'Tribune' looks to unions for revival

By Andy McSmith
Sunday 24 November 2002 01:00

Tribune, the small left-wing newspaper which helped make the names of George Orwell and Michael Foot, is on the brink of a revival fuelled by antagonism between the Government and the unions.

Tribune's chairman, the former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle, and its editor, Mark Seddon, are hoping to assemble a consortium of at least half a dozen left-wing unions which will pay £270,000 for a 51 per cent stake in the paper.

According to its business plan, Tribune's name, its cramped offices and its 10,000 or so loyal readers amount to a business worth more than £500,000.

A cash injection, it is hoped, will enable Tribune to treble its circulation and reach younger readers disillusioned by the caution displayed by Tony Blair's government.

Mr Seddon, who is expected to take the title of editor-in-chief of the expanded newspaper, said: "We are telling the unions that if you want to reach out to a new generation of youngsters who are interested in politics, but know little or nothing about the unions, then there is a good brand name you can use, and that brand name is Tribune.

"We believe that our editorial line and the interests of the unions coincide."

Founded by Sir Stafford Cripps in 1937, Tribune was a serious force in the Labour Party. Michael Foot joined the paper as assistant editor in 1937 and was its editor for nine years after the war. George Orwell contributed his "As I please" column to the paper for many years.

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