Oliver Kamm

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Oliver Kamm
Oliver Kamm in profile.jpg
Kamm in January 2015
Oliver George Kamm

February 1963 (age 56)
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Birkbeck College
Years active2008–present
EmployerThe Times
Parent(s)Antony Kamm (father)
Anthea Bell (mother)
RelativesAdrian Bell (grandfather)
Martin Bell (uncle)

Oliver George Kamm (born February 1963) is a British journalist and writer who is a leader writer and columnist for The Times.

Early life and career[edit]

Kamm is the son of translator Anthea Bell and publisher Antony Kamm.[1] Kamm is the grandson of Adrian Bell and nephew of Martin Bell. After Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys, he studied PPE at New College, Oxford[2] and Birkbeck College, University of London.[citation needed]

Kamm has worked at the Bank of England, HSBC Securities and Commerzbank Securities.[3]


Kamm joined the Times staff in 2008.[4] He has also contributed to The Jewish Chronicle, for which he writes regularly,[5] Prospect magazine,[6] and The Guardian.[7]


Domestic politics[edit]

Kamm has been a consistent supporter of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the foreign policies of his government.[8] According to John Lloyd in 2005, Kamm views Blair's policies "as the expression of true social-democratic values".[9]

Kamm has been an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party. He told Liam Hoare writing for Forward magazine in September 2015, that "the left has incorporated the attitudes of the nativist far-right. Corbyn's alliances with reactionary, misogynistic, theocratic, and anti-Semitic movements bear out what we’ve said".[10]

Kamm voted for his local Labour MP, Meg Hillier, at the 2017 general election because Hillier is a non-Corbynite who voted in parliament against the UK's implementation of Article 50 beginning the process of British withdrawal from the European Union.[11]

Foreign policy and other issues[edit]

Commentator Peter Wilby asserted that while Kamm and Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle claim "to be left-wing", they hold "no discernible left-wing views".[12] When interviewed by politics academic Norman Geras in 2003, Kamm said that he wrote to "express a militant liberalism that I feel ought to be part of public debate but which isn't often articulated, or at least not where I can find it, in the communications media that I read or listen to" and that he felt that "the crucial distinction in politics is not between Left and Right, as I had once tribally thought, but between the defenders and the enemies of an open society."[13]

Kamm supports the return of the Elgin Marbles to Athens.[14][15]


Kamm has written two books. In Anti-Totalitarianism, he argues that military intervention against totalitarian regimes to support democratic values in other countries, can be expression of left wing values; he supports the 2003 invasion of Iraq under this rubric and seemed to be focusing his argument against foreign policies stances based narrowly on the national interest that are typical of the traditional right.[16] On his book on usage, he argues against linguistic prescription and in favour of linguistic description and clear, vigorous writing.[17]

In August 2018, The Bookseller reported that Weidenfeld & Nicolson will in January 2020 publish Kamm's book In Mending the Mind: The Art and Science of Treating Clinical Depression, in which he "draws on his own experience of the illness as a jumping off point to investigate depression" and "makes a case for embracing both art and science to better understand and treat the condition."[18]


  • Kamm, Oliver (2005). Anti-totalitarianism: The Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy. Social Affairs Unit. ISBN 978-1780227955.
  • Kamm, Oliver (2015). Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage. Phoenix. ISBN 978-1780227955.


  1. ^ Armitstead, Claire (16 November 2013). "Anthea Bell: 'It's all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite free'". The Guardian.
  2. ^ "Things I Wished I'd Known Before I Went to Oxbridge". Oxford Royale Summer Schools. 2 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Oliver Kamm profile". Intelligence Squared. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Oliver Kamm - the 2010 Blogger Prize Long List". Orwell Foundation. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Oliver Kamm". thejc.com. The Jewish Chronicle.
  6. ^ "Articles by Oliver Kamm". prospectmagazine.co.uk. Prospect.
  7. ^ "Oliver Kamm". theguardian.com. The Guardian..
  8. ^ Lloyd, John (12 December 2005). "The case for freedom". New Statesman. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  9. ^ Lloyd, John (12 December 2005). "The case for freedom". New Statesman. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  10. ^ Hoare, Liam (13 September 2015). "Why Jeremy Corbyn Scares British Jews So Much". Forward. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  11. ^ Rentoul, John (22 April 2017). "The fight to succeed Jeremy Corbyn has already begun – and the Blairites could be defeated again". The Independent.
  12. ^ Wilby, Peter (24 April 2006). "The Media Column". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  13. ^ Geras, Norman (21 November 2003). "The normblog profile 9: Oliver Kamm". normblog.
  14. ^ Kamm, Oliver (29 October 2013). "The Elgin Marbles should go back home to Athens". The Times. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Marsh, Nicholas (2006). "Review of Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy". Journal of Peace Research. 43 (5): 637–637. JSTOR 27640397.
  17. ^ Cohen, Nick (7 March 2015). "If 'incorrect' English is what's widely understood, how can it be wrong?". The Spectator.
  18. ^ Cowdrey, Katherine (6 August 2018). "Times columnist's investigation into depression to W&N". The Bookseller. Retrieved 11 August 2018.