Who would be able to outshine Ed Miliband, Ken Livingstone and Paul Krugman as "the most influential left-wing thinker of the year?" According to a survey carried out by the political blog Left Foot Forward, the answer is Owen Jones, the author of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class. Polling 42.1% of the readers' votes, Owen Jones came ahead of the leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas, the media campaigner Tom Watson and the Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee.
Owen Jones was nominated for the award by Olly Parker and Natan Doron of the Fabian society. They motivated their endorsement stressing that:
Owen Jones has made an impressive contribution in bringing issues of inequality back to the discussion and debate which surround the future of, not just the Labour movement, but of the left more generally ...
Owen has managed re-launch the debate around class and inequality by finding new and accessible ways to make arguments that Labour thinkers have been making for years. He has also challenged the establishment by holding up a mirror to the way different people from different parts of the country are treated by the media and political elite in this country.
Visit Left Foot Forward to read Owen Jones' nomination and the poll results in full.
The Telegraph ranks Jones at number 72 in their list 'The Top 100 Most Influential People on the Left', pointing out that "he is increasingly called upon by the media to give up a 'left of Labour' view which he does with consummate skill and confidence."
Furthermore, according to the Independent, the Labour leader Ed Miliband told the author that he read Chavs during his summer holiday when the two met at the Labour Conference this year, with Melissa Benn, author of School Wars.
According to Benn on her website
I didn’t get a chance to discuss with Ed the merits – or otherwise – of academies and free schools ...Of course, that’s why we are still smiling …