About me

Soho 1984

Me in Old Compton Street, Soho, in 1984


I was born in Edinburgh in 1959, grew up in Ipswich and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford (1978-81) and journalism at the London College of Printing (1982-83). After 20 years living in London, in 2002 I moved back to live in Ipswich.


I spent the 1980s and 1990s mainly working for various radical publications. I was deputy editor of European Nuclear Disarmament Journal (1984-87), reviews editor (1986-91) and then editor (1991-93) of Tribune, deputy editor of New Statesman & Society (1993-96), news editor of Red Pepper (1997-99) and deputy editor of New Times (1999-2000). I wrote a column for Tribune 1998-2014 and was a first-wave blogger on Gauche 2003-15. I have worked as a subeditor on the Guardian since 1999. As a freelance I have written and subbed for dozens of publications.


I was editor (with Mary Kaldor) of Mad Dogs: The US Raid on Libya (Pluto, 1986), co-author (with Nyta Mann) of Safety First: The Making of New Labour (Granta, 1997) and editor of Orwell in Tribune: ‘As I Please’ and Other Writings (Politico’s/Methuen, 2006). In 2013 Aaaargh! Press published Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British Left by me and Kevin Davey as an e-book; it came out as a paperback in autumn 2014, with a new edition published in 2017. My next book is on British admirers of Chinese communism. It will be published in 2019.


My production experience is extensive. All the journalism jobs I have done have involved production work and I have worked widely as a freelance subeditor, as a book and report copy-editor and as a designer (see production page). I am conversant with all the industry standard software for print and online production and teach students how to use it (see teaching page).


I have been teaching journalism for more than 30 years. I started out as a day-a-week visiting lecturer on access courses in the mid-1980s, worked as a visiting lecturer on BA programmes for most of the 1990s and was on staff as a journalism lecturer at City University London  2000-11, working as a course director on undergraduate programmes from 2003. I was a visiting lecturer at Brunel University 2012-14. I am currently teaching on a BA Multimedia Journalism course at the University of Essex which I helped devise.

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