Paul Mason (journalist)
|Alma mater||University of Sheffield|
Institute of Education
ITN (Channel 4 News) (2013–2016)
Paul Mason (born 23 January 1960) is a British commentator and radio personality. He was Culture and Digital Editor of Channel 4 News, becoming the programme's Economics Editor on 1 June 2014, a post he formerly held on BBC Two's Newsnight programme. He is the author of several books, and a visiting professor at the University of Wolverhampton.
Early life and education
Mason was born in Leigh, Lancashire. His father, John Mason (1927–86), was a lorry driver for Ward & Goldstone Ltd. His mother, Julia (née Lewis, born 1935), was headmistress of St Margaret Mary's Primary School, Hindley Green. One grandparent was a miner and another was a Lithuanian-Jewish violinist.
Mason was educated at St Joseph's RC Primary School in Leigh and Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton, which was a grammar school when Mason attended in the 1970s. He graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in music and politics in 1981 and trained to be a music teacher at London University Institute of Education, after which he undertook postgraduate research into the music of the Second Viennese School at the University of Sheffield until 1984.
Journalism and broadcasting
Mason has lived in London since 1988, becoming a freelance journalist around 1991. From 1995 to 2001 he worked for Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier, on titles including Contract Journal, Community Care and Computer Weekly, of which he was deputy editor. During the dotcom boom, Mason launched E-Business Review and was consulting editor for the launch of CW360.com. He also contributed articles to the Daily Express and The Mail on Sunday.
In August 2001, Mason joined the BBC Two television programme Newsnight taking up a post as Business Editor. His first live appearance on Newsnight was on the day of the September 11 attacks in 2001.
In the run up to the 2005 G8 Gleneagles conference, Mason was one of the first journalists at the BBC to be permitted to write a blog. His blog "Idle Scrawl" was later incorporated into Newsnight's "Talk About Newsnight" blog.
In May 2007, Mason's book Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global was published by Harvill Secker. The book was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award on 24 August 2007. In June 2007, Mason presented Spinning Yarns, a four-part series on the history of the cotton industry for BBC Radio Four. Mason appeared as the key talent in a new five-part BBC series Credit Crash Britain, first broadcast on BBC Two on 30 October 2008.
In August 2013, it was announced that Mason would join Channel 4 News as its culture and digital editor. In May 2014, it was announced that he would become the programme's Economics Editor at the beginning of the following month, replacing Faisal Islam.
Mason announced in February 2016 that he was leaving his position at Channel 4 News in favour of freelancing so he could engage more fully in debates on the political left without the constraint of impartiality observed by broadcasters in the UK.
His four-part documentary series #ThisIsACoup covered the 2015 Greek crisis from inside and outside the corridors of power. His documentary series K is for Karl commemorated the ideas of Karl Marx on the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth. His most recent series, R is for Rosa, was commissioned by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation to mark the centenary of the great Polish-German revolutionary.
He writes a weekly column for the New Statesman, and contributes to The Guardian, Der Freitag and Le Monde Diplomatique. He is a frequent guest on opinion-forming TV and radio shows, including BBC Newsnight, DemocracyNow!, Politics Live, Any Questions and BBC Question Time.
In 2017, Mason wrote Divine Chaos of Starry Things, a two act play looking at the life of Louise Michel and other exiles from the 1871 Paris Commune in exile in New Caledonia. The Guardian described it as "a frustrating, clunky but always intelligent drama focusing on the women in New Caledonia, and particularly the revolutionary Louise Michel. While her comrades take refuge in drink and hopes of appeal against their sentences, Michel keeps the red flag flying. She recognises that the oppression of the Kanaks and of the Parisian working class are one and the same".
Mason won the Wincott Prize for Business Journalism in 2003, the Workworld Broadcaster of the Year in 2004, and the Diageo African Business Reporting Award in 2007. His report on the social movements behind Bolivian president Evo Morales was cited when Newsnight was awarded the Orwell Prize (2007).
Mason was Father of the Chapel for the National Union of Journalists on Newsnight. He is a supporter of Leigh Centurions rugby league club and Manchester United F.C. He is married to nurse Jane Bruton. He is an atheist.
In January 2020 Paul Mason faced accusations of anti-Catholicism after a tweet in response to Rebecca Long-Bailey's comments on abortion during a meeting with representatives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford. Mason tweeted "I don't want Labour's policy on reproductive rights dictated by the Vatican, thanks." His comments caused a backlash as many interpreted them as pushing an agenda of mistrust of Catholics who hold public office, an idea that had prevented Catholics from holding public office until the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829.
He later went on to state, "I went to a Catholic grammar school in 1970s, taught by ultra-violent priests, and spent my early years in the Labour Party fighting the anti-abortionists on exactly this issue. There's no place for the misogynistic thugs of the Vatican in Labour politics.”
Two Labour MPs, Mike Kane and Conor McGinn, who are founding members of the group Catholics for Labour, wrote an article in Politics Home criticising Mason's comments stating that the response to Long-Bailey's comments began with sensationalism “and ended with age-old anti-Catholic bigotry - claims that all Catholics' first-loyalty is to Rome. Smears that have been used to marginalise and persecute Catholics in this country and elsewhere for centuries [...] we will not stand idle while her faith is being used to smear her or tolerate blatant sectarianism and anti-Catholic tropes.”
Mason is a former member of the Workers' Power group. He responded to an interviewer from the Evening Standard in 2011: "It's on Wikipedia that I was, so it must be true. It's fair to say I was a Leftie activist. What my politics are now are very complicated." In an interview with The Independent in 2015, he described himself as having been a "supporter" of the group.
In a speech in 2015 marking the publication of Naomi Klein's book This Changes Everything, he declared that "capitalism is dying". Mason has called for an alliance of "bond traders from Canary Wharf, arm in arm with placard-carrying Trots" against right-wing populist groups such as UKIP. Mason later described UKIP voters in unfavourable terms, stating "They are toe-rags, basically. They are the bloke who nicks your bike".
In 2016, Mason distanced himself from his former involvement in far-left Trotskyist politics, by saying that he no longer holds such views and identifies with a "radical social democracy". Responding to comments by the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, he said:
As to Mr Osborne's claim that I am "revolutionary Marxist" it is completely inaccurate. I am radical social democrat who favours the creation of a peer-to-peer sector (co-ops, open source etc) alongside the market and the state, as part of a long transition to a post-capitalist economy. There's a comprehensive critique of Bolshevism in my latest book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future.
Mason subsequently wrote positively about Marxism: in a piece for New Statesman published in May 2018 for the bicentenary of Marx's birth, he praised Marxist humanism inspired by Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 in general, and the thought of Raya Dunayevskaya in particular, for its emphasis on overcoming alienation from labour in order to achieve individual freedom, whilst criticising the authoritarianism of Stalinism and the structural Marxism of the likes of Louis Althusser. In another New Statesman article published the following year he described himself as an "actual Marxist", whilst critiquing determinist interpretations of Marx which posit Marxism as a "theory of everything".
In June 2016, Mason supported Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after mass resignations from his cabinet and a leadership challenge. He wrote in The Guardian: "But one thing I do know: Corbyn is incapable of lying to the British people; he is inured to elite politics; he didn't spend his entire life in a Machiavellian project to gain power and an invitation to Oleg Deripaska's yacht. That's why I voted for him and will do so again if you trigger a leadership vote."
In September 2016, he told the website The Canary: "Instead of attacking Momentum, any social democrat with an ounce of knowledge of Labour history should welcome it, even if they disagree with its politics... It is a genuine movement of the Labour left; it stands in the long tradition of radical social democracy, going back to Robert Blatchford's Clarion movement before 1914, or the ILP in the 1920s."
In the New Statesman magazine in mid-2018, Mason argued the case for state suppression of "fascists", saying that he favoured a policy of using "the full panoply of security measures to deter and monitor" those he described as "racists" and added: "For clarity, unlike many on the left, that means I am in favour of state suppression of fascist groups." He finished his article by saying that "The progressive half of Britain needs a narrative to overcome this threat: a narrative based on shared, historic values of democracy and tolerance", and also "[to] stop pandering to right-wing nationalism and xenophobia and start fighting it."
- Mason, Paul (2007). Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global. London: Harvill Secker. ISBN 978-0-436-20615-3.
- Mason, Paul (2009). Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-396-4.
- Mason, Paul (2012). Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-851-8.
- Mason, Paul (2012). Rare Earth. Harpenden: No Exit. ISBN 978-1-84243-846-6.
- Mason, Paul (2015). PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future. Allen Lane. ISBN 9781846147388.
- Mason, Paul (2019). Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0241320105.
- Mason, Paul (2021). How To Stop Fascism: History, Ideology, Resistance. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0141996394.
- Josh Halliday "BBC Newsnight's Paul Mason joins Channel 4 News", The Guardian, 5 August 2013
- Oli Townsend (13 May 2014). "Paul Mason to become Economics Editor at Channel 4 News". Features Exec Media Database – Media Bulletin. London. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Paul Mason, Esq". Debrett's People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight
- "This Happy Breed: what the heck are British values? – Paul Mason – Channel 4 News". Blogs.channel4.com. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- Lacey, Hester (13 January 2012). "The Inventory: Paul Mason". Financial Times Magazine. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- Gray, Robert (7 May 1997). "MEDIA: In Brief – Computer Weekly sees changes". PR Week UK. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "Paul Mason: the Robert Peston of revolution". Evening Standard. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
- A revolt the world over. Leela Yellesetty reviews journalist Paul Mason's book on the global rebellion of 2011. Socialist Worker, 2 February 2012]
- Tweetin' 'bout a revolution: Paul Mason talks about Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: the new global revolutions and horizontalist movements. Red Pepper, February 2012.
- Northern Soul – Keep The Faith BBC Website, 27 September 2013.
- Jackson, Jasper (26 February 2016). "Paul Mason quits Channel 4 News". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- "White Bear Theatre London | south london, London | White Bear Theatre, London". whitebeartheatre.co.uk (in American English). Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- "Podcasts: Institute of Public Policy Research". Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
- "In-depth interview with Paul Mason". High Profiles (in British English). Retrieved 2 September 2020.
- Mason, Paul (17 January 2020). "I went to a Catholic grammar school in 1970s, taught by ultra-violent priests, and spent my early years in the Labour Party fighting the anti-abortionists on exactly this issue. There's no place for the misogynistic thugs of the Vatican in Labour". @paulmasonnews. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
- Harris, Tom (20 January 2020). "Intolerant Labour can't afford to become the anti-Catholic party". The Telegraph (in British English). ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
- "Twitter Comments".
- "Intolerant Labour can't afford to become the anti-Catholic party". www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- "Does Labour have a Catholic problem?". TheArticle. 20 January 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- "Paul Mason explains why he was in secret Facebook group which was haven for antisemitic material". www.thejc.com. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
- Richard Godwin "Paul Mason: the Robert Peston of revolution", Evening Standard, 7 December 2011
- Paul Mason Live Working Or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global, Harvill Secker, 2007, p.298 ISBN 0-436-20615-3, ISBN 978-0-436-20615-3
- "Paul Mason's tweet about evil lettuce | London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- John Rentoul. "Paul Mason interview: The Channel 4 firebrand reveals his formula for a 'gift' economy". The Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- ~ Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine (28 March 2015). "Naomi Klein Calls for System Change to Address Climate and Inequality". DeSmog UK. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "Bond traders, Trots and Mumsnetters must unite against Farage's mob". The Guardian. 21 December 2016.
- Nair, Ajay (13 February 2017). "Broadcaster Paul Mason brands Ukip voters 'bike-stealing TOE-RAGS' in bitter rant".
- Paul Mason (2 March 2016). "Mickeygate — the truth! – Mosquito Ridge – Medium". Medium.com. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- Mason, Paul (7 May 2018). "Why Marx is more relevant than ever in the age of automation". New Statesman. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Mason, Paul (6 February 2019). "The hammer attack on Karl Marx's tomb shows the alt-right fears his time has come". New Statesman. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Mason, Paul (26 June 2016). "Corbyn delivered the Labour vote for remain – so let's get behind him". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
- Topple, Steve (19 September 2016). "Momentum: here's the truth about the 'hard-left' group". The Canary. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
- "Ukip's turn to the alt-right is a warning sign – we need to fight back". www.newstatesman.com. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Paul Mason (journalist)|
- Paul Mason on Twitter
- Mason at London's Frontline Club, 23 April 2009
- Official website of BBC's Newsnight programme
- Paul Mason bio on BBC website
- Website of Live Working or Die Fighting
- Website of Meltdown, the End of the Age of Greed
- Mason on Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global – video interview by Democracy Now!
- Daily Telegraph
- Interview Mute magazine 2012
- Interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – Ideas with Paul Kennedy – Posted 25 Nov 2015