Nick Cohen

Nicholas Cohen (born 1961)[1] is a British journalist, author and political commentator. He is a columnist for The Observer, a blogger for The Spectator and a writer for Standpoint magazine. Born in Stockport and raised in Manchester, Cohen studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford before entering journalism.

Nick Cohen
Nick Cohen
Cohen at the public launch of the Euston Manifesto in 2006
Nicholas Cohen

1961 (age 59–60)

Early lifeEdit

Cohen was born in Stockport, and raised in Manchester.[2] His father was Jewish.[3] He was educated at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and Hertford College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).


Cohen began his career at the Sutton Coldfield News, before moving to the Birmingham Post, later becoming a contributor to The Independent and The Observer in 1996, where his first story was on "a seemingly dreary new feature about zero tolerance of crime in the United States, which offered few opportunities to impress my new employers".[citation needed] Cohen drew a reputation as the scourge of Tony Blair, who once stated that "if I listened to Nick Cohen I would never win an election", and of Andrew Adonis, who was at the time a Downing Street policy adviser, and said that "no one is better at getting under the Government's skin".[citation needed]



In the early 2000s, Cohen was a critic of the government of Israel and described Zionism as "colonialism".[4][5]

Middle EastEdit

Cohen was for many years a critic of Tony Blair's foreign policy.[citation needed] He began modifying his views after 2001, advocating the 2003 invasion of Iraq,[6][7] and becoming a critic of the Stop the War Coalition.[8] In 2006, he was a leading signatory to the Euston Manifesto,[9] which proposed what it termed "a new political alignment", in which the left would take a stronger stance in favour of military intervention and against what the signatories deemed to be anti-American attitudes. Cohen supported the NATO-led intervention in Libya to oust former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.[10] In 2012, he called for Western military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[11]


The Muslim Council of Britain has described Cohen as "being in the vanguard of Islamophobia in this country".[12]

In August 2014, Cohen was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[13]

In 2014, he spoke out against the right-wing UK Independence Party and its leader, Nigel Farage, in The Observer, for which he received the Commentator Award by the European Press Prize a year later.[14][15]


Cohen criticised Ecuador for granting political asylum to Julian Assange and called Ecuador a "petro-socialist authoritarian state".[16] He has also been critical of the CANZUK agreement, calling it "an Anglo-Saxon Narnia".[17] He has criticised halal and kosher slaughter and believes it should be illegal.[18]


Cohen is a columnist for The Observer and Standpoint and a regular contributor to The Spectator. He has also written for Time, the Independent on Sunday, the London Review of Books, the London Evening Standard, the New Statesman and The New European.

He has written five books: Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous[19] (1999), a collection of his journalism; Pretty Straight Guys[20] (2003), a highly critical account of the New Labour project; What's Left?[21] (2007), a critique of the contemporary liberal left, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize;[22][23] Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England[24] (2009); and You Can't Read This Book (2012),[25] which deals with censorship.

Personal lifeEdit

Cohen lives in Islington with his wife and their son.[26] He is an atheist and is Jewish only on his father's side but says he is becoming "more Jewish".[3] He is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[27]


  • Cohen, Nick (2000). Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous. Verso Books. ISBN 1-85984-288-7
  • Cohen, Nick (2003). Pretty Straight Guys. Faber and Faber: paperback edition. ISBN 0-571-22004-5
  • Cohen, Nick (2007). What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way. Fourth Estate. ISBN 0-00-722969-0
  • Cohen, Nick (2009). Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England. Fourth Estate. ISBN 0-00-730892-2
  • Cohen, Nick (2012). You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom. Fourth Estate. ISBN 978-0007308903


  1. ^ "Nick Cohen". Presseurop. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  2. ^ Nick Cohen Waiting for the Etonians, p. 23.
  3. ^ a b Nick Cohen (12 February 2009). "Hatred is turning me into a Jew". The Jewish Chronicle. London.
  4. ^ Cohen, Nick (20 November 2000). "The Holocaust as show business". The New Statesman. Retrieved 17 October 2019. To the successors of the 'Zionism is fascism' crowd of the Seventies (it isn't, incidentally, it's colonialism), the Holocaust and reaction sit comfortably together.
  5. ^ Cohen, Nick (2003). Pretty Straight Guys. Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-22004-5.
  6. ^ Nick Cohen (14 January 2003). "The Left betrays the Iraqi people by opposing war". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  7. ^ Nick Cohen (16 February 2003). "The Left isn't listening". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  8. ^ Nick Cohen (7 April 2003). "Strange bedfellows". New Statesman. London.
  9. ^ "The Euston Manifesto". 11 September 2001. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  10. ^ "EU support for Arab rebels is shamefully late". The Guardian. 13 March 2011.
  11. ^ Nick Cohen (1 January 2012)."The west has a duty to intervene in Syria". The Guardian. London.
  12. ^ Silver, James (21 August 2006). "Interview: John Ware". The Guardian.
  13. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. London. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  14. ^ Gilley, Matthew (13 April 2015). "Observer's Nick Cohen among the €10,000 winners of European Press Prize". Press Gazette. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  15. ^ "The Cowardice of Nigel Farage". European Press Prize. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  16. ^ Cohen, Nick (6 September 2015). "Oppressive states such as Ecuador crush the web's power". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "What hiring a failed Australian prime minister tells us about corrupt Britain | Nick Cohen". The Guardian. 29 August 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  18. ^ "God's own chosen meat".
  19. ^ Cohen, Nick (2000). Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous – Nick Cohen – Google Books. ISBN 9781859842881. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  20. ^ Cohen, Nick (2004). Pretty Straight Guys. ISBN 9780571220045. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  21. ^ Cohen, Nick (2007). What's Left?: How the Left Lost Its Way. ISBN 9780007229703. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  22. ^ "2008 Book Prize Short List", The Orwell Prize.
  23. ^ "Biography" Archived 6 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine,
  24. ^ Cohen, Nick. "Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England by Nick Cohen". Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  25. ^ "You Can't Read This Book : Nick Cohen". HarperCollins. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  26. ^ "Law without Order", New Statesman 2004, 'Waiting for the Etonians' p. 99.
  27. ^ "National Secular Society Honorary Associates". National Secular Society. Retrieved 26 August 2019.

External linksEdit