"The Rich, a History"

The Rich, a History

John is midway through a new book tracing the history of wealth across the ages and different civilisations. The book will answer the critical question: is the contemporary era of globalised super-rich something new or part of a pattern that dates back to ancient times. This major history will be published by Little, Brown in autumn 2014.

His last two books, Freedom For Sale and Blair's Wars were published to wide acclaim.

MI5 chief is right to enter the Prism debate. But why the cheerleading from the press?
Andrew Parker believes any revelation about our secret services is helping terrorists. But parts of Fleet Street are more interested in payback for Leveson
Guardian, 10 Oct 2013

If he wants to win again, David Cameron must give us some hope
The Prime Minister needs an upbeat message to convince the electorate rather than just promising more austerity
Evening Standard, 2 Oct 2013

Gordon Brown’s boys must prove that Labour intrigue is history
Parliament will struggle to attract MPs of talent as long as parties adhere to the McBride brand of politics
Evening Standard, 23 Sept 2013

Review: Story of a Death Foretold by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera
John Kampfner is impressed by an account of America's role in the revolt that brought Pinochet to power in Chile
Observer, 22 Sept 2013

Review: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew up the Economy by Iain Martin
The truth about the collapse of RBS makes shocking reading
Observer, 15 Sept 2013

Divorce in haste, repent at leisure
Ed Miliband’s rushed fight with the unions has become a fiasco that can only leave him damaged
Sunday Times, 8 Sept 2013

Syria: forget it's Tony Blair speaking, and his questions seem sensible
Blair is still in denial over Iraq, but are we prepared to leave a rights-based international law to others?
Comment is Free, 6 Sept 2013

Britain can't act on Syria till it faces up to the spectre of Iraq
Until the truth about past mistakes comes out, the UK can't give a clear message about human rights and intervention
Guardian, 26 Aug 2013

Egypt proves that democracy is not always the answer
While the choice is between the army and a repressive Islamist government, free elections are largely pointless
Evening Standard, 20 Aug 2013

Violence in Belfast is driven by the few who feel ignored
Unionists who believe they have nothing to lose in the new-look Northern Ireland are feeling more marginalised than ever
Guardian, 15 July 2013

Clegg is set to be kingmaker again in 2015
The pundits are wrong about the Lib Dem leader. He is open to doing a deal with Miliband
Times, 12 July 2013

Post-Edward Snowden, our civil rights lectures will fall on deaf ears
Neither countries such as China and Russia nor Middle East activists will now take us seriously on human rights
Evening Standard, 1 July 2013

Review: The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks
An entertaining account of the problems caused by inequality of wealth leaves some important questions unanswered
Observer, 30 June 2013

Review: Population 10 Billion by Danny Dorling 
A myth-busting analysis of population growth is refreshingly free of doomsday rhetoric
Observer, 16 June 2013

Prism: spies thrive in legal free-for-all. MPs wear their technophobia with pride
No wonder William Hague faced no serious questioning in the Commons
Guardian, 12 June 2013

The rich life or the good life? 
One author in praise of globalization, the other attacking unbridled capitalism
World Today, Chatham House, June 2013

Only real coalition politics can give voters parties to fit their passions
Britain's two-party system is a tribal anachronism. It survives by excluding the issues people care about
Guardian, 28 May 2013

Review: Edmund Burke by Jesse Norman
The MP makes an absorbing attempt to recast the Irish statesman as an inspiration for modern conservatism
Observer, 19 May 2013

Syria: the first conflict of the post-superpower era
For Barack Obama indecision is now strategy: heavy-handed intervention is over. Syria's tragedy is nothing has taken its place
Guardian, 14 May 2013

It is down to democracies to protect the most precious of freedoms
The global takeover of the internet by repressive governments must be prevented
FT, May 6 2013

The public has a right to know who's charged with a crime 
The refusal by Warwickshire police to name one of its officers charged with stealing from the force highlights an alarming trend in public life towards secrecy
Daily Mail, May 3 2013

Events & Media

Coming up:

In November I'll be attending a ministerial conference in Belgrade

Second half of October: I'll be giving a talk in Beijing on free expression and the role of the media

I'll also be attending the Seoul Conference on Cyberspace and in Bali I'll be at the Internet Governance Forum

Recent highlights:

Oct 8 - Boston, panel discussion on privacy and surveillance at the International Bar Association

Oct 5 - Margate, launched new show at Turner Contemporary: Turner, Constable and Dorothy Cross

Oct 4 - Appeared on Any Questions? BBC Radio 4. Listen again

Sept 26 - debated surveillance and the role of the state at Intelligence Squared

Sept 25 - Strasbourg, spoke on a panel discussion about internet freedom

Sept 16 - guest of the day on the Daily Politics show on BBC2

Sept 9 - What Syria Means for Britain, special documentary aired on Radio 4. Listen again

July 9 - spoke at event on surveillance and internet at the Frontline Club

July 4 - welcomed the Prime Minister to Turner Contemporary

June 29-30 - spoke at Hay festival, Kells, Ireland

June 27 - Paris, spoke at OECD forum on responsible business

June 17-18 - Tunis, spoke at Freedom Online conference and chaired Google Big Tent

June 9 - presented What The Papers Say, BBC Radio 4

June 4 - Geneva, spoke at UN Human Rights Council event on privacy and surveillance 

May 25-27 - spoke at the Hay festival

May 23 - Margate, launched new show, Curiosity, at Turner Contemporary

May 23 - press review for BBC News Channel

May 16 - spoke at the Festival of Asian Literature, Asia House

May 9-10 - Beirut, speaking at Hay festival Lebanon

April 29 - press review for BBC News Channel

April 19 - Kiev, spoke at Security Forum

April 16 - guest of the day, BBC Daily Politics

March 19 - press review for BBC News Channel

March 12 - attended Council Meeting of Kings College, London

March 7 - board meetings Turner Contemporary and Index on Censorship

March 5 - 'How Iraq Changed the World', my Radio 4 documentary, broadcast

March 5 - London, appeared on Daily Politics, BBC2

Feb 26 - Paris, spoke at Unesco conference on IT

Jan 31 - Margate, launched new show at Turner Contemporary

Jan 29 - London, spoke at Index conference on arts and censorship

Jan 26-27 - Jaipur, spoke at Jaipur Literary Festival

Jan 13 - presented What The Papers Say

Jan 13 - spoke at Mapping Democracy conference at the Goethe Institute, London

Appearances on 24-hour news and other broadcast outlets are not individually listed

Turner Contemporary, Margate

Turner Contemporary

John is Chair of the board of Turner Contemporary, one of the UK's highest profile art galleries. The opening of the gallery in Margate in April 2011 received plaudits around the world, and it is regarded as one of the UK's most important culture-driven regeneration projects. In August 2013 the gallery welcomed its one millionth visitor

For information about its shows and other news, including latest media coverage:


John is adviser to Google on freedom of expression and culture for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Global Network Initiative

John is Europe adviser to the Global Network Initiative, which promotes human rights within ICT corporations worldwide.

King’s College, London

John is a member of the Council of King’s College London.