A short note about Brendan O’Neill and his past


by Sunny
29th June, 2011 at 8:43 pm    

I don’t suspect many people will be taking lessons from Brendan O’Neill – editor at Spiked Online – on journalism ethics: he’s wading in over the Johann Hari controversy. Oh, of course Paul Staines is citing him, but even Staines’ old chum Iain Dale wouldn’t defend the former’s intentions on radio earlier tonight.

I want to clarify one point though. I said earlier that Brendan O’Neill was at Living Marxism magazine when it accused ITN of fabricating stuff and lost its legal battle and ran out of money. What I should clarify is I don’t know if he played a part in that scandal. I don’t want it to look like I’m insinuating he was part of that legal battle (he most likely wasn’t). I have little time for the RCP / Living Marxism / Spiked Online crew – but to accuse them of something they didn’t do would be wrong. And I don’t want it to look like I’m doing that.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : A short note about Brendan O'Neill and his past http://bit.ly/ifpEzY


  2. Andy Hicks

    Blogged: : A short note about Brendan O'Neill and his past http://bit.ly/ifpEzY


  3. David W Edwards

    @serialinsomniac this one ? http://t.co/ePaXyuv5




  1. littlekeithy — on 29th June, 2011 at 9:19 pm  

    I wouldn’t apologise too much to O Neill. I can think of two examples where he has used quotes or footnotes to argue the exact opposite of the original meaning, and I hardly read him. At least Hari was keeping true to the person’s intention.

    Also Tony Greenstein at Brighton Unemployed Action Centre had a spat with him during the war on Gaza involving O Neill suppressing criticism or exercising editorial rights depending on your viewpoint. It’s on Greenstein’s blog under Spiked by Spiked, March 2009.

    And I seem to remember I read somewhere that Delingpole claims he learned that Marx was a great supporter of capitalism (?!) from O Neill, which says all you need to know about the two modern day intellectual giants.

  2. Shuggy — on 30th June, 2011 at 1:00 am  

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2000/mar/15/pressandpublishing.tvnews

    Essential reading on LM and their disgraceful Greater Serbia apologia.

  3. damon — on 30th June, 2011 at 2:41 am  

    I find that the best way to read the Spiked people is to look for the bits of their articles that have some truth, rather than scrutinising them to destruction and expecting perfection.
    They do shoot from the hip, and I know that seriously winds some people up. But you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater would be my advice.

    Writing headlines like: ”Come dressed as a worker – UK Uncut bravely goes slumming with the lower orders” … is bound to grate with some people. Particularly people who support UK Uncut.
    But when I see the protests in Topshop on Youtube, some of what they say seems to ring true.
    Same with the one with the headline: ”How the chattering classes exploited Brian Haw.”
    The question that goes through my mind as I read that, is whether there is something to it or not. Not what a long defunct magazine said about Yougoslavia in the 1990s.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100092861/how-the-chattering-classes-exploited-brian-haw/

    The kindest thing that the so-called supporters of Haw could have done would have been to convince him to call it a day. A week-long camp outside Parliament might have made some impact on the public consciousness – but 10 years? Not only did the longevity of the camp rob it if of any political purchase whatsoever, turning it instead into a permanent eyesore, like roadworks, that Londoners vaguely grimace at as they walk past, but it also took its toll on Haw and his personal life and relations. Towards the end, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that what we were witnessing was a nervous breakdown being played out in public. But so long as his camp-cum-mental-collapse served the interests of liberal observers who could think of no more imaginative way to oppose war or challenge the authorities, Haw was goaded on by his various cynical champions.

    You don’t have to like that, or agree with it to accept that it is a valid political point, and I find that a lot of their articles are laid out that way.
    You have to look for the good bits yourself.

    I think they have been much better on the EDL and the BNP than Pickled Politics btw. But that’s just my opinion.

  4. Kismet Hardy — on 30th June, 2011 at 12:26 pm  

    He said. She said.

    This is all turning into schoolbus politics.

  5. Calum F — on 30th June, 2011 at 12:52 pm  

    “What I should clarify is I don’t know if he played a part in that scandal. I don’t want it to look like I’m insinuating he was part of that legal battle (he most likely wasn’t).”

    So why not find out the facts before you make such insinuations?

  6. ukliberty — on 30th June, 2011 at 4:38 pm  

    You don’t have to like that, or agree with it to accept that it is a valid political point, and I find that a lot of their articles are laid out that way.

    A valid political point? That he’s mindread Haw’s supporters? That they are “cynical”, did nothing other than support Haw, and “goaded” him on? Is O’Neill psychic or omniscient?

  7. damon — on 30th June, 2011 at 8:29 pm  

    A valid political point?

    Yes. Taken as a whole, I think the article brings something to the discussion about Brian Haw.
    As valid as any points made on this website and others last week when it was discussed.

    The thing is IMO, just to take these points into consideration. I hadn’t thought about Brian Haw very much. He was just there, and I would see his tent as I drove around Parliament Square. But on reflection, that must have taken a heavy toll to be stuck there for so long year after year and I think he should heve been encouraged to leave.

    There was another insightful (I thought) article on their site today titled

    Gaza flotilla: riding on a wave of narcissism.
    Gaza-bound do-gooders claim they only want to send ‘love’ to Palestinians. The evidence suggests they’re more in love with themselves.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10656/

    And again, I think it raises some points that should not be brushed under the carpet. It gets beyond that ”Jody McIntyre/Palestine lobby” way of presenting the situation in I/P.
    But it’s not popular with those that have that view I do understand.

  8. littlekeithy — on 2nd July, 2011 at 11:11 pm  

    “But so long as his camp-cum-mental-collapse served the interests of liberal observers who could think of no more imaginative way to oppose war or challenge the authorities, Haw was goaded on by his various cynical champions.”

    And would Brendan (or Damon) like to enlighten us on more imaginative ways?

    There were lots of arguments about how to stop wars that never found their way into Spike, precisely because they would mean “doing something” that might upset the chances of getting a piece into a right-wing newspaper.

    BTW Given Spike has come out against Gaza early 2009 when the Isreali army attacked, I wouldn’t believe a word they say on the subject.

    The James Burnham award should be given to them pronto

  9. damon — on 3rd July, 2011 at 1:47 am  

    Littlekeithy, Pickled Politics is not the forum to discuss Spiked in any detail. But my point was just that I think they do throw up useful analysis. Every other day. That’s all.
    They also get things wrong IMO. Very wrong sometimes, but the Middle East is one of their sounder areas I find. I agree with them about Haw too.

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