Aaron Bastani Profile picture
Author of FULLY AUTOMATED LUXURY COMMUNISM. Writer / Journalist / Broadcaster. Co-Founder @novaramedia (He/Him)
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21 Sep
The Tories switching all English elections to FPTP mirrors Starmer's moves to consolidate power among MPs & away from members.

Both are about strengthening cartelisation of power at Westminster & ensuring no alternative emerges. The experiments of last decade can't be repeated>
For Tories that means ensuring another UKIP - where a party to their right emerges because of PR - is impossible. For Labour it means shutting out members.

NOBODY other than politicians thinks more power should be at Westminster. England needs a democratic revolution>
I favour primaries within parties, like US. To illustrate how archaic our 19th C political & media class is, this is described as 'Stalinist'.

I also favour PR so legislatures reflect vote. The raison d'etre of both Tory & now Lab leaderships is to take power not distribute it.
Read 4 tweets
10 Sep
Really remarkable that the Scottish Greens not adopting the IHRA definition would discount them from being able to form a government in a democracy.

I think that is quite 'extremist'. I don't think people realise how dangerous a path this is.
The idea that certain political parties could be excluded from government on the basis of not adhering to a certain set of guidelines or definitions is remarkable. It's post-democratic liberalism in its clearest form - one for political theorists to think about!
I think its outlandish this is conceivable in a democracy. Sadly it was given too much truck by Labour left, who frequently placed short term media management over right thing. That will have long term consequences for any sensible debate on this stuff
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
As the Tories increase national insurance in an effort to deal with social care, it's time to identify the scale of the problem.

In the short term (before 2050) demographic ageing is as big a challenge to our economic model as climate change. Thread 1/

How big is that crisis going to be, and how soon?

In Britain the over 65s is set to increase by 40% between 2016 & 2036, while those over 80 will double. That's a massive shift in care needs.

The relationship between ageing & age-related conditions is exponential rather than linear, meaning the social costs of ageing are extraordinary. The chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s roughly doubles between the ages of 70 and 75, doubling again between 75 & 80 & so on.

Read 18 tweets
9 Sep
This is great, and cycling in London is an undoubted good news story, but for the rest of country (beyond places like Oxford & Cambridge etc) this image is unthinkable.

In the UK bikes are 1% of all vehicle miles and the number of miles cycled is still below even the mid 80s >
It’s like buses. Using them has gone up in London but....down in the rest of the country (because the infrastructure and prices aren’t as good). This is so bad more bus journeys are now made in London than the rest of England combined! Image
On moving away from cars the U.K., with a few exceptions, is failing. London shows that’s because of resources & political will, but because the capital does well it’s easy for those there to think real progress is happening. Nationally it isn’t.
Read 4 tweets
27 Jul
Outstanding piece on how ⁦@Keir_Starmer⁩ dealt with the suspension of ⁦@jeremycorbyn

😡 Starmer broke his word, & has u-turned 3 TIMES

🤥 Starmer put the blame on Morgan McSweeney

😳 Starmer defied EHRC recommendations on day of report! novaramedia.com/2021/07/27/her…
The night before the report was published Corbyn and Starmer were allegedly in direct contact. The next morning the Labour did the dirty and broke his word. Not for the last time.
Blaming others is a habit for Starmer, it even extended to his chief of staff. He comes across as dishonest and dislikeable.

How on earth did he run the CPS?!
Read 6 tweets
23 Jul
Of course it was socialism. It was overseen by a society where production for exchange value, and defined by wage labour, was minimal or inexistent. That still means bad things happened. And Stalin was dead by then!

This stuff confuses politics for eschatology.
Market capitalism has achieved x,y,z at which point someone will say ‘it wasn’t market capitalism because these people were bad!’

Marx also clear, socialism is not communism - former is not yet realm of freedom.

What next ‘it’s not real socialism until everyone is vegan’? >
Like probably we should be, yes, but a socialist society wouldn’t have to include that predicate, no. Same applies to plastic free, zero carbon - all good things.

But this is why we have definitions.
Read 4 tweets
22 Jul
NEW: Joint statement by GMB/Unite Labour staff members in response to news of 90 redundancies.

Staff first heard of news through the Guardian after no consultation. Detail in thread:
Were alternative cost saving options explored? @UKLabour & @Keir_Starmer would rightly ask that of any other employer. Why not here?
There was no consultation around redundancy packages. Again, Labour would rightly ask that of ‘rogue employers’
Read 4 tweets
21 Jul
People saying changes to the Official Secrets Act represents the 'end of British democracy'.

Are you aware of the already existing Official Secrets Act and its history? Or that Julian Assange is *already* in prison?

Thread (1/5)
There are a hundred other statues, besides the OSA, which forbid the disclosure of valuable state information. In Britain we have no constitutional right to free speech, tho we have some protections under European Law.

What is more we live in one of the most secretive countries in the world. Mi6, as one example, has not disclosed one page of one file since its founding in 1909 (!) Even Russians, for instance, know more about the history of their security services than we do.

Read 6 tweets
19 Jul
I understand this gentleman not only used to be a labour councillor, but used to work for Labour chief whip Alan Campbell.

I didn’t think people like this existed until I used Twitter. Horrific.
The idea such a person would be a councillor is chilling to be honest. His timeline is littered with hate.
a "good friend" of Labour chief whip @alancampbellmp

In his own words.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jul
Good policy. When Corbyn announced similar it created an unhinged feeding frenzy among Labour MPs and centrist commentators. Thread 👇🏽
“Corbyn is going full Trump”

Will this gentleman say the same today? 🤔
This marked Labour turning into a ‘red UKIP’ lamented talented method actor and alt centrist Eddie Marsan. Is it different with Sir Keir, Eddie? I hope so.
Read 9 tweets
28 Jun
You have a former member of the far right at Byline whose schtick was driving division. Byline proceeded to post a video this weekend calling someone a Galloway supporter, insinuating they were part of the campaign, without even going to Galloway for comment. Shame on you.
Byline proceeded to retweet a range of Labour politicians retweeting the video, making the same assertion, without checking the facts.

Liberals like to think they are defending the truth, but this was a crystal clear case of political communications, not impartial journalism.
It was the exact same play as this gentleman before he recanted his former politics. Find the issue, divide and to hell with the truth.

Unlike Peter Jukes I have no dog in this fight.
Read 4 tweets
25 Jun
“Our mission will be successful the minute Keir Starmer has a leadership challenge”

What I found in Batley & Spen was a crumbling Labour vote, broad support for George Galloway & the beginning of organised efforts to stand candidates against Labour. novaramedia.com/2021/06/25/its…
The Galloway campaign has 3 campaign centres, (I’m told) 10 organisers and is better resourced than either Labour or the Tories. His election agent told me last week he thinks there are “no circumstances” under which Labour can retain the constituency.

The idea Galloway has pulled the wool over the eyes of constituents really doesn’t get the anger people have in being taken for granted. What I found was voters, of all colours & creeds, under no illusions about *any* politicians. novaramedia.com/2021/06/25/its…
Read 9 tweets
25 May
In the name of ‘anti racism’ Cambridge University Labour club have expelled a BAME student from their executive for disagreeing with the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

Kenneth Stern, the definition’s lead author, wrote ‘it was never intended to be a campus hate speech code’.
Stuff like this is why I, and others, tried to make arguments against it. The IHRA, used as it now is, curtails criticism of Israel and its government.

The fact someone is expelled from an executive for even questioning something?

Puritanism of the worst kind.
Read 4 tweets
25 May
Starmer is now *21pts* behind Boris Johnson in Best Prime Minister polling.

In December 2019, Jeremy Corbyn was 13pts behind Johnson.

A brilliant article from @LeftieStats - Labour’s biggest problem is its leader.

Things started to go dramatically wrong for Starmer, and Labour, late last year. The party’s old policies aren’t the problem.
This feels right from @LeftieStats

As members leave you suspect another centrist would replace Starmer as leader anyway. He deserves the chance to lead Labour into the next GE. But going on last 6 months it won’t be pretty....💀
Read 4 tweets
25 May
Xi Jinping recently claimed China had ended extreme poverty. On a meaningful measure it hasn't, but since 1990 its taken around 900 million out of $5 a day or less - a huge achievement.

All while ignoring the Washington Consensus. Me for @novaramedia

If we adopt $5 a day as measure for extreme poverty that would require global GDP to increase *175 times* to end it. In other words, using this benchmark, it's impossible to eradicate extreme poverty with our present economic model.

That's the context for China's achievement.
Achieving the millennium development goal of halving global poverty from 1990-2015 (measured on $1.25 a day) came to depend *entirely* on China. Success there masked worsening situation elsewhere in global south.

The 'good news' story of international development isn't true.
Read 4 tweets
17 Apr
As the US announces withdrawal from Afghanistan you can't help but think about the lack of accountability for the Blair government in becoming embroiled in a hellish, historic defeat.

One figure, Labour's John Reid, exemplifies that. Thread (1/5)
In 2006 Reid oversaw the deployment of 3,300 soldiers to Helmand, a prospect about which he was optimistic saying, “we would be perfectly happy to leave in three years and without firing one shot” (2/5)

Yet within twelve months British soldiers there had fired *four million bullets* in some of the most intense fighting seen by any unit since the second world war (3/5).

Read 6 tweets
24 Mar
Can We Solve the Climate Crisis Without Ending Capitalism?

My review of @BillGates 'How to Avoid a Climate Crisis' for @novaramedia

Thread covering key points below. Read on!

1) Gates talks about warming of 4-8 degrees this century in the absence of meaningful action. That is way beyond most liberal thought leaders or politicians. A new level of candour on the topic for someone so wealthy.

2) Elsewhere he writes that over next "decade or two" economic damage caused by climate change will “likely be as bad as having a Covid-sized pandemic every ten years”. A powerful way to talk about catastrophe ahead & one we rarely hear. It surprised me.
Read 22 tweets
23 Mar
Labour’s @johnmcdonnellMP arguing for PR & a more democratic electoral system.

More than one person has told me the Labour leadership is looking to return to the electoral college for choosing a leader. Under Starmer the party walking away from democracy, not toward it.
Can a party whose leadership is opposed to internal democracy meaningful reform the state’s democracy? Very hard to see.

All of this was lost on anti-Corbyn liberals in recent years. They’ll find out hard way!
Response to this is often ‘but the left can shape this!’

Questionable. Many around Starmer want thousands of members to go. A party of 1-200,000 people isn’t seen as a problem if money comes from elsewhere. Meanwhile has support of GMB & Unison.

Read 4 tweets
8 Mar
WOW. Speaking to @theJeremyVine today @Keir_Starmer said quite clearly he personally decided to suspend Jeremy Corbyn. On the day he said he had nothing to do with it, later his team briefed #Newsnight he was merely 'consulted'.

This man has a profound inability to be honest!
. @Keir_Starmer told the BBC it was not his decision to suspend Corbyn on October 30

Later it was briefed to #newsnight that he was 'consulted' on the decision to suspend Corbyn.

Read 6 tweets
21 Feb
On the cannabis stuff: Starmer’s pitch was always identikit robo-politics led by focus groups. This was overt.

People who endorsed him should recognise that - and that he will not replicate the manner in which the previous leadership tried to shape the debate. On anything.
Quite bizarre seeing people knock him who went after the last leadership like no tomorrow. This is the Labour Party as it’s been for my entire life, except 2015-19. Whoever succeeds him will be the same.
It was boring & worthy before 2015, with no answers to big problems of the 21st century. And we’re back there again now. Anyone who offered something different would be attacked by very people criticising Starmer now.

What he’s saying is his politics. Surely you knew that?
Read 4 tweets
18 Feb
Why is the licence-fee payer paying for the World Service broadcasting in 42 languages when 58% of the country doesn't have a regional newspaper?

Strengthening the BBC means more resources for public interest journalism, not extending 'soft power'.

This is NOT an argument against the BBC, simply that the FCO should fund the World Service, not baristas or care workers who just want to watch the telly. Why should they subsidise our elite’s infatuation with global influence?

Is there any other country where local news gathering is dying but it is seen as vital that, at the same time, news is provided in Pashto, Uzbek and Icelandic?

Says a lot about how Britain sees itself, and how this feeds neglect of major, long-term issues.novaramedia.com/2021/02/18/why…
Read 4 tweets