Standpoint is a monthly British cultural and political magazine. Its premier issue was published in May 2008 – the first launch of a major current affairs publication in the UK in more than a decade. Standpoint is based in London and was co-founded by Daniel Johnson, Miriam Gross, Jonathan Foreman and Michael Mosbacher; Johnson is its editor.
The magazine describes its core mission as being "to celebrate western civilisation", its arts and its values – in particular democracy, debate and freedom of speech – at a time when they are under threat. The magazine is broadly centre-right in orientation, but aims to include a "broad church" and to capitalise on the realignment of political attitudes in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The magazine has sought to revive the art of the essay in Britain, calling itself a response to "a market swamped by the journalistic equivalent of fast food".
Notable features of the magazine include dialogue interviews, in which two experts, often with opposing views, discuss an issue of contemporary importance. An edited transcript of the conversation is then published in the magazine. Recent examples include playwright Simon Gray discussing the role of theatre in society with critic Charles Spencer, the former Chancellor Nigel Lawson discussing global warming with Tory policy chief Oliver Letwin, Lionel Shriver discussing NHS challenges with Karol Sikora, the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove debating school reform with Chris Woodhead, and Nicholas Mosley and Sir Raymond Carr discussing the rise of fascism in Britain. The magazine also devotes significant space to new poetry and the visual arts. The first edition included new drawings by David Hockney and a recent[when?] issue includes new poems by Geoffrey Hill.
Standpoint is self-consciously transatlantic in both style and content, and has been compared to America's National Review, which greeted the launch of Standpoint by publishing an article ending with the words "Rejoice, and subscribe!". Considering itself a rare pro-American voice in the UK, it aims to introduce American writers and American intellectual style to British readers.
Well-known contributors to the magazine have included Clive James, Jonathan Bate, Michael Burleigh, Ian Bostridge, Joseph Bottum, Julie Burchill, Robert Conquest, George Walden and Douglas Murray, Paul Wolfowitz, Allan Massie, Piers Paul Read, Craig Raine, Joseph Epstein, and Tibor Fischer. Bloggers on the StandpointOnline website include Michael Burleigh, Nick Cohen, Peter Whittle, Jessica Duchen and Joshua Rozenberg.
Standpoint ignited nationwide controversy with its first issue, in which Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, called for the Church to regain a prominent position in public life and blamed the "newfangled and insecurely founded doctrine of multiculturalism" for entrenching the segregation of communities. Nazir-Ali claimed that the decline of Christianity and the rise of liberal values in the UK during the 1960s had created a moral vacuum which Islamic extremism threatened to fill. "We have argued that it is necessary to understand where we have come from, to guide us to where we are going, and to bring us back when we wander too far from the path of national destiny", the bishop wrote. The Guardian newspaper devoted its leader (lead editorial) to criticising the bishop, although it described his writing as "neatly underlining [Standpoint]’s expressed intent ‘to defend and celebrate Western civilisation’". Nazir-Ali was condemned by the Ramadhan foundation and the President of the National Secular Society, who accused him of "doing the BNP’s work", but was praised by The Daily Telegraph.
Standpoint was founded in May 2008 and immediately labeled a "Right-wing answer to journals such as Prospect". The advisory board includes, amongst others, playwright, Tom Stoppard; tenor Ian Bostridge; the Labour MP and former minister, Frank Field; artist David Hockney; Nigel Lawson, the former Chancellor; novelist, V. S. Naipaul; and the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.