Joss Garman’s top five most influential left wingers

Here are five people Joss Garman thinks should appear in Left Foot Forward’s list of the fifty most influential lefties in Britain.

Here are five people I think should appear in Left Foot Forward’s list of the fifty most influential lefties in Britain.

Thom Yorke:

Thom Yorke’s politics are as good as his music and I feel so lucky that it should have been him who wrote the sound track for my generation. Those who claim music isn’t political anymore clearly don’t follow the cultural force that is Radiohead. Yorke became the public face of Friends of the Earth’s successful Big Ask campaign, which secured the Climate Change Act, and more recently I spotted him walking the corridors of power in the Bella Centre in Copenhagen during December’s climate negotiations.

Ian Katz:

He’s the deputy editor of the British left’s parish newspaper, The Guardian, but whilst Ian Katz may not have the profile of his boss, Alan Rusbridger, he is still the major force behind the paper’s direction in his role overseeing the editing of the paper from Monday to Friday. It is Katz who has driven the paper into its position as the most influential media outlet in the world on climate change, and he orchestrated the unprecedented global multi-newspaper front-page op/ed on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen summit.

Caroline Lucas:

It’s an unsurprising nomination coming from me but in becoming the UK’s first elected Green politician Caroline Lucas has changed the face of British politics this year. Over recent months, Lucas has challenged the left to become more plural, including via her addresses – in themselves controversial – to the annual conferences of the Labour-aligned Compass. Lucas is admired both by grassroots activists and inside the Whitehall bubble. Long may she offer a refreshing, distinctive, radical voice in Westminster.

Johann Hari:

The award-winning commentator, Johann Hari, is most well known for his writing in The Independent, The Huffington Post and The Nation. More than anyone else, it is Hari who now captures the anger and frustration felt by a certain section of the British population. Whilst he was profoundly wrong on Iraq, his very public apology and his dispatches since, have more than won him forgiveness and affection from across the left. Frankly, anyone who has had as much bile directed at him by Melanie Phillips as he has surely earned the right to be amongst Left Foot Forward’s top 50?

John Sauven:

The Sunday Times rightly described him as a “suave political insider,” because whilst his organisation may still be better known for shutting down BP petrol stations and climbing chimneys, John Sauven is just as likely to be found sitting down with Ministers or FTSE 100 CEOs. I should declare an interest in that he’s my boss but John Sauven is also inarguably the most influential environmentalist in Britain. It may not always have been publicly apparent, but Sauven was the leading figure in achieving the two biggest victories for the climate movement to date – namely the reversal of the plan for new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and the shelving of plans for a new generation of coal-fired power stations beginning with Kingsnorth.

• Email your list of the most influential left wingers of 2010 to [email protected]

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25 Responses to “Joss Garman’s top five most influential left wingers”

  1. Shamik Das

    Check out @jossgarman's top 5 most influential left wingers #Left50 @leftfootfwd Email urs 2 [email protected]

  2. shamikdas

    Check out @jossgarman's top 5 most influential left wingers #Left50 @leftfootfwd Email urs 2 [email protected]

  3. drkmj

    @jossgarman's top five most influential left wingers: #Left50 via @leftfootfwd

  4. oddalenie

    Joss Garman sporządził listę pięciu najbardziej wpływowych lewicowców niemieckich

  5. oddalenie

    Joss Garman sporządził swoją listę najbardziej wpywowych lewicowców

  6. Karen Devlin

    Thom Yorke? THOM YORKE?!!!!!! What a joke. Billy Bragg, yes. The Manic Street Preachers, yes. Thom Yorke? No. Absolutely not.

  7. jossgarman

    My five nominations for @leftfootfwd for their top 50 list of lefties #Left50

  8. Chris bluett

    If this is the top 5 left wingers I would dispute that Tony benn, Nye Bevan Arthur scargill should be in that list otherwise good to learn about some of the people listed above

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  10. Mr. Sensible

    Have to agree with you on those, Joss, particularly Caroline Lucas. Although she deposed a Labour MP, I think it is good to see her in the Commons.

  11. DrKMJ

    @jossgarman's top five most influential left wingers: #Left50 via @leftfootfwd

  12. Simon

    The Guardian is “the most influential media outlet in the world on climate change,”
    I’m unconvinced!

  13. noelito

    @jossgarman agree mostly but could have thrown in blanchflower & cruddas? #fb

  14. davejoyner

    @jossgarman has drawn up a list of the five most influential leftwingers Ryan Giggs didn't make it. A travesty.

  15. Ben A

    Thom Yorke and John Sauven!? So much for evidence-based blogging, Joss!

  16. Anon E Mouse

    Joss Garman – Your generation is sadly served if Radiohead were the soundtrack of it. Oasis too working class I suppose?

    Ian Katz – at least he stopped support for Labour I suppose but The Guardian is on it’s knees and may not last.

    Caroline Lucas is OK but she really is (rightly) a lone voice.

    John Sauven – given your fanboy support for Ed Miliband I’m not surprised to see you sucking up to your boss Joss but let’s be accurate here please. The leading figure in getting rid of Heathrow Runway 3 was Nick Clegg – I don’t care how much work your guy did, Cleggers is the man I’m afraid. Your guy spoke words – Nick Clegg’s actions speak louder than words…

    But the whole thing is getting stupid here on LFF. The most influential left wingers must surely be those who can influence things. Which is none of the above, excepting perhaps Caroline Lucas.

    The most influential left wingers must be Hutton, Field, Allen, and Milburn and soon to be Blunkett since they are in a position, working with a coalition government, to influence things.

    Anyone who says otherwise seems to me to be under the influence of something but it isn’t reality…

  17. Liz McShane

    Anon – Milburn, Hutton, Field etc are just a Labour gloss which the Con Dems will use when making their savage cuts. I really don’t think they deserve to remain within The Labour Party. They will not influence anything but instead endorse/implement Con Dem policies.

  18. Will Straw


    You’re way out of line over your remarks towards Johann Hari which I’ve removed. There is no place for homophobia on this blog. Consider this your final warning or we’ll block you again.


  19. Anon E Mouse

    Will – I don’t use Americanisms and I don’t know anything about his sexuality. I don’t care about people’s sexuality, race or colour.

    I meant it as in being a public school boy, as in fagging:

    a. A student at a British public school who is required to perform menial tasks for a student in a higher class.
    b. A drudge.
    2. Chiefly British Fatiguing or tedious work; drudgery.
    v. fagged, fag·ging, fags
    1. To work to exhaustion; toil.
    2. To function as the servant of another student in a British public school.

    Irrespective of the content of my posts I’m actually surprised you thought I would openly insult someone on something over which they had no control.

    It was also slightly topical since The Times newspaper cartoon often depicts Nick Clegg as a fag to David Cameron and George Osbourne.

    I think your response is unfair Will – you are punishing me for something you think I’ve done but I’ve not. I’m surprised dude…

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – I agree with your analysis of the people involved and the reasons the coalition have done it but irrespective of one’s political leanings all those mentioned do have something to offer the country and surely that’s what’s important.

    Are we now to follow Andy Burnham and simply dismiss their ideas simply because they choose to work with the “enemy”?

    How is that putting the needs of the people before politics and I stand by what I say – they will have more influence (providing someone listens to them, Brown and Blair didn’t) than any of the others mentioned on this blog…

  21. Chris


    Field, Hutton & Milburn will have about as much influence as a psychiatric patient sat hunched over their computer bashing out endless anti-Labour rants on a left wing blog. You seriously think Field is anything other than a stooge to be wheeled out to praise IDS’s moronic ideas on welfare reform. Frankie thinks the 1950s was a golden age ffs – I suppose it sure was for girls being forcibly separated from their children and then put in an asylum. Burnham isn’t leading anyone in dismissing Mad Frankie Field’s ideas, his blend of Christian morality and condescending wank is matched only by IDS in its stupidity.

    Hutton is just there to regurgitate the Institute of Directors recent report in to how to screw the average worker out of their pension to top-up needy director’s pensions. Milburn will no doubt give the tories cover to re-introduce assisted places or grammar schools or some other tory wet dream.

    All in all your in that alternate reality, again…

  22. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – Why is it that the so called “left” immediately resorts to insults and smearing people when they are clearly wrong – which you are.

    What happened to debating the points of an argument instead of just sneering because their view differs from yours?

    The article is about INFLUENCE. Every one of those people who put forward their ideas have a chance to INFLUENCE decisions that affect people lives.

    Not one of your suggestions – and this is on the basis of me not knowing who you would choose – can possibly have the same INFLUENCE as these guys because you have no chance of power for at least five years and when Abbott isn’t the next leader it will be even longer.

    I’m almost going to miss you Chris when the school holidays are over…

  23. Chris

    Like most LibDems you seem to have a hell of a brass neck, inferring I’m a school boy while appealing to teacher over supposed smears. And all on the same page as your disgusting homophobic attack, rather a split personality you seem to have.

    No chance of power for at least five years – we’ll see about that!

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – I do not judge anybody by their sexuality, colour or race – you do not know my situation and I do not tell lies.

    My comments were regarding him being a public school boy – see above.

    Will Straw, in an action unusual for him, made a rapid (incorrect in my opinion) response which is not normally how he reacts – he is usually more measured. Out of interest how do you know what the remark was?

    Liz McShane thought nothing of it and when it comes to political correctness she is pretty sharp and the window between me posting it and you (allegedly) reading it was only five minutes.

    Chris I do not believe you read the remark and if you did I’m surprised you thought it homophobic because I certainly didn’t and if it had been I wouldn’t have thought it let alone posted offensive things in a public forum.

    As for the power in five years… I shall make no comment!

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