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Polly Toynbee is a respected and renowned long-standing columnist writing for The Guardian. She was formerly BBC Social Affairs Editor. Polly has served as Associate Editor of The Independent, as co-editor of Washington Monthly and as a reporter and feature writer for The Guardian’s Sunday sister-paper, The Observer. She is known for her social democratic positions on major issues in Britian’s body politic and in wider society.
In her early life, dropping out of her degree at Oxford, she found work in a factory and used that experience, as well as time working undercover as a nurse and as an Army recruit, as the basis of her first book, A Working Life in 1971.
More than three decades later Polly returned to her undercover research in the workplace for her book Hard Work: Life in Low-Pay Britain. She took up the challenge of living in one of the UK’s most neglected council estates for a year. She took whatever minimum-wage work was on offer at the local Jobcentre. As a care assistant, in food factories, in telesales, and as a hospital porter, she worked at breakneck pace for cut-rate pay, along with working mothers and retirees struggling to get by. That experience in 2003 has informed much of her criticism of government policy, and of business practices.
Polly Toynbee has won a National Press Award, has been awarded What the Papers Say and British Press Awards Columnist Of The Year, and is one of the the most influential social commentators working in the UK today.
Polly Toynbee’s latest book, with David Walker, is Dismembered: How the Attack on the State Harms Us All in which the authors travelled around Britain gathering the voices of state employees and service users: nurses and patients, teachers and parents, policemen and civilians.
Polly Toynbee is a superbly accomplished debate host, event speaker, and discussion panelist.
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