Spiked (magazine)

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Type of site
Created byMick Hume
EditorBrendan O'Neill
Alexa rankIncrease 84,689 (Nov 2018)[1]

Spiked (also written as sp!ked) is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society. The magazine was founded in 2001 with the same editor and many of the same contributors as Living Marxism, which had closed in 2000 after being sued for libel by ITN.[2][3] It is funded in part by donations from the Charles Koch Foundation.[4][5][6]

Editors and contributors[edit]

Spiked is edited by Brendan O'Neill,[7] following Mick Hume's departure in January 2007, and features regular contributions from James Heartfield, Michael Fitzpatrick, Patrick West, and Frank Furedi, among others.


The magazine was founded in 2000 after the bankruptcy of its predecessor, Living Marxism (LM).[8][2][9]

LM closed after losing a libel case brought against it by the broadcasting corporation ITN.[10][3] The case centered around ITN coverage of Fikret Alić and other Bosnian Muslims standing behind a barbed-wire fence at the Trnopolje camp during the Bosnian war. LM claimed to oppose Western intervention on traditional anti-imperialist grounds, and published an article titled "The Picture that Fooled the World"[11] which claimed that ITN's coverage was deceptive, the barbed-wire did not enclose the camp and the Muslims were in fact "refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished." During the court case, evidence given by the camp doctor led LM to abandon its defence. ITN was awarded damages and costs, estimated to be around £1 million.[8][12][13]


Spiked focuses on issues of freedom and state control, science and technology, culture, education and literature.

The magazine opposes all forms of censorship, by the state or otherwise. Its writers call for a repeal of libel,[14] hate speech[15] and incitement[16][17] laws, and of censorship on university campuses (e.g. No Platform).[18] They have criticised laws targeted at paedophiles as counterproductive to rehabilitation and conducive to mob violence.[19] Spiked also regularly critiques risk society, political correctness, and environmentalism.[20] As regards the latter, a particular Spiked target has been what they see as "exaggerated" and "hysterical" interpretations of the scientific consensus on global warming, and what they argue are double standards advocated by more advanced Western nations for self-serving reasons.[21]

Spiked opposed the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and of Iraq and Western interference in developing nations in general.[22][23][24] It seeks to counter what it sees as a recent trend in Western foreign policy: humanitarian intervention.[25]

Frank Furedi, interviewed in Spiked, said that the stance of LM and Spiked springs from the tradition of the "anti-Stalinist left". He argued that the reason why many in the left tradition have difficulties in identifying these ideas with the left is that they completely misunderstand the humanist political position of being progressive in terms of human progress, science, rationality and freedom, and yet be completely anti-state:

...much of the left in the twentieth century tended to be influenced by Stalinist and Social-Democratic traditions, which means they could not imagine that you could be left-wing and anti-state...so they were confused by us. But that was their fault, not ours. It was a product of their own abandonment of liberty in favour of ideas about state control.[26]

Environmentalists such as George Monbiot[27][20] and Peter Melchett have suggested that the group of writers associated with LM, several of whom went on to form the core editorial group at Spiked, continue to constitute a 'LM Network' pursuing an ideologically motivated 'anti-environmentalist' agenda under the guise of promoting humanism.[28][29] Writers who used to write for Living Marxism reject this as a 'McCarthyite' conspiracy theory.[30] Monbiot described their views as having, "less in common with the left than with the fanatical right."[31]

The Spiked network has been active in campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union, with a number of its activists being involved in Nigel Farage's Brexit Party as candidates or publicists.[32][33][34][20][35]

Spiked Review of Books[edit]

SRB masthead.gif

The Spiked Review of Books is a monthly online literary criticism feature, based at Spiked. The launch in May 2007 coincided with controversy in the United States following the scaling back of newspaper book review sections.[36] The Spiked Review of Books features editorials by Brendan O'Neill and interviews, essays and reviews by a range of writers, many of whom are regular contributors to Spiked, such as Frank Furedi, Jennie Bristow and Josie Appleton. The cover illustrations are by Jan Bowman.


A joint investigation between DeSmog UK and The Guardian revealed that Spiked US Inc. has received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.[4][5][37] The writer George Monbiot suggested that this was due to the online magazine's attacks on left-wing politics, its support of hard right or far right figures, and the many articles it publishes by writers supported by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Koch funded Cato Institute.[5][6]


  1. ^ "spiked-online.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b Ideas, Jenny Turner reports from the Battle of (8 July 2010). "Who Are They?". London Review of Books. pp. 3–8. ISSN 0260-9592. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b Wells, Matt (31 March 2000). "LM closes after losing libel action". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b "The New McCarthyism is ruining public life". Spiked. 3 December 2018. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Monbiot, George (7 December 2018). "How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b Busby, Mattha; Halliday, Josh (8 December 2018). "Zuckerberg must end far right's fundraising on Facebook – Tom Watson". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  8. ^ a b Pallister, David; Vidal, John; Maguire, Kevin (8 July 2000). "Life after Living Marxism: Fighting for freedom - to offend, outrage and question everything". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Thomas Deichmann". www.lobbywatch.org. Lobby-Watch. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  10. ^ Hartley-Brewer, Julia (15 March 2000). "High stakes in battle over Serbian guilt". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  11. ^ Monbiot, George (13 June 2011). "Left and libertarian right cohabit in the weird world of the genocide belittlers - George Monbiot". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  12. ^ Vulliamy, Ed (15 March 2000). "Poison in the well of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Spiked". www.lobbywatch.org. Lobby Watch. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  14. ^ Guldberg, Helene (6 July 2006). "Don't tinker with the libel laws – scrap them". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  15. ^ Appleton, Josie (11 April 2006). "Sticks, stones and hate speech". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  16. ^ O’Neill, Brendan (28 March 2006). "Free speech, with the edges taken off". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  17. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (13 October 2004). "Can music incite murder?". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  18. ^ "Down with campus censorship! Campaign". Sp!ked. 24 May 2018.
  19. ^ Black, Tim (19 February 2008). "The return of the paedophile panic". Spiked. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  20. ^ a b c Monbiot, George (7 December 2018). "How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  21. ^ Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky. "After the IPCC: A man-made morality tale". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  22. ^ Nadine Strossen; Faisal Devji; Jeffrey Rosen; Brendan O'Neill; Michael Baum; et al. "Life, liberty and politics after 9/11". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  23. ^ Hume, Mick. "The age of PR imperialism". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  24. ^ Cunliffe, Philip. "Exposing 'Empire in denial'". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  25. ^ O'Neill and Brendan. "What's worse than a Blairite? A Blair-basher". Spiked. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
  26. ^ O'Neill, Brendan. "'Humanising politics – that is my only agenda'". Spiked. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  27. ^ Monbiot, George (9 December 2003). "Invasion of the entryists". The Guardian (London).
  28. ^ Melchett, Peter (19 April 2007). "Clear intentions". The Guardian (London).
  29. ^ Profiles: Martin Durkin, LobbyWatch. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  30. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (25 April 2007). "'Humanising politics—that is my only agenda'". Spiked Online. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  31. ^ Monbiot, George (1 November 1998). "Far Left or Far Right?". Prospect. London.
  32. ^ "Revealed: Nigel Farage's Brexit Party candidate spread "propaganda" for Balkan warlord, was 'bugged' by MI6". openDemocracy. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  33. ^ Smith, Julia Llewellyn (28 April 2019). "The Brexit Party's Claire Fox on why she's fighting for Farage". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  34. ^ English, Otto; Colegrave, Stephen; English, Otto; Werleman, CJ; Raw, Louise (13 May 2019). "AstroTurfers of Britain Part Two: Who is Behind Brexit Party Recruitment and its PR Makeover? – Byline Times". Byline Times. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  35. ^ Bartholomew, Emma (8 March 2019). "'Pro-Brexit, anti-feminist, anti-environmental' videos from Hackney charity WORLDwrite spark concern". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  36. ^ The National Book Critics Circle's Campaign to Save Book Reviews, John Freeman, President, National Book Critics Circle.
  37. ^ Small, Mike (6 December 2018). "Revealed: US Oil Billionaire Charles Koch Funds UK Anti-Environment Spiked Network". DeSmog UK. Retrieved 24 April 2019.

External links[edit]