LETTER:Myth of the New Statesman's 'golden age'

From Mr Bruce Page

Sir: James Fenton ("Statesman staggers from crisis to crisis", 2 October) asks why political magazines of the right thrive more readily than those of the left. The answer is that comfortable ideas are easier to sell than uncomfortable ones, and the main idea of the right - which is that giving the poor more money doesn't aid them - is a real winner.

It would help, of course, if those who favour the left kept their own ideas in order. Mr Fenton writes that in 1978, when he and I competed for the editorship, "the paper owned its building in Lincoln's Inn Fields, had money in the bank, and made, as a company, an operating profit".

The paper made an operating loss. This was subsidised out of investment income, which had been built up during the days when the paper itself did make a profit. It may have been too late, by 1978, to re-create that commercial success. But I still think it was worthwhile to try: it might have been worthwhile for the New Statesman board to have tried a little harder.

Yours faithfully,

Bruce Page

London, EC2

2 October