Paul Mason’s logic

What is striking, when you consider the modern reality of precarious work and coercive management, is how the concept of human rights stops at the factory gate. The workers of Georgian England had no democratic rights or access to law. But the 21st century is supposed to be an age of universal rights. Every one of the practices described at Sports Direct appears to not just have broken employment law, but also violated the human right of the citizen not to be bullied, shamed, endangered or sexually harassed.

So today’s workers do have democratic rights and both access to law and protection under it.

That’s good then, isn’t it?

what worries is that neither Mason nor any of his editors saw the error there.

10 thoughts on “Paul Mason’s logic”

  1. “Every one of the practices described at Sports Direct appears to not just have broken employment law, but also violated the human right of the citizen not to be bullied, shamed, endangered or sexually harassed.”

    The attitude of writers towards Sports Direct is like aged maiden aunts fainting after first hearing of a woman running a train. These people have spent their whole life in the middle class bubble – school, uni, public sector, the fucking Guardian.

    I’ve worked in factories and most of the revelations are like “uh, yeah, and?”. Work in any sort of warehouse, you are subject to searches. Maybe not every day, sure, but it’s something you do. Don’t steal anything and you’ll be fine. Don’t like it, get another job. I don’t like heights, so I’m not signing up for painting the forth bridge.

  2. “The workers of Georgian England had no democratic rights or access to law.”

    Bollocks.

    The first Truck Acts were pre-Reformation and there were major ones in the 18th century. The first Factory Inspectors were appointed under William IV (which is generally classed as Georgian, despite his name).

    This is the usual “everything before Attlee was feudal exploitation” crap.

  3. So…. Labourer’s Act 1562, Apprentices Act 1563 (pre-Georgian), Wages Disputes Act 1746, Combination Act 1799, Apprentices Health Act 1802, Child Labour Act 1819, Master & Servant Act 1823, Workmens’ Act 1824/1825, Factories Act 1833 (Georgian) all never existed, then? Oh, of course, I forgot, workers had no legal protection before the EU existed.

  4. Aren’t Sports Direct doing rather badly out of this whole affair?

    This rather disproves Mason on its own.

  5. > Aren’t Sports Direct doing rather badly out of this whole affair?

    Dunno about that. Mike Ashley appeared before MPs in June before Euro 2016 kicked off, just in time to flog all those England t-shirts. Everyone’s complaining about the poor downtrodden workers, but that has drowned out any complaints about the quality of the merchandise or customer service. Most Brits will hear the bad news and think “Great, I can get a bargain now!”.

  6. If I were his editor I would get perverse pleasure from seeing how much utter bollocks he can spout as long as people are still reading.

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