The New Statesman arriving on a Friday is now a mixed blessing, given the unflinchingly hostile line it has taken to the coalition from day 1. The only way is seems able to treat the new government is with retro 80s-style anti-Thatcherite rhetoric.
The theme of this week's issue is 'Politics and comedy' and includes an article on arts funding by alleged comedian Stewart Lee. Deploring the likelihood of cuts in state arts budgets, he comments: 'Artists are sensitive souls who may feel compromised by sponsorship' (article not available online so far as I can tell). But in that case might they not also feel compromised by taking state funds provided by a government that the Staggers editiorial describes (not wholly in jest, I fear) as 'dismembering the country'. One wonders whether artists might not also feel tainted by guilt by association through accepting the dismemberers' shilling.
Despite all this, I don't quite yet share Stephen Tall's gloomy conclusion that: 'I've given up on the Staggers. The book reviews are good but the politics are too formulaicly dull.' I like reading a weekly magazine and there is still good stuff in there: Peter Wilby, Rachel Cooke, Nicholas Lezard and so forth. And if the Staggers is frustrating reading for a Liberal just now, at least it's nowhere near as bad as the Spectator, which is going through a deeply unpleasant phase at the moment, dominated, as Jonathan Calder says, by 'right-wing American nutjobbery'.