Owen Jones (writer)

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Not to be confused with other writers named Owen Jones, such as Owen Jones (antiquary) and Owen Jones (architect).
Owen Jones
Jones in September 2013 at Policy Exchange
Born (1984-08-08) 8 August 1984 (age 30)
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, UK
  • Columnist
  • author
Alma mater University College, Oxford
Notable works

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class

The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It
Owen Jones's voice


Owen Jones (born 8 August 1984) is a left-wing British columnist, author, commentator and political activist. He is a regular columnist for The Guardian and since 2015 for the New Statesman.

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Sheffield and grew up in Stockport, Greater Manchester,[1] and briefly in Falkirk, Scotland.[2] His father was a local authority worker and trade-union shop steward,[3] and his mother is an IT lecturer.[3] He describes himself as a "4th generation socialist"; his grandfather was involved with the Communist Party and his parents met as members of the Trotskyist Militant tendency.[4]

He attended Bramhall High School and Ridge Danyers Sixth Form College[5] before reading history at University College, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 2005 and a Master of Studies (MSt) in US history in 2007.[6] Prior to his media career, Jones worked as a trade-union lobbyist and as a parliamentary researcher for left-wing Labour backbencher John McDonnell.[7][8]

Writings and public career[edit]

Jones is a weekly columnist for The Guardian and former columnist for The Independent, switching in March 2014. His work has also appeared in the New Statesman, the Sunday Mirror, Le Monde diplomatique and several smaller publications.[1][9] He has made a number of television appearances as a political commentator, including several BBC News shows, Sky News, Channel 4 News, ITV's Daybreak and BBC One's Question Time discussion programme.[1] Jones writes from a left-wing perspective; Andrew Neather has cited Jones' Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class as part of a resurgence of left-wing-themed ideas.[10] He is on the National Advisory Panel of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, a left-wing think tank.[11]

Jones speaking in October 2013

In 2011, Jones published his first book, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, which discusses stereotypes of sections of the British working class and use of the pejorative term "chav". The book received attention in domestic and international media, including selection by critic Dwight Garner of The New York Times as one of his top 10 non-fiction books of 2011 in the paper's Holiday Gift Guide and being long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award.[12] [13][14][15][16][17] The Independent on Sunday newspaper named Jones as one of its top 50 Britons of 2011, for the manner in which the book raised the profile of class-based issues.[18] Jones has written a second book, The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It, published in September 2014.[19]

Jones has received attention as a significant commentator of the left, with The Daily Telegraph placing him 7th in its 2013 list of Britain's most influential left-wingers.[20] In November 2012, Jones was awarded Journalist of the Year at the Stonewall Awards, along with The Times journalist Hugo Rifkind.[21] In February 2013, Jones was awarded the Young Writer of the Year prize at the Political Book Award, donating half the prize money to support the campaign of Lisa Forbes, a Labour parliamentary candidate and the other half to Disabled People Against Cuts.[22] Jones commented in an interview with The Student Journals, that several people have made the accusation that he uses his politics only as a tool to raise his own profile and that he risks being seen as a "lefty rent-a-gob".[23]

Jones spoke at a press conference to launch the People's Assembly Against Austerity on 26 March 2013 and regional public meetings in the lead-up to a national meeting at Central Hall Westminster on 22 June 2013.[24][25][26] In November 2013 he delivered the Royal Television Society Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture entitled 'Totally Shameless: How TV Portrays the Working Class'.[27]

Jones is a supporter of feminism[28] and a republican[29] as well as being a supporter of Unite Against Fascism.[30]

Personal life[edit]

In 2014 Jones wrote that he was gay, asserting that 'A society free of sexism and homophobia won't just emancipate women and gay men: it will free straight men, too'.[31]


  1. ^ a b c "Who the hell is Owen Jones?". 28 December 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2012. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Owen Jones: What a fairer Scotland would look like". The Independent (London). 5 February 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Jones, Owen (9 March 2012). "My father, and the reality of losing your job in middle age". The Independent (London). Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Phelim Brady (8 February 2013). "Interview: Owen Jones | Varsity Online". Varsity.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Jones, Owen (1 June 2011). "Abolish Oxbridge". Labour List. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Owen Jones". David Higham Literary, Film and TV Agents. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Time to abolish Oxbridge?". The Oxford Student. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "John McDonnell interview: how Labour is moving to the left?". The New Statesman. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Owen Jones". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Neather, Andrew (23 April 2011). "The Marx effect". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "''The Centre for Labour and Social Studies'' About our staff: Owen Jones". Classonline.org.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Jon Cruddas (3 June 2011). "Book of the week: Chavs: the demonization of the working class by Owen Jones". The Independent (London). Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "The demonisation of the working class: How shows such as The Only Way is Essex have wiped out popular culture". Mail Online (London). 6 June 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Giving the poor a good kicking". The Economist. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  15. ^ Dwight Garner (12 July 2011). "Get Your Bling and Adidas Tracksuit, Wayne, a British Class War Is Raging". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Garner, Dwight (21 November 2011). "Dwight Garner’s Picks for 2011". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  17. ^ Flood, Alison (31 August 2011). "Guardian first book award longlist: fiction takes lead". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "IoS Great Britons 2011". The Independent (London). 18 December 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  19. ^ "Owen Jones". David Higham. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Dale, Iain (2 October 2012). "Top 100 most influential figures from the Left 2012: 26-50". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Media". Stonewall.org.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Crampton, Caroline. "Watch: Lord Ashcroft tries to pwn Owen Jones, fails", New Statesman (Staggers Politics blog), 7 February 2013.
  23. ^ Evans, James (17 February 2013). "TSJ talks to Owen Jones". studentjournals.co.uk. The Student Journals. Archived from the original on 1 August 2004. Retrieved 26 March 2015. [...] I already get people accusing me of being a careerist using his politics to build a profile for himself [...] I fear at the moment I'm unaccountable – no-one has elected me to speak on their behalf, and I worry about just being seen as a lefty rent-a-gob with no mandate to say what he believes. 
  24. ^ Jones, Owen. "How the People's Assembly can challenge our suffocating political consensus and why it's vital that we do", The Independent, 24 March 2013.
  25. ^ Wotherspoon, Jenny "People's Assembly: Writer Owen Jones Helps Build Nationwide Anti-Cuts Movement In The North East", Sky Tyne & Wear, 23 May 2013
  26. ^ Rath, Marc "Popular writer joins comedian at anti-cuts rally", This is Bristol, 30 May 2013
  27. ^ "The Royal Television Society Lecture 2013 - 'Totally Shameless: How TV Portrays the Working Class'". BBC. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  28. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/24/men-women-masculinity-feminism
  29. ^ https://republic.org.uk/what-we-do/news-and-updates/republicans-gear-biggest-anti-monarchy-protest-living-memory
  30. ^ http://uaf.org.uk/2015/02/new-speakers-for-uaf-conference-this-sat-syrizas-nasos-iliopoulos-owen-jones-victoria-brittain-louise-christian-osces-marwan-muhammed/
  31. ^ "Homophobia is deep-rooted, rife – and ultimately doomed", Comment is free, The Guardian, 1 June 2014.

External links[edit]