Holbrook’s political career began in the now disbanded National Union of School Students at a time when he was the elected chairman of his sixth form comprehensive in Coventry. At Sheffield University he joined the Labour Party and became an elected sabbatical officer in 1984. After graduating with a politics degree Holbrook joined the Revolutionary Communist Party before resigning to focus on becoming a lawyer in 1989.
Holbrook frequently contributed to Spiked between 2001-2004 and 2011-2020 (as shown by his author archive here). During this latter phase, particularly with and after the Brexit referendum, Holbrook grew to appreciate that Western societies had become divided between a governing elite and their people, with democracy and the culture war providing the key dividing lines. The elite are administering a society predicated on a global division of labour that serves the interests of the better off. The culture war enables the elite to divide ordinary people on the basis of race, sex, sexuality and gender. The culture war empowers the elite to privilege some on the basis of their identity whilst dismissing as backward those who seek a common identity within a shared nation.
Holbrook sees himself as a centre-right conservative, who has been particularly influenced by the writings of Sir Roger Scruton. In addition to writing for Spiked, Jon Holbrook has written for the New Law Journal, The Critic, Policy Exchange and the Conservative Woman. His essay on The Rise and Fall of the Rule of Law was published in 2019. In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Halsbury Legal Journalism Award.
Holbrook has written on the following issues.
- A review of David Goodhart’s book, The Road to Somewhere
For a proper Brexit
- Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is a betrayal: see here on the withdrawal agreement and here on the trade and cooperation treaty.
Against the left-wing culture war
- Race: assimilation has been abandoned by the left (in favour of multiculturalism) and the far right. See Enoch Powell was wrong – so were his critics and School uniform policy and cultural sensitivity
- Sexuality: The US Supreme Court has robbed marriage of its heterosexual essence and The legal tyranny of gay marriage
For strong borders
- A review of Douglas Murray’s book, The strange death of liberal Europe
To repeal the Human Rights Act
- A review of Francesca Klug’s book, A Magna Carta for All Humanity: Homing in on Human Rights
Judges have too much power
- Judges have taken sides on Brexit (in the Gina Miller case)
- Lord Sumption is right: legal activism devalues the demos
For social conservatism
- A review of Roger Scruton’s book, Conservatism: Ideas in Profile