Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
16 February 2007

We’re independent, are you?

Bright responds to Guido Fawkes

By Martin Bright

The right-wing blogger Paul Staines has today alleged on his “Guido Fawkes” website that the independence of the New Statesman is under question. Once again he has not allowed accuracy to get in the way of a piece of mischief.

He suggests the editorial decision not to write about the charity commission investigation into the Smith Institute think tank, which is housed next door to the magazine, is in some way politically motivated. More generally, he suggests the magazine is uncritical of Gordon Brown Both claims are nonsense.
We have not written about the Smith Institute because we didn’t think anybody outside the blogosphere would be interested. It’s as simple as that.

As for the idea that we are soft on Brown, perhaps he might care to look at any of the many political columns, features and editorials of the past year or more in the magazine that are strongly critical of him. I commend readers to my column this week, which is critical of Brown’s circle and by implication the Chancellor himself. If anything, some politicians and journalists charge us with over-compensating for the supposed relationship between Brown and the NS by being over-critical.

As for the present interest in the Smith Institute, it is right and proper that the charity commission should investigate its charitable status and I hope it will do the same with other thinktanks on the left and right. Perhaps it should initiate an inquiry into the charitable status of think tanks as a whole or perhaps that would be better done by a parliamentary committee. It is clearly something that should be kept under constant scrutiny by MPs, the charity commission and journalists.

The Smith Institute is not the New Statesman, and so I won’t presume to speak for it. No-one from the Smith Institute has ever tried to influence what I write or even persuade me of the wisdom of the Brownite worldview. It is perfectly legitimate for right-wing newspapers and bloggers to use it as a stick with which to beat Brown, but it is neither fair nor accurate to suggest that the independence of the NS is compromised in any way as a result.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action