Owen Jones: Proust’s questionnaire (as told to Otto English)

__1.__What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sitting in my favourite chair with a nice cup of mint tea reading Tony Benn’s collected diaries. I don’t drink proper tea, on account of it being theft.

__2.__What is your greatest fear?

That one day centrist Dads will wrestle power and the means of production from the oppressed working man. And woman.

__3.__What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My Mum says I don’t take enough care of my shoes, so probably that.

__4.__What is the trait you most deplore in others?

That the MSM and those who work for it have systematically ignored Jeremy Corbyn’s quiet revolution. Just one example: In Brighton last week I spoke at a Momentum fringe event on the challenges facing a radical left government, particularly with regard to sustainable energy provision in the Midlands and it didn’t make any of the tabloids or broadsheets. Not mentioned at all on Sky or The BBC 10 O’clock News. And worst of all – nobody turned up. Now you have to ask yourself why that is. I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy – but it is something like a conspiracy don’t you think?

__5.__Which living person do you most admire?

Jeremy Corbyn’s partner. Don’t know how she stays so composed. If I were her, I’d just be squealing with excitement every morning at the prospect of another day in his life. I’d keep dropping plates.

__6.__What is your greatest extravagance?

A slice of mild cheddar, a high baked water biscuit and a teaspoon of bespoke piccalilli.

__7.__What is your current state of mind?

Rage at the injustices of our age. I’m a fighter. Have been all my life. Not a physical fighter because I’m a pacifist. And a feminist. Once I back a cause I will certainly travel somewhere to talk about it. It’s important to believe in things. And then turn up.

__8.__What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Consistency. Being consistent, doesn’t always make you right. Take the EU. I said back in 2015 that we should leave given that it was the historic position of the left. But then when the official Labour position was declared to be “Remain” I changed my mind and campaigned tirelessly via my twitter feed to protect the rights of migrant workers and the disenfranchised working class. Now I think we should leave because that is what party policy is and I will fight for that cause until such time as it is changed.

__9.__Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Jeremy is absolutely right.

__10.__Which living person do you most admire?


__11.__If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?


__12.__ What or who is the greatest love of your life

Don’t make me say it again.

__13.__What is your earliest memory?

When I was about 10, my friend’s Mum took us to watch The Lion King at The Odeon in Manchester. As this tale of undeserved privilege and feudal royalty unfolded, a sense of injustice began to burn in me. Why should the other animals bow down before him and his father – simply because one of Simba’s ancestors had stolen the land and imposed an undemocratic hierarchical autocracy on them all? When the hyenas and wildebeest rose up against the imperial power of King Mufasa and crushed him under their hooves I got up on my chair and cheered them on wildly – until an usherette intervened and asked us all to leave the cinema. I went straight home and read The Communist Manifesto from cover to cover. I’ve been a Socialist ever since.

__14.__What is your most treasured possession?

A signed photograph of Hector Hughes. MP for Aberdeen North from 1945 to 1970. Wrote the Ghanaian national anthem.  My second greatest political hero.

__15.__ What is something very few people know about you?

I run a small tortoise sanctuary in the garden of my flat. Kids locally don’t know me as “Owen Jones the socialist thinker and writer on big important things” but “Mr Tortoise.” People have been bringing me their unwanted terrapins for several years now. Tortoises can live for well over 100 years, so as I often point out to my friends that: “these incredible creatures will still be with us, long after Jeremy has established a bright new socialist utopia in the United Kingdom.”

Very comforting animals – tortoises.

(as told to Otto English – satire)