Mark Steel

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Full name: Mark Steel

Area of interest: Society, Politics, Current affairs, Social justice

Journals/Organisation: The Independent


Personal website:


Blog: Mark Steel's Blog





Education: Swanley Comprehensive School, Kent (note: he was expelled)

Career: The Guardian: columnist, 1996/1999; The Independent: commentator, 2000-

Current position/role: Commentator

  • also writes/has written for: Socialist Worker: opinion

Other roles/Main role: Stand-up comedian, TV and radio presenter, author

Other activities:



Broadcast media:



Awards/Honours: The Mark Steel lectures were nominated for BAFTA's best comedy programme, 2004


Other: Supporter of Crystal Palace football club and Kent County Cricket Club

Books & Debate:

  • It's not a runner bean - : confessions of a slightly succesful comedian (1996) OCLC 36120998
  • Reasons to be cheerful: from punk to new labour through the eyes of a dedicated troublemaker (2001) OCLC 45854220
  • Vive la Revolution (2003) OCLC 53315356

Latest work:

What's Going On Mark Steel.jpg
  • The Worst of Cricket Malice and Misfortune in the World's Cruellest Game (2008) OCLC 221210458 by Nigel Henderson (with foreword by M.S.)
  • What's going on?: The Meanderings of a Comic Mind in Confusion (2008) OCLC 225446074

N.B. Crow on the Hill is Mark's recommended book supplier

Speaking/Appearances: updates at


The Independent:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Society and social problems, politics


Role: Commentator




Commissioning editor:

Day published: Wednesday

Regularity: Weekly

Column format:

Average length:

Articles: 2017

Articles: 2016

Articles: 2015

Articles: 2014

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

  • Just because you're an atheist doesn't make you rational - Once you make it your primary aim to refute the existence of God, you miss what's really fundamental - 29th December
  • I'd like to be taken for lunch by the taxman - You have to congratulate these companies for managing to pull this trick off - 21st December
  • Hands off our greedy bankers - It's the right of every Englishman to have his country robbed blind by the banks - 14th December
  • Let's ask florists for a credit rating - Governments should be made to recite their policies in front of a panel on TV every Saturday - 7th December
  • Unions just want the mums to pay - Michael Gove believes the strikers want 'mothers to give up a day's work or pay for childcare' - 30th November
  • Don't let's forget the rich are different - You almost have to admire the front when people can't stop swiping billions - 24th November
  • Oh, no! How can I pay the school fees? - Ignoring your children is really the only loving thing a good parent can do - 16th November
  • How to be a giant and still second best - Joe Frazier's problem was that his most celebrated opponent was much more than a boxer - 9th November
  • You calling my town boring? - They might have identikit chain stores and car parks – but every town in Britain has a distinct character - 5th November
  • Seven billion? That's not a problem - Many people seem to feel it's a disaster now there are seven billion people on the planet, but there are several arguments that can be used against this view - 2nd November
  • The price is always right (whatever it is) - If prices go up, demand goes down. But not with university courses apparently - 26th October
  • If only we'd shopped around more - Huhne will deal with electricity prices by saying he's hoping for a mild winter - 19th October
  • Stop the NHS prioritising parakeets - The Housing Minister will say a local council built a town hall out of Wedgwood china - 12th October
  • Will we ever be rid of Tony Blair? - Tony Blair keeps popping back to annoy us, doesn't he? Every few months, just as you think he's slid into history, he emerges getting paid a million pounds for something, like brokering an arms deal with Josef Fritzl and you realise we'll never be rid of him - 28th September
  • Lost in the car insurance labyrinth - To sense the irrational terrifying chaos that drives the modern economy you should get someone to drive into your parked car in the middle of the night - 21st September
  • Eight billion years in jail should do it - Instead of the Vickers Report about how to sort out banks, investigation should have been carried out by Supernanny - 14th September
  • Welcome to the Wapping Experience - As the Murdochs are selling off their plant at Wapping, it should be bought by English Heritage the way they do with other shut-down workplaces, and turned into "The News International Experience" - 7th September
  • When in doubt, blame red tape - The problem, apparently, is red tape. It's stifling business and preventing growth, because red tape is evil, and you can no more argue in favour of red tape than say, "I don't wish to contribute to the fight against cancer as I think we should have more of it" - 31st August
  • Flogging is too good for them - People who love to scream about stern discipline and National Service are having a fantastic time in post-riot Britain - 17th August
  • Imagine the Bastille with BlackBerrys - At least there's one way in which the police seem to be improving. If the recently deposed Inspector Yates was still in charge he'd have said, "I've had a look and can see no evidence there's been any riots, so there'll be no arrests." - 10th August
  • Alcohol can be a problem, as can doctors - Britain is getting drunker than ever, apparently, with a government "consultation" expected to reveal the shocking statistic that, compared with 20 years ago, there are 80 per cent more documentaries or news items showing a clip of a girl in a short skirt being sick on a bench while a lad with no shirt makes a noise like a werewolf as he's thrown into a police van - 3rd August
  • Time to inflict pain on the terminally ill - How do YOU suggest we cut the deficit then? - 27th July
  • My guess is the cleaners are to blame - This year's television drama awards must surely go to the news, whose current scriptwriters are outstanding - 20th July
  • How about a TV detective called Yates? - Oh this is such fun. And every few hours it gets better, but always with an announcement there's "still worse to come", leaving us struggling to imagine what they might have done that's worse - 13th July
  • Why Labour leaders speak drivel - In one sense Ed should be applauded as upholding the Labour tradition - 6th July
  • Teaching? Anyone can do that - Tomorrow's strike of teachers and civil servants should be one of the most enjoyable industrial disputes - 29th June
  • Pensions: no wonder firemen are on the rich lists - How is the Government getting away with this idea that a public-sector pension is a 'luxury'? - 23rd June
  • Is wanting a Murray win enough? - He is by far the best British tennis player for 70 years, and getting to semi-finals regularly is remarkable - 16th June
  • It's like being endorsed by Gary Glitter - Isn't this excellent news? The IMF say the Government's strategy for sorting us out is going to work - 8th June
  • Can any of us afford to be old now? - The Association of British Insurers has been public spirited enough to find a solution - 1st June
  • Dig a flower bed, find a sponsor - This week we were given a pretty good idea of which way society is heading thanks to a radio interview about flowers - 25th May
  • I can see why drivers shout at prams - 18th May
  • It's the wrong people doing the gagging - You can understand why some tabloid newspapers are upset about these super-injunctions. Because when they write something about a footballer with a prostitute it's almost the only time they print a story that's true - 11th May
  • The modern jihadist must be on Twitter - What seems strange is that if this raid was watched live on film, wouldn't someone have bought the rights and released it on DVD by now? Americans aren't usually slow with a commercial opportunity - 4th May
  • Go on, have fun. Roll out the barrel - A book's been rushed out called 'Knit Your Own Royal Wedding' - 13th April
  • Let's kick hypocrisy out of football - Wayne Rooney seemed like such a polite young man that who would have guessed he'd be the type to use a swear word at a time of high emotion? - 6th April
  • Protest scenes that left Benghazi in the shade - From the way the news has been since Saturday, I expect this week's episode of Gardeners' Question Time to go: "Before answering the question about Mister Dibley's crocus, do the panel condemn the violence we saw in Oxford Street? - 30th March
  • It's Blair I feel really sorry for - Isn't it marvellous that all these governments are determined to do "something" about Gaddafi? For example Hillary Clinton said she supported military action once the Arab League backed the air strikes. And it is encouraging that the policy of not tolerating a dictator has the backing of so many dictators - 23rd March
  • We need the spirit of Wisconsin - It must be part of the Coalition agreement that every day every member of the Government has to do the speech full of weird facts about how much debt we're in - 17th March
  • I know, let's sell weapons to a lunatic - The Western leaders now condemning Gaddafi as a madman must be perplexed as to what's gone wrong with him, because up until a month ago they obviously thought he was perfectly sane and well-balanced - 9th March
  • Rulers who still need our sympathy - Who'll be left to offer Tony and Cherie Blair a free holiday? - 23rd February
  • Dictators? It's a question of taste - One of the joys of Mubarak's demise was watching his Western backers figure out what they were supposed to say. So the US line was: "It's not our place to intervene in a country run by a dictator we've armed and financed for 30 years." - 16th February
  • The caring, sharing way to bad times - The first troubling side to the Big Society is no one can explain what it means - 9th February
  • It's people who bring about change - All those scenes from Cairo of mass demonstrations look like the perfect expression of the big society. So we can only assume David Cameron wants us to try something similar here - 2nd February
  • Grant Shapps: at last – a man to really annoy us - One government post that always takes a while to fill after an election is the job of minister who more than any other makes you feel sick as soon as you see their face, often for reasons you can't quite put your finger on - 26th January
  • Gallstones? NHS choice will cure you - You can see why they've announced this plan to change the health service, because it looks similar to the way they transformed the railways into competing units, and that's been such a success who wouldn't want to use a similar system to deal with triple by-passes and liver transplants? - 19th January
  • We owe it to bankers to feel their pain - Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, who himself has to suffer the trauma of an £8m bonus, said yesterday that the bankers' "period of remorse and apology should be over" - 12th January
  • VAT: can't they lie any better than this? - This might sound smug, but I've done marvellously at sticking to my New Year's Resolution - 5th January

Articles: 2010

Articles: 2009

Articles: 2008

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