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Paul Mason talks Brexit, Corbyn and the failure of neoliberalism.
By Daniel J Broadley
“Neo-liberalism no longer works,” Paul Mason begins at his talk at Manchester Met in collaboration with the Manchester Industrial Relations Society (MIRS).
“Instead of wage growth, there is credit growth. The world economy runs on debt and goes through massive cycles of boom and bust. This makes the rich richer as assets rise in value and the poor poorer as the state steps in to make taxpayers pay, leading to austerity.
“The absence of a good alternative to neo-liberalism means neo-liberals come to the logical conclusion that there is no alternative.”
Paul Mason is a columnist for The Guardian, previous Economics Editor for Channel 4 News and is the author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. He recently delivered a thought provoking talk covering some of the most important political and economic issues facing us today.
— Ralph Darlington (@irrelations) October 27, 2016
Paul explained how the current system is leading to the breaking up of globalisation, epitomised by Brexit. He compared Brexit to the 1949 comedy film Passport to Pimlico, in which parts of London break off from one another. Mason’s alternative to the current system, he said, would be to ditch neo-liberalism in order to save globalisation.
“We should never retreat from interconnectedness,” Paul said. “Brexit is a disaster because we’ve left the EU without a strategy. Theresa May’s government is a regime of crisis. Her cabinet is a coalition of hard Brexiters who have triggered Article 50 without telling us their negotiating position.”
This lack of a strong negotiating position is crucial. Paul explained that senior civil servants have advised Prime Minister May that the only way she’ll get a good deal for the UK is by withholding the intelligence of GCHQ. Something that could have dire consequences with our allies on the international stage.
On how the referendum came to vote in favour of leaving the EU, Paul said, “There was a crisis of representation both of working class people and progressive ideas.
“The surest predictor of someone voting to leave the EU in the referendum were people in areas with large arrivals of migrants that were once low migrant areas.”
Paul then revealed that he had voted for Jeremy Corbyn in both of the Labour leadership elections, saying that his strongest qualities were his honesty, his internationalism and also him strongly saying that neo-liberalism is over. On people critiquing his leadersip qualities, Paul said, “He’s more like a Gandalf than an Aragon.”
He believes, however, that Labour can only win an election and form a government if they become a social movement in order to fight against the biased right wing media that so eagerly wants to destroy them. Their strategic problem, however, is Scotland and the SNP. Although many left leaning Brits would love a coalition between the two, Paul explained this would be political suicide.
He did say, however, that, “Labour will get into office with a progressive alliance and by winning the middle class swing voters who are fed up with the status quo.
“The real battle ground, however, will be the old working class who have swung to parties like UKIP. Labour must maintain social liberalism and economic radicalism to win back voters.”
“The people who put us in this mess are gone [Cameron, Osborne],” Paul finished. “Leaving everything in the hands of people who don’t know what the hell they are doing.”