Myths about journals
Hopi Sen observes correctly that the New Statesman is not a very good magazine. It's like reading the comment and review section of the Observer, but without Andrew Rawnsley and at much higher cost (though at least both now seem to have dispensed with the services of Cristina Odone).
But he goes on to perpetuate the myth that its rival, the Spectator, is a better magazine. I am bitter about this, because I'd heard this from a number of people, and was once foolish enough to buy the Spectator and read it. None of the book reviews were interesting, and the articles in the front bit were generic right-wing pieces on the issues of the moment, none of which read like they had taken the author very long to write. Reading Fraser Nelson's thoughts on welfare reform spread across three pages isn't actually an improvement on reading exactly the same points made in his News of the World column.
The same goes for the Economist, which I've heard people say is very good because of its international coverage. On closer inspection, its international coverage turns out to be articles from round the world about the need to cut taxes, privatise services and deregulate in [insert country here]. Which I guess is comforting if you think that sort of thing is needed everywhere and all the time, but isn't really adding much.
I guess part of the problem is that political coverage on t'internet provides for free a much quicker response and much more detailed and informed analysis than any monthly political journal can offer. But if the New Statesman under its new editorship could manage to rise to the level of 'if I have nothing to read on the train, I will get this rather than save my money' then that would be an improvement on where it is now.