As we noted back in April, Owen Jones,
perhaps the best known leftist commentator in Britain, “still looks
like a high-school kid” even though he’s 34. Maybe it’s because
his brow hasn’t been furrowed by deep thoughts. Although he is
considered highly influential, it’s impossible, we wrote, to grasp
why “anyone, anywhere, could possibly be influenced by him.”
But there he is, this Oxford grad who
is the son and grandson of Communists, constantly pontificating in
the pages of the Guardian and all over British TV, endlessly
reiterating his one-dimensional, ideologically lockstep message that
“capitalism is a sham” and “socialism is our only hope.” He
is constantly condemning Islamophobia, which he has called “a
European pandemic” and “the most widespread…form of bigotry of
our times,” but won’t breathe a word in criticism of Islam or in
acknowledgment of the ongoing worldwide oppression of Christians
Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, women, gays, and others in the name of
A gay man, Jones is eternally on the
lookout for the slightest hint of right-wing homophobia, but simply
refuses to talk about the fact that sharia law orders the execution
of gays. Appearing on Sky News after the June 12, 2016, jihadist
massacre at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando, he was mainly
concerned with shutting down any mention by his host and fellow
panelist of the atrocity’s Islamic roots, and when they refused to
be silenced, he walked off in a now-famous huff.
Jones was also a devout fan of Hugo
Chávez and Fidel Castro. And – oh, yes – he’s an ardent
follower of Jeremy Corbyn, the anti-Semite who led the Labour Party
to a historic defeat in the UK’s December 12 parliamentary
elections. In the hours after the loss, Jones tweeted that voters had
abandoned Labour because of its wishy-washy position. A few days
later, in his post-election column,
Jones presented a longer list of reasons for the loss, citing a
series of misguided strategies and tactics. This supposedly
influential voice of the left had utterly failed to recognize that
the problem was a pure matter of ideology: the sometime reformist
party of the working class had, quite simply, been taken over by
radical elites who live in a north London bubble, who look down on
the proles, and who love the idea of socialism even though they’ve
never, of course, lived in a socialist country or seriously studied
And Jones is one
of them. Which is the only reason any of these people read him and
take him seriously: because he shares, and affirms, their own
shallow, puerile worldview. “I don’t think anyone on the left
should regret our enthusiasm for the transformative programme on
offer,” Jones wrote in his column. “These are the right policies
for the country and the planet, and a bad campaign hasn’t changed
that.” While Labour, he asserted, needed to win back elderly
voters, it must not give up “the progressive social values that are
articles of faith to its young supporters.” Which is to say the
hip, privileged, urban young, many of whom have never had a job, run
a business, or paid income taxes, and who have embraced a certain set
of political propositions not because they know anything about the
actual lessons of modern history and economics but because adherence
to those propositions is derigueur in their social
He still looks like a high-school kid –
in fact, he’s 34 – but he’s been called “by far and away the
most influential left of centre commentator” in all of Britain. To
read him is to be baffled by the thought that anyone, anywhere, could
possibly be influenced by him. The son and grandson of card-carrying
Communists, he’s the ultimate knee-jerk ideologue, who, in his
columns for the Guardian, his zillions of tweets, and his
endless TV appearances, never comes out with anything remotely
surprising, nuanced, perceptive, or thought-provoking. As we noted
when we first wrote about Owen Jones on August 2, 2016, he has
actually written the following sentences: “Modern capitalism is a
sham.” “Democratic socialism is our only hope.” These two
statements are at the core of his belief system. He is a fan of Cuban
Communism and for a long time was a staunch defender of chavismo
There’s more, to be sure. Jones is
gay, and never tires of railing against right-wing homophobia; at the
same time, however, he’s a big booster of Islam, and consequently a
sworn enemy of right-wing “Islamophobia.” But what about the fact
that sharia law calls for gays to be executed, and that several
Muslim countries do indeed punish homosexuality with death, while
others prescribe long prison terms and/or various forms of torture?
Well, when confronted with those facts, he had this to say: “I’m
done with people only mentioning LGBT rights when Islam is involved.”
This self-contradiction came to a head
in June 2016 when a jihadist killed dozens of people at a gay
nightclub in Orlando. Discussing the massacre on Sky News, Jones
attributed the murders to the perpetrator’s homophobia, but refused
to discuss the Islamic roots of that homophobia, claiming that to do
so would be to diminish the atrocity’s horror. Jones further
insisted that neither the host of the Sky News program, Mark
Longhurst, nor his fellow panelist, Telegraph journalist Julia
Hartley-Brewer, were, as Hartley-Brewer later wrote, “entitled to
venture any opinion on any issues arising out of this crime because
we were straight and therefore could not presume to care as much
about the deaths of 50 gay people as Owen.” In short, to quote our
own summing-up of the exchange, “Jones was trying to use his gay
identity to shut down any effort to link this mass murder to Islam.”
Pressed on his refusal to face the simple fact that Islam has a
problem with homosexuality, Jones walked off the show, later
asserting that he’d done so because Longhurst had “repeatedly
refused to accept that this was an attack on LGBT people” –
which, as Hartley-Brewer put it, was “a blatant flat-out lie.”
Jones’s walk-out drew many other
media comments. In the Spectator, Rod Liddle, wrote that “the
reliably idiotic left-wing columnist Owen Jones had a temper
tantrum,” storming off the TV set because neither Longhurst nor
Hartley-Brewer “would accept that the tragedy [in Orlando] was all
about Owen.” In the Mail, Katie Hopkins drew a clear line in
the sand: “Until Islam is tolerant of gay rights, we cannot
tolerate Islam….LGBT rights or Islam….It is a binary thing.”
Fellow gay writer Douglas Murray tweeted: “I’m sorry for Owen
Jones. I would also feel guilty if I’d spent my life covering for
the ideology that just killed 50 LGBT people.”
What happened on that Sky News show,
of course, was that Jones was confronted with the irreconcilability
of his pro-Islam and pro-gay stances. A more mature and honest
commentator would have felt compelled to acknowledge this conflict
and to do some serious rethinking. Instead, Jones sought to distract
the TV audience from his predicament by throwing a fit and lying
about his interlocutors. You might have thought that this pathetic
display would have put a dent in his growing fame. On the contrary:
it only enhanced his celebrity. Too many British newspaper readers
and TV viewers, apparently, prefer his self-referential,
ideologically reliable, and often hysterical commentaries to the
views of more sophisticated, intelligent, reflective, well-informed
Anyone who expected that Jones, after his Sky News crisis, would actually work out his self-contradictions on Islam and homosexuality has been sorely disappointed. Incredibly, nearly three years after the Orlando massacre, he’s still toeing the same exact line. “Muslims and LGBTQ people should stand together, not fight each other,” read the headline on his Guardian column for April 11. In the piece, he took on a current controversy in Britain, where primary schools have announced plans to introduce “LGBTQ-inclusive education” and Muslim families have protested, in many cases successfully pressuring the schools to withdraw their plans. Jones harked back to “Section 28,” the long-dead law introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1988 to prevent the “promotion of homosexuality in schools.” Section 28 was repealed in 2003, and the prejudices that gave rise to it have almost entirely disappeared from English society – except, of course, in the rapidly growing Muslim community, where the reigning views of gay people are far more chilling than those held three decades ago by even the most bigoted member of Thatcher’s government.
But Jones is
still unwilling to go there. Anent the ongoing Muslim campaign
against “LGBTQ-inclusive education,” he writes: “The dangerous
conclusion to draw from this saga is that Muslims and LGBTQ people
are on a collision course.” But Islamic doctrines being what they
are, how can he deny that these two groups are in fundamental
conflict? As has been the case for years, Jones, being unable to
honestly address this question, instead dodges it entirely and makes
this move: “That is certainly the battle cry of ever more
emboldened Islamophobes, who never talk of LGBTQ rights except when
it becomes convenient artillery in their bigoted war on Muslims.”
Note the wily wording here: Jones doesn’t exactly deny that being
gay is a capital crime under sharia law; he just shifts ground,
shoving Islamic homophobia out of the way and changing the topic to
right-wing “Islamophobia.” There should, he insists, “be bonds
of solidarity between two oppressed groups who are liable to have had
abuse yelled at them on the streets by the same people.” But how
often are Muslims in Britain actually victims of public abuse – and
how often are Muslims the abusers? Is a gay person in Britain more
likely to be harassed or beaten up by a Muslim or by a right-winger
of British extraction? Jones doesn’t dare to ask these questions,
the honest answers to which would upset his base, threaten his
Guardian gig, and slow his meteoric rise to the top of the
Useful stooges come in a wide range of varieties, but the kind that starts out as a British punk rocker – a female one, no less – and ends up as an ISIS recruiter is a special breed.
Her name – her birth name, anyway – is Sally Jones. She’s from Chatham, Kent, and used to be a guitarist in an all-girl band called Krunch. But then she went to Syria with her son, Joe “JoJo” Dixon, to marry an ISIS fighter (and computer hacker) named Junaid Hussain. The heart, after all, wants what it wants.
After marrying Hussain, Sally came to be known, to her new comrades anyway, as Umm Hussain al-Britani. We’ve seen her also identified as Sakinah Hussein. And while he was still alive, the two of them were known as “Mr. and Mrs. Terror.” She was a big recruiter in Raqqa, and was involved in a couple of plots to kill Americans.
Too bad Brad and Angelina have split up – it sounds like a great idea for a movie project.
But then, in 2015, Sally’s hubby was taken out by a U.S. drone. Did that bring Sally down? No way. After cursing America (“the greatest enemy of Allah”) for killing her man, Sally, according to a September 2016 report in the New York Post, was named head of the female wing of something called the Anwar al-Awlaki battalion. Known by the monicker “The White Widow” (great title for a sequel, no?), she led “a secret army of female jihadis hellbent on launching a bloody wave of suicide attacks in the West – with their kids in tow.” Sally, noted the Post, “pledged to destroy” her native land “with the help of her deadly new brigade of femme fatales.” Part of Sally’s value to ISIS, apparently, was that her reputation as a former punk rocker helped them bring Western females into the ISIS fold.
No, forget it, this is starting to sound too improbable for a movie. At this point in a pitch meeting, surely the Warners execs would already have tossed us out.
Anyway, the idea was that Sally and her brigade of female jihadis – who, like Sally, were “mainly war widows” – planned to “use the fact they are female to slip under the radar before launching their bloody attacks.” The Post noted that the women might “even bring their children on their merciless missions in an attempt to foil the security services.”
In addition to leading that gang of war widows, Sally also kept busy providing her fellow terrorists with training “in combat and strategies” for suicide missions that were to be carried out in the West.
Thus did Jones become “the world’s most wanted woman.”
But that was last September. In July of this year, the Post had a new story about Sally. It would appear that she’s been through some kind of crisis. Or change of heart. Or something. In any case, she’s been doing a lot of crying. She “desperately wants to return home to the UK,” reported the Post, “but can’t because leaders of the terror group won’t let her go.” One of Sally’s colleagues, a woman identified as Aisha, told Sky News that Sally “was crying and wants to get back to Britain.”
It wasn’t clear, however, whether Sally wanted to take her son back to the UK with her. Now 12 years old, “JoJo” is now 12, described by the Post as “a child fighter who is believed to carry out executions.” A few years ago, we would have doubted his ability to adapt to an ordinary school in the UK, but nowadays we suspect he’d find a whole bunch of classmates eager to hear about, learn from, and be inspired by his experiences.
As we noted yesterday, gay Guardian commentator Owen Jones lost his temper and walked off of a TV program on the night of the Orlando nightclub massacre. His purported reason? The other two people on-screen had refused to call the killings homophobic. This was not, in fact, the case. What bothered him, apparently, was that if he hadn’t thrown a fit, he would have been forced to listen to a discussion of a topic he has been trying to avoid for years – namely, the fact that Islam, which he has defended fiercely against all comers, does in fact preach the murder of gay people such as himself.
The Telegraph‘s Julia Hartley-Brewer, who was on the TV show with Jones, accused him of making the massacre all about himself. Rod Liddle, writing in the Spectator, agreed: “the reliably idiotic left-wing columnist Owen Jones had a temper tantrum while reviewing the papers on Sky News — and stormed off the set, apparently because neither the presenter nor the other reviewer, Julia Hartley-Brewer, would accept that the tragedy was all about Owen.”
Liddle went on:
This was an attack upon an LGBT community, Jones insisted — needlessly, as it happens, because everybody had accepted that it was an attack upon an LGBT community….But none of it was enough for Owen. The only thing that mattered was that it was an attack upon gay people, and so it was a kind of singularity, an atrocity which Owen, being gay, could have to himself. The fact that a loathing of homosexuality is but one of the many problematic facets of Islam — along with misogyny, a contempt for those who are not Muslim, a hatred of Jewish people — was something which Jones could not accept. Presumably because this contradicted his resolutely fixed mindset that Muslims are oppressed people and are therefore as one in the struggle for liberation along with gay and transgendered people.
Indeed. In the Daily Mail, Katie Hopkins agreed with Liddle. While admitting that there was no love lost between her and Jones, she tried to be generous and sympathetic: “Owen is caught on a human fault line partly of his own making – he writes for the Guardian and is a cheerleader for Labour who prioritise Islam over the LGBT cause far closer to his own hurting heart.” She then read Jones the riot act:
Someone has to call this thing. Until Islam is tolerant of gay rights, we cannot tolerate Islam. In any sense. You have to choose.
LGBT rights or Islam. Black or white. Yes or no. Stop or go. It is a binary thing. You need to decide.
Douglas Murray, a somewhat older and infinitely wiser gay British writer, who recognizes Islam for what it is, summed up his view in a single tweet:
I’m sorry for Owen Jones. I would also feel guilty if I’d spent my life covering for the ideology that just killed 50 LGBT people.
If Jones was feeling guilty the night of the Orlando massacre, it didn’t last for long. The day after, he recorded a video (see below) utterly ignoring the issue of Islam – except for a brief mention of London’s new Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, whom he praised, absurdly, as a staunch defender of gay rights. The useful stoogery, in short, goes on.
We’ve been getting to know Guardian columnist Owen Jones, whose devotion, as a gay man, to gay rights – and readiness to criticize any Western institution for homophobia – has coexisted from the beginning of his still-young career with his ideologically rooted refusal to criticize the most homophobic force on the planet, namely Islam.
For a while there, he seemed to be able to pull off this contradiction. Then came the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre.
Appearing on Sky News with host Mark Longhurst and Telegraph journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer on the night of the mass murder, Jones tried to stake out a position that was simply not tenable. As Hartley-Brewer summed it up afterwards, Jones had made three assertions:
The first was that the man responsible for the massacre, Omar Mateen, was a homophobic killer and the reason for his hatred of gay people was totally irrelevant.
His second was that to question why Mateen might have been a homophobe (was it his Islamic faith or was he just an angry hate-filled lunatic?) was to deliberately undermine the horror of the atrocity.
And the third was that neither Mark Longhurst nor I were entitled to venture any opinion on any issues arising out of this crime because we were straight and therefore could not presume to care as much about the deaths of 50 gay people as Owen. In his own words: “You don’t understand this because you’re not gay.”
In other words, Jones was trying to use his gay identity to shut down any effort to link this mass murder to Islam. As Hartley-Brewer pointed out, Jones is one of many people on the left who are “intent on putting their heads in the sand about the unquestionable fact that Islam has a problem with homophobia….Does it matter whether the Orlando killer hated gay people because he just happened to hate gay people or because he believed that such hatred was fundamental to the teachings of his Islamic faith? I think it does.”
Rather than admit that Islam teaches homophobia, Jones chose to turn the spotlight on his host and fellow panelist, claiming repeatedly that they were denying that homophobia was a factor in the Orlando atrocity – even as they both repeatedly agreed with him that, of course, it was.
Watch the exchange for yourself:
On the morning after his Sky News appearance, Jones stuck with his on-camera spin, maintaining in the Guardian that he had “walked off in disgust” as “an instinctive reaction” to Longhurst, who, he asserted, had “continually and repeatedly refused to accept that this was an attack on LGBT people….He not only refused to accept it as an attack on LGBT people, but was increasingly agitated that I – as a gay man – would claim it as such.”
To this, Hartley-Brewer replied, succinctly and correctly: “This is a blatant flat-out lie.” Owen also wrote in his Guardian follow-up: “I am reluctant to dwell too much on my appearance on Sky News last night, because this isn’t about me.” Hartley-Brewer found this to be altogether too much: “Really Owen? Because from where I was sitting, the entire thing has been ENTIRELY about you all along.”
Others also weighed in on Jones’s petulant walk-off. We’ll get to them tomorrow.