'New Statesman' finally makes a profit

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Indy Politics

The offices of the New Statesman were infused with unusual exuberance and self-congratulation yesterday as its proprietor, the beleaguered Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, dropped in with some good news. After 30 years in the red the New Statesman has finally, this year, made a profit.

The offices of the New Statesman were infused with unusual exuberance and self-congratulation yesterday as its proprietor, the beleaguered Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, dropped in with some good news. After 30 years in the red the New Statesman has finally, this year, made a profit.

"I've never felt better in my life," he said, showing much good humour for a man who has been at the heart of a political row all week. Although deemed to be under pressure to drop damaging revelations that he made a £250,000 contribution to Tony Blair's office, Mr Robinson was upbeat.

When he bought it in 1996, the magazine had lost its place at the heart of political debate. It produced didactic socialist tomes for a dwindling readership; circulation was down to 17,000 and losses at one point reached £1.5m.

Yesterday Peter Wilby, the editor, said the great achievement had been to win "a 22-23,000 circulation that people are actually paying for." This referred to the much higher circulation claimed by the rival Spectator . "We don't know how many of those Spectators are actually being sold at full price," said an industry insider.

Mr Wilby has spurned a trend to dispose of magazines at low subscriptions or free, hoping readers will eventually pay for a full subscription.

It does, of course, help the Labour-oriented publication that a Labour government is in power.

"It clearly helps with the advertisers," said Mr Wilby. "In this climate they want to reach people on the left, people who read the New Statesman. "

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