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Oliver Kamm

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Oliver Kamm
Oliver Kamm in profile.jpg
Kamm in January 2015
Oliver Kamm

Alma materNew College, Oxford
Birkbeck College
Years active2008–present
EmployerThe Times
Parent(s)Antony Kamm (father)
Anthea Bell (mother)
RelativesRichard Kamm (brother)
Adrian Bell (grandfather)
Martin Bell (uncle)

Oliver Kamm (born 1963) is a British journalist and writer who is a leader writer and columnist for The Times.

Early life and career

Kamm is the son of translator Anthea Bell and publisher Antony Kamm.[1] Kamm is the grandson of Adrian Bell and nephew of Martin Bell. While his mother was not Jewish, he lost family members on his father's side in The Holocaust.[2][3] After attending Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys, he studied philosophy, politics and economics at New College, Oxford[4] and Birkbeck College, University of London.[citation needed] He began his career at the Bank of England and worked in the securities industry and investment banking.[5]


Kamm joined the Times staff in 2008.[6] He has also contributed to The Jewish Chronicle, for which he writes regularly,[7] Prospect magazine,[8] and The Guardian.[9]


Kamm was a consistent supporter of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the foreign policies of his government.[10] According to John Lloyd in 2005, Kamm viewed Blair's policies "as the expression of true social-democratic values".[10] At its launch in 2005, Kamm subscribed to the founding principles of the Henry Jackson Society and was an initial signatory.[11]

In 2006 Oliver Kamm wrote a blog post titled "The Islamphobia Scam" in which he said "if any reader wishes to nominate me [for an "Islamophobia" award] and I am successful, you can be sure I'll turn up to collect the award and express my reasons for pride in it.[12] He states that he is a friend and admirer of Israel 'whose pluralist ethos will be fulfilled when there is an eventual two-state solution with a sovereign Palestine'.[13] Kamm was an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party. He told Liam Hoare, writing for The Forward magazine in September 2015, that "the left has incorporated the attitudes of the nativist far-right. Corbyn's alliances with reactionary, misogynistic, theocratic, and anti-Semitic movements bear out what we’ve said".[14]

Commentator Peter Wilby asserted that, while Kamm and Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle claim "to be left-wing", they hold "no discernible left-wing views".[15] When interviewed by politics academic Norman Geras in 2003, Kamm said that he wrote to "express a militant liberalism that I feel ought to be part of public debate but which isn't often articulated, or at least not where I can find it, in the communications media that I read or listen to" and that he felt that "the crucial distinction in politics is not between Left and Right, as I had once tribally thought, but between the defenders and the enemies of an open society."[5] In November 2020, he called for Ronan Burtenshaw, the editor of Tribune magazine, to be sacked for "celebrating violence" over an article on occupation of Conservative Party headquarters during the 2010 United Kingdom student protests.[16]

Kamm has been accused of expressing anti-Catholic views for his remarks towards Catholic Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey.[17][18][19]

In 2007, he criticized Wikipedia, saying that its articles usually are dominated by the loudest and most persistent editorial voices or by an interest group with an ideological "axe to grind".[20]

In September 2021, Kamm called for Labour leader Keir Starmer to shut down Young Labour.[21] The reasons cited by Kamm included an accusation that Young Labour members using the historic Palestinian slogan From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free, in support of Palestinian liberation, means support of a "second Holocaust against the Jewish people".[citation needed] However, Kamm received criticism for racism against Palestinians and was also accused of exploiting Holocaust trauma.[22]

Personal life

Kamm has described his marriage as "caring but unsuitable", and after it ended he was a single parent for their two young children. He had a subsequent three-year relationship.[23]


Kamm has written three books. In Anti-Totalitarianism, he argued that military intervention against totalitarian regimes to support democratic values in other countries, can be expression of left wing values; he supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq under this rubric and seemed to focus his argument against foreign policies stances based narrowly on the national interest that are typical of the traditional right.[24] On his book on usage, Accidence Will Happen, he argued against linguistic prescription and in favour of linguistic description.[25]

In August 2018, The Bookseller reported on Kamm's new book In Mending the Mind: The Art and Science of Treating Clinical Depression, in which he "draws on his own experience of the illness as a jumping off point to investigate depression" and "makes a case for embracing both art and science to better understand and treat the condition."[26]


  • Kamm, Oliver (2005). Anti-totalitarianism: The Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy. Social Affairs Unit. ISBN 978-1780227955.
  • Kamm, Oliver (2015). Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage. Phoenix. ISBN 978-1780227955.
  • Kamm, Oliver (2021). Mending the Mind: The Art and Science of Overcoming Clinical Depression. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-1474610827.


  1. ^ Armitstead, Claire (16 November 2013). "Anthea Bell: 'It's all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite free'". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Kamm, Oliver (25 October 2018). "Found in translation: My mother's role in Jewish culture". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  3. ^ Kamm, Oliver (31 May 2018). "Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz should not have been prosecuted". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Things I Wished I'd Known Before I Went to Oxbridge". Oxford Royale Summer Schools. 2 April 2012.
  5. ^ a b Geras, Norman (21 November 2003). "The normblog profile 9: Oliver Kamm". normblog.
  6. ^ "Oliver Kamm - the 2010 Blogger Prize Long List". Orwell Foundation. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Oliver Kamm". The Jewish Chronicle.
  8. ^ "Articles by Oliver Kamm". Prospect.
  9. ^ "Oliver Kamm". The Guardian.
  10. ^ a b Lloyd, John (12 December 2005). "The case for freedom". New Statesman. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Oliver Kamm: Henry Jackson's legacy". 6 May 2006. Archived from the original on 6 May 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Oliver Kamm: The "Islamophobia" scam". 28 November 2019. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  13. ^ Kamm, Oliver (20 August 2015). "Corbyn's deplorable allies". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  14. ^ Hoare, Liam (13 September 2015). "Why Jeremy Corbyn Scares British Jews So Much". Forward. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  15. ^ Wilby, Peter (24 April 2006). "The Media Column". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  16. ^ Kamm, Oliver [@OliverKamm] (11 November 2020). "Yes, @tribunemagazine is specifically referring to the demonstrators who stormed the building. This is not the politics of, eg, Michael Foot. The editor should be sacked for this.…" (Tweet). Retrieved 11 November 2020 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ McDonagh, Melanie (21 January 2020). "I had begun to feel a certain warmth towards Rebecca Long-Bailey..." The Tablet. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  18. ^ Berry-Kilby, Portia (20 January 2020). "Does Labour have a Catholic problem?". TheArticle. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  19. ^ Dodd, Liz (21 January 2020). "Long-Bailey 'victim of anti-Catholic bigotry'". The Tablet. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  20. ^ Kamm, Oliver (16 August 2007). "Wisdom? More like dumbness of the crowds". The Times. Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. (Author's own copy Archived 5 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine)
  21. ^ "Young Labour has no attachment to democratic politics – it's time the party shut it down". CapX. 1 September 2021.
  22. ^ "Times columnist suggests Young Labour supports 'second Holocaust' over criticism of Israel". Middle East Monitor. 2 September 2021.
  23. ^ "A caring but unsuitable marriage drew to its cordial conclusion, and I took on the daunting task of bringing up two young children on my own. I found love before long, with a single mother of two children, and it was a delight to me. We felt we’d found our personal refuges. But I messed it up. She was driven to distraction by my apparent distance and tardiness to commit. After three years, we parted in sadness."
  24. ^ Marsh, Nicholas (2006). "Review of Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy". Journal of Peace Research. 43 (5): 637. JSTOR 27640397.
  25. ^ Cohen, Nick (7 March 2015). "If 'incorrect' English is what's widely understood, how can it be wrong?". The Spectator.
  26. ^ Cowdrey, Katherine (6 August 2018). "Times columnist's investigation into depression to W&N". The Bookseller. Retrieved 11 August 2018.

Media related to Oliver Kamm at Wikimedia Commons