It is a truth, universally understood, that Owen Jones writes rubbish.
It is so well understood that it is not usually necessary to comment on it.
I do not know how much Jones gets for his articles on The Guardian’s website, but he is overpaid.
Jones is rather well off following the sales of books preaching social bigotry to the already committed. However, despite his calls for punitive taxation of high achievers’ rewards, he does not seem to have led by example and sent a donation from his cash-pile off to the Treasury. If Jones did this, I am sure others would follow.
There is a trend to some of Jones’s articles where he calls for the creation of this movement or that group to protest or agitate. As an example of leftist automatic writing, it is money for old rope. Nothing ever happens. Jones must be disappointed. All the way to the bank.
His latest article is even more misguided. As most people are now aware, the EU has cottoned on, after at least a decade, to the Irish government’s sweetheart deal tax arrangements with Apple and have denounced them as uncompetitive. They are demanding Apple pay the Irish government billions in back taxes. Apple can well afford this. However, Apple does not want to stump up the cash, and the Irish government does not want the money. Yes, dear reader, there exists a race of taxpayer-funded civil servants that do not want to claw in as much tax money as they can get away with. Who knew?
However it is Jones’s explanation of why the EU is issuing this demand for payment that marks out his article as particularly stupid. He states:
“Tax justice is only on the agenda because movements forced it there. It was an issue that once only excited those on the fringes of political debate. Years of campaigning changed that. Those in a position of authority are responding to pressure from below. And here is an instructive lesson. Protesting and campaigning can often feel like a lonely, hard and unrewarding slog. Social change is often a story of defeat followed by setback, followed by defeat followed by setback – and then success.”
Jones has this time retrospectively called a movement into existence and credited with the achievement of bringing a billion dollar multinational to heel via a host of supine Eurocrats. Yes, I am sure that is how it happened. At least Jones is on form.
I can imagine the meeting of the Armani-suited technocrats, looking aghast at their giant screens of newsfeed showing once pristine Europlazas obscured by jumbles of canopies. ‘Those people in their tents’, they say, quaking in their hand-made shoes, ‘we must do something’. ‘I know’, says one, ‘lets target a big American company, because no one likes Americans’. ‘That’ll do nicely’, they chorus.
So, forget all the other ways that EU policy is determined, the various EU intergovernmental forums, councils, and commissions that means the EU pays for the service of no less than five presidents where most other political entities have just the one. In Jonesworld they are all meaningless. Even elections to the European Parliament. Apple picking policy, according to Jones, is actually determined by a correctly motivated mob of lefty sweethearts. Again, who knew?
Should advocates of unpopular politics steal all the credit from Britain’s least favourite public servants? Discuss.
I do wonder how many of Jones’s right-on disciples will be smashing their iPhones in properly motivated disgust at this evil American plot to deny a poor small country of its rightful dues. By continuing to own one of these devices they are surely undoing all of their comrades’ work. Smash it, comrade, smash it now. You will feel the better for it. Your socialist conscience will be cleansed at last…
It is ridiculous that Jones could write such nonsense and get published. It is disturbing that the editors of The Guardian post it instead of laughing at it and telling Jones to write something more credible. It is distressing that some of The Guardian’s declining readership will actually believe it.