Kamm in January 2015
Oliver George Kamm
February 1963 (age 56)
|Alma mater||New College, Oxford|
|Parent(s)||Antony Kamm (father)|
Anthea Bell (mother)
|Relatives||Adrian Bell (grandfather)|
Martin Bell (uncle)
Kamm is the son of translator Anthea Bell and publisher Antony Kamm. Kamm is the grandson of Adrian Bell and nephew of Martin Bell. While his mother is not Jewish, he lost family members on his father's side in the Holocaust. After Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys, he studied PPE at New College, Oxford and Birkbeck College, University of London. He began his career at the Bank of England and worked in the securities industry and investment banking.
Kamm has been a consistent supporter of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the foreign policies of his government. According to John Lloyd in 2005, Kamm views Blair's policies "as the expression of true social-democratic values".
Kamm has been an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party. He told Liam Hoare writing for The Forward magazine in September 2015, that "the left has incorporated the attitudes of the nativist far-right. Corbyn's alliances with reactionary, misogynistic, theocratic, and anti-Semitic movements bear out what we’ve said".
Commentator Peter Wilby asserted that, while Kamm and Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle claim "to be left-wing", they hold "no discernible left-wing views". When interviewed by politics academic Norman Geras in 2003, Kamm said that he wrote to "express a militant liberalism that I feel ought to be part of public debate but which isn't often articulated, or at least not where I can find it, in the communications media that I read or listen to" and that he felt that "the crucial distinction in politics is not between Left and Right, as I had once tribally thought, but between the defenders and the enemies of an open society."
Kamm has written two books. In Anti-Totalitarianism, he argues that military intervention against totalitarian regimes to support democratic values in other countries, can be expression of left wing values; he supports the 2003 invasion of Iraq under this rubric and seemed to be focusing his argument against foreign policies stances based narrowly on the national interest that are typical of the traditional right. On his book on usage, Accidence Will Happen, he argues against linguistic prescription and in favour of linguistic description.
In August 2018, The Bookseller reported that Weidenfeld & Nicolson will in January 2020 publish Kamm's book In Mending the Mind: The Art and Science of Treating Clinical Depression, in which he "draws on his own experience of the illness as a jumping off point to investigate depression" and "makes a case for embracing both art and science to better understand and treat the condition."