Paul Mason Profile picture
Journalist, film-maker & author.
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7 Sep
The Tory gambit, breaking the Withdrawal Agreement makes sense as follows 1/ The deal is close - with fishing and state aid the main issues. They need freedom to hand money to their mates in dodgy tech/service companies and to rival Europe on tech sovereignty issues...
2/ In just seven months the Brexit project has moved from "promoting free trade everywhere" to "a state-led investment economy whose success can only come from Europe's failure"... but the dud backbenchers and the xenophobes who vote for them don't realise this...
3/ I think Johnson will stage a walkout from the talks, using the Northern Ireland issue as the cause, and the threat to bar EU firms from raising cash in London as the deranged negotiating trick that everyone knows is fake....
Read 9 tweets
3 Sep
QAnon has become the ideology of civil war for the US far right. It's a co-created plan for what they intend to do to US, not a fantasy world... 1/ Arendt understood: newstatesman.com/world/north-am…
2/ It's the implied real consequences of the QAnon theory that are telling: just as with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, its wide circulation betrays the desire for annihilation of the opponent.... newstatesman.com/world/north-am…
3/ Not everybody can turn up at #BLM or anti-fascist demos: but everybody can play a part in debunking QAnon... dismantling the thought architecture of fascism (while also fighting it) works newstatesman.com/world/north-am…
Read 4 tweets
21 Aug
On my first day at Thornleigh, in 1971, I found this book in my desk - published 75 years ago this week... the Salesians couldn't wait to begin our anti-communist education aged 11. But it was a gift really .... 1/
2/ My Dad - a truck driver who left school at 14 - explained to me that it was an allegory of the Russian revolution and showed that not all communists were as bad as capitalists, only the Soviet government (who'd invaded Czechoslovakia 3 years before)...
3/ Then a sixth former on the school bus gave away the ending, explaining that (spoiler alert!) the pigs ended just as corrupt as the men, but that this didn't necessarily mean capitalism was OK...
Read 8 tweets
1 Aug
Let's understand the twin delusions behind Johnson's latest Covid-19 fiasco: libertarianism and market worship 1/ On 3 Feb he said Britain would not "go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage"...
2/ ... by delaying lockdown against the scientific advice Johnson was in fact following pointless anti-social libertarian principles and trying to "protect the economy". Result: worst death rate and worst economic outcome... and now?...
3/ Since easing began Johnson has tried to sell it as a one-way process; Tories briefed senior business leaders there would be "no second lockdown" - but because UK transmissions remained high, test and trace useless, and no real quarantine - what then happened? Yup....
Read 10 tweets
24 Jul
Mike Pompeo's speech just kicked off a new Cold War with China. But amid all the tough talk, just like with the USSR, there's an unnamed spectre: the Chinese working class. The West has to imagine democratic reform without a workers' revolution... but that's impossible... 1/
2/ Xi's "Marxism" is a mixture of rote-learned bullshit from Engels' Dialectics of Nature plus accountancy principles... and profoundly anti-humanist. Hence the title chapter in Clear Bright Future...
3/ But to understand Xi's project you have to understand it as an explicit deal with the urban working class...
Read 9 tweets
19 Jun
THREAD: Labour Election Review…. 1/ It’s thorough and I broadly agree with its conclusion: unpopular leadership, poor leadership + an incoherent Brexit position stopped Labour adapting to rise of “values voting”… Did anyone on the left flag this up?👇
theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
2/ Labour May Euro-election fiasco was written off/ignored by the leadership, yet as the report states it was a rehearsal for December 2019:
3/ The report also reveals a catalogue of errors in the party's functioning and election planning. That's a problem of political leadership, not staff at HQ. All of the highlighted problems were raised, but ignored...
Read 5 tweets
7 Jun
Johnson's dilemma is false: 1/ Yes we need to save 000s of businesses/jobs reliant on summer... but No it won't bankrupt the Treasury to keep furlough/bailouts going in a different form - that's the missing piece of politics....
2/ We need an urgent and overt change of economic model so that the anti-crisis measures become a transition cost not money down the drain - it consists of... state-led investment, a job guarantee and free basic services...
3/ We need to accept >120% debt/gdp and use the headroom to borrow strategically. Bank should overtly monetise to control interest payments - and we do green state capitalism on steroids - there wd be x-party support ...
Read 8 tweets
5 Jun
So @nytimes is rowing back on printing @SenTomCotton scandalous call for troops on American streets. Good. But its not just the words he wrote, but the links the Times helpfully inserted, that need to be pulled - here's what any UK sub-editor would have done... 1/ Opening par:
2/ Second par full of tendentious claims and NYT-added colour via HTML...
3/ Fourth par full of claims he cannot stand up (and neither could the NYT)...
Read 5 tweets
5 Jun
2/ Any contract signed for £1 with a privately held company whose pricing is opaque must ring alarm bells... esp where other projects have been terminated eg LAPD
3/ then there's the GIGO problem - if track and trace is shambolic, where's the data coming from - and who has access to it, and how trustworthy are their decisions? No answers from HMG...
4/ ... and the existential problem: Cummings wants to build a parallel state, unaccountable, opaque and private - and that's the philosophical implication of Thiel's 2009 essay... but little ol' you and me not allowed to ask them questions ... opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocra…
Read 4 tweets
4 Jun
THREAD 1/ The US military and DoD's comprehensive rejection of Trump's calls for troops on the streets speak to a big dysfunction that the next President has to address: the actual coup danger comes from within police depts/ Sheriffs... newstatesman.com/world/north-am…
2/ Most people's model of a coup is the army deposing the President and taking power; or the President imposing a state of emergency... but the US military, like most militaries, is schooled to respect the constitution and highly disciplined... not so some US police forces...
3/ I interviewed Joe Arpaio in 2011, before his conviction: the regime around him was amateur, deliberately cruel, and openly flouting the rules... and the Constitutional Sheriffs movement actually claims sheriffs should outrank the Supreme Court (!) bbc.com/news/world-us-…
Read 8 tweets
26 May
Why did Cummings edit his own blog on 14/4/20 to make it look like he had warned about the danger of a coronavirus escaping from a Chinese lab last year? 1/ The date of the change is one day before Fox News took the “Chinese Lab” story mainstream... foxnews.com/politics/coron…
2/ The "Chinese lab" theory takes two forms: a) the loon-theory that the virus is a bio-weapon and was deliberately released; b) that it is a natural virus that accidentally escaped from an unsafe lab - what Cummings had warned about (in a more general way) in March 2019…
3/ The Republican senator who first went public with the Chinese lab accusations is Tom Cotton. Tom Cotton was one of the first users of Cambridge Analytica's Facebook data, in 2014...
arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/…
Read 13 tweets
24 May
You have to see the Cummings fiasco in context of the Tories options - which are very sparse 1/ The economy is tanking, and worse than needed because of the late lockdown. Their response? To create uncertainty around the rules in the hope there'll be a push for faster opening...
2/ So there'll be a second wave. When that wave comes, the people who were against the first lockdown - the libertarian right of the Tory party - will foment a "revolt": this time let's save "the economy" not the elderly...
3/ The villains will be: Labour, the unions, local councils and the courts (for enforcing H&S law)... and by that time the economy really will be screwed: furlough scheme reduced, mass layoffs, key industries on life support...
Read 8 tweets
13 May
Thread on the Treasury austerity leak: 1/ The HMT base case is no longer a v-shaped recovery but a U, with longer recovery and permanent scarring, costing a £337bn deficit this year. Unless we abandon the orthodoxy, that will mandate severe austerity - and flatline growth...
2/ The worst-case scenario sees growth stagnant for half a decade and an added 1.1 trillion to a debt of 1.75 trillion. To avoid that you have to ditch not just austerity but the economic model and ideology that demands it...
3/ There is an alternative if all parties are prepared to think beyond the old economic model. I hope the starkness of the HMT warning creates space for a cross-party discussion about a new way forward, as follows...
Read 10 tweets
11 May
Let's be clear about how the Tories are politicising C-19: all the pressure on them is from the libertarian right to end lockdown and from the financial elite holding complex debts <90 days from default - so what do they do? 1/ Chaotic attempt to ease lockdown in England only...
2/ ...which leads to a new surge in deaths in 4-6 weeks time. Meanwhile "R" becomes not a scientific number but a political football - "between 0.5 - 09" means this was a completely political decision... But when the second wave comes...
3/ ... the Sun/Telegraph etc will conduct a campaign (encouraged by Gove) for "no return to full lockdown"... they don't need to speak the subtext "it's only killing unskilled workers and elderly people" but that's the unspoken narrative...
Read 11 tweets
19 Apr
We knew Johnson was an amateurish buffoon - but the ST scoop shows a deeper malaise in the governance systems of the UK 1/ Austerity clearly depleted our resilience... thetimes.co.uk/article/corona…
2/ The relationship between SAGE, 10 Downing St, Civil Service, NHS and PHE forms a classic organogram of irresponsibility - as in every disaster inquiry fingers will be pointed but *nobody will be found responsible* thetimes.co.uk/article/corona…
3/ The total failure to heed the precautionary principle is a symptom of the hubris Johnson/Cummings have brought to the UK govt... thetimes.co.uk/article/corona…
Read 9 tweets
17 Apr
It's nearly six weeks since the first COBRA meeting and still there's a crisis of PPE and testing. Why? Let me tell you a story from Hurricane Katrina... 1/ From Monday-Thursday the evacuation was demand led: how many refugees can Florida take? Guess what...
2/ With a demand led evacuation nobody got evacuated. Then the @USMC arrived and by the weekend they started choppering people straight from motorway intersections to other states who *had not asked for any refugees*....
3/ The Superdrome was cleared, the motorway intersections, where I saw elderly and frail people with drips sitting in the bright sun, dehydrating, were cleared...
Read 8 tweets
16 Apr
On @MattHancock bad half-hour.... 1/ The UK govt is set to extend the lockdown by 3x weeks. Good, because it’s working. But what is the strategy beyond lockdown? That’s a legitimate question and it can be answered without confusing today's public health message…
2/ The reason it’s legitimate to ask for, and to scrutinise, the next phase of the public health strategy is that the people in charge have already screwed it up once, and seem adrift now… (eg PPE, missing targets on testing then denying they ever set them)...
3/ The plan suggested by @profhelenward is pretty clear: find, isolate and trace cases using apps and local health teams; track the epidemic; provide PPE, testing etc in hospitals and care homes...
theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
Read 6 tweets
13 Apr
A senior group of Labour staffers actively conspired for the party to lose the 2017 election. That's the headline allegation from the leaked Labour HQ report ... this is a Watergate moment, not just for Labour but for British politics 1/...
2/ The racist and sexist language against political opponents; the failure to discharge duties impartially; breaches of natural justice etc would constitute gross misconduct in any profession ....
3/ People who think this is just self-sabotage by a perpetually divided layabout movement are misframing this scandal: the outcome of an election was skewed by an organised group - I would expect a parliamentary inquiry at least...
Read 5 tweets
5 Apr
I don't want to sound like a killjoy but the FT's celebrated conversion to Bevanism is nowhere near enough, or coherent... screengrabs par-by-par: 1/ This is self evident... but...
2/ The societies that went into the war were already a) heavily state-used b) solidaristic c) had a culture of co-operation and even class collaboration: neoliberalism spent 40 yrs destroying this... so you can't revive by magic...
3/ It's not just that people with low-paid/precarious jobs are on the front line by accident: that's how Thatcher, Blair, Clinton etc designed the economy: you can't have high risk finance unless poor people borrow a lot of money...
Read 16 tweets
29 Mar
Yes China suppressed news and stats, yes they're using aid as geopolitics ... but this Mail splash is a straight propaganda offensive to deflect from Johnson's incompetence, for which 000s will pay with their lives 1/...
2/ We had a criminally underprepared NHS: here's @TheLancet on the details... secure.jbs.elsevierhealth.com/action/getShar…
3/ Johnson/Cummings response was politicised nonsense - with Whitehall's culture of irresponsibility compounding the mess - here's @BylineTimes bylinetimes.com/2020/03/23/cov…
Read 7 tweets
19 Mar
What unites the UK government's faltering response on the virus and the economic shock? Reluctance to use the state. I understand this but a generation of free market technocrats need to learn to get over it... newstatesman.com/politics/econo…
Overnight the @Lagarde launched a €750bn QE package. USA said to be considering a trillion. Buy EU governments still trapped by the Maastricht rules, which should be immediately scrapped... newstatesman.com/politics/econo…
Analysts at @Macquarie say: "a fusion of monetary and fiscal levers will lead to MMT-style policies, effective nationalisation of capital, universal income guarantees, and deep changes in work practice.” Spot on. But that's not capitalism... newstatesman.com/politics/econo…
Read 11 tweets