Welcome to the new full-colour summer special issue of Socialist Review.
As you can see, it's a big improvement from previous issues, and although the general design remains the same we have been able to change a few things to take into account the possibilities that colour opens up to us.
This is also our summer issue. The result is that we have been able to expand the number of pages from 36 to 44, and cover the life and legacy of Che Guevara, the European election results and the ongoing war in Iraq in much more detail and much more graphically than would have otherwise been the case. Unfortunately this has necessitated a rise in the cover price to £2.50. We hope to make this the last such rise for some time.
A change in design can often lead to changes in content. While this has been kept to a minimum, readers will find this is the last issue with 'Stack on the Back'. Over the years Pat has been one of the most popular and well read columnists in Socialist Review. He started writing his column as 'Backchat' in December 1987, when the back page was written by a variety of different writers. Yet Pat's column was so popular that he had made it his own by March 1988, when it was renamed 'Stack on the Back'. A whole generation of SWP members and Socialist Review readers grew up with the habit of immediately turning to the back page to read who Stack had in his sights that month. Pat says it is his 182nd column. By my calculation it is his 184th, but whoever is right, Pat has written something close to 200,000 words for this magazine, has never missed a deadline (although he often set these himself) and, like all our contributors, has not received a penny in return.
I'm pleased to say that Pat has agreed to carry on contributing to the magazine in future, and has already grabbed a slot for when a dearly loved former prime minister finally pops her clogs (hopefully some time soon). Also there is a selection of the best of 'Stack on the Back' on our website at www.socialistreview.org.uk.
There are a number of people to thank who have helped in the production of this new colour issue - in particular Simon Assaf and Christophe Chataigné, who have worked on redesigning to take into account the colour. Thanks to Jack Bland and Kieran Cueno, who gave opinions about what colours to use at a time when it was most needed. Also thanks to all the staff at Warners printers in Peterborough for agreeing to take on the printing of this magazine.
Finally, however, a special thanks must go to all the comrades at East End Offset. Recently they had to face the harsh reality that they were no longer able to compete with the new technology that had entered the printing industry. As a result they have had to cease production of commercial work, and we had to find new printers. We know this was a difficult decision to take, given the commitment they had given this magazine over the years. But we also know that the comrades were only motivated by one overriding concern, and that was what was best for the publication. It is a tribute to those people who have worked on the magazine over the years that we are able to go full colour with the aim of expanding circulation and readership. This would not have been possible without the high standards and reputation that have been established in the past. This has been partly because of editorial content, but just as important has been the high standard of technical production and printing that has made the magazine the best-selling socialist monthly in Britain today.