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« Question time | Main | Bonfire of the bureaucrats »

Life and times of The Politico

Jo%20Gaffikin-100.jpg Talking of Iain Dale (below), Iain this week revealed on his blog that "Earlier in the summer I was tidying some files at home and a copy of a magazine fell out of a file. It was called The Politico and I published three issues of it while I was running Politico's in 2003. I started re-reading it and began to remember what a brilliant reaction it provoked at the time. It only had three issues because I then closed the shop and the people who produced it moved on to other things."

I must declare an interest. "The people who produced it" were me and my then Forest colleague Jo Gaffikin (above left). We conceived and sold the idea to Iain, designed it in an afternoon on my Apple Mac, and for the best part of a year had an absolute blast producing what was intended to be a quarterly publication promoting the niche political books market.

The Politico was an eclectic mix of interviews (Tony Benn, David Davis, John Bercow, Jeremy Paxman, Sandy Toksvig), feature articles and reviews, most of them written by MPs, historians and journalists, including some of the country's top political commentators. Iain had an impressive list of contacts and the fact that Politicos published as well as sold books opened many a door that may otherwise have remained shut.

Unfortunately, no-one (and I mean no-one) made a penny from the project. It was given away free - to bookshop customers and at party conferences - so there was no income other than a bit of advertising revenue that enabled us to cover our printing costs.

After three issues, far from "moving on to other things", Jo and I decided that we couldn't continue working for nothing so we jacked it in. Iain has now announced that he intends to launch a new magazine next year. Funding is in place, he tells us. I wish it well. Magazine publishing is a brutal business.

PS. Jo is now communications manager at the Design Museum in London where (among other things) she writes an exhibition blog. We keep in touch and I was delighted to see her at last week's event at Boisdale, proof that there is life after Forest - and The Politico!

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