Martin Kettle

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Kettle (left) chairing a Policy Exchange on Blairism, 2012

Martin James Kettle (born 7 September 1949) is a British journalist and author. The son of two prominent communist activists Arnold Kettle (best remembered as a literary critic, 1916–86)[1] and Margot Kettle (née Gale, 1916–1995), Martin Kettle was educated at Leeds Modern School and Balliol College, Oxford University.

Kettle worked for the National Council for Civil Liberties (now known as Liberty) as a research officer from 1973. He then began his career in journalism as home affairs correspondent for New Society (1977–1981) and moved to The Sunday Times in 1981, working as a political correspondent for three years. He has been with The Guardian since 1984 and also wrote regularly for Marxism Today in its later years. He writes a column on classical music in Prospect magazine.

Kettle is best known as a columnist for The Guardian, where he is assistant editor, having worked as the newspaper's Washington D.C. bureau chief 1997–2001. He was formerly a leader writer (1993–1997) and chief leader writer 2001 onwards. Martin Kettle has often defended New Labour and Tony Blair (a personal friend) – though not over the Iraq War. However, soon after the 2010 general election, Kettle wrote that David Cameron's Conservative-led Coalition had had a positive effect on the country.[2] He has been dismissed by John Pilger as Blair's "most devoted promoter".[3]

Kettle has a low opinion of Boris Johnson, Kettle wrote, "The immediate effect of the judgment [when the Supreme Court declared the prorogation of Parliament invalid] is devastating for Johnson. It is expressed so cogently and unambiguously that it will be difficult for him to wriggle out of it – even though he is certainly foolish enough to try. Parliament will surely be recalled on Tuesday – since, as the judgment said, it has not been prorogued in the first place. Johnson’s efforts, to the extent that they exist at all, to negotiate a new or tweaked deal with the EU will be held up to the light. And, since Johnson spectacularly lacks a majority in the House of Commons, it is likely that the cross-party efforts to shape Brexit will be redoubled."[4]


  • Peter Hain, Martin Kettle (et al.) (1979) Policing the Police ISBN 0-7145-3628-8 John Calder (rev ed 1980 ISBN 0-7145-3795-0)
  • Martin Kettle & Lucy Hodges (1982) Uprising!: Police, the People and the Riots in Britain's Cities ISBN 0-330-26845-7 Macmillan
  • Martin Kettle (ed) (1993) Guardian Guide to Europe ISBN 1-85702-119-3 Fourth Estate
  • Martin Kettle (1997) The Single Currency: Should Britain Join? ISBN 0-09-977351-1 Vintage


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