Cohen at the public launch of the Euston Manifesto in 2006
1961 (age 58–59)
Nicholas Cohen (born 1961) is a British journalist, author and political commentator. He is a columnist for The Observer, a blogger for The Spectator and a writer for Standpoint magazine. Born in Stockport and raised in Manchester, Cohen studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford before entering journalism.
Cohen was born in Stockport, and raised in Manchester. His father was Jewish. He was educated at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and Hertford College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).
Cohen began his career at the Sutton Coldfield News, before moving to the Birmingham Post, later becoming a contributor to The Independent and The Observer in 1996, where his first story was on "a seemingly dreary new feature about zero tolerance of crime in the United States, which offered few opportunities to impress my new employers". Cohen drew a reputation as the scourge of Tony Blair, who once stated that "if I listened to Nick Cohen I would never win an election", and of Andrew Adonis, who was at the time a Downing Street policy adviser, and said that "no one is better at getting under the Government's skin".
Cohen was for many years a critic of Tony Blair's foreign policy. He began modifying his views after 2001, advocating the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and becoming a critic of the Stop the War Coalition. In 2006, he was a leading signatory to the Euston Manifesto, which proposed what it termed "a new political alignment", in which the left would take a stronger stance in favour of military intervention and against what the signatories deemed to be anti-American attitudes. Cohen supported the NATO-led intervention in Libya to oust former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In 2012, he called for Western military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.
In 2014, he spoke out against the right-wing UK Independence Party and its leader, Nigel Farage, in The Observer, for which he received the Commentator Award by the European Press Prize a year later.
Cohen criticised Ecuador for granting political asylum to Julian Assange and called Ecuador a "petro-socialist authoritarian state". He has also criticized the CANZUK agreement, calling it a "fantasy". He has criticised halal and kosher slaughter and believes it should be illegal.
Cohen is a columnist for The Observer and Standpoint and a regular contributor to The Spectator. He has also written for Time, the Independent on Sunday, the London Review of Books, the London Evening Standard, the New Statesman and The New European.
He has written five books: Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous (1999), a collection of his journalism; Pretty Straight Guys (2003), a highly critical account of the New Labour project; What's Left? (2007), a critique of the contemporary liberal left, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize;Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England (2009); and You Can't Read This Book (2012), which deals with censorship.
Cohen lives in Islington with his wife and their son. He is an atheist and is Jewish only on his father's side but says he is becoming "more Jewish". He is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.
To the successors of the 'Zionism is fascism' crowd of the Seventies (it isn't, incidentally, it's colonialism), the Holocaust and reaction sit comfortably together.