The change at The Saturday Review, 1930

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The cover of the issue of The Saturday Review for 22 February 1930 looks innocuous enough. But in the context of the editorial board having demanded that Gerald Barry and his team switch their allegiance to the United Empire Party, as advocated by the owner of the Daily Express, the title of one of the two leading articles, ‘Express to Paradise’, might have caught the eye. This article finds Barry himself in defiant mood. Having been asked to promote something in which he does not believe, he takes some time to let loose his disdain. Here’s the article (the reference at the outset to ‘Mr. Graham’ is to the President of the Board of Trade, a Labour MP in the National Government, and later its Deputy Leader):

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It ought to be remembered that the readership of The Saturday Review was by tradition, and since its foundation in 1855, Conservative. Hence the particular development at the end of the article, the first part of which is an argument (very reminiscent of contemporary articles about UKIP) that the UEP is a one-trick pony, but the second part of which suggests that the best it will do is to split the Conservative Party vote, and let the Labour Party in.

The article itself is pretty free from vitriol, given that Barry was just about to put himself out of work. However, The Saturday Review ran a regular political column ‘The Comedy Of Westminster’, and the first item for the 22 February edition is not only sharp but yokes Beaverbrook and Rothermere together:

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And at this point, Barry and co walk out, their only trace being during the next few weeks of reports for the competitions – The Saturday Review ones – that they had set. The cover of the next issue (I am not sure who the new editor was, but he must have had to act quickly) looks like this:

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Brown, Armstrong, Wolfe, Welby, Gould and Hartley are filing their last copy. Barry has extorted an agreement that he be publicly dissociated from The Saturday Review, and there is this in a fairly prominent place:

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In his place, the new incumbent writes the leading article that Barry had refused to write. For Saturday Review readers, it may have been seen as a minor shift, but one suspects that it lost readers from both independent and Conservative readers.

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Three weeks later (March 22 1930), a marker is put down: support for Beaverbrook, but not for Rothermere:

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Meanwhile, of course, the competitors continued on their merry way for the most part. Seacape ceases to enter, but his fellow-competitor, Pibwob, wins in both magazines, and, as there is no ban in the Saturday Review against winning the A and B competitions, he sometimes does just that.

Among the many magazines to note Barry’s principled stand was The Athenaeum and Nation, at that time on the brink of being taken over by New Statesman, as The Week-end Review would also be in a few short years:

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