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Owen Jones

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Owen Jones
Owen Jones, 2016 Labour Party Conference (cropped).jpg
Jones in 2016
Born (1984-08-08) 8 August 1984 (age 36)
EducationUniversity College, Oxford (BA, MSt)
Occupation
  • Columnist
  • author
Political partyLabour
Writing career
Subjects
Notable worksChavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It
Websitetwitter.com/OwenJones84

Owen Peter Jones (born 8 August 1984)[2] is a British left-wing newspaper columnist, political commentator, journalist, author, and Labour Party activist. He writes a column for The Guardian[3] and contributes to the New Statesman and Tribune. He was previously a columnist for The Independent.

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England and grew up in Stockport, Greater Manchester,[4] and briefly in Falkirk, Scotland.[5] His father, Rob Jones,[6] was a local authority worker and trade union shop steward,[7] and his mother, Ruth Aylett,[8][9] was a professor of computer science (initially at the University of Salford and currently Heriot-Watt University).[7][10] He has a twin sister, Eleanor, and two older brothers, Ben and Mark.[8][11] He describes himself as a 'fourth-generation socialist'; his grandfather was involved with the Communist Party and his parents met as members of the Trotskyist Militant group.[12] In an article Jones wrote following his father's death in 2018, he discussed his childhood in more detail, writing that his mother was a "lifelong passionate feminist", that his parents "rejected ‘blue’ and ‘pink’ stereotyped clothing for (the children)... and that kind of thing," and that the family also worked out a "rota system" for sharing domestic chores. Jones also said that their parents taught him and his siblings a "passionate hatred of injustice and bigotry".[13]

He attended Bramhall High School and Ridge Danyers Sixth Form College[14] before studying History at University College, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 2005 and a Master of Studies (MSt) in US History in 2007.[15][16] Before entering journalism, Jones worked as a trade union lobbyist and was a parliamentary researcher for the Labour Party MP John McDonnell, then a backbencher, who became Shadow Chancellor in 2015.[17][18] Additionally, Jones was hired by the left-wing historian Eric Hobsbawm to index and archive his papers.[19]

Writings and public career[edit]

Columnist, broadcaster and writer[edit]

Jones speaking in 2013

Jones is a weekly columnist for The Guardian after switching from The Independent in March 2014. His work has appeared in the New Statesman, the Sunday Mirror, Le Monde diplomatique and several publications with lower circulations.[4][20] He writes from a left-wing perspective.[21]

In 2011, Jones published his first book, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, dissecting cultural stereotypes of the British working-class as boorish and anti-social "chavs". The book was selected by critic Dwight Garner of The New York Times as one of his top 10 non-fiction books of 2011, and it was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award.[22][23][24][25][26]

The Independent on Sunday named Jones as one of its top 50 Britons of 2011, for the manner in which his book raised the profile of class-based issues.[27] In November 2012, Jones was awarded Journalist of the Year at the Stonewall Awards, along with The Times journalist Hugo Rifkind.[28] Jones' second book, The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It, was published in September 2014.[29]

The Daily Telegraph placed Jones 7th in its 2013 list of Britain's most influential left-wingers.[30] In February 2013, when Jones was awarded the Young Writer of the Year prize at the Political Book Award, he donated half the £3,000 prize money to support the campaign of Lisa Forbes, a Labour parliamentary candidate, and the other half to Disabled People Against Cuts.[31]

In an interview with The Student Journals, Jones commented that some have accused him of using politics only to raise his own profile and that he risks being seen as a "lefty rent-a-gob".[32]

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.[33][34] In November 2013, he delivered the Royal Television Society's Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, Totally Shameless: How TV Portrays the Working Class.[35]

Jones self-identifies as a feminist,[36] a republican,[37][38][39] and a humanist.[40] Jones is gay,[41][42] and strongly opposes gay conversion therapy.[43]

In 2013 Jones praised Hugo Chavez and his handling of the Venezuelan economy, and criticised characterisations of Venezuela as a dictatorship.[44] In 2014 he reaffirmed his belief in Venezuela's democracy.[45] As the economic crisis and unrest in Venezuela intensified, Jones was criticised for his support of the Venezuelan government.[46][47][48][49]

2019 assault[edit]

Jones at Policy Exchange, September 2013

On 17 August 2019, Jones said on Twitter that when having his birthday celebrations, he and his friends were attacked in a premeditated assault outside The Lexington, a North London pub.[50] On 29 September 2019, the Metropolitan police confirmed that three men were arrested over the attack on Jones. On 10 October, the same three men were charged over the incident.[51] In January 2020, one of the three men was found guilty of aggravated assault towards Jones.[52] In July 2020, James Healy, one of the perpetrators, was jailed for attacking Jones, with the judge concluding that Jones was targeted for his LGBT identity and left-wing beliefs. Healy was found to have a collection of neo-Nazi memorabilia such as a Combat 18 badge and a football flag decorated with Schutzstaffel (SS) symbols in his home, which Healy said was connected to past football hooliganism that he no longer participated in.[53][54]

YouTube show and podcast[edit]

In December 2020, Jones began hosting a weekly web series, The Owen Jones Show, where he talks to guests from across the political spectrum. New episodes are uploaded to his YouTube channel every Sunday.[55] He also launched The Owen Jones Podcast the following month, with guests including Stewart Lee, Noam Chomsky, Michael Sheen and Chelsea Manning.[56]

Books[edit]

  • Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class. Verso Books. 2011. ISBN 9781781683989.
  • The Establishment: And how they get away with it. Penguin. 2014. ISBN 978-0141974996.
  • The Alternative: And How We Build It. Penguin. 2019. ISBN 9780241253960.
  • This Land: The Story of a Movement. Allen Lane. 2020. ISBN 978-0241470947.

Honours[edit]

Owen Jones was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) by Staffordshire University in 2015.[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "An evening of Socialism with Owen Jones". Canterbury Labour Party. 26 October 2017. Archived from the original on 13 February 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021. Jones describes himself as a democratic socialist, indeed, socialism used to be a term the Labour Party was more than happy to champion.
  2. ^ "Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) | Twitter". twitter.com. Archived from the original on 30 May 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Owen Jones". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Who the hell is Owen Jones?". 28 December 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2016 – via Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Owen Jones: What a fairer Scotland would look like". The Independent. London, UK. 5 February 2014. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  6. ^ Jones, Owen [@owenjones84] (13 January 2018). "Devastated that my beloved dad, Rob, died surrounded by his family this morning.
    He loved Everton, history, the blues, socialism, and his family.
    He was a lifelong socialist, trade unionist and a passionate believer in a better world"
    (Tweet). Retrieved 10 March 2021 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b Jones, Owen (9 March 2012). "My father, and the reality of losing your job in middle age". The Independent. London, UK. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  8. ^ a b Aylett, Ruth (17 September 2006). "Personal stuff". www.macs.hw.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  9. ^ Aitken, Vivienne (21 July 2015). "Cancer patients miss out on vital drug due to staff shortage". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 30 December 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Ruth Aylett". Heriot-Watt Research Portal. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  11. ^ Jones, Owen [@OwenJones84] (13 May 2020). "I have a twin sister and two elder brothers: we were all expected to do housework from the age of 11, using a daily rota system dividing up chores. I don't understand why teenagers cannot be expected to do this?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Phelim Brady (8 February 2013). "Interview: Owen Jones". Varsity.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  13. ^ Jones, Owen (22 January 2018). "Losing my dad, and what I learned from him". Medium. Archived from the original on 14 October 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  14. ^ Jones, Owen (11 October 2013). "Owen Jones goes Back to School: 'Why do people tell you to imagine those interviewing you are naked?'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Owen Jones". David Higham Literary, Film and TV Agents. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  16. ^ Jones, Owen (1 June 2011). "Abolish Oxbridge". Labour List. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Time to abolish Oxbridge?". The Oxford Student. 9 June 2011. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  18. ^ Meltzer, Hannah (3 March 2013). "John McDonnell interview: how Labour is moving to the left?". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  19. ^ Evans, Richard J. (2019). Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 642. ISBN 9780190459642.
  20. ^ "Owen Jones". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  21. ^ Neather, Andrew (23 April 2011). "The Marx effect". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  22. ^ Cruddas, Jon (3 June 2011). "Book of the week: Chavs: the demonization of the working class by Owen Jones". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 24 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  23. ^ "Giving the poor a good kicking". The Economist. 16 June 2011. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  24. ^ Garner, Dwight (12 July 2011). "Get Your Bling and Adidas Tracksuit, Wayne, a British Class War Is Raging". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  25. ^ Garner, Dwight (21 November 2011). "Dwight Garner's Picks for 2011". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  26. ^ Flood, Alison (31 August 2011). "Guardian first book award longlist: fiction takes lead". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  27. ^ "IoS Great Britons 2011". The Independent. London. 18 December 2011. Archived from the original on 2 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  28. ^ "Media". Stonewall.org.uk. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  29. ^ "Owen Jones". David Higham. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  30. ^ Dale, Iain (2 October 2012). "Top 100 most influential figures from the Left 2012: 26-50". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  31. ^ Crampton, Caroline (7 February 2013). "Watch: Lord Ashcroft tries to pwn Owen Jones, fails". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  32. ^ Evans, James (17 February 2013). "TSJ talks to Owen Jones". studentjournals.co.uk. The Student Journals. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. 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.
  33. ^ Jones, Owen. "How the People's Assembly can challenge our suffocating political consensus and why it's vital that we do" Archived 26 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine, The Independent, 24 March 2013.
  34. ^ Wotherspoon, Jenny "People's Assembly: Writer Owen Jones Helps Build Nationwide Anti-Cuts Movement In The North East" Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Sky Tyne & Wear, 23 May 2013.
  35. ^ "The Royal Television Society Lecture 2013 - 'Totally Shameless: How TV Portrays the Working Class'". BBC. 24 November 2013. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  36. ^ Jones, Owen (24 February 2015). "Why more men should fight for women's rights". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  37. ^ "Republicans gear up for 'biggest anti-monarchy protest in living memory'". Republic. 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  38. ^ "Owen: We Need To Talk About The Monarchy". LBC. 20 August 2017. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  39. ^ Jones, Owen [@OwenJones84] (8 February 2015). "I'm a republican" (Tweet). Retrieved 16 January 2018 – via Twitter.[dead link]
  40. ^ "Owen Jones delivers the Holyoake Lecture 2016". Humanists UK. 19 October 2016. Archived from the original on 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  41. ^ "Owen Jones does #DryJanuary for Cancer Research UK". Gay Times. 5 January 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  42. ^ Lees, Paris (23 April 2015). "Paris Lees: 'We won't fix society for trans people without strong allies'". Attitude Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  43. ^ We can’t stand silent while the right abuses free speech Archived 7 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian
  44. ^ "Hugo Chavez proves you can lead a progressive, popular government that says no to neo-liberalism". The Independent. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  45. ^ "Owen Jones: Socialism's critics look at Venezuela and say, 'We told you so'. But they are wrong". The Independent. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  46. ^ "14 questions Owen Jones and Venezuela's silent fans on the left must answer". The Spectator. 7 August 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  47. ^ "Venezuela is a humanitarian crisis – and the British left just laughs". CityAM. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  48. ^ "Owen Jones Won't Refute the Failings of Venezuelan Socialism". The Backbencher. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  49. ^ "Venezuela's useful idiots have gone quiet. I wonder why". CapX. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  50. ^ Jones, Owen [@OwenJones84] (17 August 2019). "This is a bit dramatic, so firstly I'm fine, but last night - when I was celebrating my birthday - I was attacked, along with my friends, in a blatant premeditated assault" (Tweet). Retrieved 19 April 2020 – via Twitter.
  51. ^ "Three men charged over Owen Jones assault". BBC News. 10 October 2019. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  52. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (17 January 2020). "Man found guilty of aggravated assault against Owen Jones". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 February 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  53. ^ "Man jailed for attacking journalist Owen Jones". BBC News. 24 July 2020. Archived from the original on 24 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  54. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (24 July 2020). "Football hooligan jailed for attacking Guardian columnist Owen Jones". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  55. ^ Powell, Leah (29 December 2020). "'No disrespect': Actor Michael Sheen reveals why he returned his OBE". South Wales Argus. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  56. ^ Jones, Owen [@OwenJones84] (30 January 2021). "My new podcast has launched with 8 interviews!" (Tweet). Retrieved 31 January 2021 – via Twitter.
  57. ^ University, Staffordshire. "Owen Jones". Staffordshire University.

External links[edit]