In one interview question, Owen Jones accidentally humiliates the entire British media

Owen Jones interviewing Tim Martin
Tracy Keeling

The Guardian published an Owen Jones interview with Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin on 25 January. Given Martin’s consistently idiotic stance on Brexit, the journalist easily managed to make him look like a fool. But Jones put one question to Martin which accidentally managed to humiliate the entire British media as well.

In all my days

Jones mostly pressed Martin on his views on Brexit. The Wetherspoon boss is a no-deal enthusiast. But as a Twitter user pointed out after watching the interview, his argument for leaving appears to be:


In the interview, however, Jones also asked Martin about wages. Specifically, he said:

The truth is you are yourself part of the elite. You’re a very wealthy man. And many of your workers are on poverty wages.

Jones went on to try and highlight that the taxpayer has to prop up Wetherspoons workers’ wages through in-work benefits. But Martin blew off the topic by calling Jones’ questioning “silly” and “childish”. He also accused the Guardian columnist of being “rude” and “aggressive”. He then went on to explain why he was so put out by the interview:

It’s one of the silliest interviews – I’ve been doing this for many, many years – it’s one of the most childish interviews I’ve ever had.

As Jones noted on Twitter, though, Martin’s incredulous reaction reveals more about the standard of British journalism than it does about Jones’ questioning style:

You can watch the whole car crash here:

Holding no-one to account

Of course, it’s not childish or silly to ask a multi-millionaire about the low wages he pays his workers – especially one who is fiercely advocating for the most financially damaging Brexit possible. After all, studies have shown that the Brexit vote was significantly influenced by austerity, low wages, and inequality.

Neither is it wrong for a journalist to be aggressive and rude when questioning the elite. In fact, having an adversarial relationship with those who wield power is fundamental to a journalist’s job.

Clearly, though, the British media is failing abysmally at this. Instead, they’re giving people like Martin an easy ride.

Featured image via Owen Jones/YouTube

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us