Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani has been offered a job as Head of New Media at the centre-left think tank, The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The think tank was once seen as the intellectual home of the New Labour project. David Miliband (who Bastani supported in the 2010 leadership election) was appointed from IPPR by Tony Blair to be his Head of Policy, while James Purnell and Andrew Adonis have both served as Chairs. Labour MPs Liz Kendall, Rushanara Ali, Anna Turley, and former MPs Patricia Hewitt and Tristram Hunt all previously worked for the organisation.
Following the completion of his new book ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto’ the co-founder of Alt-left website Novara Media, is now set to join the organisation.
Bastani is a controversial figure on the left because of his aggressive support for far left causes on Twitter and his previous brushes with the law.
In 2011, before changing his name, Aaron Peters was convicted of a public order offence after ramming a bin through the door to a high street bank branch while wearing a balaclava. He was arrested later in the year for clashing with security at the School for African and Oriental Studies and was charged but the case was subsequently dropped.
Bastani sparked an online protest with the hashtag #BoycottNovara last year for his appearance alongside George Galloway on the former Respect MPs TalkRadio show despite Galloway’s comments about rape. The Russia Today host said in 2012 that Julian Assange is accused of just “bad sexual etiquette.”
Following the criticism, Bastani tweeted that he was unaware of the accusations against Galloway, despite tweets from 2015 and 2016 which suggest that he was aware of the controversy.
The Senior Editor of Novara Media has been accused of helping to spread fake news, including by the BBC for the false claim that Labour’s membership had grown to 800,000 following the General Election.
Novara was forced to remove a video on police brutality during the Catalonia referendum last year, when Press Gazette found they had used footage of a general strike in 2012 instead. Bastani initially defended the use of the 2012 footage, but eventually removed it ten days after first being made aware.
It is understood that IPPR have told Bastani he will not be able to use his personal twitter account if he takes the job, likely to be because of the controversial statements he is known for publishing.
He recently tweeted that Israel may have be to blame for the Salisbury attack; blamed the row over the antisemitic mural defended by Jeremy Corbyn on Labour MPs “trying to scupper Labour’s chances at the local elections”; and accused Free Syrian Army soldiers of using ISIS salutes, which in fact is a symbol used by Muslims globally to show oneness to God.