jonesblog

Who the hell is Owen Jones?

with 92 comments

I’m a lefty currently based in Hackney; and I grew up in Sheffield, Falkirk, and above all Stockport (get in touch if you want a list of Stocky-related facts…) I’m a former flunky for unions and Labour MPs, and author of ‘Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class’, which was published by Verso in 2011.

My ramblings have been published in the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, The Sunday MirrorLe Monde Diplomatique, Frankfurter Allgemeine, the Morning Star, the New HumanistLiberal Conspiracy, LabourList, Left Futures, and Open Democracy. I’ve also been inflicted on the public through BBC Newsnight, BBC, Breakfast News, ITV Day Break, Sky News, BBC News, The Big Questions, Channel 4′s 10 O’Clock and various radio stations.

You can read excerpts of reviews of ‘Chavs’ on the Verso website.

http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/clients/Owen-Jones.htm

Email me at: o.p.jones AT gmail.com

Written by Owen Jones

December 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm

92 Responses

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  1. Like what you write, so am subscribing.
    http://clemthegem.wordpress.com/

    Clem the Gem

    January 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

  2. Sorry not to meet up with you at Hackney CLP Gc tonight – see you soon.

    Clem

    Clem the Gem

    January 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    • Owen would really love to see you team up with Daniel Garvin of U.K. Uncut.
      You two would be a force for good,and you are both young and keen.

      david mc geoghan-powell

      March 23, 2012 at 6:26 am

  3. Your ramblings about chavs are incorrect. Suggest you learn the correct definition of the word ‘chav’ before imparting your opinions on us. Ask people to describe a chav and you will get lots of different answers. You cannot generalise and assume it means working class – it doesn’t.

    Gav the chav

    June 4, 2011 at 8:48 am

    • I agree with you mate. The word ‘Chav’ means different things to different people. It has also changed over the years. To me and most I know Chav does not equal lower-class. A chav is a person whom disrespects others, breaks the law and acts in an unsavoury manner. Nothing to do with class all to do with behaviour

      pedro

      August 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      • It would probably be a good idea for you both to read the book. I agree with you when you say that the word chav does not represent the working class, or at least i did untill i read the book and figured out what he actually meant.

        He’s not actually talking about chavs he’s talking about how chavs i.e. someone who disrespects others, breaks the law and acts in an unsavoury manner are used to portray a larger group of people than they actually are.

        He shows that in actual fact working classes have been portrayed as feckless jobless layabouts who do nothing more than pop out babies and claim the dole.

        This has become almost a sport in the media and has been excused by using the word chav instead of calling people working class.

        Pedro i hope i dont cause any offence when i say that your reaction is almost typical and there is nothing wrong with that becouse your point of view has been forced in that direction by the media.

        I wonder if for example you knew that the word “Chav” actually originates from the word “chavie” which means toddler in the gypsy language Romany? it is mentioned at the very start of Owens book.

        Zachary jones

        September 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    • This isn’t what Owen is saying. He is exposing the way that the Middle Class (journalists, politicians, blogs etc) use and define the word Chav to discredit membership of working class communities and how behavioural and attitude problems are touted by the middle class to explain the fecklessness/violence etc of working class communities. In his book he very convincingly puts the case for the destruction of the manufactruing industries and the obsession with individualism from Thatcher onwards as the mainsprings of destroying communites not the behavour of individuals.

      Ian Townson

      October 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

  4. I live in Stockport and got your book for my birthday this week. After 5 pages I couldn’t put it down and am about a third through now. Wow! Your book needed saying!

    John Tummon

    June 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm

  5. There’s good and bad in all classes of society. The problem with assuming all people on benefits are somehow victims and all those in work are somehow privileged and lucky is crap. It’s all much more complicated. I’m a landlord (from a working class background) and have today, a Sunday, had to clean up dog poo which is all over the carpet of a house we let out to someone who has shown no interest in working for the many years we have known her. She shouts and screams in the street and the working class neighbors who work are sick and tired of her. She plays loud music in the night and then they have to get up early to go off to work after not having slept. They hate the fact that she can spend the day in bed – and several of them have rung us to complain. We have given her her notice but it will take months to get her out as we’ll probably have to get bailiffs etc. I don’t know what class category she falls into. She’s got a northern accent which makes her sound working class, she is a Goth and pretty well-educated. We’ll have to spend thousands in lost rent and cleaning up after her, including repairing broken windows and doors. I own several houses (with large mortgages) and have never been given anything – my father was an unemployed bus conductor and my mother left me when I was ten. I could have turned into one of these chavs, but I didn’t…. Anyway, gone midnight, and must get to bed. All the best. Thought you did very well on the Press Preview.
    Ros

    Rosw

    June 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm

  6. Nicely timed book release (and good hype) after Ed’s dreary and loathsome ‘responsibilisation’ speach. It seems the Labour Party are hell bent on taking the right fork in a road freshly tarmaced by the Australian and New Zealand Labour Parties. It’s been a slow and boring ride watching Ed pick up the crumbs in his own sweet time and but at last it seems he’s just about got the rhetoric down. Good boy. It goes something this: attack those you cannot touch and those you nolonger care to help. Its taken a bit longer to turn this old ship around, but as you rightly argue, the UK has definitely dropped anchor in dumber than dumb bay, a place where former left wing parties come to have those pesky old blue collar barnacles scraped from their hulls and a nice new conservative shade of wash applied liberally all down their fat underbellies.

  7. [...] controversial?’ are “at the heart of Britain’s obsession with class.” In the article, Owen Jones, author and social commentator,  says ‘chav’ is used as a smokescreen for class hatred. [...]

  8. Ros misses the point. Of course there is good and bad in every class, Owen’s point is that many of the so-called ‘poor’ or ‘scummy’ areas got that way due to governmental tactics. It certainly is an individual’s fault if they dont clean up after themselves etc., but has to be seen in the wider matrix.

    harry

    June 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

  9. Below is a copy of the comment I made in response to Lindsey Hanley’s critique of your book in ‘The Guardian’. Thanks for this book, I’m glad I’m not alone in many of my views and would be interested in any further comments you have to make about the posting below.

    As I am working class and both educated and radicalised, I have felt like an anomaly for many years as I have never wanted to assimilate with middle class people.

    I have a long held view that the middle classes monopolised the radical left agenda during the early Thatcher years, were later bought off with the reformist policies of new labour and subsequently abandoned the radical left when it no longer served their purpose. This left many working class issues out in the cold, during and after Thatcherism.

    I agree with Jones that white working class issues are also viewed through the prism of race – how racist/non racist we are, and that political interest in our people stops there.

    As somebody who grew up in Brixton during the riots, I noticed that although the uprisings came about as a direct result of police harrassment of black young people, many white people also rioted and the majority of black and white working class people in this community felt that the police deserved what they got. I believe that there was a fear that left wing working class black and white people could become a revolutionary force and that the folk devil of the white working class racist was created to divide us. Yes, there was a lot of racism in those days but also a lot of anti racism led by the young people of the time who grew up together and were integrated.

    I’m regret to say that I feel the Guardian often plays a part in dividing and demonising us, claiming to be liberal whilst treating us with disdain. What makes it particularly damaging is that many middle class people employed in the public sector, who are responsible for educating, nursing, caring for and allocating essential resources to working class clients read this paper and internalise this disdain.

    I was therefore intersted to see what the Guardian critics would make of this book. The lukewarm review and points about racism and the radical right confirmed my fears.

    Lynne

    July 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  10. The word chav presents a complex issue. Perhaps the word “chav” shows the decay of liberal middle class “morality” which was there in the past to encourage working classes albeit in a patronising way. It must be the upbringings they have or the apparent frustration with some (not all) sectors of social housing dwellers not to become left wing and more interested in material comforts like flatty tellys (though its wrong to finger point at this since are some but not all sectors of middle class society that like to stuff their faces with posh food and wine like at the dinner party that Owen attended). Though the white middle class used to poke fun at the “respectable working classes” aka Alf Garnet. Chav or “Alf Garnet” Neither stereotype is correct. Neither is to think that all members of the middle class point fingers…..I have friends of all classes and none of them fit these stereotype and so I think the word Chav has just been blown up by tatty internet sites that also appear to be racially bias against Romany folk (A certain right wing journalist who writes for a right wing tabloid would be very proud of these sites). Some politicians and bloomin media have only just jumped on the ban wagon, unfortunately behaviour that is not very well thought out but very bloody human.

    olemog

    July 24, 2011 at 10:13 am

  11. There are many similarities with George Orwell’s “The road to Wigan Pier” written during the last Depression, in 1938. His premise was that the middle class disliked the working class because they “smelled”. Then again at the time it was written many left wing activists were fighting and dying for socialism in Spain. How many are on the battlefields in Libya? Orwell’s solution was redistribution of land and collectivism.

    I can commend the book to all interetsed.

    The working class of the 1930s got Atlee, and the welfare state (after surving WW2). The working class of today…?
    I notice that Owen Jones lived in Falkirk. He has many good things to say about the rise of the SNP and the Weslsh Nationalists. It is a shame that Labour in Scotland did not achieve anything other than pocket-lining and corruption on a Murdochian scale.
    We hope for the future. Keep the Faith

    John Stewart

    July 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

  12. I liked your book, was so impressed by the absence of middle class speak in your use of language, except when you were quoting middle aged middle class femail journalists who seem to think sickening use of words that don’t mean anything makes them intellectually superior. Totally agree with the comment about the Guardian by Lynn. Notice if you summon a fraction of the venom against any of their darlings that they use against some 22 year old single mum living in a house with no running water and about to be evicted, they react like a disturbed wasps nest. Glam Sam Cam and that woman who married Prince William are somehow “better” human beings.

    Marie

    July 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm

  13. Owen, watched your discussion on Breakfast this morning and it’s got me engaged. It’s a refreshing change to hear someone talk with moral and humanitarian influence. Although I have only just learnt of your book I get the sense that some of the social issues you work through would dovetail nicely with many of those discussed in a book I read recently called The Selfish Society by Sue Gerhardt, a “must read” for all policy makers and a book that would likely add further scientific credence to your publication.
    Anyway, I’m off to the bookshop to get Chav – I’ve got high hopes for it……

    Sally

    August 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

  14. I haven’t read the book but saw Owen Jones on breakfast TV. What I found interesting was that in ten seconds the journalist next to him came out with more common sense than he did in the prervious two minutes basically saying it’s a group mainly within the working class not representative of them. Being older than him I thought this Jones guy must on top of what the word chav indicates because he’s nearer their age group sdaly this isn’t the case. My children when they were teenages referred to chavs as low life lacking ambition, a moral code, dress sense etc. not the ‘working class’ but a group they thought as undesirable within their circles which were a mixture of working and middle class. Yes chavs tend to be from the poorer end of society but stigmatised by their perceived poor standards rather than class. They don’t represent the working class, the big deal here whereas he was claiming the word refers to all of the working class which it doesn’t. May be his book says more relevant things above ‘class’ if that is the case he should stick to his text. Still he’s making a good living better than being a chav.

    Stephen Reimer

    August 4, 2011 at 8:16 am

    • While the original meaning was aimed at those who wore burberry and bling it was widened to the whole working class, and anybody who didn’t want to ‘become middle-class’, which basically meant disowning your background and identity, and becoming a consumerist capitalist who blamed ‘chavs’ for all the nation’s problems.

      This was mostly before the bankers/politicians scandals became apparent, and it was easy to present a case of good and evil.

      The upper classes also used the alleged uselessness of ‘chavs’ to make the case for open doors immigration, thus creating more ‘chavs’ when working class workers were made redundant as cheaper labour was imported.

      Marc Latham

      August 11, 2011 at 9:37 am

    • Chavs do not ‘tend to be from the poorer end of society’ they ARE from the poorer end. As Jones says, no-one ‘admits’ to being a chav. And to the middle classes, due to multiple factors, rightly or wrongly, chavs DO represent the working class. So if you’re working class, as I am, middle classes think we’re chavs, after all we can only afford to shop in Woolworths/poundland if we earn a lousy £8 an hr!

      Dee Gee

      January 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      • Chav is just a new word for “Common” which used to be used many years ago. Back then, as now, there were “decent” working class people and those who were “common”. The decent WC folk used the word “common” as much as the middle-class just as decent working class people today use the word chav to describe the same type of people. My parents came from poor homes – clothes were made and mended and rarely bought new, holidays were a fantasy, jobs in factories etc. But they didn’t get drunk and shagged around the back of the cinema like the “common people down the road”. There is a difference. Scumbags exist and people need a name for them.

        Chavs are a subset of the working class and lower-middle class. It’s not just about how you dress or how well off your are, it’s how you act: chavvy behaviour tends to take no account of how other people feel about it or how public it is. It tends to be more aggressive and more criminal than normal. It’s probably impossible to precisely define and delineate this behaviour to the satisfaction of a social scientist but chavs exist all the same. What is a shame is when the label is used to describe decent people who just happen to not be well of or have a penchant for cheap sports clothing.

        Nozza

        January 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

  15. ..”better than being a chav” is indeed the pertinent comment. For me the discussion is less about whether or not the term “Chav” covers part of or the whole of working class, but more about the fact that a vulnerable section of society is being ridiculed by others who pride themselves in being more well educated and better off.
    Not being a chav is a comfortable place and the wider the gap between “them” and “us” the better. The easiest way to do this is by objectifying them, removing the human element and making it ok to laugh at them via characterisations such as Vicky Pollard and Lauren.
    But of course, it’s not OK.
    The less comfortable reality is that the chav’s and us are not so far apart as we would like. In fact, the truth is we’re the same except that they have often had less positive influences and experiences. A product of their upbringing and limited resources, society keeps them firmly to their type with it’s dismissive abandonment and absense of effective mechanisms to break the cycles which are so often resulting in young peoples mis-guided behaviour.

    Sally

    August 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

  16. Owen, I was very interested in what you said during your interview for BBC regarding the riots and wondered whether you could post a video clip of it on your blog? I totally agree with you – let’s understand this to stop it happening again. Would like to share it on Facebook/twitter. Thanks!

    Rachael Randal

    August 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    • What, pray, is there to “understand” in all of this? Owen Jones is an old fashion class warrior (he admits as much in his opening sentence above), of a kind that I thought – and fervently hoped – had long become extinct. The “understanding” culture of the left, endemic in British society since the war, has got us into this mess in the first place: egalitarianism in schools, the dumbing down of education and society, a muliculturalist “colour blind” society (now widely accepted to have failed, except by the left, of course), are but a few of the leftist social engineering experiments visited upon us since Atlee. We need less of the beard sporting, open toed sandal wearing social “scientists” explaining rioting away as a social problem, and a little more action on the streets by the Police, and Army, if necessary, to explain to thugs that their behaviour will not be tolerated, in language they understand.
      These riots were not “reactions” of the underprivileged to the wealthy, they were simply mindless acts of thuggery by people who, if they pooled their brains, would have difficulty in finding enough neurons functioning to work a small lightbulb. No understanding needed – if you can’t live by society’s norms, get out and stay out.
      Yet the left are forever looking for excuses and explanations. I’m from working class stock, but made my way in society. I’m neither rich nor poor, but I knew where my children were every night when they were younger, and taught them the values of right and wrong. The Lefts’ problem is that it just wants to blame the class structure for all society’s ills. How about a little personal responsibility?

      Ato Guerrier

      August 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      • You say that the riots were simple mindless acts of thuggery by people who could find enough neurons to function a lightbulb,

        In a very real way you are branding a lot of people with the same stick, did you know for example that Laura Johnson who is the daughter of company director parents and lives in a £1 million detached converted farmhouse in Orpington was involved in the riots and stole goods worth £5000 pounds from curry’s?

        Ok meybe she’s rich, but she’s probably thick right?

        She was a pupil at St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington, the fourth best performing state school in the country, after transferring from its sister school Newstead Wood.

        She achieved A*s in French, English literature, classical civilisation and geography A-levels.

        Did you know that this is the first time we have had truly multi racial riots in england? It wasnt just one culture or group of thick people that went into the streets to riot, it was nearly all of them which simply has not happened before. Yet you say if we cant live by social norms we should get out. I wonder which society your going to pick as normal?

        In a funny turn i actually agree with you about the response to the riots, i agree that we shouldnt be soft with people that break the law. I also think that a lot more goes on before someone breaks the law than you seem willing to percieve.

        Yes i agree that people who break the law should be punished, but to do that and then be blind to the causes of the unrest is simply inviting a lot more trouble.

        I really think that not being willing to see that there may be social reasons as to why someone may break the law is criminally foolish. How about a little social responsibility?

        Zachary jones

        September 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      • If we don’t deal with the causes of crime then all we are left with is the growth industry of building more prisons. We already have the highest prison population in Europe. Some people hail that as a triumph. To me it’s a bloody disgrace especially given the condition of prisons which, through neglect and indifference, are geared towards turning out more efficient criminals rather than responsible citizens. By the way Cameron and Co. are old fashioned class warriors. They are deliberately cutting public spending and slashing public services and jobs to serve the interests of the banks and the City of London. That is where their vested interests lie and where most of the Conservative Party funding comes from. It is disingenuous to blame labour for the record level of deficit. I am no supporter of New Labour but the deficit has been much bigger in the past and we dealt with it through investment in job creation not propping up greedy, irresponsible, self-serving financial institutions.

        Living by society’s norms means, in a capitalst system, devouring the consumerist ethic and rampant individualism. Acquisitiveness is central to producing profits. Not very good examples to live by.

        Why has multiculturalism failed? Who said so and why? The dumbing down of education and society I would venture to suggest is due to dominant needs of the market system which does not require people with a critical intelligence and fully-rounded human character.

        Yes, the police did have to suppress the riots and bring to book all those involved in criminal acts. They have now arrested nealy 3,000 people in London alone and no doubt will pursue vigorously all the others. The courts have been instructed to dole out more severe sentences to those convicted (political interference with an ‘independent’ judiciary). None of this will compensate for sink schools and decrepit housing estates or the destruction of jobs, the closure of youth centres, public libraries, play groups, drug rehabilitation centres, youth mentoring projects, youth theatre and so on. With this lot going on the chances of learning right from wrong are nil. Blaming social deprivation on the behaviour and attitudes of individuals is the lazy way of not dealing with major economic, social and political problems that cause the mess in the first place.

        Ian Townson

        October 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      • you are a shining example of what Jones explains in crystal clear fashion. I am particularly delighted to read your “colour blind” term…………..I bet you say things like “I’m not racist but….”, or perhaps not depending on the company you keep :)

        As for personal responsibility, whose fault is it that the minimum wage requires government subsidy? Not all ‘chavs’ are unemployed – surprised?

        Would it come as a shock to you that public school children are as in much need of services such as childline for neglect as working class /chav children? I bet it would ;)

        Dee Gee

        January 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm

  17. I loved the book but feel you’ve drifted into reinforcing the idea of the ‘white working class’ as a distinct group when, in my view this is a category imposed externally by middle class commentators. You assert that the ‘frustrations and anger of millions of working-class people were channelled into a backlash aginst immigrants’ (p220), but the evidence you then give doesn’t back this up. 564,000 people voted for the BNP in the 2010 election, and it’s thought that 61% were from socio-economic groups c2, d and e ie approx 350,000. What miilions? Granted the book’s focus is working class people but you make little of the fact that this leaves 215,000 BNP voters from other class groups, limiting yourself to 2-3 bits of anecdotal evidence of public school poshoes expressing racist views (p244). You only need to look at the research on the relative job prospects of white and black graduates with equivalent qualifications to see that racism is rife in the management class, expressed through the job selection process.
    Finally, the figure of 61% needs to be weighed against the fact that c2s, ds and es make up 48% of the population. I’m no statistician, but doesn’t that mean they’re over-represented by about 13% in their support of the BNP?

    ed

    August 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm

  18. I haven’t read the book yet, but I come from a ‘poor’ working class background, ‘poor’ that is by todays standards in that I do not have a BMW parked on my drive, I don’t have 3-4 foreign holidays every year and I am not out several nights a week getting plastered out of my scull on booze wearing trainers costing more than the road tax on my car…!!!

    Frankly, over the last 30-40yrs it is common place to seek the cause of the problems in our lives elsewhere with ‘conspiracy’ theories etc instead of looking at yourself. This whole ‘ethics’ of the left have destroyed the very fabric that made the United Kingdom of Great Britain & N. Ireland what it used to be… that was four entirely different cultures that learned to work together and create the Industrial Revolution that changed the whole world forever – or did you not learn that at School Owen – this country is built on hard work and discipline, not handouts, not legups etc.

    I worked hard and own a lovely 3 Bed Semi (on my own), I don’t waste the money I earn, I spend it wisely and for the future… it is unlikely you have experienced any real hardship in your life and looking at your origins, your love of the Labour Party and the ‘left’ is likely to be due to a parental and social influence… despite being working class I would not put an ‘X’ next to Labour even if I had a gun to my head, they simply believe that problems can be resolved by throwing money at it and the BILLIONS spent on Africa over the last 40yrs actually prove that it doesn’t work – but what could those BILLIONS have done for our own Health and Education System.

    As for the Class System, the break down of this system is partially to blame, history clearly shows you could be born a pauper and end up a Lord, however, with the breakdown of the system, now everyone wants the same as the ‘man next door’ and instead of working for their own benefit and that of their family, they are competing all the time against others – it’s a sad portrayal but true.

    If you want hardship, let me give you a few facts about me.

    Born the 5th child of a family of 7 children, parents working class, father a factory worker, mother a nurse, both indocrinated in the Labour Party Policies…

    Due to a birth defect, I spent many years in and out of hospital.
    Got into trouble the first time at 16 and put in a childrens home.
    By the time I was 21 I had spent 3 of those 5yrs in and out of prison.
    Mother was stabbed 32 times six days before my 18th birthday.
    Younger Brother convicted of armed robbery.
    One sister has 3 children by 3 different blokes.

    Hardship Owen, I don’t think you know the meaning of the word.

    Demon Lee

    August 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

  19. Hi owen, just caught the end of your thing on newsnight and saw some of your interview on BBC 24 earlier in the week. Excellent stuff. I do think this post riot stuff shows just how much social class is still important in England. For example Cameron and the demand for ‘rioters’ to be evicted if they or their families live in council housing.

    Keep on speaking out

    Vincent
    Professor of international health and visual ethnography
    University of Cumbria
    Lancaster

    Vincent O'Brien

    August 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

  20. Hi Owen,

    I would like to commend you on your exchange with David Starkey tonight on Newsnight. I thought you engaged with his arguements very effectively and challenged his position in an intellectually meaningful way. I would be a great fan of David’s but you were absolutely spot on in showing up the fallacy of his arguement. Well done, it would be great to see more mature debates of this variety on television.

    Regards

    Lars

    Lars Seneca

    August 13, 2011 at 12:23 am

  21. Re. the Newsnight discussion.
    Here’s another two-penneth:
    http://thismoaning.blogspo​t.com/2011/08/careless-abo​ut-culture.html

    Attack of the Andoid

    August 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

  22. Hi Owen,

    I saw you on Newsnight with David Starkey. Well said! You really held your own and added a lot of value to the conversation. I am an American and have been to the UK several times and have recently returned from Liverpool and Manchester. Through my travels and also as a former Harlem and now Brooklyn resident I know first hand that the issues are much more complex than “black vs. white”. Furthermore, Starkey’s equating of black as “bad” and white as “good” was moronically simplistic and absolutely off-base. I agree with you in that we should be concerned that he has opened up room in the post-riot dialogue for racist generalizations. These only serve to enflame and fuel fear and make it more difficult for rational discourse to be heard.

    I’ll definitely be reading your book! Hope you’ll come to NYC soon and give a talk on it!

    Kara

    August 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

  23. I have listened to your views and opinions on TV and radio during the week of the English riots. It is pleasing to hear a well constructed argument from an articulate and thoughtful young person.

    We need more from young people like yourself who do not proportion blame, but understand how culture must and should live together.

    I am not a young person, but have worked for many years in social policy. I look forward to reading you book.

    Ruby Thomas

    Ruby Thomas

    August 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

  24. Originally from Britain I lived in the US from 1996-2009 and have been in Germany since then. My mum’s working class family are still obsessing about class even though they are retired. Out of 4 siblings one was a rabid racist who was always wanting her brother to redefine himself with her as middle-class but he always refused. Just like all parts of British society there are people who are racist and those that are not. David Starkey’s comments were very ignorant and so pompous.

    I feel so out of touch with British society even though I grew up in Greenwich, South-East London. I heard the new Labour leader Ed speak after the riots and he just seems a posh git. Are there no working-class politicians left?I couldn’t believe how out of touch he seemed. It’s sad. I haven’t read your book but shall give it a whirl now.

    I encountered a lot of Brits at a resort in Italy this summer, I suppose they were middle-class because they were with Mark Warner but none of them could speak any Italian, not even the company reps so I don’t think they’re as cultured and edumacated as they like to make out. They want to take their own culture abroad as much as any working-class Brit. They refused to do anything with the other Europeans at the resort. They seemed very parochial.

    sottocapo

    August 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm

  25. Amazingly animated discussion, divided about “black culture” but finally seeing the point, that the economic and social objective circumstances of disadvantage are themselves indecent. Intolerable gap between rich and poor in an industrialized nation is a gap of understanding papering over structured inequality. “Culture” in this instance is less cause than result.

    Kudos for getting in the last word in the verbal slugfest. Structurally impoverish people, starve them of opportunity while you glut on luxury, and then blame their culture — that is more than blindness.

    ken

    August 14, 2011 at 2:58 am

  26. “I’m doing this because they call us criminals.”

    — London looter to photographer

    http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/archive/2011/08/15

    It ain’t quite so, but say it again anyhow.

    Ken

    August 15, 2011 at 6:00 am

  27. I totally respect your views on the David Starkey interview. How DARE he compare all violent culture with Black and MALE culture during the riots. As an upstanding African Caribbean Primary School Teacher, his comments made me fear for the future of my old black male children. Certainly Starkey’s remarks were depply racist, stereotypic and sadly a reflection of what some ignorant members of the English society think today. Continue to represent positively.

    Kala Williams

    August 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

  28. Am working through your book, so you might mention this at some point and I havent come across it yet. What is your own background? Do you class yourself as working class, identify with the working class, or are you speaking about and for working class people. I think this is really relevant. Were you educated at a comprehensive for example.

    Lorna

    August 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  29. Just asked my 14 year old daugher what she thought a chav was. She definitely doesnt think its about being working class ( being working class herself). She said its about a way of dressing and chavs are often rich, her example being the Beckhams which made me laugh. She may be right, but the title of your book gives it more impact I suppose. The working class is no more a homogenous group than black culture is just one group. And if I didnt spell that correctly, blame it on my shit comprehensive education.

    Graham

    August 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm

  30. Seen you on News Night the other Night,with that Tosspot Starkey!(Used to Humer Him while watching him thinking ‘ok entertainment’ But now I just think he needs to Go back to the Classroom and study some recent History!.Your performance on Newsnight was so impressive to Me!Your were very Calm,Incredibly articulate,str8 to the point.(Sadly Lacking thess days).A Prime Minister in Waiting Me thinks…

    Rory Liam Hassett

    August 16, 2011 at 5:06 am

  31. Hi,

    As I thinkt that I have understood your statements on BBC’s Newsnight, I think you are right as that these riots are primarily caused by poverty. And I also think that this state of poorness might lead to a certain environment that would produce something like a male-dominated culture, exalting violence and criminality,
    and being opposite to the “philosophy” and culture of the wealthy people.

    So my opinion is that this aggressive rap-culture (now simply generalized, sorry, I know its not absolute)
    is just an expression and a result of poverty, which is just logical and Starkey seems not to understand at all, however sad this would be.

    Greetings from Austria.

    Valentin

    August 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm

  32. Loved the book Owen, written a review here:

    http://internationalsocialist.org.uk/index.php/2011/08/extended-review-chavs/

    I see you’re in Edinburgh next weekend. If you’re free at all I’d love to interview you for our website and magazine. Drop me an email if that’s possible.

    Cheers, Chris

    Chris Walsh

    August 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

  33. i saw the david starkey newsnight clash and felt compelled to add my thoughts on the subject.
    The mans an idiot to evoke enoch powel and totally distract from the valid points he was trying to make about gangster rap culture.
    I grew up on a north london council estate in the 70s.it comprised of four 14 story tower blocks surrounded by 1960s low rise and small maisonettes above a row of shops.
    sometimes i take a stroll through my old area purely to soak up the nostalgia of the best years of my life.
    The two noticeable changes are the army of outreach social workers who are indistinguishable from the kids.
    The other is the tarmac 5 a side football pitch witch is now a basketball court.
    The kids demanded and the council provided. they know have their own little mini bronx complete with resident drug dealer plying his trade in the evening sunshine next to the redundant phone box 200 hundred yards from the police station. This scenario is replicated on every council estate in the area.
    Back in my day we were a 15 strong street gang although nowhere near organized by today’s standards.
    The violence was mostly football related, today its about who controls the skunk supply to the locals.

    Dumbest quote of the week goes to kelvin mackenzie who was asked to comment on starkey for talk sport.
    He said his daughter listens to gangster rap but she wasn’t out rioting. yeah right i bet he’s forced to listen to it while he drops her at the pony club. It isn’t about posh kids listening to it, its about poor kids who desperately want to live it.
    The only game in town for these kids is to make money in a gang then break into the grime music scene.
    which as far as i can see is bitches and bling with a uk patois accent.

    Yes i concede that the busted flush randian philosophy and neo liberal economic thinking may be the true cancer, but gangster rap culture is one hell of a violent nihilistic symptom, and anyone who doesn’t see it as a problem is either making money from it or kelvin mackenzie,

    paul simms

    August 18, 2011 at 5:49 am

  34. So you’re the new Witch finder, congratulations.

    john

    August 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  35. Just interested in why you didn’t call the book ‘Chavs: the demonisation of the underclass’. Surely the emergence of a distinct underclass, as a result of Thatcher’s policies, then the patronage of them as a client group by New Labour, and then the media backlash against them – as ‘chavs’ – is the real story here? Confusing the underclass with the working class, while romanticising and homogenising them … the leftish liberal elite really seem to struggle with this. It’s not difficult!

    Phil

    August 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  36. I leafed through your book at Waterstones then decided if an Englishman can’t spell the word ‘demonisation’ correctly then he doesn’t deserve my hard earned cash.

    Unforgiveable.

    Korky Kat

    August 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    • “z” or “s” is correct in English. Your arrogance is forgiveable and amusing.

      Dee Gee

      January 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm

  37. You are a weapon grade tosser of the highest order. Are you a stooge for some left wing prick higher up the food chain? I am disgusted that you get air time at tax payers expense to push your mentally ill views. Decent people have lost their businesses over these riots and you can only applaud the rioters. Get a proper job and fuck off you self important tosser

    John

    August 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm

  38. Nice one mate. Agree about the protests. It’s the violence that goes with them that’s the issue, but fascistic to ban protests themselves. Cheers ed

    Edward nelson

    August 28, 2011 at 12:06 am

  39. Lots of point missing here. Everyone knows that chav doesn’t mean working class entirely but the media project the ‘chav’ characteristics (perceived) on to all working class individuals and families who hit the headlines for negatives reasons, ergo the increasing morphing (in the understood, conceptual sense) of the perceived chavs and the self defining working classes. The example of the Shannon Matthews case in the book pretty much covers this.

    Enjoying the book. Bought it just as I go back to work as a social worker. Food for thought for me anyway. Finding the book similar to academci texts on the subject of social exclusion (riots…hmm theres a theme here) – Sheppard and all his ilk. Good stuff.

    sungirltan

    August 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm

  40. Hello Owen,
    I’m just reading ‘Chavs’, am 3 chapters in and have to say it’s (so far) a well-researched insight into the right-wing propaganda and lies that are, and have been spreading across Britain like a toxic virus for decades. The Tories response to the recent riots was so typical of the observations you’ve made – their incessant usage of phrases like ‘sheer criminality’ was so typical of their ongoing and constant attempts to demonise. I’ll be reviewing ‘Chavs’ on my blog soon, and trying to spread the message. Keep up the good work!
    Andy Szpuk

    Andy Szpuk

    August 30, 2011 at 7:11 am

  41. I’m halfway through the book. I don’t know what to make of it because I agree with so much, but think you get a bit confused. Thatcher is manifestly evil, although Blair did more damage than she could have dreamed of achieving. On the other hand Jade Goody represented all that is unacceptable. She did not represent the quality ‘working class’ that I knew when my dad was a minister in Pollok, a post WWII council scheme in Glasgow. I also drove lorries when I was a med student. I wouldn’t have described the working class Glaswegians as ‘chavs’.

    James Currie

    August 30, 2011 at 9:01 pm

  42. Ed. I am from a rather different end of the political spectrum economically (more libertarian than leftie), but I would certainly recommend your book to anybody. Fantastically well researched and thought out. I would like to know if you ever do any public debates or talks. I for one would love to come and discuss your work.

  43. Hi Owen

    I’m only a few pages into your book but feel such a relief to read a different point of view about those of us at the bottom of the pile.

    I am pleased to see that you flag up the paradoxical nature of ‘class’ pointing out that many working class families do work and do care for their children. There is a world of difference between a family or group whose values are based in the use of violence and those who live an ‘ordinary’ life.

    The cynical reduction of those groups into one looks to me like the process of dehumnization used to justify killing, violent assault or the theft of resources from ‘the other’. I am not surprised that the bankers have been bailed out by their wealthy political colleagues when the kids on the street are described as criminal. Looting is looting who ever commits it – but it is not interpreted that way. The rank hypocrisy says it all…………..

    From my perspective the class violence being meted aout via tory policy is merely a mirror of the violence on the street…………if they don’t like the look of it they know what to do.

    jade

    September 10, 2011 at 11:47 am

  44. I have been thinking about your book for some time. I was moved by the injustices it revealed. As a life-long supporter of the Labour Party I am distressed to read your criticisms of New Labour. NL tried to get some things right that Old Labour had got wrong. So much of the implementation of early 20C British socialism had been a middle-class enterprise, trying to right the wrongs in society without consulting the wishes and aspirations of the people who were to be helped, doing good to people who needed it rather than enabling people to be masters of their own fate.

    I was born and raised in Labour Newport, South Wales. We lived in a small terraced house. My mother had been a primary school teacher but was obliged to give up her work when she married my father, a tool maker. They were always Liberal voters and would have scorned the kind of charity that undermines self confidence. New Labour and other parties are right to acknowledge the importance of individual aspiration.

    My father had left school at 14, his parents had supported their first son through grammar school but could not afford to support him. He had taken every opportunity to educate himself. The mining valley where he was born offered many opportunities and then he joined the RAF where he learned his engineering skills. My mother, like me, received a good grammar school education. They both read widely. My mother played the piano well and my father had a fine Welsh tenor voice. Music making of a high quality was the family’s greatest joy. We did not feel ourselves to be atypical of the working class. When I came to work in London I was surprised how many of the middle and upper class people I met lacked my parents’ cultural aspirations.

    All the children who were my contemporaries in Crindau infants school had hope and a sense of fair play. I have voted Labour because it would appear to be the party most likely to afford everyone hope and fair play. I am sure you are right to believe that there are as many worthy people in the bottom as in the top bracket of society.

    Undoubtedly Margaret Thatcher’s encouragement of personal greed has been the cause of most of our current problems. I hope the Labour Party will put more emphasis on the kind of valuable cultural activities that can transform lives even without wealth.

    Michael Waite

    September 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm

  45. I have read your book Chavs, and greatly enjoyed it. I am just a few years younger than you, and it is inspiring to find that there are other radical minded young people, like yourself, who have not swallowed whole the lies of the ruling class.

    I am very interested in class because it shapes the whole of society. Class needs to be talked about far more than it actually is. I believe that class is about your relationship to the means of production, and the biggest group in society is the working class followed by the lower middle class (junior teachers, professional nurses, train drivers, lower level management etc). Comparatively few people belong to the Intermediate strata (the middle of the middle: University professors, consultants etc), even fewer belong to the upper middle class and a really small number belong to the ruling class (think Rupert Murdoch, David Cameron, Tony Blair etc etc).

    Anna Lansley

    September 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm

  46. OK, Here’s a bit more of a rant from me, To be honest i have not read the book, i don’t really need to, to understand what Owen Jones book is about, A working class fella, Trying to tell the world who we really are, Not patronising or trying to ram it down your throat, he’s a sorted working class fella trying to say to the world, this is me/us this is a working class attitude from modern day england. the book is who we are, it’s not a thought process, it’s a feeling process, Cheers Fella owen jones for managing to show the world who we really are…… Proud, love who we are, shameless in showing our love, love our background, proud of our background, SO PLEASE STOP HATING US! XXX

  47. [...] read Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones the other week and it got me thinking about some of the experiences I’ve had working for [...]

  48. Owen Jones, I’m reading your book and realising you’re saying everything I ever thought through the 80′s to the present day.

    I am a 50 year old working class single parent from London and from a very poor working class family. I was not encouraged to be political or to think beyond the next meal or the next payment of rent. However, I was taught to be a good (moral), productive and benevolent human being. Sadly, when Thatcher came along and orchestrated the destruction and demonisation of the working classes many of us, including myself could see what game she was playing. The trouble is we didn’t know what to do about it. Some resorted to violence whilst others like myself wobbled and struggled to come to terms with the realisation that society had abandoned us. This feeling of abandonment is currently fuelled by the use of words like chav and is a continuation of what Thatcher began in my lifetime.

    The real meaning of the word in general use is ‘I am a snob and as long as I continue to attack and bully those less fortunate than me, I will, hopefully escape from being bullied’. A classic symptom of the every man for himself mentality.

    What the working classes need is education and empowerment to aspire towards a better society, which of course is of benefit to all. Sadly, people seem either too afraid or too selfish to realise this.

    janjan

    October 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

  49. Owen,

    I’ve streamed discussions from the Hetherington occupation and “The Working Class Ain’t What It Used To Be” from Counterfire. Great stuff. The specifics may be British but the way the ruling class creates class division is universal.

    Thanks again,

    Jim
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

    guytoyourleft

    October 15, 2011 at 1:17 am

  50. I am not interested in where the word chav came from or what it means to different people, to me it is all an irrelevant attempt to classify people – I have often wondered why there is a need to do this.

    I work daily dealing with long term unemployed and getting them back to work – I have managed at various times about £30 million pounds worth of funding (results based) to try and get these people back into mainstream life, education and work.

    I have long felt that whilst the “right” have long been branded as the people responsible for this breed of chavs as indicated in the descriptions of this book (yes I haven’t read it, though I will). That this simply not the case – the removal of “industrial” Britain was an 80′s event – I have often thought this was down more to economic reality (globalisation and the over riding costs and poor quality of management and workforce – how are we supposed to compete with the slave labour of China) rather than a political decision. After all weren’t the right wing identified as the mill owners of old? They stood more to loose than anyone.

    No, in my belief the development of the white underclass has been more driven by Political meddling in social programs and the centralisation of Governments. It has long been documented that the high unemployment and crime of black America was driven mostly by the removal of the traditionally strong family unit and replaced by Government funds. Nowadays people think first what they can get from the Government and not what they can do to help themselves. This opinion does not contradict with my work as the people we will deal with are those looking to educate and work their way out of poverty and Government reliance for their needs, we just help and support them to do this.

    Additionally we are given many “targets” in terms of BAME, age disability etc. If you are poor and white you are totally ignored. This is not an opinion held only by me, but by many managers of 3rd sector delivery agencies who work on the streets if East London etc. (a majority of managers are from ethnic minorities themselves) they feel their is a time bomb waiting to explode in the white underclass (BNP, riots et all). They have often asked why this section of society is being totally ignored – at the very least central and local Government bodies should remove race as a “target” – it creates artificial boundaries and increases rather than reduces race and class differentiation.

    Chavs are not “the salt of the earth” or “scum” but people the same as anyone else and they need opportunities and not political correctness and centralised Government telling them how to behave. If we could stop continually trying to socially engineer society, thinking we know better than the less fortunate then maybe we could have a fairer society, rather than the liberal elite thinking they know better and through their policies making things much worse.

    Just my two pence (OK one pence).

    Jono

    October 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm

  51. Owen, I read your recent guardian article with interest. Like yourself I’m from Stockport. My friends and i have been using the word ‘Chav’ since 1984 . We’ve had many a discussion on whether we actually coined this phrase. I’d be interested to know if you’ve encountered other people who claim to have been using the term for some time or if you have seen any documentation to prove this originated elsewhere? Steve.

    Steve carter

    October 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

  52. As a working class person who grew up in Chelsea, I was extremely lucky with education and help I got. My mother raised me by herself and we lived with my Grandparents in a 2 bedroom council house, til they moved when I was 13. I was brought up to believe that looking a society can only be as strong as the weakest member, and as a result have done a lot of charity work and decided to do Nursing rather then apply for a degree.
    Your book moved me as my council estate had that “community spirit”. We had several youth clubs, a good library and had access to a lot of “free” family activities.
    I do hope this book helps people to bond together a lot more and realise that working class stereotypes are harmful and for most of the time inaccurate of the people.

    After reading the last chapter it made me sad to realise that you were right, the working class are raising up against the system once more..Both in America with The “we are the 99 percent” and the occupation of St Paul’s, as well as the mass riots and protests.Let us hope good change occurs from all this.

    Minx Kitty (@Lifeofminx)

    October 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

  53. Hi Owen

    My name is Patrick and I currently have been reading numerous books etc..And as you have studied history as a degree in Oxford, before you even wrote this book, that knowledge would of given you a very good start already. Now what I do like is the fact your the same age as me, but I don’t have a degree. But I was also brought up in Greater Manchester and moved all over. But in getting to the point of your book, which I haven’t read yet, what your trying to make the point of i.e ‘a majority’ which is named for a low-level income earning, JSA etc..conlude the street name ‘chav’. But we all must remember that this isn’t just about class, this is about capitalism and is to complex for me to explain in this blog just how far this nostaglia effects poeple and how it is deep-routed in society. Exactly the same in RUSSIA! And many other cities around the world. I hope, well I know you have read most of John Berger’s book especially ‘Ways of Seeing’ I am still trying to read most of them, but the reality in which he states in his new book ‘Bento Sketchbook’ is that capitalism works by the minority exploiting the majority, and blocking the imagination of others! The enemie is created through only local surroundings to which the victim feels no escape or understanding of how unfair and truly the world we live, the trouble with an author like you and berger, is your books are good and well thought out, but ‘CHAV’ isnt going to read your book!!! We must find a new way to get the message across to show them the world they live in has created them!!! It’s truly ashame!! But what also annoys me is that ok their is a point to be made, its easy to see the problems in society, the point is the power!! Where is the conclusions??????

    Patrick

    November 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm

  54. Saw you on BBC News tonight Owen, well done, liked it a lot. Now to get hold of your book.

    Geordie Jack

    November 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

  55. Hi Owen. I’ve just finished reading Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class. Firstly, congratulations on such an amazing book. Your understanding of the socio-political landscape of Britain is impressive and fair, grounded in fact, and the solutions you put forward in your conclusion feel very achievable. I wonder, and perhaps it’s a silly question, have you considered going into politics yourself? Your championing of the working class is admirable.

    asjellis

    December 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

  56. [...] lectores prominentes, como Eric Hobsbawm: muy  en su linea, elige  Chavs (Verso), del debutante Owen Jones, una de las esperanzas de la izquierda, un libro que ofrece una “denuncia apasionada y bien [...]

  57. Hi Owen, I received your book as a Christmas present and thoroughly enjoyed it. It does paint a pretty bleak picture of the Britain at the moment, but there’s a lot there that needed to be said. Thanks

    Tom

    December 31, 2011 at 11:37 am

  58. Just testing to see if I can leave a comment (apologies everyone)

    Sean H

    January 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

  59. Owen, if you’ve just been on Radio Five, I agree with literally everything that came out of your mouth. I called in (Tom from Liverpool). Keep doing what you’re doing.

    I think that we are approaching the time for either a new party, or a widespread defection to the greens. Are they any good?

    Cheers and goodnight.

    Tom Rea Smith

    January 14, 2012 at 1:12 am

  60. Just saw you on Sky News talking about the Mansion Tax and how you’d like to lower it to a million pounds. What a load of bollocks you were talking.

    Why don’t you do a little bit of research in your own area Hackney. Go and look in the windows of your local estate agents and check out the prices of the properties. Then go and knock on the door of one or two of those properties and ask the people there how much they’re earning and see if they can afford your yearly tax. You’ll also find a lot of those people will be Labour supporters.

    No wonder the left in the UK is dead and buried when they support ideas like yours. You’ve got a bit of growing up to do young man.

    Sean

    January 22, 2012 at 12:02 am

  61. You did very well on the news defending the poor. Are you on Twitter?

    David Bush

    January 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm

  62. Turns out I don’t need to read the book, just all the synopsis’ below!

    Mr Green

    February 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm

  63. Great performance on Question Time today. Really refreshing to hear someone with so much conviction and passion.
    I particularly welcomed your comments on the present anti-Muslim frenzy in the press.

    Khalid Saifullah.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:09 am

  64. Owen, I very much enjoyed your appearance on question time. Yhe audience also felt the same. At last someone is getting the views of many people on air. Please keep it up, you have many supporters. Also love the book and tell everyone to purchasse it. Thanks again.

    pauline sharpOwen, I enjoyed yp

    February 17, 2012 at 7:23 am

  65. I watched BBC Question Time last night with you on the panel. You really livened it up, thank you. I think the same as you but we often get drowned out by everyone who has swallowed the Coalition line. I have written dozens of letter to government ministers criticising their policy of making the public sector and poor people pay down the Bankers’ deficit.

    Paul Bunting

    February 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm

  66. typical leftist nut.

    if Rupe controls Sky News and has this evil power, i find it strange he let you on the air with your childish rants.

    The Sun on Sunday – WE LOVE IT!

    perry mason

    February 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm

  67. Nice to hear some honest common sense from someone invited on SKY news 19/2/12 to give us their opinion on what’s going on in this daft world especially your comment that Cameron has not asked or given us a chance to express our thoughts on the NHS and the mention of the Middle East touched a raw nerve and got his co-host gobsmacked. Good on you Jonsey boy, more truth like this will do us no harm. Old head on young shoulders.Thanks for the enjoyable discussion, Fred

    FRED

    February 20, 2012 at 12:18 am

  68. I saw you on Sky TV newspaper review – you are stunningly beautiful. Really good to articulate the interests of the ex working class even if your ideas are leftist sh/t. Brave and fair to mention that Israel has nuclear weapons which UN inspectors are not allowed to inspect. Iran has invaded no other country whereas Israel has frequently invaded her neighbours and threatens to bomb Iran. We should be absolutely clear that we will not support any military action

    george

    February 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm

  69. Hi Owen,
    love your view on political issues but please read the story….”i want the world plus 5% ” its also on youtube in cartoon form……………..would love your response on THE STORY
    Mike

    mike

    February 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm

  70. @PerryMason – naive comment!

    Doesn’t surprise me that you’re looking forward to reading the Sun on Sunday

    /facepalm

    jabbawa

    February 23, 2012 at 12:04 am

  71. Sir Humphrey Duncan Smith

    https://www.facebook.com/lsmcknight/posts/154065378048133

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/14958731

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/14959865

    True/False Voluntary/Mandatory

    Hard to know because it sseems the DWP have started copying News international’s approach to computer files and FOX news attitude to press releases

    L S McKnight

    March 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm

  72. Has anyone addressed the BBC on the impertinence of those ‘shop your neighbour’ adverts, concerning the ‘destruction’ of the national economy by those who sell the occasional lettuce from their allotment patch, to a neighbour?

    I suppose I am middle class, but because of the housing situation in this country, I have to live on benefits because of the price of housing. I am not qualified to earn the rent in the private sector and I am too posh to qualify for what is left of council housing. I find these adverts in the worst possible taste and a direct insult to people who have been side lined by this country in the most disgraceful way, but somehow manage to hold together. My son lent me the book ‘Chavs’ and although I thought I had seen it all, and I still retain a heartfelt loathing of Mrs T and everything she stood for, I was shocked to the core by what this book reveals.

    I personally managed to get by while I was bringing up children, thanks to the more salubrious of the prostitution opportunities that were available at the time – keeping a jump ahead of the police and their hypocrisy when it comes to taking responsibility for yourself in this mad world. Where ever there is a chance to pimp off single mothers, the police are in there tut tutting about evil men exploiting women, aided and abetted by mainstream feminists.

    Long live Cross Roads Women’s Centre which supports women on the game against police hypocrisy, rather than blaming the entire male sex for the state of the world under the faceless and nameless entities which have reduced the Houses of Parliament to a moral and intellectual shambles, despite the good men and women who try to represent us. Helen

    Helen Buckingham

    March 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

  73. Extremely good on newsnight this evening, very good report.

    Carl Dickinson

    March 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm

  74. Owen when are you going to be invited back on to Question Time. Can I adopt you. Your like a breath of fresh air. Great support for workfare protests. Cheers.

    pauline sharpOwen, I enjoyed yp

    March 23, 2012 at 8:36 am

  75. One problem is that when Blair got in with a massive landslide he went softly softly not to alienate people, then when Cameron got in with a wafer thin vote he’s treating it as a mandate. I’d like to see Labour being more ambitious about their ability to set the agenda, not just respond to it – in and out of power…great to see a space for this kind of debate, and thanks for inspiring my students when you visited Blackwells in Oxford…selinatodd.com

    selinatodd

    March 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm

  76. well done owen,i have seen you a couple of times on bbc news,and its great to see a young man who really comes across as intelegent,passionate and does his research, and knows what he is talking about,if i had to say something,please slow down slightly,you were verging on attacking when talking this morning,good -luck bro . 31/3/12

    michael saunders

    March 31, 2012 at 7:41 am

  77. Socialists and communists were some of the first arrested by the Nazis.

    That argument is like comparing Cameron with Mussolini for being right-wing.

    Marc Latham

    August 11, 2011 at 9:39 am


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