our journalism.

Digital subscribers will not only receive the latest issue of the magazine online before it hits the newsstands, but will also have unlimited access to all our blogs, online pieces and in-depth journalism.

As a further thank you for subscribing, we’ll also be providing exclusive content, early access to podcasts, early bird and discounted events tickets and a wide range of other benefits.

But just as importantly, you’ll be supporting authoritative, elegantly written, and independent journalism at a time when it has never been more needed.

What will change?

Starting later this month, the New Statesman will be introducing a metered paywall. Readers will still be able to view a limited number of articles for free each month. However, our more avid readers will be asked to create a free account to continue reading more than a few pieces per month; or sign up for a digital, or combined print and digital, subscription for full, unlimited access and exclusive content.

Digital subscribers will receive:

  • Immediate access to New Statesman magazine articles before the print edition hits the newsstand with NS INSTANT.
  • Unlimited access to the New Statesman website
  • The New Statesman on iOS or Android
  • Subscriber-only long reads
  • A briefing for the week ahead from our award-winning columnist Stephen Bush
  • Early access to New Statesman Podcasts
  • Early bird and discounted tickets to New Statesman events

If you're an existing print or digital subscriber and have any questions, please get in touch with our subcriptions team at

Jason Cowley is editor of the New Statesman. He has been the editor of Granta, a senior editor at the Observer and a staff writer at the Times.

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I’ll miss the youthful thrill of Claire’s Accessories – but the tween Mecca refused to grow up

From an adolescent rite of passage to struggling to stay open: how the tackiest shop on the high street lost its shine.

The first day I was allowed to go into “town” (hailing from rural Essex, that’s the local shopping centre, not London) with a friend – unsupervised by a parent – was a real cornerstone of my childhood.

We were 13, and looking back, we had neither mobile phones nor contingency plans, and my mum must have been sat at home for the entire two hours scared shitless, waiting for when she could pick me up again (by the Odeon carpark, 3pm sharp).

Finally free from the constraints of traipsing around department stores bound by the shackles of an adult, my friend and I had the most grown-up afternoon we could imagine; Starbucks Frappuccinos (size: tall – we weren’t made of money), taking pictures on a pink digital camera in the H&M changing rooms, and finally, making a beeline for tween Mecca: Claire’s Accessories.

As a beauty journalist, I’m pretty sure Saturdays spent running amok among the diamante earrings, bow hairbands and fluffy notebooks had an influence on my career path.

I spent hours poring over every rack of clip-on earrings, getting high on the fumes of strawberry lipbalm and the alcohol used to clean freshly pierced toddlers’ ears.

Their slogan, “Where getting ready is half the fun”, still rings true for me ten years on, as I stand on the edge of dancefloors, bored and waiting until my peers are suitably drunk to call it a night, yet revelling in just how great my painstakingly applied false lashes look.

The slogan on a Claire's receipt. Photo: Flickr

On Monday, Claire’s Accessories US filed for bankruptcy, after they were lumbered with insurmountable debts since being taken over by Apollo Global Management in 2007. Many of the US-based stores are closing. While the future of Claire’s in the UK looks uncertain, it may be the next high street retailer – suffering from the surge of online shopping – to follow in Toys R Us’ footsteps.

As much as I hate to say it, this is unsurprising, considering Claire’s commitment to remain the tackiest retailer on the high street.

With the huge rise of interest in beauty from younger age groups – credit where credit’s due, YouTube – Claire’s has remained steadfast in its core belief in taffeta, rhinestone and glitter.

In my local Superdrug (parallel to the Claire’s Accessories, a few doors down from the McDonald’s where we would sit, sans purchase, maxed out after our Lipsmacker and bath bomb-filled jaunt), there are signs plastered all over the new Makeup Revolution concealer stand: “ENQUIRE WITH STAFF FOR STOCK”. A group of young girls nervously designate one among them to do the enquiring.

Such is the popularity of the three-week-old concealer, made infamous by YouTube videos entitled things like “I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS CONCEALER!” and “FULL COVERAGE AND £4!!!”, no stock is on display for fear of shoplifters.

The concealer is cheap, available on the high street, comparable to high-end brands and favoured by popular YouTube “beauty gurus”, giving young girls a portal into “adult life”, with Happy Meal money.

It’s unlikely 13-year-olds even own eye bags large enough to warrant a full coverage concealer, but they’re savvy enough to know that they can now get good quality makeup and accessories, without going any higher than Claire’s price points.

They have naturally outgrown a retailer that refuses to grow with them; it’s simply not sustainable on Claire’s part to sell babyish items to a market who no longer want babyish things.

Adulthood is catching up with this new breed of teenagers faster than ever, and they’ve decided it’s time to put away childish things.

Tweenagers of 2018 won’t miss Claire’s Accessories if it goes. The boarded-up purple signage would leave craters in shopping centre walls soon to be filled with the burgundy sheen of a new Pret.

But I will. Maybe not constantly – it’s not as if Primark has stopped selling jersey dresses, or Topshop their Joni jeans – it’ll be more of a slow burn. I’ll mourn the loss of Claire’s the next time a pang of nostalgia for blue-frosted shadow hits me, or when it’s Halloween eve and I realise I’m bereft of a pair of cat ears. But when the time comes, there’s always Amazon Prime.

Amelia Perrin is a freelance beauty and lifestyle journalist.