Against this background, serious comment has a hard time escaping the confines of the Newsnight studio. New Statesman is typical of the kind of magazine that, like the scruffy, worthy, faintly smelly bloke you tried to avoid in the student union, has been left wondering how to engage with the social whirl enveloping it.
Naturally, it has started with a makeover. Its new cover design is clean, bold and attractive, with a revised masthead suggesting a certain cool exactitude. It is a big improvement and should help woo browsers and pique the interest of lost readers. An interview with Tory leader David Cameron and an interesting spread of writers, including columnists Julian Clary and Miranda Sawyer, illustrate an eagerness to signal an awareness of life outside the left.
So, Student Union Bloke has shaved and bought a trendy jacket. The old hobbyhorses are still there (as if anyone needed telling that things are bad in Iraq or that George W Bush is no Theodore Roosevelt), but there is enough to give the title a fighting chance of attracting a decent spread of advertisers.
- Publisher: New Statesman.