It takes a while to diagnose what exactly it is about Owen Jones that is so grating. On the surface of things, he should be considered admirable - a northern boy done good, impassioned about politics, and a mouthpiece for the young left (don't hold that part against him). Yet grating is exactly what he is.
It's a combination of various factors: the smugness without cause; the ceaseless leftie platitudes; the total disregard for any thoughts or statements that would threaten any of his cases. But there's more. It's the fact that he is a mercenary. He moves from cause to cause, movement to movement, ruthless and emotionless. 'Russell Brand's great - look out Tories' he crowed. That didn't pan out? On to his pre-election spiel: 'Doesn't matter, Ed's great, he will win anyway!' That went down the drain? No worry - 'I always said Ed wasn't the right man for the job, Corbyn's far better.' When will it end?
Yet there is one factor above all others that is really irksome - the rose-tinted (or should that be red) glasses through which he views his partisan fanbase. He writes in The Guardian today that Cameron is an "inadvertent PR man for Islamic extremists" - another of those classic clickbait Jones headlines designed to whip his young following into a frothing frenzy. In this typically skewed piece, he argues that Cameron is tarring all British muslims with the extremist brush, and how terrible this is, and surely we can't imagine it happening to another group in society. Yet that is exactly what his followers do to those of us who vote Tory, lumping us all under one banner (usually containing at least one expletive).
Now of course there's no comparison between race and creed issues and those of a political standing - and we must tread carefully when discussing the two - but the fact stands that the rabid young left are incredibly swift to band together and wish all sorts of horrendous medieval tortures on the 'evil Tory scum' as a whole, with no distinction between members of that group (at this point it should be emphasised that we are discussing a small subset of the Left, rather than falling foul of the same criticism). If the sort of tone and language that they employ (all too frequently) both online and in person was directed at a minority group, those same young lefties would be the first calling on the police to investigate hate crimes, yet because it's the Conservatives, and therefore middle aged, upper class, white men (in their eyes), they feel free to say whatever they want - and they feel a sense of superiority about doing so.
Tomorrow there will be huge anti-austerity protests in London, and no doubt a portion of those attending will bear hateful banners directed at the government and those of us who voted Conservative, and unfortunately, as is the norm these days, there will be vandalism, violence and arrests. Last time this happened, Owen Jones was happy to shrug it off, and support the protesters. What happens, though, when he realises he is backing another losing cause and turns tail on these young imbeciles - many of whom will be avid readers of his. That might be one mercenary act too far for his fans.