Brendan O'Neill (columnist)

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Brendan O'Neill
Known forEditor of Spiked Online and a columnist for The Australian and The Big Issue

Brendan O'Neill is a British columnist. He is the editor of Spiked Online and has been a columnist for The Australian and The Big Issue.

Once a Trotskyist Marxist, O'Neill was formerly a member of Revolutionary Communist Party and wrote for the party's journal, Living Marxism. O'Neill self identifies as a Marxist libertarian[1][2] and writes for a range of publications.


He began his career at Spiked's predecessor, Living Marxism, the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party, which ceased publication after ITN won their libel action against it.[3]

Since then, O'Neill has contributed articles to publications in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia including The Spectator, the New Statesman, BBC News Online, The Christian Science Monitor, The American Conservative, Salon, Rising East and occasionally blogged for The Guardian,[4] before moving to The Daily Telegraph.[5] He writes a column for The Big Issue in London and The Australian in Sydney. He also writes articles for The Sun.[6]


O'Neill has opposed the tackling of global warming through reductions in carbon emissions and instead advocates for "technological progress" to deal with the damage done by climate change.[7] He criticised the environmentalist activist Greta Thunberg in his 2019 article "The Cult of Greta Thunberg"[8] in which he describes her as a "millenarian weirdo" and criticises the allegedly "monotone voice" speech patterns[9][10] of the Swedish environmentalist who speaks English as a second language.

In his 2012 Huffington Post article titled "If You Were Abused By Jimmy Savile, Maybe You Should Keep It to Yourself",[11] O'Neill argued against victims of sexual abuse by high-profile individuals coming forward publicly, stating: "I think there is more virtue in keeping the abuse as a firm part of your past, rather than offering it up to a scandal-hungry media and abuse-obsessed society that are desperate for more episodes of perversion to pore over".[11]

He considers efforts to combat racism in football to be "a class war" driven by "elites' utter incomprehension of the mass passions that get aired at football matches".[12] Referring to high-profile cases of racial abuse and alleged racial abuse, he argued, "these incidents and alleged incidents are not racism at all, in the true meaning of the word", due to the levels of passion involved, describing anti-racism efforts as "a pretty poisonous desire to police the ... working classes".[12]

O'Neill has described himself as "an atheistic libertarian". He is opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia, arguing that it has been "attended by authoritarianism wherever it’s been introduced"[13] and criticised opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom as intolerant and fearmongering.[14]

O'Neill and others associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), Living Marxism and Spiked—including Frank Furedi, Mick Hume and Claire Fox—are often seen by commenters such as Nick Cohen[15] as having shifted from a far left position to an extreme stance on the libertarian right. Although O'Neill claims to be part of the left,[16] critics such as George Monbiot have suggested that to be typical as a ploy adopted by those associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) to split and discredit consensus upon the left[17] and to cause impediments for such movements as environmentalism and the reduction of carbon emissions.[18]

O'Neill has served as a visiting fellow and columnist with the Australian libertarian think-tank, the Centre for Independent Studies,[19] as well as being a keynote speaker for the pro-Israel advocacy organisation StandWithUs.[20]

Writing as the fictional character "Ethan Greenhart", O'Neill is the author of Can I Recycle My Granny?, a satire of the green movement published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2008.[21]

In September 2019 he said, on BBC Politics Live, that British people should be rioting about delays to Brexit.[22] He said: "I'm amazed that there haven't been riots yet." When asked by guest presenter Adam Fleming: "Do you think there will be riots?", O'Neill responded: "I think there should be." In October 2019, 585 complaints about him calling for riots were dismissed by the BBC's executive complaints unit.[23]



  1. ^ "The Rubin Report 'What is a Marxist Libertarian?". Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  2. ^ Marsh, Natasha. "Brendan O'Neill, atheist blogger and the Church's biggest defender". The Catholic Weekly. The Catholic Weekly (Australian).
  3. ^ Well, Matt (31 March 2000). LM closes after losing libel action. The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Brendan O'Neill Profile". London: 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Brendan O'Neill". Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "search result for articles by B O'Neill". The Sun online. The Sun. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  7. ^ "'Apocalypse, my arse'". 9 March 2007.
  8. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (22 April 2019). "The cult of Greta Thunberg". Spiked. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  9. ^ Charlie Hancock (25 April 2019). "Like Greta Thunberg, I am on the autism spectrum. She gives me hope". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  10. ^ Layla Moran (23 April 2019). "Greta Thunberg has changed the course of history – what has Brendan O'Neill achieved?". The Independent. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  11. ^ a b O'Neill, Brendan (26 December 2012). "If You Were Abused By Jimmy Savile, Maybe You Should Keep It to Yourself". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  12. ^ a b "This isn't anti-racism – it's the policing of passion". 10 January 2012. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  13. ^ "'Gay marriage and the death of freedom'". The Spectator. 6 December 2014.
  14. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (13 April 2010). "The Secular Inquisition". Spiked Online. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Nick Cohen vs the Institute of Ideas - New Humanist Blog (Rationalist Association)". 30 January 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  16. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (6 July 2012). "Why it's now safe to say I love Marx – Telegraph Blogs". Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  17. ^ George Monbiot (9 December 2003). "George Monbiot: Invasion of the entryists | Education". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Flying Over the Cuckoo's Nest | George Monbiot". 13 January 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  19. ^ Centre for Independent Studies - Brendan O'Neill Archived 8 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ StandWithUs UK 5th Annual Student Conference
  21. ^ Can I Recycle My Granny?: And 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas, Ethan Greenhart, Hodder & Stoughton, 2008
  22. ^ "BBC guest says people should riot over Brexit delays: 'Why have the British people been so patient?'". Newsweek. 27 September 2019.
  23. ^ Tobbitt, charlotte. "BBC dismisses 600 complaints over Brendan O'Neill's Brexit riots claim on Politics LIve". Press Gazette. Press Gazette. Retrieved 15 October 2019.

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