I was talking to a friend yesterday lunchtime about what's going on at the New Statesman. It's a good few weeks since John Kampfner walked the plank, yet news of his successor comes there none. Could it be that editing the 'Staggers', as it is affectionately known, is not quite such an attractive proposition as it once was? If Private Eye is to be believed, New Statesman proprietor Geoffrey Robinson wants to appoint Neal Lawson as the new editor. If this is true, I predict the end the NS as a serious magazine.
Lawson is the nearest you can get, with the possible exception of Kevin Maguire) to the original Gordon Brown 'arselikhan'. He was a former Brown bag carrier prior to the 1997 election, then went on to form the lobbying company LLM, before starting the Brownite think tank cum pressure group Compass. So far as I know he has never edited anything in his life, let alone been a journalist. Surely the New Statesman deserves better. Peter Wilby, John Lloyd, Ian Hargreaves and John Kampfner must be turning in their editorial graves.
There are plenty of people out there for Robinson to choose from, all of whom would do the New Statesman proud - Mark Seddon, Steve Richards, Jackie Ashley to name but three. The trouble is, I suspect that John Kampfner's departure will have made them all think twice.