I think it’s time Madame Arcati applied for the New Statesman editorship and put owner Geoffrey Robinson out of his misery. Just leave it to me. The magazine’s worthiness must be totally expunged and my ruthless editorial initiatives would include:
1 The introduction of a horoscope that had coded messages and goss from Westminster as well as astrological guidance for named persons.
2 Human interest analyses of our power players eg Why does Gordon Brown’s voice go husky on Fiona Phillips’ TV sofa? – by a voice coach. No one cares to read political essays apart from some ugly swats with fat behinds and scant head hair (but nasty bushy pubes).
3 Duncan Fallowell appointed Books and Travel editor. He could work from home or Auckland. He would write the lead pieces and supply goss.
4 The Exes Files: A Top Of The Pops-style weekly update of the biggest spenders at Westminster detailing what’s been acquired through expenses – with pictures + competitions to win items and services featured.
5 Bodies - a page dedicated to the examination of politicians’ personal appearance – aesthetics, body mass index, sulphur index from breath, clothes etc. My friend Karl Lagerfeld could advise. I would also commission a weekly DNA profile to calculate when the subject's likely to die. And of what.
6 Madame Arcati’s Prognostications – Rome had The Sybil, the UK could have Arcati, tapping the unseen forces that have more influence on our lives than fucking endogenous growth theory.
7 Madame Arcati’s séance with a famous dead politician starting with Winston Churchill. I’m sure Winnie would have a few things to say to Gord. Boudicca on Ruth Kelly would be a revelation.
8 Lady Colin Campbell’s Diary: She would flit all over the place collecting goss-nectar from royal and powerful places. Lots of pictures and one-line sentences. A mag needs colour, darling.
9 In Bed With A Politician: Each week we would literally get into a powerful person’s bed and talk about all things done horizontal – sex, sleep, coma, drinking etc – and admire the ceiling.
10 The Destroy Page: Of course the NS has to retain a bit of social conscience so we’d identify a bully or some bit of scandal, personalise it, and then call for the total destruction of the Guilty Person(s) – a piece supported by incriminating videos on YouTube and online petitions. Geoffrey might have to stump up a budget for this one.
I have no doubt whatsoever that these measures would restore the magazine in our affections and make it, y'know, interesting.