Nick Cohen rssNick Cohen

Nick Cohen is a columnist for the Observer and author of What’s Left and You Can’t Read This Book.

Eric Hobsbawm has died. Image: Getty.

Eric Hobsbawm: A man of Extremes

1 October 2012 12:14

A few years ago, I wrote a review of Eric Hobsbawm’s last collection of essays and noted  ‘Hobsbawm is now 94, and although I have no wish to usher the… Continue reading

Mitt Romney's 'gaffe' is the latest example of how distant the Washington parties are from the heartlands of the American working class. Image: Getty.

God, guns,welfare: conspiracy theories about working class Americans

18 September 2012 10:44

Mitt Romney has been caught saying what he really thinks – or in modern journalistic jargon has committed a ‘gaffe’. Serious American commentators believe that his election challenge is all… Continue reading

Salman Rushdie is still going strong, thanks to the efforts of Special Branch. Image: Getty

Salman Rushdie: He’s still here

15 September 2012 12:04

Until the launch party for Salman Rushdie’s autobiography, the best story I’d heard about the forced marriage of literary London and the Special Branch came from the night of the… Continue reading

People chant slogans while holding a sig

A Rough Guide to Tyranny

18 August 2012 13:07

There is an over genteel style in English argument which acts like a sedative. Just when you think that a proper debate is getting going, one of the participants will… Continue reading

Managing Director Charlotte Hindle of Lonely Plane

What lonely planet are they on?

14 August 2012 16:24

A few years ago, I wrote a piece about the Lonely Planet guide to Burma. I looked at how the supposedly right-on publishers sweetened the rule of the military so… Continue reading

Ronald Reagan, Getty Images

RIP Robert Hughes: Enemy of the Woozy

7 August 2012 18:23

Few books have had a greater effect on me than Robert Hughes’ Culture of Complaint. The clarity of Hughes’ style in his dissection of the discontents of the 1980s was… Continue reading

Last Minute Canvassing Takes Place Before Tomorrow's Crucial Elections

Green Party Candidate: Give me more money!

30 July 2012 13:37

As a slogan, ‘give me more money’ is an unlikely election winner. Nevertheless, Peter Cranie came close to trying it at the hustings for the leadership of the Green Party… Continue reading

A lecture against FGM in southern Egypt, Getty Images

The racism of the respectable

24 July 2012 19:33

To be a racist in Britain, you do not need to cover yourself in tattoos and join a neo-Nazi party. You can wear well-made shirts, open at the neck, appreciate… Continue reading

David Cameron is coming under increasing pressure from his backbenchers. Picture: Getty.

Tories, oppose family values

19 July 2012 18:30

For almost a decade now, what social conservatives say and the evidence in front of our eyes has been diverging with remarkable speed. According to the received wisdom, the permissive… Continue reading

Labour Party Conference Focuses On Economy

Westminster’s hollow men

8 July 2012 18:30

In my Observer column today I say that a judicial review into the banking scandal would have achieved little unless the judge could have persuaded the politicians to change the… Continue reading

Bob Diamond, the new chief executive of

Crony Conservatism

4 July 2012 13:15

The fundamental division in modern politics is between corporatists and believers in free markets. So what, you might say, that has been a fundamental division for quite a while. This… Continue reading

Social Networking Sites May Be Monitored By Security Services

Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

28 June 2012 13:30

The issues raised by the Twitter Joke case have been gone over so thoroughly that, as is so often in public debate, only the obvious question remains undiscussed and unanswered:… Continue reading

Prime Minister David Cameron Makes A Speech Following Last Week's Rioting

The war against the young

24 June 2012 14:30

At the time of the student protests, I laid out in the Observer the demographic facts that push unscrupulous politicians into picking on the young. Their political vulnerability is the… Continue reading

Diamond Jubilee - Buckingham Palace Concert

Jimmy’s “Scam”

19 June 2012 12:00

Satirists are like pop stars in two respects. They earn extraordinary amounts of money, and the public assumes that they are left wing. You do not need to be a… Continue reading

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Gives Evidence To The Leveson Inquiry

Why are the unions frightened?

18 June 2012 19:00

Labour has only ever won a general election from the autumn of 1974 onwards when its leader has been called &”Tony Blair”. Four other leaders tried, but they were not… Continue reading


Why the Jubilee Coverage was so bad

6 June 2012 10:45

One of my objections to monarchy is that it is a vulgar institution that encourages verbosity, prurience, sycophancy and banality. I was not therefore surprised that the BBC’s jubilee coverage… Continue reading

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde

A diplomatic racket

4 June 2012 18:45

In my Observer column on Sunday I mentioned in passing that in a crisis, elites have to be able to show that they are sharing the plight of the masses.… Continue reading


Take the mickey back

27 May 2012 15:33

Our beliefs are like our families. Some we live with every day. Others are distant relations we rarely see but still think of as part of our clan in a… Continue reading


Don’t trust the West

24 May 2012 11:30

A few days ago, I attended the Oslo Freedom Forum, where dissidents and human rights campaigners gather to exchange ideas. I feared the mood was a little too optimistic, and… Continue reading


Beware the ferret-faced heresy hunters

15 May 2012 10:51

I fell in with bad company while I was on a story in Oslo last week: American conservative journalists. I am glad to say confirmed the public’s stereotype of reporters… Continue reading


‘It’s the newspapers I can’t stand’

30 April 2012 13:47

In Tom Stoppard’s Night and Day, Milne, an idealistic journalist, describes the limitations of newspapers, and then gives the best argument for press freedom I know of. ‘You don’t have… Continue reading


Rupert Murdoch and the revival of the Labour Party

25 April 2012 16:36

Last year I wrote that the Leveson inquiry would suit Jeremy Hunt rather well. He had appointed Lord Justice Leveson, a judge with little previous experience of media law to… Continue reading


Gunter Grass: the tin drum and the tin ear

9 April 2012 13:47

This morning’s editorial in Israel’s left-wing Haaretz newspaper noted a double standard that was also a bad joke. Israel’s Interior Minister’s had declared, ‘If Gunter Grass wants to continue to… Continue reading


The tweet police

27 March 2012 12:32

Writing with the optimism of a high-Victorian liberal, John Stuart Mill said that the only legitimate restriction on freedom of speech was to stop the direct incitement to a crime.… Continue reading


Will Osborne close the ‘Livingstone Loophole’?

20 March 2012 10:33

When I spoke to the tax justice campaigner Richard Murphy about Ken Livingstone’s tax avoidance, he said that the practice of individuals pretending that they were companies caused ‘a massive… Continue reading