Recent Articles



Poor kids need a voice, not pity

by Owen Jones     June 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I was far from alone in feeling angry – as well as moved to the point of tears – by the BBC’s Poor Kids documentary. Angry that nearly one in three children grow up in poverty in the world’s sixth biggest economy; that most kids living in poverty are in a household where at least one adult works; and that 13 years of New Labour rule failed to reverse the bulk of the social damage bequeathed by Thatcherism.

But what made me perhaps angriest was the fact that it has taken a one-off documentary from the BBC to give Britain’s poor – all 13.5 million of them – a platform.
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On crime: where does the left go from New Labour’s legacy?

by Owen Jones     April 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Being a victim of crime is no fun. My family’s house was burgled repeatedly when I was growing up. On one occasion – when I was 15 – it happened in the early hours when we were all in bed. Three years back I was beaten up and mugged on a bus in Tottenham. And, just before Christmas, my flatmate and I had our bikes stolen: a few days later, they appeared in all their glory on Gumtree.

It’s true to say that some parts of the left has always had trouble cobbling together a popular position on crime which, after all, remains way up there on the general public’s list of concerns. The standard line is that crime – well, mostly petty crime, rather than more middle-class crimes like embezzlement – is a product of economic circumstances.
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What are your private sector horror stories?

by Owen Jones     March 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

Bloated. Inefficient. Wasteful. Pampered. Manned by the lazy and incompetent; administered by shameless fat cats with salaries that make the Prime Minister look like a pauper. All-expenses paid trips to exotic locations. Non-jobs like ‘Executive Officer to Protect Endangered Snakes’.

This is Britain’s public sector, if the relentless campaign of bile directed against it by the Conservative Party and their allies in the right-wing media is to be believed. In a political campaign with few parallels in modern times for either genius or audacity, this axis has transformed one of the greatest private sector disasters in human history into a crisis of public spending. continue reading… »

Arguments against bombing Libya

by Owen Jones     March 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm

The Arab Spring has given way to a cold snap: Tiananmen Square-style massacres of protesters in Yemen, the Saudi invasion of Bahrain and full-blown Western intervention in Libya.

Of course, it was never going to be easy. The Middle East is the most strategically important region on Earth, and also boasts the biggest concentration of brutal dictatorships: no coincidence, of course.

With United Nations approval, Western bombs are now raining down on Libya. I’m aware of all the arguments in favour of intervention. Even if you support this war, I think it’s important to at least be aware of some of the key arguments against. So, here they are. continue reading… »

John Hutton: time for Labour to expel him?

by Owen Jones     March 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Today, a report commissioned by one of the most radical right-wing governments in modern British history is being published. It recommends slashing the pensions of six million public sector workers while forcing them to contribute more and retire later.

It sums up the Government’s whole approach to the economic crisis that erupted three years ago. The pillars of any civilised society – our nurses, teachers and other front-line staff – will be forced to suffer while the banks have their balance sheets topped up by the government. And the face of this latest assault? The author of the report: John Hutton, New Labour’s former Work and Pensions secretary.
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The white-washing of Labour’s defeat must be challenged

by Owen Jones     March 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Narratives are clever political devices. You take a particular event, particularly one that has confused or traumatised people; and, before anyone else gets there first, stamp on a story explaining why it happened.

Repeat it enough, pass it off as commonsense, and soon it will become received wisdom. You can then cleverly use it for political purposes: as either a warning about what to avoid, or a prescription of what must be done next time around.

That’s what the Labour Right have been trying to do with Labour’s devastating general election defeat in 2010.
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Upcoming NUS elections: meet the three candidates

by Owen Jones     February 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm

There are three front-runners in the election in April to replace Aaron Porter as President of the National Union of Students. The contest is significant for students and non-students alike, so I’ve interviewed all three.

Liam Burns is currently President of NUS Scotland, Shane Chowen is Vice President (Further Education) of the NUS and Mark Bergfeld is member of the NUS National Executive and spokesperson for the Education Activist Network.
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Five reasons why Aaron Porter was right not to seek re-election

by Owen Jones     February 21, 2011 at 11:57 am

It’s official: Aaron Porter will no longer be the British student movement’s official figurehead. For only the second time since 1969, a NUS President will not serve a second term.

Aaron Porter chose the wrong time to be a Blairite at the helm of the student movement. If the joint NUS/UCU demo on November 14th had been half as big, Porter would still be in office. But it lit a torchpaper. No-one on left or right had a real sense of the burning anger on campuses and in sixth forms across the country.
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Ed Miliband will address the big TUC march – and why it matters

by Owen Jones     February 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

So, it’s official. Ed Miliband will be speaking at the TUC’s ‘March For The Alternative‘ on 26th March. Well, that’s what Peter Hain told me on Twitter today, and I’m willing to take his word for it.

Cue right-wing hysteria about ‘Red Ed’. In other countries, no-one would blink if the left-of-centre opposition leader joined his supporters in marching against an aggressive neo-liberal government.
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Banning EDL marches, or being careful what you wish for

by Owen Jones     February 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

If you were a genuine democrat at the turn of 1937, you would have been scared. Fascism was on the march across Europe. Italy had fallen first; German Nazism had shut down the world’s greatest labour movement; a fascist-backed military coup against Spain’s left-leaning government had plunged the country into a nightmare civil war.

Here in Britain, Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts – backed by the likes of the Daily Mail – were loudly agitating for a fascist government on the European model. So perhaps you would have backed the Conservative Government’s Public Order Act, signed in to law on 1 January 1937.
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