As a young person, (a statement that is teetering on the edge, as can one class oneself in this category at the age of 22?), I have always respected Owen Jones. Following him on various platforms from the age of around 18, such as The Papers, BBCQT, The Guardian etc, he has always resonated with me as a respected individual, who aligned to no political party and was a strong advocate of free thought and criticism.
Alas, that opinion that I held of him has slowly withered away during (and preceding) the Labour leadership election.
His unwavering support for Corbyn has caused concern for me, as when I now read his pieces in the Guardian opinion section, all I can see is propaganda and a biased view, something I never thought I would see coming from his lips. Where is the critique? Jones appears to be following Corbyn like a loyal puppy with no clear voice of his own through the centre-right political, nuclear button pushing hell in which he is currently treading through. He has become little more than a mouthpiece for the views of Corbyn, something that I find deeply troubling.
Let me make myself clear - I have never particularly agreed with a lot of what Jones has had to say in the past couple of years. I admired his unwavering support for students during the loan increase, and his perseverance on the demonization of the working classes. It didn't matter what anyone threw at him, he seemed to be able to come up with a charismatic and informed view to back up his opinion and put down the opposition.
As you can probably fathom from my lack of agreement with Jones, I strongly oppose Jeremy Corbyn's ideals, and find them somewhat dangerous. He offers an amount of hope to those who need it, but with little to substantiate this hope. Realism appeals to me, as opposed to blindly promising to change people's lives and then letting them down catastrophically. Owen Jones always had a strong argument to criticise the Labour and the Conservative bids during the election, yet he appears to have been caught up in this Corbynmania, and in many ways is orchestrating it.
I did not realise he was even formally involved with Jeremy's campaign until watching the Sky News Labour Leadership Debate: his responses during the chat between commentators following the main debate indicated his allegiance to his cause, as he could not, albeit refused, to criticise Corbyn's performance in any manner, shaking his head vehemently when another commentator put forward a view that may trample on Corbyn's ludicrous interpretation of how to answer a straight question.
He resembled a politician for the first time, as opposed to a learned critic of British politics that we have become so used to.
One wonders why he has become so involved, but it becomes clear when one examines the mass of individuals who engage and relate to what Jones has to say - young people and university students. Ever the hub of leftist thought, Universities provide a breeding ground for opposition, protest and debate, and by targeting this demographic through Jones and his influence, Corbyn is attempting to bring together under Labour the section of society that is usually trampled upon post-election. If you do not vote, you do not gain - as we have seen from the older generation benefiting under the Conservatives, whilst young people are left rather adrift.
Jones may be freely expressing his own views as he always does, with his views now coincidentally aligning perfectly with that of the current Labour leadership, but unfortunately his words now read differently. That is the unfortunate consequence of putting forward such strong personal views for so long and then joining a mass cause - your views become swallowed and twisted with that of the mass, relegating it to sheer political propaganda as opposed to learned, individual critique.
My advice to Jones: it is wonderful if you feel as though this is a political cause you can sacrifice your political autonomy for, but be prepared to lose the core supporters that you have if Corbyn's campaign blows up in your face during the next five years.