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]

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.