Owen Jones At It Again, Again: The Left’s princeling or just a jobbing leftie writer?


I understand why people get aerated when Owen Jones writes something or participates in something like an interview where he appears critical of Labour’s leadership. Jones is one of the few popular Left voices in the media, so it feels like a betrayal. I may have missed it, because I wasn’t aware of his rise as a Left voice, but it doesn’t seem to me as if he has particularly courted the role that appears to have been proscribed to him and for which he is subsequently criticised for.

For my money, Jones appears a personable bloke, is an interesting and engaging/entertaining orator who projects a Left leaning perspective and doesn’t come across as being all that preachy about what he views as the struggles Labour faces in reaching the electorate. I don’t agree with everything he says but I probably have more in common with his perspective that I do most of those who participate in the media. Owen Jones is the voice of Owen Jones; he’s not my voice, he’s not Labour’s voice and I don’t think he’s trying to set himself up to be that.

I don’t think Jones projects the ‘analysis’ of Labour’s problems that points the fingers where I would point fingers but who says he has to?

Not that what is presented in an ‘interview’ necessarily relates to a viewpoint. The Standard article is a case in point:

Who knows what the context of that final line of that paragraph was, was Jones speaking from the position of if he were a member of the uninformed general public? Was Jones saying that if he were just a member of the public who isn’t particularly bothered about politics and just judged things by what he’d read in the media or seen on the news, would he find it hard to vote for Corbyn? Who knows.
The interviewer here has stated the trope that Corbyn lacks ambition, not Jones. Jones was talking about Corbyn’s expectations at the time of entering the leadership race. It is the interviewer who goes on to attribute the next line from Jones, as if he responded to the interviewers question about ambition. The interviewer uses Jones’ “answer” to corroborate their insertion of the trope about Corbyn’s lack of ambition.
Again, there is no context for this quote, it is used within a narrative of the interviewers construction that Jones does not believe Corbyn is up to the job and should be replaced by someone else, in this case Miliband. Jones has not said that. In fact, what Jones has said is that New Labour is dead, THAT is the important part of that statement but the interviewer has provided greater weight to the part about Miliband as leader because the interviewer has included it within their constructed narrative about Corbyn being no good and needs to be replaced.

I’m not saying the interview write up is a stitch up on a par with Laura Kuenssberg’s fraudulent misrepesentation (we don’t even know if it was an interview by the author of the article or the author lifting the quotes from interviews Jones has given elsewhere) but I think it can be argued that it has questionable holes in it. My rule of thumb, if an interviewee does not say what an interviewer infers then I err on the side of the interviewee having NOT said it.

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