| James Schneider |
(activist, deep state functionary?)
|Born||born 17 June 1987|
|Alma mater||Dragon School, Winchester College, Trinity College (Oxford)|
|Interest of||"Philip Cross"|
He co-founded the left-wing grassroots movement Momentum, in support of Jeremy Corbyn after his successful campaign to become Labour Party leader. In October 2016, he was appointed PR advisor to Corbyn as Director of Strategic Communications.
Schneider was born to Jewish parents in central London. His father Brian was a financier and CEO of Soho-based property company OEM plc and was accused of the theft of £5 million from the company. He died in 2004 at the age of 48, when James was a teenager. James' mother Tessa Lang is a property developer.
Schneider attended the Dragon School in Oxford for preparatory school. Then from 2000 to 2005, he boarded at Winchester College in Hampshire as a member of Chawker's (Hawkins'). He went on to study Theology at Trinity College, Oxford. During his time at Oxford, Schneider was president of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats.
Schneider joined the Labour Party in May 2015 after the defeat of Ed Miliband and Labour in the 2015 general election. He was a key figure within the left-wing grassroots movement Momentum, which was formed in October 2015 as a support group for Jeremy Corbyn, who had been elected Labour leader the previous month. The group also played a significant role in the 2016 campaign to reelect Corbyn after a leadership challenge. Following their success in this campaign, Schneider was appointed as Director of Strategic Communications for the office of the Leader of the Opposition in October 2016.
In 2019, he was described as "Schneider – with his thatch of hair and handlebar cheekbones – is 'divertingly good-looking' according to one colleague. But that does not detract from his achievements – he’s extraordinarily powerful within Labour given his tender age of 31 – or capacity for dogged work."
In an 2020 article for the Spectator, Schneider’s friend and fellow Oxford alumnus, David Patrikarakos, hinted gently at a deeper role played by Schneider. Starting by describing John le Carré’s protagonists — "many of whom", he asserts, "were spies" — as "[p]ukka but not really; English but not quite". He went on to liken Schneider, Ben Judah and himself to them in the following passage:
- It was in my third year as a postgraduate student at Oxford that I met my now great friend (and probable distant cousin) the writer Ben Judah […] Halfway through the night, in walked Ben’s friend, James Schneider […] another product of exile (via a Jewish father whose origins lay in Eastern Europe), formed by his passage through England’s institutions, and like us ‘Pukka but not really; English but not quite.’"
The independent writer Phil Bevin picked up this connection, and commented: "If it could be considered unfortunate for an avowed radical leftist like James Schneider to have one friend named in connection to influential intelligence officer Chris Donnelly, to have three might be regarded as embarrassing. Perhaps more embarrassing still is for one of these individuals—in this case, Ben Judah, now a senior fellow at the CIA-linked Atlantic Council..".
- Winchester College: A Register. Edited by P.S.W.K. McClure and R.P. Stevens, on behalf of the Wardens and Fellows of Winchester College. 7th edition, 2014. pp. 905 (Common Time 2000 list heading) & 913 (entry for James Schneider). Published by Winchester College, Hampshire.