Peter Oborne

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Peter Alan Oborne
Personal details
Born (1957-07-11) 11 July 1957 (age 57)
Poole, Dorset, England, UK
Nationality British
Residence United Kingdom
Alma mater Christ's College, Cambridge
Profession Journalist

Peter Alan Oborne (born 11 July 1957) is a British journalist. He is chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph and associate editor of the Spectator. He is author of The Rise of Political Lying and The Triumph of the Political Class, and, with Frances Weaver, the pamphlet Guilty Men.

Oborne is known for his acerbic commentary on the hypocrisy and apparent mendacity of contemporary politicians.[1][2][3]

Career[edit]

Oborne was educated at Sherborne School and read history at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA[4] degree in 1978.

He is the author of a highly critical biography of Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell and a biography of the cricketer Basil D'Oliveira (whose selection for England to tour South Africa in 1968 caused that country's apartheid regime to cancel the tour). Oborne is also a vocal critic of the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe. and author of a pamphlet, published by the Centre for Policy Studies about the situation in Zimbabwe, A moral duty to act there.[5]

As a television journalist Oborne began by making three polemical documentaries with filmmaker Paul Yule: "Mugabe's Secret Famine" (2003), "Afghanistan – Here's One We Invaded Earlier" (2004), and "Not Cricket – The Basil D'Oliveira Conspiracy" (2004). In April 2005 he presented the Channel 4 programme in the Election Unspun[6] series, Why Politicians Can't Tell The Truth,[7] that examined how major political parties in Britain allegedly pursue an agenda designed to appeal only to a narrow band of floating voters expected to play a decisive role in the UK general elections of 2005. In May 2007 Oborne presented a Dispatches programme on Channel 4 called Gordon Brown: Fit for Office?[8]

In June 2005, Oborne wrote an article for London's Evening Standard entitled "Why the US is now our great enemy".[9] In the article Oborne argued that, although he and his generation were brought up to love the US, the country nevertheless represented the greatest threat to world civilisation, in particular as a result of its stance on global warming.

In April 2006 it was announced that Oborne was taking up a new position at the Daily Mail as a political columnist, while retaining his connection with The Spectator as a contributing editor. Fraser Nelson of The Scotsman replaced Oborne as The Spectator's political editor.

In July 2008, Oborne presented another Dispatches programme made for Channel 4 called It Shouldn't Happen to a Muslim.[10] In this film and the accompanying leaflet Muslims Under Siege[11] co-written with television journalist James Jones, it was argued that the demonisation of Muslims has become widespread in British media and politics. The pamphlet was serialised in The Independent[12] and prompted heated debate in the following weeks.

In 2009 Oborne contributed to Charlie Brooker's Newswipe on BBC Four. Most of a segment, which discussed cross-party collusion and corruption, had to be dropped owing to its potentially libellous content. Oborne was on the Orwell Prize's Journalism shortlist for 2009.[13]

Again in collaboration with James Jones, Oborne wrote the pamphlet, "The Pro-Israel Lobby In Britain",[14] which outlined the influence allegedly enjoyed by pro-Israeli media and politics lobbyists in the United Kingdom. The article asserted that while the lobbying efforts of groups such as Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), Labour Friends of Israel, and the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) are legal, their funding is often untraceable, their operations are non-transparent, and media seldom declare the influence of junkets arranged by these pro-Israeli entities on the tenor of their writing. Oborne and Jones conclude that changes are needed "because politics in a democracy should never take place behind closed doors. It should be out in the open and there for all to see." On this issue, Oborne wrote and presented an edition of Dispatches: "Inside Britain's Israel Lobby".[15] In December 2012, he argued that the Conservative's unwillingness to criticise the Israel government threatens the prospects for a permanent peace in the region.[16]

In collaboration with Conservative Member of Parliament Jesse Norman, Oborne produced the pamphlet Churchill's Legacy – the Conservative case for the Human Rights Act in the summer of 2009. Published by Liberty, the pamphlet attempted to show how "the Act is not a charter for socialism but contains the most basic rights from 900 years of British history".[17]

In September 2011, Oborne and Frances Weaver co-authored the pamphlet "Guilty Men" for the Centre for Policy Studies.[18] The report sought to identify the politicians, institutions and commentators who the authors felt had tried to take Britain into the European Single Currency and claimed to expose the "often unscrupulous and vicious personal attacks" carried out by supporters of the Euro. Oborne in particular identified William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Owen as three voices of opposition to early Euro entry that suffered such personal attacks.

Oborne was lambasted for his frank public comments in the 28 September 2011 edition of the BBC programme Newsnight. In the debate about the crisis of sovereign debt in the Eurozone, he referred on several occasions to Amadeu Altafaj Tardio as "that idiot in Brussels", which eventually resulted in Tardio's walking out of the studio. (Tardio, spokesman for European Union economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn, was speaking from a studio in Brussels.) Oborne was "chided" by Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman for "gratuituous rudeness" after Paxman had himself asked for a response from, "Mr Idiot in Brussels".[19][20]

In August 2014, Oborne was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[21]

Postmodernism[edit]

Oborne has argued that much of late 20th/early 21st century disenchantment with politics is due to a postmodern design of political agendas and programmes with subsequent implementation that denies the existence of an 'independent reality'. That is, there is something that is called truth.[22] Truth gives way to (mere) credibility.[23] Commensurate with the evaporation of truth is the condensation of narrative as a setting for events. This worldview is then put to use in legitimising claims of acting in 'good-faith' or within/according to 'The rules' when such actions are confronted by moral challenge.[24]

He cited New Labour as a 'front-wave' with the architects of this 'new reality', such as Peter Mandelson.[3][25] Oborne's March 2009 Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture at the Center for Policy Studies was built upon this theme.[26]

Oborne has strongly underlined the 'capturing' of 'independent' mainstream media institutions as being an integral part of the above implementation.[27]

Iran[edit]

Written with David Morrison, Oborne's book A Dangerous Delusion: Why the Iranian Nuclear Threat is a Myth (2013) sought to dispel what the authors see as a common misconception of a malign intent behind Iran's nuclear power programme, and objects to the current sanctions against Iran and argues against any military intervention.[28] Times leader writer Oliver Kamm took the authors to task for asserting that Ayatollah Khomeini was "one of the greatest theologians of all time" whose "teaching contained insights which went far deeper than anything the rationalists and materialists of the United States could imagine."[29] Of a podcast involving the authors, Douglas Murray asserted that Morrison, with the acquiescence of Oborne, made disingenuous claims about President Ahmadinejad's history of Holocaust denial.[30]

Oborne, responding to his critics in an article for The Spectator's 'Coffee House' blog, complained of the "scale and (in some cases) virulence that I have never encountered before" of his and Morrison's opponents. He rejected Kamm and Murray's claims about his co-author, who "fully accepts" the veracity of claims against Ahmadinejad. Oborne wrote that "not one of our critics have even tried to deal with the central, factual points of our short book: that Iran isn’t in possession of nuclear weapons and isn’t building them".[31] Michael Axworthy thought that "For the most part, Oborne and Morrison are right and their arguments are strong.",[28] but Douglas Murray, after quoting Oborne's comment in a response, wrote that "customers should ask for a refund".[32] A review by Con Coughlin for The Jewish Chronicle speculated that Oborne's "unhappy descent into the world of international fantasy" owed much to his association with Morrison, and accused "the authors" of "alarming ignorance about the rudimentary principles that underpin the current Iranian regime" and reports from intelligence sources and the International Atomic Energy Agency.[33]

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Oborne describes himself as a "regular Anglican churchgoer",[36] and his wife, Martine, is Vicar at St. Michael's Sutton Court in Chiswick, west London.

Works[edit]

  • Alastair Campbell: New Labour and the Rise of the Media Class. Aurum, 1999. ISBN 978-1-85410-647-6
  • A moral duty to act there. Centre for Policy Studies, 2003. ISBN 978-1-903219-51-5
  • The Rise of Political Lying. Free Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7432-7560-6
  • Basil D'Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story. Time Warner, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7515-3488-7
  • The Triumph of the Political Class. Simon and Schuster, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7432-9527-7
  • Muslims Under Siege; Alienating Vulnerable Communities (Co-written with James Jones), Channel 4 Dispathches & Democratic Audit, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, 2008
  • The Use and Abuse of Terror; The Construction of a False Narrative on Domestic Terror Threat. Centre for Policy Studies, 2006. ISBN 1-905389-22-1
  • The Pro-Israel Lobby in Britain (Co-written with James Jones). Channel 4 Dispatches & Open Democracy, 2009
  • The Children that Britain Betrayed. (Co-written with Lynn Ferguson) Channel 4 Dispatches,
  • Guilty Men. (Co-written with Frances Weaver) Centre for Policy Studies, 2011
  • Churchill's Legacy: The Conservative Case for the Human Rights Act. (Co-written with Jesse Norman) Liberty, 2009. ISBN 978-0-946088-56-0
  • A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West are wrong about Nuclear Iran. (Co-written David Morrison). Elliott & Thompson, 2013. ISBN 978-1-908739-89-6
  • Wounded Tiger: The History of Cricket in Pakistan. Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9781471125775

Documentaries[edit]

  • Mugabe's Secret Famine (Channel 4, May 2003, produced by Paul Yule, Juniper TV)
  • Afghanistan: Here's One We Invaded Earlier (Channel 4, May 2003, produced by Paul Yule, Juniper TV)
  • Not Cricket: The Basil D'Oliveira Conspiracy (Channel 4, June 2004, produced by Paul Yule, Diverse Production)
  • The Dirty Race for the White House (Channel 4, November 2004, produced by Ed Braman, Juniper TV)
  • We’re All Criminals Now (Channel 4, January 2005, produced by Zoe Hassid, Mentorn in association with Raw TV)
  • Election Unspun: Why Politicians Can't Tell The Truth (Channel 4, April 2005, produced by Richard Sanders, Juniper TV)
  • Dispatches: Gordon Brown - Fit for Office? (Channel 4, May 2007, directed by Simon Berthon)
  • Dispatches: Iraq – the Betrayal (Channel 4, March 2008, produced by Marc Perkins, October Films)
  • Dispatches: It Shouldn't Happen to a Muslim (Channel 4, July 2008, produced by Chris Boulding, Quicksilver Media)
  • Dispatches: Iraq – the Legacy (Channel 4, December 2008, Richard Sanders, October Films)
  • Afghanistan: Waiting for the Taliban (Channel 4, May 2009, produced by Alex Nott, Quicksilver Media)
  • Philippines: Holy Warriors (Channel 4, October 2009, produced by George Waldrum, Quicksilver Media)
  • Dispatches: Iraq – the Reckoning (Channel 4, July 2009, directed by James Brabazon, Juniper TV)
  • Dispatches: The Children Britain Betrayed (Channel 4, July 2009, produced by Lynn Ferguson, First Frame TV)
  • Dispatches: Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby (Channel 4, November 2009, Produced by Ed Harriman, Hardcash Productions)
  • Conserving What? (Radio 4, October 2009, produced by Sheila Cook)
  • Nigeria’s Killing Fields (Channel 4, April 2010, produced by Andy Wells, Quicksilver Media)
  • Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking (Channel 4, October 2010, produced by Sally Brindle and Jenny Evans, Blakeway Productions)
  • Pakistan: After the Floods (Channel 4, November 2010, directed by Simon Phillips, Quicksilver Media)
  • Pakistan: Defenders of Karachi (Channel 4, April 2011, directed by Edward Watts, Quicksilver Media)
  • Dispatches: The Wonderful World of Tony Blair (Channel 4, September 2011, directed by James Brabazon, Blast!)
  • Libya: My Week with Gunmen (Channel 4, June 2012, directed by Richard Cookson, Quicksilver Media)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nick Cohen (website). Dishonourable members The Observer. 30 September 2007
  2. ^ Oborne, P. Anyone else would be sent to jail. The Daily Mail. 9 February 2009
  3. ^ a b Oborne, P. Speaking truth in power. The Guardian. 4 March 2009
  4. ^ A Cambridge BA automatically converts to an MA (Master of Arts) as long as certain conditions are satisfied
  5. ^ Oborne, P. Appendix 8: Memorandum from Mr Peter Oborne. Submission to the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs. March 2003
  6. ^ Channel 4 aims to 'unspin' the election. Digital Spy. 9 April 2005
  7. ^ Banks-Smith, N. Why Politicians Can't Tell The Truth, The Guardian, 26 April 2005
  8. ^ Gordon Brown: Fit for Office? Channel 4. 14 May 2007
  9. ^ Oborne, P. Why the US is now our great enemy. Evening Standard. 20 June 2005
  10. ^ Oborne, P. It Shouldn't Happen to a Muslim. Channel 4. 7 July 2008
  11. ^ Oborne, P., Jones, J. Muslims Under Siege
  12. ^ Oborne, P."The enemy within? Fear of Islam: Britain's new disease",. 4 July 2008
  13. ^ Owen Amos "Shortlists announced for Orwell Prize for political writing", Press Gazette, 26 March 2009
  14. ^ "Redress Information & Analysis | Exposing injustice, disinformation and bigotry". Redress.cc. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  15. ^ "dispatches – inside Britain's Israel Lobby". YouTube. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Peter Oborne "The cowardice at the heart of our relationship with Israel", Daily Telegraph, 12 December 2012
  17. ^ "The Conservative Case for the Human Rights Act". pdfdownloadfree.net. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  18. ^ "Centre for Policy Studies – Guilty Men". cps.org.uk. 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  19. ^ Marsh, Geoff (29 September 2011). "NEWSNIGHT FARCE: EUROCRAT STORMS OFF LIVE TV AFTER PAXMAN CALLS HIM AN IDIOT". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2011. "We can't even hold him to account now because you've been gratuitously offensive to him." 
  20. ^ Preston, Peter (2 October 2011). "Another burst of Newsnight for idiots". The Observer (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 4 October 2011. "Peter Oborne's grisly outburst plumbed the depths of cheap studio discussions" 
  21. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  22. ^ Oborne, P. What's truth got to do with it? The Spectator. 30 April 2005
  23. ^ What does Postmodernism mean
  24. ^ Jenkins, S. These expenses scams violate the spirit of the law – and mps know it. Evening Standard. 7 April 2009
  25. ^ Booth, J. I was Mandy's first victim. Journalist, (NUJ) March/April 1999
  26. ^ Centre for Policy Studies: Keith Joseph Lecture. View and Listen
  27. ^ Oborne, P. Part III The Capturing of the Media. The Triumph of the Political Class. Simon & Schuster, 2007. pp. 233–293.
  28. ^ a b Michael Axworthy "A Dangerous Delusion, by Peter Oborne and David Morrison", telegraph.co.uk, 27 April 2013
  29. ^ Peter Oborne & David Morrison A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran, Elliott & Thompson, 2013, pp.19-20, cited by Oliver Kamm "Khomeini or Thomas Jefferson? Who did more for religious freedom?", The Times (Opinion blog), 24 April 2013
  30. ^ Douglas Murray "Memo to Iran’s apologists: President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust", The Spectator, 26 April 2013
  31. ^ Peter Oborne "No, Iran does not possess nuclear weapons", The Spectator (Coffe House blog), 1 May 2013
  32. ^ Douglas Murray "In response to Peter Oborne on nuclear Iran", The Spectator (blogs), 2 May 2013
  33. ^ Con Coughlin "There’s delusion and 'delusion' when it comes to Iran", The Jewish Chronicle, 10 May 2013
  34. ^ "Book on D'Oliveira wins award". BBC News. 29 November 2004. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Prior winners". British Sports Book Awards. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  36. ^ "The bishop who sneered at Prince William and Kate Middleton should resign". The Daily Telegraph (London). 22 November 2010. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tom Bower
William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner
2004
Succeeded by
Gary Imlach