Owen Jones

Owen Peter Jones (born 8 August 1984)[2] is an English newspaper columnist, political commentator and journalist, and Labour Party activist. He writes a column for The Guardian and contributes to the New Statesman and Tribune; he previously contributed to The Independent.

Owen Jones
Jones in June 2016
BornOwen Peter Jones
(1984-08-08) 8 August 1984 (age 35)
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
  • Columnist
  • Author
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford
Home townStockport, Greater Manchester
Notable worksChavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It

Early life

Jones was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England and grew up in Stockport, Greater Manchester,[3] and briefly in Falkirk, Scotland.[4] His father was a local authority worker and trade union shop steward,[5] and his mother, Ruth Aylett, was an IT lecturer at the University of Salford.[5] 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.[6] 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".[7]

He attended Bramhall High School and Ridge Danyers Sixth Form College[8] before studying History at University College, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 2005 and a Master of Studies (MSt) in US History in 2007.[9][10] 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.[11][12]

Writings and public career

Columnist, broadcaster and writer

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.[3][13] He writes from a left-wing perspective.[14]

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.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

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.[21] In November 2012, Jones was awarded Journalist of the Year at the Stonewall Awards, along with The Times journalist Hugo Rifkind.[22] Jones' second book, The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It, was published in September 2014.[23]

The Daily Telegraph placed Jones 7th in its 2013 list of Britain's most influential left-wingers.[24] 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.[25]

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".[26]

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.[27][28] In November 2013 he delivered the Royal Television Society's Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, Totally Shameless: How TV Portrays the Working Class.[29]

Jones self-identifies as a feminist,[30] a republican,[31][32][33] and a humanist.[34] Jones is gay,[35][36] and strongly opposes gay conversion therapy.[37]

Jones assault

On 17 August 2019, Jones revealed on Twitter that when having his birthday celebrations, he and his friends were attacked in a premeditated assault outside a North London pub.[38] There have been messages of solidarity for Jones from several journalists, politicians and many more. On 29 September 2019, the police confirmed that three men were arrested over the attack on Jones. On 10 October the same three men were charged over the incident.[39]

Political opinions

Jones at Policy Exchange, September 2013

Shortly after the publication of his first book, Jones asserted that he "was one of the few commentators" during the 2011 England riots who was "asked to challenge the dominant narrative that this was mindless criminality, end of story", and criticised how the aftermath was used to demonise working-class youth unjustly.[40]



  1. Jones, Owen (OwenJones84). "Modern capitalism is a sham, and why democratic socialism is our only hope" 30 October 2015, 3:41 AM
  2. "Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  3. "Who the hell is Owen Jones?". 28 December 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2016 via Wayback Machine.
  4. "Owen Jones: What a fairer Scotland would look like". The Independent. London, UK. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  5. Jones, Owen (9 March 2012). "My father, and the reality of losing your job in middle age". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  6. Phelim Brady (8 February 2013). "Interview: Owen Jones". Varsity.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  7. Jones, Owen (22 January 2018). "Losing my dad, and what I learned from him". Medium. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  8. 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. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  9. "Owen Jones". David Higham Literary, Film and TV Agents. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  10. Jones, Owen (1 June 2011). "Abolish Oxbridge". Labour List. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  11. "Time to abolish Oxbridge?". The Oxford Student. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  12. "John McDonnell interview: how Labour is moving to the left?". New Statesman. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  13. "Owen Jones". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 March 2013. [dead link]
  14. Neather, Andrew (23 April 2011). "The Marx effect". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  15. Jon Cruddas (3 June 2011). "Book of the week: Chavs: the demonization of the working class by Owen Jones". The Independent. London. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  16. "The demonisation of the working class: How shows such as The Only Way is Essex have wiped out popular culture". Mail Online. London, UK. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  17. "Giving the poor a good kicking". The Economist. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  18. Dwight Garner (12 July 2011). "Get Your Bling and Adidas Tracksuit, Wayne, a British Class War Is Raging". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  19. Garner, Dwight (21 November 2011). "Dwight Garner's Picks for 2011". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  20. Flood, Alison (31 August 2011). "Guardian first book award longlist: fiction takes lead". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  21. "IoS Great Britons 2011". The Independent. London. 18 December 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  22. "Media". Stonewall.org.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  23. "Owen Jones". David Higham. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  24. Dale, Iain (2 October 2012). "Top 100 most influential figures from the Left 2012: 26-50". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  25. Crampton, Caroline (7 February 2013). "Watch: Lord Ashcroft tries to pwn Owen Jones, fails". New Statesman.
  26. 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.
  27. Jones, Owen. "How the People's Assembly can challenge our suffocating political consensus and why it's vital that we do", The Independent, 24 March 2013.
  28. 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.
  29. "The Royal Television Society Lecture 2013 - 'Totally Shameless: How TV Portrays the Working Class'". BBC. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  30. Jones, Owen (24 February 2015). "Why more men should fight for women's rights". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  31. "Republicans gear up for 'biggest anti-monarchy protest in living memory'". Republic. 24 May 2012.
  32. "Owen: We Need To Talk About The Monarchy". LBC. 20 August 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  33. Jones, Owen (8 February 2015). "I'm a republican". Twitter. Retrieved 16 January 2018.[dead link]
  34. "Owen Jones delivers the Holyoake Lecture 2016". Humanists UK. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  35. "Owen Jones does #DryJanuary for Cancer Research UK". Gay Times. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  36. Lees, Paris (23 April 2015). "Paris Lees: 'We won't fix society for trans people without strong allies'". Attitude Magazine. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  37. We can’t stand silent while the right abuses free speech The Guardian
  38. @. (Tweet) https://twitter.com/ via Twitter. Missing or empty |title= (help); Missing or empty |user= (help); Missing or empty |number= (help); Missing or empty |date= (help)|
  39. "Three men charged over Owen Jones assault". 10 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  40. Jones, Owen (30 April 2012). "Owen Jones: Why 'chavs' were the riots' scapegoats". The Independent. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  41. University, Staffordshire. "Owen Jones". Staffordshire University.