Labour leader Ed Miliband paid tribute to the New Statesman’s role in creating a “thriving political culture” at a Westminster party to celebrate the magazine’s 100th anniversary last night.
And Miliband joked that the New Statesman made an “excellent choice in the Labour leadership contest [in 2010], one of three publications do so…one was a blog and the other was the Sunday People”.
Noting that editor since 2008 Jason Cowley has increased print circulation in recent years, Miliband said that the title’s website now attracts around one million monthly readers, he said the New Statesman would probably have died after 85 years if it wasn’t for Geoffrey Robinson MP. He was proprietor until 2008 when the title was bought by Mike Danson’s Progressive Media (which also owns Press Gazette).
Describing the New Statesman as a magazine which has “an extraordinary history” he noted that it has a “complicated relationship with the Labour Party” and made somewhat shamefaced reference to his comment during Prime Ministers’s questions earlier this year when he said that David Cameron was “scraping the barrel” by quoting the New Statesman.
He said: “Sometimes Labour leaders make unflattering remarks about the New Statesman” and noted that Tony Blair included a veiled jibe against the magazine in his autobiography.
Saying that the New Statesman was important to the Labour Party, Miliband said: “Politics is not just about politicians, it’s about the ideas that shape the political culture of our country.”
He noted that “both CND and Charter 88 come out of the New Statesman” and added that “a thriving political culture and a thriving New Statesman go together”.
He said: “The unsung heroes of this magazine are the people who work for it. You don’t come and work for the New Statesman for the money, you do it because you care about our country and you care about our world…and it’s to them that I pay tribute to tonight.”
This piece first appeared on Press Gazette.