Spiked (magazine)

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Type of site
OwnerBrendan O'Neill
Created byMick Hume
Alexa rankDecrease 89,348 (July 2018)[1]

Spiked (also written as sp!ked) is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society.

Editors and contributors[edit]

Spiked is edited by Brendan O'Neill,[2] following Mick Hume's departure in January 2007, and features regular contributions from James Heartfield, Michael Fitzpatrick, Patrick West, Rob Lyons, Nathalie Rothschild, Tim Black, Duleep Allirajah, Tom Slater, Joanna Williams and Frank Furedi.


The magazine was founded in 2000 after the bankruptcy of its predecessor, Living Marxism (LM).[3][4][5]

LM closed after losing a libel case brought against it by the broadcasting corporation ITN. The case centred around ITN coverage of Fikret Alić and other Bosnian Muslims standing behind a barbed-wire fence at the Trnopolje camp during the Yugoslav war. LM opposed Western intervention on traditional anti-imperialist grounds, and thus warned against the tendency to moralise the conflict – with Muslims portrayed as the victims and Serbs as the villains – which was fuelling the clamour for military action. LM published an article titled "The Picture that Fooled the World"[6] 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.[7]


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,[8] hate speech[9] and incitement[10][11] laws, and of censorship on university campuses (e.g. No Platform).[12] They have criticised laws targeted at paedophiles as counterproductive to rehabilitation and conducive to mob violence.[13] Spiked also regularly critiques risk society, political correctness, and environmentalism. 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.[14]

Spiked opposed the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and of Iraq and Western interference in developing nations in general.[15][16][17] It seeks to counter what it sees as a recent trend in Western foreign policy: humanitarian intervention.[18]

Some have said that Spiked's stance has more in common with libertarianism than with the mainstream left.[19]

Frank Furedi, interviewed in Spiked, responded 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.[20]

Environmentalists such as George Monbiot[21] 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.[22][23] Writers who used to write for Living Marxism reject this as a 'McCarthyite' conspiracy theory.[24] Monbiot described their views as having, "less in common with the left than with the fanatical right."[25]

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.[26] 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.


Spiked receives its funding via the organising of debates, surveys, seminars and conferences, with a variety of partners, sponsors and organisations. It also receives donations from readers.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "spiked-online.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  3. ^ Reed, Zach. "The politics and origins of Britain's Spiked-Online—Part Two". Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  4. ^ Ideas, Jenny Turner reports from the Battle of (2010-07-08). "Who Are They?". London Review of Books. pp. 3–8. ISSN 0260-9592. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  5. ^ "Why we were right to fight". www.spiked-online.com. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  6. ^ Deichman, Thomas. "'The Picture that Fooled the World'". Archived from the original on 10 November 1999.
  7. ^ Hume, Mick (7 March 2005). "The day I faced being a £1m bankrupt". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  8. ^ Guldberg, Helene (6 July 2006). "Don't tinker with the libel laws – scrap them". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  9. ^ Appleton, Josie (11 April 2006). "Sticks, stones and hate speech". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  10. ^ O’Neill, Brendan (28 March 2006). "Free speech, with the edges taken off". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  11. ^ O’Neill, Brendan (13 October 2004). "Can music incite murder?". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  12. ^ Down with campus censorship! Campaign. Sp!ked official website. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  13. ^ Black, Tim (19 February 2008). "The return of the paedophile panic". Spiked. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  14. ^ Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky. "After the IPCC: A man-made morality tale". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Hume, Mick. "The age of PR imperialism". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  17. ^ Cunliffe, Philip. "Exposing 'Empire in denial'". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  18. ^ O'Neill and Brendan. "What's worse than a Blairite? A Blair-basher". Spiked. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
  19. ^ For example, in a LobbyWatch interview, George Monbiot claimed of Spiked's predecessor, LM Magazine, that: "...it was very far from a Marxism journal – it was just about as far from a Marxist journal as you could possibly get."Monbiot, George. "Interview with George Monbiot". LobbyWatch. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  20. ^ O'Neill, Brendan. "'Humanising politics – that is my only agenda'". Spiked. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  21. ^ Monbiot, George (9 December 2003). "Invasion of the entryists". The Guardian (London).
  22. ^ Melchett, Peter (19 April 2007). "Clear intentions". The Guardian (London).
  23. ^ Profiles: Martin Durkin, LobbyWatch. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  24. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (25 April 2007). "'Humanising politics—that is my only agenda'". Spiked Online. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  25. ^ Monbiot, George (1 November 1998). "Far Left or Far Right?". Prospect. London.
  26. ^ The National Book Critics Circle's Campaign to Save Book Reviews, John Freeman, President, National Book Critics Circle.

External links[edit]