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David Aaronovitch

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David Aaronovitch is a British journalist, broadcaster and author. He is a regular columnist for The Times newspaper.  David won the Orwell Prize for Political Journalism in 2001 and the What the Papers Say Columnist of the Year award in 2003.

David was born in 1954 and attended Gospel Oak Primary School until 1965, then Holloway County Comprehensive and William Ellis School, all in London. He studied Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford from October 1973 until April 1974, when he was expelled for failing the German language section of his History exams. He completed his education at the University of Manchester, graduating in 1978 with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in History. 

In Manchester, David was a member of the 1975 University Challenge team which lost in the first round after answering most questions with the name of a well-known Marxist as a protest against the fact that Oxford University and Cambridge Universities were allowed to enter each of their Colleges as a separate team.

Initially a Eurocommunist, David was active in the National Union of Students where he got to know the President at the time, Charles Clarke, who later became Home Secretary. David succeeded Trevor Phillips as President of the NUS from 1980 to 1982 – he was elected on a Left Alliance ticket.

David began his media career in the early 1980’s as a television researcher and later as producer for the ITV programme Weekend World. In 1988 he began working at the BBC as founding editor of On the Record. He moved into print journalism in 1995, working for The Independent and Independent on Sunday as chief leader writer, television critic, parliamentary sketch writer and columnist until the end of 2002.

He began contributing to The Guardian and The Observer in 2013 as a columnist and feature writer. Since June 2005, he has written a regular column for The Times, writes a regular column for the Jewish Chronicle and has written for a variety of other major British news and opinion publications, including New Statesman.

David presents, or contributes to, radio and television programmes, including the BBC’s Have I Got News For You? and BBC News24. In 2004 he presented The Norman Way, a three-part BBC Radio 4 documentary looking at regime change in 1066.

He hosted the BBC series The Blair Years (2007), which examined the Prime Ministership of Tony Blair. He also presents the highly-acclaimed radio series, The Moral Maze, on BBC Radio 4.

In his writing, Aaronovitch has upset former allies on the Left, including with his support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, taking the view that it liberated Iraqis. He wrote in 2003: “If nothing is eventually found, I – as a supporter of the war – will never believe another thing that I am told by our Government, or that of the US, ever again. And more to the point, neither will anyone else. Those weapons had better be there somewhere.”  A supporter of Tony Blair, David supported UK and US intervention in Serbia in the 1990’s, the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and Western military intervention in Libya in 2011and Syria in 2013.

In his column of 5 September 2013, David criticised the Labour leader Ed Miliband for providing no alternative to military intervention in Syria, after the use of chemical weapons in the attacks of 21 August 2013. He said: “Politically (Miliband) is not a presence at all, he is an absence” and “is neither hunter nor prey, he is a scavenger. He is a political vulture.”

During 2013, David became Chairman of the human rights organisation Index of Censorship, succeeding Jonathan Dimbleby in the role. David criticised Glenn Greenwald’s involvement in the Edward Snowden NSA revelations.

In August 2014, David was one of 200 public figures to sign an open letter to the people of Scotland asking them to vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence in the 2014 Scottish Referendum. The letter read: ‘Dear Voters of Scotland, the decision on whether to leave our shared country is. Of course absolutely yours alone. Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom. We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them. What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let’s stay together.”

The result of the Referendum in September 2014, widely predicted to be close, was a decisive vote in favour of Scotland remaining within the United Kingdom.

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