Spiked (also written as sp!ked) is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society. The magazine was founded in 2001 with the same editor and many of the same contributors as Living Marxism, which had closed in 2000 after losing a case for libel brought by ITN.[1][2]

Type of site
Created byMick Hume
EditorTom Slater

There is general agreement that Spiked is libertarian, with the majority of specialist academic sources identifying it as right-libertarian, and some non-specialist sources identifying it as left-libertarian.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Activists associated with Spiked, sometimes described as part of "the Spiked network", took part in the Brexit Party as candidates or publicists,[9][10] while disagreeing with Nigel Farage on many domestic issues.

Editors and contributors edit

Spiked is edited by Tom Slater, who was previously its deputy editor. He was appointed in September 2021, and replaced Brendan O'Neill, who had been editor following Mick Hume's departure in January 2007. On ceasing to be editor, O'Neill became Spiked's 'inaugural chief political writer'.[11]

The magazine also produces a number of podcasts, with contributors including Christopher Snowdon.[citation needed]

Origin edit

Spiked emerged from Living Marxism, the magazine of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Living Marxism was founded in 1988 and rebranded as LM in 1999.[12][1][13][14]

Spiked was founded in 2000 after the bankruptcy of its predecessor after losing a libel case brought against it by the broadcasting corporation ITN.[15][2] The case centered around ITN coverage of Fikret Alić and other Bosnian Muslims standing behind a barbed-wire fence at the Trnopolje camp during the Bosnian war. LM claimed to oppose Western intervention on traditional anti-imperialist grounds, and published an article titled "The Picture that Fooled the World"[16] which claimed that ITN's coverage was deceptive, the barbed-wire did not enclose the camp and the Muslims were in fact "refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished." During the court case, evidence given by the camp doctor led LM to abandon its defence. ITN was awarded damages and costs, estimated to be around £1 million.[12][17][18]

The RCP itself formally dissolved in 1996, but maintained its existence as a loose network, first around LM and then Spiked. The group of writers associated with LM who went on to form the core editorial group at Spiked, are often referred to as the "LM network" or "Spiked network".[19][20]

Content edit

Frank Furedi, interviewed in Spiked in 2007, said that the stance of LM and Spiked originates from the "anti-Stalinist left".[21] Environmentalists such as George Monbiot[22][9] and Peter Melchett have suggested that the LM Network pursued an ideologically motivated 'anti-environmentalist' agenda under the guise of promoting humanism.[19][23] In a 2007 interview in Spiked, Frank Furedi referred to these critics as "a network of McCarthyites".[21] Monbiot described the views of Living Marxism as having, "less in common with the left than with the fanatical right."[24] In 2018, Monbiot wrote that, "Its [Spiked's] articles repeatedly defend figures on the hard right or far right: Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Alex Jones, the Democratic Football Lads' Alliance, Tommy Robinson, Toby Young, Arron Banks, Viktor Orbán".[25]

The Daily Beast, as well as Paul Mason of the New Statesman, have described the site as libertarian.[26][3][27] A study in Policy & Internet by Heft et al. described Spiked as populist, saying that it has "roots in the radical left‐wing scene, but now oppose the political establishment from a position on the right side of the spectrum."[28] According to Tim Knowles, the technology correspondent for The Times, Spiked is right-wing and libertarian,[5] while Evan Smith, a historian who has written on Spiked in the context of its free speech campaigns, has noted its "right-libertarian and iconoclastic style".[29] By contrast, digital media scholar Jean Burgess and James Bowman of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center have referred to the site as left-libertarian.[30][8]

Spiked opposes many public health interventions. For example, it sees campaigns against obesity as state intrusion and “a war on the poor”.[31] It opposes multiculturalism and (as its contributor Munira Mirza put it) sees institutional racism as “a perception more than a reality”.[31]

Spiked opposed the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and of Iraq and Western interference in developing nations in general.[32][33][34][non-primary source needed]

Spiked saw the UK's vote to leave the European Union as a demonstration of democracy against ruling elites and has celebrated Nigel Farage's Brexit Party and Boris Johnson's Conservative government for their stance on this.[35] Activists associated with Spiked, sometimes described as part of 'the Spiked network', were active in campaigning for the UK to leave the EU, with a number of its activists involved in the Brexit Party as candidates or publicists.[36][37][38][39][9][10] Among those associated with Spiked who joined the Brexit Party were Claire Fox, who said she largely disagreed with Farage on domestic policies,[37] and sought to build a left-wing faction inside the party.[citation needed]

In 2018 Monbiot wrote that "Spiked's writers rage against exposures of dark money. It calls The Observer's Carole Cadwalladr, who has won a string of prizes for exposing the opaque spending surrounding the Brexit vote, 'the closest thing the mainstream British media has to an out-and-out conspiracy theorist'".[9]

Spiked opposed lockdown as a policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.[31]

In July 2020, an exposé by The Daily Beast reported that Spiked was one of several mainly conservative websites that had inadvertently published articles attributed to non-existent experts on the Middle East. This network of fake journalists promoted the United Arab Emirates and pushed for harsher treatment of that country's opponents. Spiked did not remove the two articles, instead leaving an editorial note mentioning the articles' questionable authorship.[26][3][5]

Following the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Spiked took a strong pro-Ukrainian position, often publishing articles praising the Ukrainian people and attacking Russian President Vladimir Putin.[40][41][42][43][44][45] However, it also criticized Western media reaction following the 2022 missile explosion in Poland, accusing such media of not taking the risk of a major escalation with Russia seriously enough.[46][non-primary source needed]

Projects edit


In May 2007 Spiked launched the Spiked Review of Books as a monthly online literary criticism feature. This coincided with controversy in the United States following the scaling back of newspaper book review sections.[47]

Spiked produces annual "free speech rankings" of UK universities.[48][49]

Funding edit

A joint investigation between DeSmog UK and The Guardian revealed that Spiked US Inc. received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation between 2016 and 2018 to develop live campus events connected with The Toleration and Free Speech program sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation.[50][25][51] The Guardian suggested that this was due to the online magazine's attacks on left-wing politics, its support and defence of hard right and far-right figures, and the many articles it publishes by writers supported by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Koch-funded Cato Institute.[9][52] Spiked's editor Brendan O'Neil dismissed such accusations as "McCarthyism" and stated that such funding was used to promote debate about free speech, noting that the Toleration and Free Speech Programme at the Charles Koch Foundation supports projects from both progressive and conservative groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Newseum, the Knight Foundation and the American Society of News Editors.[53]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Ideas, Jenny Turner reports from the Battle of (8 July 2010). "Who Are They?". London Review of Books. pp. 3–8. ISSN 0260-9592. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b Wells, Matt (31 March 2000). "LM closes after losing libel action". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Charbonneau, Madeleine (7 July 2020). "Conservative Sites Pull Articles". The Daily Beast.
  4. ^ Mason, Paul (7 June 2021). "David Lammy is right". New Statesman. Labour MP David Lammy previously sparked outrage among Britain's right-wing circles when he compared the Tory ERG group to the Nazis at a "People's Vote" rally... Spiked Online, a libertarian website, accused him of "foul Holocaust relativism".
  5. ^ a b c Knowles, Tim. "Fake writers promoting UAE". The Times. The articles were mostly in right-wing publications, including the British libertarian website Spiked...
  6. ^ Heft & others (25 August 2019). "Beyond Brietbart: Comparing Digital News Infrastructures in Six Western Democracies". Policy & Internet. 12 (1): 20–45. doi:10.1002/poi3.219. S2CID 203110947. some of the sites included in our study [of right-wing alternative media websites]—such as the British Spiked or German Compact—have roots in the radical left‐wing scene, but now oppose the political establishment from a position on the right side of the spectrum
  7. ^ Burgess, Jean (2018). Youtube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781509533596. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b Bowman, James (February 2017). "Faking it and making it". The New Criterion.
  9. ^ a b c d e Monbiot, George (7 December 2018). "How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain". The Guardian.
  10. ^ a b Bartholomew, Emma (8 March 2019). "'Pro-Brexit, anti-feminist, anti-environmental' videos from Hackney charity WORLDwrite spark concern". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 10 June 2019. Ms Dingle was part of the Revolutionary Communist Party and wrote for its magazine Living Marxism before its successor LM Magazine went bankrupt in 2000, after it was sued successfully for libel by ITN. Key figures in the network – which some commentators have accused of being right-wing rather than left-wing as it claimed – went on to set up libertarian magazine Spiked and the think tank Institute of Ideas (IoI).
  11. ^ O'Neill, Brendan. "It's time for a change at Spiked 27 September 2021". spiked. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  12. ^ a b Pallister, David; Vidal, John; Maguire, Kevin (8 July 2000). "Life after Living Marxism: Fighting for freedom – to offend, outrage and question everything". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Thomas Deichmann". www.lobbywatch.org. Lobby-Watch. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Licence to rile". the Guardian. 15 May 1999. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  15. ^ Hartley-Brewer, Julia (15 March 2000). "High stakes in battle over Serbian guilt". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  16. ^ Monbiot, George (13 June 2011). "Left and libertarian right cohabit in the weird world of the genocide belittlers – George Monbiot". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  17. ^ Vulliamy, Ed (15 March 2000). "Poison in the well of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Spiked". www.lobbywatch.org. Lobby Watch. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  19. ^ a b Melchett, Peter (19 April 2007). "Clear intentions". The Guardian (London).
  20. ^ Hepworth, Jack (28 April 2022). "'The moral rearmament of imperialism': the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Northern Ireland conflict, and the new world order, 1981-1994". Contemporary British History. Informa UK Limited. 36 (4): 591–621. doi:10.1080/13619462.2022.2070479. ISSN 1361-9462. S2CID 248438019. Subsequently, maintaining an informal network, activists formed the influential internet magazine spiked in 2000 and founded the Institute of Ideas
  21. ^ a b O'Neill, Brendan (25 April 2007). "Humanising politics—that is my only agenda". Spiked Online. Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  22. ^ Monbiot, George (9 December 2003). "Invasion of the entryists". The Guardian (London).
  23. ^ Profiles: Martin Durkin, LobbyWatch. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  24. ^ Monbiot, George (1 November 1998). "Far Left or Far Right?". Prospect. London.
  25. ^ a b Monbiot, George (7 December 2018). "How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  26. ^ a b Rawnsley, Adam (6 July 2020). "Right-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  27. ^ Mason, Paul. "David Lammy is right". New Statesman. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  28. ^ Heft & others (25 August 2019). "Beyond Brietbart: Comparing Digital News Infrastructures in Six Western Democracies". Policy & Internet. 12 (1): 20–45. doi:10.1002/poi3.219. S2CID 203110947.
  29. ^ Smith, Evan (23 June 2020). "How a fringe sect from the 1980s influenced No 10's attitude to racism". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  30. ^ Burgess, Jean (2018). Youtube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781509533596. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  31. ^ a b c Beckett, Andy (1 August 2020). "Why Boris Johnson's Tories fell for a tiny sect of libertarian provocateurs | Andy Beckett". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  32. ^ Nadine Strossen; Faisal Devji; Jeffrey Rosen; Brendan O'Neill; Michael Baum; et al. "Life, liberty and politics after 9/11". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  33. ^ Hume, Mick. "The age of PR imperialism". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  34. ^ Cunliffe, Philip. "Exposing 'Empire in denial'". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  35. ^ Smith, Evan (21 November 2022). "A Platform for Working Class Unity? The Revolutionary Communist Party's The Red Front and the pre-history of Living Marxism/Spiked Online in the 1980s". Contemporary British History. Informa UK Limited. 37: 89–127. doi:10.1080/13619462.2022.2142780. ISSN 1361-9462. S2CID 253791729.
  36. ^ "Revealed: Nigel Farage's Brexit Party candidate spread "propaganda" for Balkan warlord, was 'bugged' by MI6". openDemocracy. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  37. ^ a b Smith, Julia Llewellyn (28 April 2019). "The Brexit Party's Claire Fox on why she's fighting for Farage". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  38. ^ English, Otto (24 April 2019). "Fox Breaks Cover – from Revolutionary Communist to Farage's Right Hand Woman – Byline Times". Byline Times. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  39. ^ English, Otto (13 May 2019). "AstroTurfers of Britain Part Two: Who is Behind Brexit Party Recruitment and its PR Makeover? – Byline Times". Byline Times. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  40. ^ Black, Tim (21 September 2022). "Putin is the one escalating the war in Ukraine". Spiked.
  41. ^ Black, Tim (12 October 2022). "Russia is terrorising Ukraine". Spiked.
  42. ^ Reynolds, Jacob (12 September 2022). "Ukraine is one step closer to freedom". Spiked.
  43. ^ Reynolds, Jacob (19 October 2022). "We must not give up on Ukraine". Spiked.
  44. ^ Reynolds, Jacob (11 November 2022). "The liberation of Kherson should inspire us all". Spiked.
  45. ^ Bailey, Tom (15 November 2022). "How Poland and Ukraine overcame a dark history". Spiked.
  46. ^ Black, Tim (16 November 2022). "Do the Western media want World War 3?". Spiked.
  47. ^ The National Book Critics Circle's Campaign to Save Book Reviews, John Freeman, President, National Book Critics Circle.
  48. ^ Carl Thompson (17 February 2018). "Free Speech Rankings: misleading, ill-informed and worryingly influential". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  49. ^ Malik, Nesrine (13 October 2019). "There is a crisis on campuses – but it's about racism, not free speech". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  50. ^ "The New McCarthyism is ruining public life". Spiked. 3 December 2018. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019.
  51. ^ Small, Mike (6 December 2018). "Revealed: US Oil Billionaire Charles Koch Funds UK Anti-Environment Spiked Network". DeSmog UK. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  52. ^ Busby, Mattha; Halliday, Josh (8 December 2018). "Zuckerberg must end far right's fundraising on Facebook – Tom Watson". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  53. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (3 December 2018). "The New McCarthyism is ruining public life". Spiked.

External links edit