Union leaders, northern MP take imploding Mason to task for ‘shame’ of attack on Lavery and LOTO staff

Paul Mason has been prominent figure in the left Labour movement, but post-election attack on Labour Party chair and staff condemned – and Mason lashing out with accusations matching his own behaviour
Paul Mason (image by Rwendland – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74635732)

Such is the amount – even pared down to a minimum – of information in this article, it is split into two sections. The first reports facts, while the second contains analysis and commentary on the first.

Section 1

Senior union figures and a north-east MP have criticised journalist Paul Mason’s attack on Labour employees in Jeremy Corbyn’s office and on Labour Party chair and north-eastern MP Ian Lavery.

Mason wrote a lengthy piece in the Guardian in which he called for a full switch to backing a referendum by the Labour leadership, with a commitment to campaign in it for remain. That call was no surprise – Mason announced last September that he was backing another referendum and felt that Corbyn should do the same.

But Mason did not stop there. He also called for a purge of key Labour staff in Corbyn’s office – and for the resignation of party chair Ian Lavery for voting against a new referendum:

the officials who designed this fiasco, and ignored all evidence that it would lead to disaster, must be removed from positions of influence.

They include Seumas Milne, director of strategy, and Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s chief of staff. With an electoral fiasco like this, the buck has to stop somewhere, and it must stop with them – together with Ian Lavery MP, the party chair, who twice broke the whip to oppose the second referendum.

Mason also demanded that Corbyn show ‘contrition’ – for what has been an attempt to avoid abandoning either leavers or remainers and to bring both together in the best interests of the people.

Lavery tweeted his disappointment in Mason’s conduct toward Labour staff – and Mason lashed out:

Aaron Bastani of Novara Media – for which Mason also writes – was one of hundreds to add their criticism on the Twitter social media platform [full disclosure, so was the SKWAWKBOX]:

Now Mason’s behaviour and conclusions have been heavily attacked by senior union figures, as well as by one of Lavery’s fellow north-east MPs.

A downright disgrace

Howard Beckett, speaking to the 2017 Unite conference

Howard Beckett is Unite’s Assistant General Secretary for politics and for legal affairs – and led the successful legal fight to defend Corbyn’s place on the ballot in the 2016 Labour leadership contest, against Michael Foster’s court attempt to bar Corbyn from the election. He pulled no punches in his assessment of Mason’s behaviour, telling the SKWAWKBOX:

The Paul Mason article (and his various Tweets) play directly into the hands of those seeking to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and prevent the election of a truly socialist Labour Government. 

Paul clearly holds strongly held believes about Europe. Those are legitimate views. 

It is not though legitimate for him to forget the Labour manifesto of 2017, how those policies (created a year after the 2016 referendum) gave hope to the youth of our nations and the left behind communities (formerly industrial heartlands) long forgotten by the neoliberal elite. 

It is sadly ironic that Paul should now adopt a cloak of elitism with his claim that any working class voter who believes in Brexit is somehow not entitled to be considered progressive. 

But what is downright disgraceful is the divisive call for the dismissal of Ian Lavery, Seamus Milne and Karie Murphy. All good left socialist comrades. 

The narrative wrongly assumes Jeremy Corbyn to be a puppet to the whims of staff. This is plainly false. The narrative disgracefully characterises those who were in large part responsible for the 2017 manifesto as negative hindrances to progressive politics. In the case of Murphy and Milne it is an outrageous attack on those who, as staff in the leaders office, have no right of reply. All justified by making the case for remain, really?! 

Paul would do well to remember the strength of individuals who stood with Corbyn in the most difficult of times, he would do well to remember who stood firmly with Corbyn when the right wing coups came and most of all he would do well to respect the magnitude of the efforts of all those in the leaders office when it came to the creation of the 2017 manifesto. 

Many of us will be sad to see Paul so enveloped by Brexit to have attacked left comrades, but nevertheless the attacks must be condemned, ridiculed even, and shown up to bring shame upon Paul only.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward, pictured with Jeremy Corbyn

CWU union head Dave Ward thought Mason’s conclusions were ‘completely wrong’, when approached for comment about them:

I think early indications are people are making the completely wrong analysis of the result.

Grahame Morris (official parliamentary portrait)

Grahame Morris, the Labour MP for Easington in the north-east, was harsher – dismissing Mason as a member of a ‘metropolitan elite’ engaged in ‘spin’:

How anyone can spin the North East results and those in many parts of the country to interpret that Labour needs to be unequivocally Remain is beyond my understanding.

Adding up the votes of other parties and discounting Labour ones then claiming this means we need a 2nd referendum ignores the fact that Labour voters are both leavers and remainers. The only clear and unambiguous fact is that the Brexit Party won the largest share of the vote.

This isn’t just about narrow electoral advantage at this point in time and making a play for LibDem ChangeUK votes in London and Metropolitan constituencies today. 

Labour are trying to pull the country together North and South, Leave and Remain to create a fairer more just society that works for the majority including those who voted Leave in the old industrial areas. In my view if we are serious about winning parliamentary seats and forming a government at the next General Election whenever it comes, we cannot just be an echo chamber for those who many ordinary voters outside of London consider to be part of the metropolitan elite (like Paul Mason).

The Gardiner misrepresentation

Mason’s article also took aim at Labour’s star media performer Barry Gardiner:

We who have accepted the label of Corbynism also need to face facts. If the term “Corbynism” now includes a human rights lawyer such as Keir Starmer, together with a figure such as Barry Gardiner, who turns out to be a fan of the Hindu chauvinist Narendra Modi, plus the neo-Stalinists and social conservatives who supported the Full Brexit campaign, it is not really an “ism” at all.

But Gardiner had not ‘turn[ed] out to be a fan’. The MP had tweeted a welcome earlier in the week for the newly re-elected Modi’s statement committing to diversity and progress:

But when Gardiner’s comment was misrepresented in the media, he made his intent absolutely clear:

However, when a university academic failed to quote Mason’s words exactly in criticising him, he attacked her for misrepresenting him:

Mason’s words in the article were:

If we do that, the voters of Mansfield, Walsall, Merthyr Tydfil and Hull will at least know where we stand. They may decide, as some on the doorstep say, that they “don’t care if the economy collapses as long as the migrants go away”.


On Monday evening, the SKWAWKBOX sent Paul Mason the exact words of Beckett, Ward and Morris shown above and invited him to comment, in accordance with proper journalistic practice.

Mason’s response, quoted verbatim and in full:

On the record: Squawkbox is a propaganda site for crazy paranoid Stalinists – it should be derecognised by Impress. Every Labour member is entitled to ask on whose orders these hit-pieces are being written against myself, Keir Starmer, Clive Lewis and the rest. I would seriously request any Labour movement body funding this outlet to reconsider.

This reaction mirrored Mason’s response to an earlier SKWAWKBOX tweet criticising his conduct:

The answers to Mason’s comment are simple. Nobody ‘ordered these hit-pieces’, nor even requested that this article be written; the SKWAWKBOX runs entirely on goodwill donations from supporters.

Section 2 – comment and analysis


The SKWAWKBOX used to have a great deal of respect for Paul Mason. Tragically, he appears to be imploding.

When criticised by the university academic, he attacked what he regarded as the misrepresentation of his comment about voters in working-class towns. Yet Mason misrepresented Barry Gardiner’s comments about Narendra Modi, days after Gardiner himself had made perfectly clear what he was praising and what his intent was.

When criticised by this blog – and when invited formally to comment for this article – Mason launched into a rant about ‘Stalinism’ – a theme he has visited before in his social media output.

According to dictionary.com, ‘Stalinism’ is,

characterized especially by the extreme suppression of dissident political or ideological views

Yet it is Paul Mason who is calling for the sacking of Corbyn staffers who [he says] disagree with Mason’s view – and Mason who is calling for the resignation of party chair Ian Lavery for the ‘crime’ of voting against the ‘second referendum’ Mason wants.

Similarly, when his latest stance was criticised he attacked the SKWAWKBOX as a “nutty conspiracy” site – and when invited to comment, as a site for “crazy paranoid[s]”.

Yet when contacted, he immediately assumed that someone was ‘ordering’ “hit-pieces” against him and his like-minded remain ultras. Nobody ordered or requested them, but Mason’s mind leapt immediately to the assumption that there was a ‘Stalinist’ conspiracy against him.

Mason appears to be at odds with himself. He has felt entitled to ‘dish it out’, but when criticised he has reacted with a level of affront and prickliness that suggests he is aware of his own dissonance – lashing out when confronted and accusing others of the behaviour he is demonstrating.

Double-speak and ‘wagons’

But that is not the only contradiction. Mason claims in his article that he would ‘enthusiastically circle the wagons around Corbyn’. Yet in the very next paragraph, he calls for the removal of a number of Corbyn’s closest and most loyal supporters, for the crime of disagreeing with Mason.

Such a move, if successful, would strip Corbyn of many of his most steadfast protectors – the very ‘wagons’ that shield him now. The same ‘wagons’ that – as Beckett pointed out – stood solidly with Corbyn during the toughest of times in the first years of his leadership and ever since.

Not only that, but – as Lavery and Beckett observed – such a call goes against the very principles of the movement Mason claims he wants to protect. Solidarity, unity, loyalty are the very essence of the ‘Corbyn project’ – yet Mason cast them aside without hesitation and even with relish.

And his ire is misplaced. Numerous Labour insiders agree with Beckett that Corbyn’s ‘LOTO’ (leader of the opposition) team very much carry out his wishes, executing his instructions rather than manipulating him as [the still conspiracy-obsessed] Mason seems to assume.

Wilful delusion?

Mason’s delusion about the Corbyn project is clearly demonstrated in the same paragraph in which he smeared Gardiner as a ‘fan’ of Modi:

If the term “Corbynism” now includes a human rights lawyer such as Keir Starmer, together with a figure such as Barry Gardiner…it is not really an “ism” at all.

Nobody with a decent knowledge of the dynamics of the Shadow Cabinet would, in a million years, consider Keir Starmer a Corbynite. So to include him to construct an attack on ‘Corbynism’ is delusional – and as Mason cannot plead ignorance, that delusion appears wilful.

Starmer was also one of the names included by Mason, in his response to a request for comment shown above, in his outrage about ‘hit-pieces’ supposedly ordered by nebulous figures.

Starmer was seen in an ‘off-book’ meeting with Tom Watson and the two were recently accused by senior Labour insiders of mounting an attempted coup when they appeared to coordinate damaging media comments misrepresenting Labour’s policy on a new referendum.

‘Corbynism without Corbyn’

Tom Watson’s closeness to the anti-Corbyn “people’s vote” campaign was exposed at the weekend when key phrases from the campaign’s leaked briefing notes were found to be reproduced in Watson’s Observer article published on Sunday.

Labour insiders up and down the country have for months reported that regular discussions were taking place among soft-left and liberal left figures under the slogan ‘Corbynism without Corbyn’.

Not ‘Corbynism after Corbyn’ – the Labour leader is not immortal and succession planning is merely sensible – but ‘without’, leading Labour insiders to conclude that the aim of the discussions was ultimately Corbyn’s removal and the hijacking of the movement.

That phrase popped up in Mason’s article. It was softened by preceding it with ‘one day, many years in the future’, but it’s an interesting coincidence:

Sad and shameful

For years, the SKWAWKBOX and most supporters of Jeremy Corbyn regarded Paul Mason with huge respect. Judging by many of the responses to his article and subsequent tweets, that has changed – probably beyond repair.

It is a sad development. A writer and activist that could have continued to be such a force for the movement has squandered his position and become a shell of his former stature.

Howard Beckett said that Paul Mason has brought ‘shame upon Paul only’. But how much damage Mason has done the movement he claims to want to protect remains to be seen.


  1. But hasn’t Paul Mason been rather a joke figure for quite some time?

    “Remain and Reform” is a fraud. Where is Mason’s EU Reform programme? Does it really exist? Can he produce it for us? If it does exist, does it include proposals for the crucial national freedom over public ownership and anti-marketisation, and the crucial freedom over how to deploy that new public sector without interference over “illegal State Aids”?

    Moreover, if Mason does have an EU reform programme how does he intend to get it through the process enshrined in the Treaty on European Union, whereby the national governments decide on changes by consensus, so that only those Treaty amendments acceptable to the most neoliberal Member State governments see the light of day?

    “Remain and Reform” is a complete scam. It serves as a fig leaf for politicians who do not want to change the social and economic status quo in this country.

    Grahame Morris makes a good point. The Euro Election results are presently generating more heat than light. We need a breakdown of the distribution of votes in:
    1) the Labour-held seats
    2) the target seats which Labour needs to win in order to secure a Labour government.

    1. “Remain and Reform” is a fraud. Where is Mason’s EU Reform programme? Does it really exist? Can he produce it for us?

      No, and neither can the beauts on here.

      They deliberately ignore the fact that the push for the second ref was given a massive boost when camoron went to brussels telling everyone the eu were gonna give the uk this that & the other.

      Instead, he returned with his trousers around his ankles having had his arse well spanked, and having made the uk the laughing stock of the eu.

      1. ”They deliberately ignore the fact that the push for the second ref ”

        ORIGINAL referendum…my mistake.

        Anyway, I’ll continue…

        Despite the utterly useless pair of weird eds and their ‘austerity lite’ campaign; that toerag promise of a referendum garnered them a helluva lot more votes than if they hadn’t promised one at the subsequent GE in 2015.

        But you never hear remainers accepting that any of that was the case.

    2. Yep, Paul Mason has indeed been a joke figure for a considerable time – at least to anyone with even a basic understanding of the actual economics of capitalism for a start . That ex music teacher, Mason, got to be the Economics Editor of Newsnight has always been a mystery – not a key state propaganda role usually given to someone who was in a tiny Trot sect for 20 years in his younger days ! Mason’s recent books, claiming to analyse current capitalism merely exposed him as a economically illiterate fraud – with no idea at all how globalised capitalism actually works. His worldview seems to extend no further than his own privileged media celebrity experiences. Hence Mason has lauded the multi job “Gig,or Uberised, economy ” as “liberating” , as if his overpaid varied media gigs equate to the lives of the real zero hour working class “precariat” ! He also ludicrously claims that the digital media , internet-based , often home-based , jobs which increasingly dominate the middle class job experience in the UK and US , and Europe, is in some mysterious way capable of “transcending capitalism”. He simply doesn’t understand that this development , via the division of global capitalist economic functions – derived from hundreds of years of imperialism , was predicted as far back as Lenin’s “Imperialism” to lead to the major metropolitan capitalist heartland states becoming the superprofits-deriving “coupon clipping” economies, administering the financial markets of global capitalism, and the “back office” functions, whilst the actual physical production was done in the rest of the world. Not a transcendence of capitalism in any way – but providing comfy jobs for middle class tossers like Mason.

      There is nothing new in middle class fakers pretending to be socialists in our ranks (think of the Webbs and all the Fabians, etc, and of course most of the PLP) – but actually determined to defend their privileged class’s way of life – which for Mason and co is deeply entangled with the gravy train that is the EU for media luvvies like him. Another poisonous Left Liberal in our ranks. His current treachery (and strange obsession with the “stalinist menace” he sees everywhere – even in Putin’s ramshackle Russian Federation) is no surprise. Time the Momentum folk expelled him ,surely ?

    3. Danny: you and your “Full Brexit” Stalists and Blue Labour chums are the frauds: the “remain and reform” has been spelled out many, many times as I think you must know. Go to the Labour for a Socialist Europe website in order to educate yourself, prof.

    4. “hasn’t Paul Mason been rather a joke figure for quite some time?”

      Not as much as the average leaver.

  2. As with Owen Jones, we obviously need to be wary of those whose primary drive is either themselves or the journalism in which they engage rather than with any political commitments and campaigns. Fair enough my living comes first. B ut with no knowledge of Mason’s student days and his past conflicts, his rant about Stalinism, rather like the some Labour member’s use of antisemitism, looks like a vague and offensive cloak to attack opponents as people rather than their ideas, policy or programmes they present. Ss such Mason has now joined the Starmer, Watson, Thornberry movement for opposition.

  3. I’m not sure where this “huge respect” for Mason came from. Anyone examining his statements over the years will have seen a deeply opportunistic cheerleader for imperialist war. The guy lost the plot a long time ago. It should have been warning enough when he was caught slagging Corbyn off behind his back in a Liverpool pub.

    Here’s a selection of titbits.

    From WSWS 21 November 2015

    “None of this has proved to be problematic for Mason in maintaining warm relations with his former comrades in Workers Power, the SWP and similar groups, who treat his vocal opposition to Marxism and social revolution as if it were a minor personality quirk.

    Not one pseudo-left publication has been so impolite as to refer to Mason’s naked warmongering as they invite him onto their platforms to promote his latest book. Many privately agree with his public statements. After all, their public position on Yugoslavia, Libya, Ukraine and Syria was to fully support the forces assembled and encouraged by the imperialist powers, to portray them as “revolutionaries,” and to insist that they had the absolute right to seek weapons and support from Washington, London and Paris. Others no doubt combine grudging admiration and envy for his ability to secure a six-figure salary by serving as a propagandist for the bourgeoisie.

    Despite the best efforts of the pseudo-left to apologise for Mason, however, his writings brand him as a bitter enemy of the working class and a political reactionary of the worst sort.”

    Mason in the Guardian 27 May 2017

    “David Cameron was right to take military action to stop Gaddafi massacring his own people during the Libyan uprising of 2011: the action was sanctioned by the UN, proportionate, had no chance of escalating into an occupation.”

    Mason on Twitter 25 February 2019

    2) (How to win Remain in PV)… Leave is Putin’s plan for Britain; it harms our national security and weakens NATO…


    That’s just off the top off my head: with friends like that…

    Even Owen Jones in the Guardian yesterday had the sense to distance himself from a man who has clearly lost it.

    1. “I’m not sure where this “huge respect” for Mason came from. Anyone examining his statements over the years will have seen a deeply opportunistic cheerleader for imperialist war. The guy lost the plot a long time ago.”

      My thoughts exactly.

    2. The points you make about Mason supporting imperial wars in Libya and Syria are absolutely vital to understanding his political collapse. Unlike Corbyn, he is now a liberal imperialist who has swallowed the paternalistic, Guardian-promoted, propaganda about ‘humanitarian intervention’ and ‘Responsibility to Protect.’ The ‘White Man’s Burden’ of the colonial era is alive well and located in Washington and London. This notion regards the peoples outside Europe and North America as little more than savages incapable of running their own affairs.

  4. And he claims to be loyal to Corbyn?
    The man’s a fool and a liar.
    Having said that, I can’t see that he merits such attention – a good nine out of ten Guardian ‘Labour’ articles are written by Corbyn haters, at least half of them claiming to be long term Corbyn supporters. The Guardian loves them.

  5. Have you all totally forgotten that Jeremy Corbyn himself campaigned for “Remain and Reform?” I truly believe Corbyn is a man of strong principals and I am convinced that he would not have advocated for a position that he didn’t genuinely support. I also fail to comprehend that he might be so fickle as to totally abandon that believe because the referendum went the other way.

    This is a tricky dilemma to navigate without inciting outrage from one side or the other. While I do not support Mason’s agenda for sacking advisors close to Corbyn, the Sqwawkbox is not helping by dogmatically entrenching opinions against a confirmatory referendum; this is not balanced journalism from either camp. We need to consider rationally why this second vote might be necessary and put a logical supporting argument to the public for their consideration. Have confidence that the Labour Party will stand or fall at the next general election based on its transformative policies and stop the divisive counterproductive tug of war online. I will repeat a comment I have offered before…

    My main concern is over basic fairness and I would like to hear from those ranting over the “Will of the People” why it was acceptable to exclude all those who had the most to lose from Brexit? EU nationals who have lived in the UK for years, settled, married and raised children here while working hard and paying UK taxes; they were denied the right to vote in the EU referendum. These EU Citizens, who now risk having their families torn apart, represent a large block of potential remain voters who were gerrymandered out of the referendum vote.

    The Tories promised in their manifesto to lift the fifteen year limit on voting in UK elections that is imposed on those who have moved overseas. This pledge was ignored despite the important implications for this group of UK Citizens, most of them former UK tax payers, who would probably have voted heavily for remain.

    Both of these groups were also disenfranchised in this latest vote. A significant number of EU Citizens were blocked from voting at UK polling stations on Thursday and overseas voters were outraged over not receiving their postal votes in time. This injustice was inflicted on UK and EU Citizens who had every right to vote in these 2019 EU elections; it might just have been incompetence, but it could represent more deliberate gerrymandering. I do not support gerrimandering; you never know when you too will be targeted for exclusion.

    Many sixteen and seventeen year olds are also tax payers and should have been allowed to vote just as was permitted in the Scottish Referendum and for the same reason. But the Tories continued their track record of screwing our youth. Most of these young people were strongly inclined to vote remain, but will now have to live with the consequences of the Brexit vote for the longest time into the future. As if the Tories haven’t enacted enough toxic laws to cripple the opportunities of the next generation. Why would Labour support such an unfair burden on the young people they hope will one day vote for the Labour Party? They might just abandon Labour to vote Green.

    I still hope we will get a chance to oust the Tories in a General Election, but if the Labour Party want to win they must first acknowledge this grotesque injustice and offer a confirmatory vote. I hope Labour would snatch that Article 50 notification back so that we are no longer threatened by any whim of the EU. At that point the new government should set up two, cross party committees, with appropriate regional representation, to devise a solid workable consensus plan for implementation of Brexit and an alternatively pitch for requirements that might persuade the UK public to vote remain. If we were to drop the “cake and eat it” demand and collaborate with the EU to target the mutual benefit of both UK and EU Citizens I am sure the EU would welcome this new mature negotiating stance.

    At a point when we have two universally acceptable and completely viable alternatives to choose from then, and only then, should there be a confirmatory referendum vote. If this negotiating period was well organized it should not postpone Brexit any longer than our currently agreed transition period; it would offer greater clarity and certainty over the outcome that remain voters might consider supporting. We would have time to set reasonable regulations to safeguard the vote from external interference and set penalties for fraud, overspend and distributing fake information, so that the public had confidence in the final result.

    The confirmatory vote could not repeat the injustice of excluding the three groups who were disenfranchised last time. If these measures were taken then people would be ready to accept the result and know that we were not blundering forward into an unknown disaster. The so called “Will of the People” was in fact the will of those who were not cheated out of their legitimate right to vote. I was not excluded from voting last time, but millions were and I strongly believe in justice and fairness; this demands decent preparation, precautions and a fully inclusive vote.

    Of course if you are so blinded by selfishness that you think screwing over millions of people is perfectly acceptable then I will not expect you to support this valid point. My argument in favour of a confirmatory vote is quite apart from the massive lies told, the external interference, dodgy internet practices and dubious financing: just on the disenfranchisement issue this was not a legitimate vote. If you disagree, please do attempt to explain such an indefensible rational.

    1. You have already posted exactly this drivel in a previous thread. If you can’t write a comment related to a specific topic your Troll status is too blatant to be taken seriously.

      1. jpenney. I do not remember reading the comment from KSF before, therefore I welcome it, it is bang on this subject. You do not agree with its sentiments, therefore you try and discredit the author.

      2. Everything tghat Mason says about Labour’s Brexit so-called “policy” is true: it’s wrong in principle and wrong in practice (ie electorally). And those responsible for undermining the rank and file’s clearly expressed desire for remain and reform, and a scond referendum (ie Milne, Murphy and Lavery), should be got rid of.

      3. J Penney. Why on earth do you attack Kim Sanders Fisher for writing a perfectly reasoned argument ( Your arguments are worth reading, but less reasoned and more pejorative). Just disagree . Skwawkbox became the epitome of Lexiting insurgence with Lavery as hero and that is why I stopped supporting it financially because I am a Remainer. So? I felt the answer to Get Brexit Done was Brexit will get Britain Done. But it was not a binary message that came from Jeremy and team but a fudge. As to Mason – no economist knows what is going on 100%, 75% or even 50% of the time, ever. Economics is a theoretical position that shapeshifts and much diminished post 2008 as a discip[line. It gives useful frameworks for discussioon, that is all. . Global finance is a vast Casino.. Thomas Picketty described it but got no closer to predicting when the next crash will happen. This whole turning- in on friends and friends of friends, is reminiscent of my time at LSE in 1971-4 following on from the 1968’ers.. At least 13 socialist-type societies./groups plus some anarchists, all squabbling like toddlers in a playpen. No time to turn their fire against the establishment Tories , the real enemy. Stop it will you -all of you. You’re OK. Mason’s OK . Owen’s OK. I’m OK -and we all know what Boris Johnson is in this for. Concentrate your energies on monitoring and exposing his lies. xxx Rosie Brocklehurst

    2. This piece is not about Brexit – it’s about the outrageous attack Mason has made on Labour Party officials and staffers. As for People’s Vote, or whatever other name Alastair Campbell chooses to call his project, that is not about Brexit either: it’s a carefully designed elephant trap to get rid of Corbyn and make sure that normal service (i.e. lip service to the capitalist class) is resumed in short order right across the British political spectrum. Whether Starmer, Thornberry, Lewis, Mason, Watson etc. (and their supporters on here and more broadly) are co-conspirators or useful idiots is sometimes difficult to discern but objectively they serve the same masters. I don’t care what way you voted in 2016; get behind the 2017 manifesto that served so well and stop whining on about Brexit as if there weren’t more important things in the world.

  6. I wrote an article for a political group within my TU 3 or 4 years ago about iDiem25 who were seeking remain and reform in the EU.
    In the current EU election Diem25 had candidates, including Y Varoufakis. Not sure that this is what P Mason was calling for, but there are people in the EU working towards this.
    I have been somewhat confused by Mr Mason’ s weathervane outpourings, some good, some excellent and many not. Disappointing to say the least given his self declared political “ position”.

  7. A scenario unfolded here that highlights how divided views on Brexit are, in Labour, just as they are in every family, community and political grouping. It also shows how passionately many feel about this most complex and difficult decision, which is not just as simple as in or out. We must all beware of not hearing or silencing voices, particularly those least heard.
    For many the issue is now ‘when will this be over’, for others ‘how will it ever be over’?
    Collective sighs cross the country.
    Brexit has divided us. Divided a Broken Britain. Broken by austerity and the neglect of so many communities. Bubbles, Pockets, Factions – call them what you will but the difference of view from one to another is destroying hope, disenfranchising many leaving the sad probability that those who shout loudest & have the most power will ‘win.
    Those who care, as we do, for more than making a fast buck, will continue to circle through the cycle of anger, despair, despondency…… all of which damage Hope.

  8. It’s comments like this which detract from the credibility of Skwawkbox:

    “the anti-Corbyn “people’s vote” campaign”

    Where is the evidence that the PV campaign is anti-Corbyn?

    Almost everything Skwawkbox says is twisted or spun to make it look as though any of us who support the the ONLY possible democratic solution to the Brexit mess is to go back to the people, are somehow anti-Corbyn or anti-Labour. The recent polls showing massive swings to the libdems and the greens prove beyond doubt that we are correct.

    I fully support putting the issue back to the people but in no way whatsoever am I anti-Corbyn. I am critical though of any of those around him who are lobbying against a PV or those who advised him to adopt the IHRA anti-Semitism definition or not suspend Margaret Hodge and others. These are the people who are helping to create division in the Labour Party.

    It is impossible to reconcile two irreconcilable viewpoints on Brexit and it is futile to attempt it. I trust Jeremy to make a decision on what he feels is best for the country as a whole and in my view he has already done it with his remain and reform stance during the referendum. The crux of that is REMAIN.

    1. “Almost everything Skwawkbox says is twisted or spun to make it look as though any of us who support the the ONLY possible democratic solution to the Brexit mess is to go back to the people, are somehow anti-Corbyn or anti-Labour.” You may not agree with Squawk but it is the only media that is exposing an anti democratic establishment in the party and yes its a small outfit with few resources and so gets a few things wrong but just because you may not agree with the editorial output doesn’t mean its fair to tarnish the whole outfit. Compared to the propaganda of much in the Guardian it is a beacon of openess and analysis.

      1. Tim Draper. I am one of the many who contribute in a small way to keep Sbox going and I welcome and appreciate the facility to comment.

        However, I am becoming increasingly concerned that if events in the Labour Party do not go to Skwawky’s liking, that with little or no basis, he resorts to making comments attacking those who disagree.

      2. I think that is a misrepresentation of what Steve was saying, Paul has attacked people who cannot respond because they disagree with his stance, we have a conference mandate which should be upheld, Paul has disregarded that not Milne, I am a remainer but I have to say the remain side has got increasingly volatile and turns me off completely, Paul is sounding slightly unhinged and I have always been a big fan of his.

  9. Given that Paul Mason condemns everyone who disagrees with him as Stalinists, it seems that he sees himself as fighting for a Trotskyite vision of the future. Certainly, Trotsky supported the idea of a United States of Europe as precursor to true internationalism.

    It may be that his increasingly hostile reaction is dismay that the mass movement is flocking behind the barricades of Brexit and not for the purity of his detailed long term plans for 2030.

    It’s all very well to reject sectarianism but frankly the troskyite ultra left are often a ruddy nuisance in any organisation. What I really object to, is the abandonment of people who are suffering now for some future utopia brought about by ‘politicisation by confrontation’.

    The pincer movement against Corbyn by the far left and RW Labour looks likely to undermine our best chance of a socialist govt. under Corbyn… but at least, some of our union leaders and MPs are backing Corbynism with Corbyn and not joining forces against.

    1. Keep real.

      “Paul Mason condemns everyone who disagrees with him as Stalinists”

      He doesn’t.


      What is that? I’m pretty sure that Corbyn wouldn’t endorse the term, any more than Labour’s most impressive leader – Attlee – would have done other than cast an acid remark over a term like ‘Attleeism’.

      (BTW – I reckon Attlee would have seen Milne long gone with that well known remark ‘Not up to it’)

  10. Thank you for this oasis of argument in the desert of no-think sloganising. I don’t necessarily agree with all your conclusions, and, of course, the Tories have engineered a total right-wing stitch-up beneath the surface chaos of the situation that the country now find itself in.

    The focus has been on the mess that their Party is in : but – look at the graph line of Labour support; look at the confusion within Labour; look at the election results : the reality is that the Tories have managed to take Labour down with them as the extreme right aims to reshape their part of the political spectrum.

    The ERG plutocrats are laughing all the way to the bank as the Lexiteers back their cunning plot. That is the reality.

    You are absolutely right :

    “The so called “Will of the People” was in fact the will of those who were not cheated out of their legitimate right to vote.”

    In fact, it’s not, by any stretch of the imagination ‘the will of the people” – only some 37% of the electorate that wasn’t excluded.

    The hypocrisy of Skwawkbox is immense, with self-righteous indignation at anyone who criticizes the current position of the Party on the Brexit issue,(although they represent in different ways the majority of Labour supporters), whilst giving a free pass to those who have handed the initiative to the Tories by defying the whip on crucial votes.

    Immense double-think.

    The bottom line is that current Labour policy has failed by any criterion : as now demonstrated in two actual elections, and, in hard terms, the alliance with the Brexit faction has left half the nation unrepresented at a time when a convincing voice was needed.

    A historic blunder, stretching back to the original endorsement of the outcome Tories’ private squabble.

    It’s also a more local tactical blunder, lending the opposition to Corbyn the high ground.

    Any organisation that achieves such a disastrous outcome deserves to be questioned – but Skwawkbox prefers questioning the questioners (thus actually endorsing the ‘Stalinist’ tag) Such usual suspects as the deeply wrong Milne (whose immensely privileged establishment background would normally provoke intense slagging off on this site) are to be treated with kid gloves as victimised ’employees’ of the Party.

    … and that’s before we get to the actual substance (or rather lack) of Brexit as a coherent policy – a fact that Labour has consistently avoided highlighting – thus effectively endorsing an extreme right-wing policy as coherent and sustainable rather than providing opposition.

    … and Paul Mason and the like are the culprits????? Wake Up!

    Another vote is not an attractive prospect – but those of us, like Mason, who support it, see it as the only way out of this utter mess that Labour has, sadly, collaborated in creating. Cat-calling won’t change that fact. Nor will it change the dire polling figures as votes go to the LibDems and Greens that should be Labour’s.

    And that meagre harvest of votes last week? Have no doubt that a large proportion will be reflected in a comment made to me. And some who spin Leaver fantasies here self-admittedly don’t support Labour.

    “I took your advice and voted Labour, despite everything. But this is the last f.ing time unless something changes”.

    14% FFS!

  11. ‘Paul il et un lightweight.
    Who rode the left wing rise.
    Now history overtakes him.
    Oh d’accore! Oh d’accore! Quelle surprise!!

  12. Paul Mason has shown his true colours as faux socialist. He really thinks that he has influence on how people will listen to him and take action on his behalf. Meanwhile, he’s sitting comfortably and watching everything unfold. I see in a few of the posts here about people complaining that people should’ve been able to vote in the Referendum when 16/17yrs old. I’m fine if you want to change the voting age but really, this nonsense about you voted a certain way and I don’t agree because I’m underage. I wasn’t old enough to vote when we had the Referendum to go into the EU.

    And let us not forget, how many young people who could vote didn’t? They couldn’t be bothered to vote, you get the result you didn’t want and then complain about your generation missing out, tough! Get off your backside and vote.

    But more and more we are seeing the likes of Tom Watson, Emily Thornberry & Keir Starmer trying to make a piecer movement against Jeremy, perhaps they’ve forgotten he campaigned for remain. Perhaps they forget that he wanted to reform the EU. He’s not that far away in policy terms, he just believes in democracy and that when you are told by the electorate what to do you carry it out. WTS as we’ll now call them, want to do real damage to the party and ignore this. They’re obsessed with their London centric view that has done so much damage to the people of this country. London is not the country, they need to realise that votes in London will not get Labour into power. They ignore the North and Midlands at their peril!

  13. Accept the one and only referendum result and perhaps stop clinging at straws on the lines of what Brecht one said – trying to find a new public.
    An internationalism via independent socialist nation states is possible.

    1. The Brecht poem you allude to, and paraphrase, is the following:

      The Solution – Poem by Bertolt Brecht

      After the uprising of the 17th June
      The Secretary of the Writers Union
      Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
      Stating that the people
      Had forfeited the confidence of the government
      And could win it back only
      By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
      In that case for the government
      To dissolve the people
      And elect another?

  14. ”London is not the country,”

    Exactly what the elitists don’t want you to think. Vote remain to keep snouts in troughs while you fight for the slops.

    They can fucking well kiss it.

    1. What a stupid typification of ‘London’.

      The metropolitan centre is far from being ‘London’.

      Even I, as an inveterate hater of the overweening and off-kilter centre of gravity know that.

  15. Speaking as a crazy paranoid Stalinist, I have never been able to take Mason seriously as a journalist. I have a problem with anyone who describes themselves as a ‘progressive’, as though they are in some way morally superior to the rest; anyone who would denigrate a platform such as ‘Sqwawkbox’ is a platform denier on a par with Stalin. Je suis Charlie Ebdo.

    A Guardian journalist who not only worked for the BBC, but also worked for Channel 4 & I wonder why he demands a 2nd Vote? (He also wrote for the Daily Express & the Mail….I wonder what Peter Hitchens thinks of him?)……….now claims that anyone working class who voted Brexit cannot consider themselves ‘Progressive’. Now that really is ‘Guardian Speak’. A progressive being anyone who reads the Guardian & believes in their bourgeois values. A working class Stalinist like myself left the ‘Liberal Promoting’, Anti- Corbyn, Zionist rag in the bin a long time ago, with the same contempt that I have for the ‘Progressive’ BBC & Channel 4..

    His love for ‘Northern Soul’ indicates that he has serious identity problems (which would also explain why he works for the Guardian). Too young to be a ‘Mod’ & not born in London has its problems for him. Completely lacking any dress sense, Northern Soul’ is the perverse practice of claiming you like ‘B’ sides of obscure ’60s Soul music & then attempting to make awkward moves around a dance floor in Wigan. It may not surprise you that I was a ‘Rocker’ in the ’60s & therefore from an alien culture.

    It would appear that he believes that he has a monopoly on truth. Deceit & misrepresentation are the trade marks of all the organisations that he has worked for & now it has made him blind. The ‘reasonable & ‘acceptable’ face of the ‘left’ is a hypocrite desperately seeking a home in the ‘establishment’ media.


    1. Apparently this investigation is being made @ the behest of Margaret Hodge who cited the example that it took 3 years to expel the anti-Zionist Jackie Walker, but only 3 days to expel Alastair Campbell. Right on cue…..time for another Anti-Semitic News Headline.

      As long as the IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism remains as Labour Policy it will by definition make most Labour members anti-semitic. If you believe in the British System of Justice read Jonathon Cook’s blog from Nazereth ref. Julian Assange.

    2. Perhaps we need to press the EHRC for what they mean by ‘antisemitism’, and whether they are independent of the discredited Israel-inspired IHRC definition and examples?

      1. RH 28/05/2019 at 6:50 pm

        I fully expect that the report will highlight some minor administrative problems that still exist. I also expect it to detail all the mal-administration that went on under the McNicol regime and to express particular concern that McNicol’s staff photocopied confidential complaints documents and then passed this onto the media but not before they shredded the original evidence. https://skwawkbox.org/2019/05/20/excl-departing-right-wing-labour-staff-shredded-1000s-of-disciplinary-docs-but-gave-copies-to-press/ Hopefully those that are to blame will be made to own it.

        The party can’t stop it so I think that the best way to deal with this enquiry is to embrace it and actively and enthusiastically cooperate. Lets get some definitive answers about any existing problems, accept any reasonable criticism and implement any recommendations.

  16. Wahey!

    Alistair Campbell’s been expelled from the Labour Party! 😀

    Karma is coming for the WTS tendency…

    1. Oops! Just noticed SteveH got there first (@12.26). Quelle surprise!

      Campbell’s gonna be even more depressed now. He might even get a book out of it!

      1. timfrom 28/05/2019 at 12:53 pm

        Oops! Just noticed SteveH got there first (@12.26). Quelle surprise!

        Who cares, I wasn’t aware it was a competition. 😊

      2. I reckon anyone who can make light of depression has even less connection to Labour Party values than Campbell.

  17. Whether you agree with Mason or not, his underlying point is that Labour got 14% in the EU vote and, must, therefore, be getting something wrong. Do those of you who fully support Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit approach not see that there is a probable link between his policy and Labour only getting 14% of the vote?

    1. There’s a probable link between Watson/Thornberry/Starmer’s mischievous media appearances confusing people as to what Labour policy was, feeding the myth that Labour’s position was wooly, and Labour only getting 14% of the vote.

      1. It would be nice if JC’s media appearances offered clarity rather than confusion.

    2. Sigh… You are just endlessly repeating an issue discussed to death on here, Joe. Let’s go over it again though ….The Greens and UKIP got very big results in the last two EU elections too – with no impact on the following General Elections, where the issues are much, much broader. As repeated constantly on Skwawkbox, Labour has to attract, and speak for both Remainers and Leavers, and most of our MPs come from Leave constituencies … and most of the Tory marginals have to win are in Leave areas too. The Greens can just focus on the middle class Remain Vote – and Farage could just focus on the Leave voters. Tiny turnout last week too – 37% compared to 72.2% in the actual EU Referendum – so irrelevant as indicator of either a General Election or a proper second EU Referendum. But, as you of course know well, the PV/Remain issue is just a useful policy wedge to split the Labour Party. Go away, Joe, back to the Greens and Guardian where you belong.

    3. FFS, Joe – don’t you recognise how much more important is the scotch mist of ‘socialist ideology’ and purity than actually getting a Labour government?

      The fantasy brigade are aiming to get the vote way below 14% in order to match the Tories!

  18. JPenny, sorry to disappoint you, but I won’t be going anywhere. Now I’ve voted for a Remain Party, The Greens, I’ll probably renew my membership within the six month period I am permitted to.

  19. Yes comrades the next coup is trying to CON YOU!
    Corbynism Without Corbyn – Oh Yeah as no doubt they will present a Fake Left Opportunist Candidate for Continuity Corbynism – but perhaps they want the mass membership and activists for them plus the millions it brings in but then; slowly, slowly, catchey monkey as they gradually ditch the transformative programme & then back to a Cosy Careerist Parliamentary Club.
    And the Dream is Over.
    So we need to stand by JC – socialist Leavers & Remainers.
    I voted Remain as a last throw of the dice to try to collectively to break EC Neo-Liberalism but accept the decision and now support leave from a socialist perspective.
    Though probably a minority I believe as socialists we may hold the left wing democratic socialist intellectual high ground and perhaps a majority are simply wrong?
    On this issue the EC Neo-Liberal Supranational Structure SERVES CAPITAL yet perhaps now this is for another day.
    We must now Stand Together Behind JC and ward off the Coup – is it Part 4 or Part 5?
    I think we are losing track of the drip, drip, drip!
    But we have one thing the political Barbarians within and without don’t have and that is IDEAS which is why in desperation they use underhand methods!
    We really are the many and they really are the few!

      1. But the membership fundamentally disagree with him on the EU and Brexit. That’s a major problem for a leader elected on the basis of respecting the views of the members. Corbyn’s politics are weak: the politics comes from the Stalinist Milne, who is a well-read and sophisticated “socialism in one country” advocate: he must be sacked.

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