John Kampfner

John Kampfner is an author, commentator, broadcaster and journalist. From 2008 to 2012 he ran Index on Censorship, from 2005 to 2008 he was editor of the New Statesman, and before that he worked for the Financial Times, the BBC and the Telegraph. He is a regular pundit and presenter for all channels on politics and foreign affairs and the author of five previous books.


John has had a 25-year career in international public life – spanning media, global affairs, UK politics, security, education, business, arts and the third sector. He began his journalistic career as a foreign correspondent with the Daily Telegraph, first in East Berlin where he reported on the fall of the Wall and the unification of Germany, and then in Moscow at the time of the collapse of Soviet Communism.

He went on to become Chief Political Correspondent at the FT and political commentator for the BBC’s Today programme.

As Editor of the New Statesman from 2005-2008, he took the magazine to 30-year circulation highs. He was the British Society of Magazine Editors Current Affairs Editor of the Year in 2006.

In 2002 he won the Foreign Press Association award for Film of the Year and Journalist of the Year for a two-part BBC film on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, called The Ugly War. His film War Spin received considerable publicity.

He now writes a weekly online commentary for the Times and appears regularly in other newspapers and on the BBC and Sky.

His new book, Why the Germans Do It Better, will be his sixth. His previous books include the best-selling Blair’s Wars (2003), now a standard text in schools; Freedom For Sale (2009), which was short-listed for the Orwell Prize in 2010 and in 2014 The Rich, from Slaves to Superyachts, A 2000-Year History.

Fluent in German and Russian, he is a regular speaker at political conferences and cultural festivals around the world. He’s a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and is an advisor to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

John established the Creative Industries Federation to much acclaim in November 2014, providing a single voice for the UK’s creative sector.

For eight years he was founder Chair of Turner Contemporary, one of the country’s most successful art galleries.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his services to the arts by Bath Spa University in 2019.

For four years running he was named one of the most influential Londoners in the Evening Standard Progress 1000 survey.