New Bagehot columnist for the Economist

Walter Bagehot Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Walter Bagehot was a leading 19th Century journalist

Here's a pleasing little Monday morning scoop-ette for those of us who, like Lytton Strachey, are fond of eminent Victorians.

I can reveal that Adrian Wooldridge is going to be the new author of the Bagehot column in the Economist.

Named after Walter Bagehot, the mathematician, lawyer, businessman and pamphleteer who was for 16 years the third editor of the Economist, making it essential reading in Victorian England, this column on UK politics is still one of the prize assets in political journalism in Britain today.

Previous authors include the BBC's Andrew Marr and Matthew Symonds, one of the founders of the Independent. Andrew Miller, who wrote the column from 2007 until 2010, was superb.

Its current author, Jeremy Cliffe, who has been tipped as a future editor of the Economist, is becoming the Berlin bureau chief, at a time when the crisis in Europe makes that job particularly interesting.

Wooldridge, a fellow of All Souls in Oxford, is one of the magazine's intellectual powerhouses and a brilliant writer. (The Economist still styles itself as a newspaper, but is clearly not what we mean by a newspaper in modern parlance.)

Wooldridge co-authored several books with his friend John Micklethwait, who is now editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. When he was editor of the Economist, Micklethwait introduced a column on business called Schumpeter, named after the great Austrian-American economist.

To date, Wooldridge has been its author, but he is doing his last Schumpeter column for the forthcoming Christmas issue. He will then take three months off to write a book, starting as Bagehot in April.

The new "Schumpeter" is Patrick Foulis, who is currently New York bureau chief.