John mcdonnell

King John

John McDonnell looks exhausted, slumped in his parliamentary office chair. Nobody said the revolution would be easy. Do he and Jeremy Corbyn have any catchphrases, I ask, to gee themselves up when battered by the right-wing press, the pundits or the moderates in their own party? ‘This will send the Daily Mail wild, OK,’ he says. ‘It’s Gramsci: “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” ‘No matter how bad it gets, determination is what you need. We’re doing something we’ve been working for for 30, 40 years of our lives. And this opportunity has come. We didn’t expect it. But now it’s come we’re making the most of it.’

Watch: John McDonnell’s BBC asset manager barney

As Jeremy Corbyn worked himself into a bother over Philip Hammond’s Budget in the Chamber, Labour’s shadow chancellor busied himself on the airwaves. Keen to show there was a better – more socialist – way, John McDonnell tried to explain to Andrew Neil why Labour had a more credible grip on the economy than the Conservatives. In order to try and make this point, McDonnell claimed many asset managers were impressed by his proposals – which include plans to invest through nationalisation. Given that Labour’s nationalisation plans include the government deciding how much to pay private companies for the assets, the presenters were intrigued to hear the claims: JM: When

John McDonnell’s Today interview shows the economy remains Labour’s Achilles heel

John McDonnell has busied himself today on the airwaves setting out Labour’s five key demands for the budget. His call for an end to austerity would mean pausing the roll-out of Universal Credit, ditching the public sector pay cap, more money into infrastructure, health, education, and local government along with a large-scale house-building programme. All very well. Only the shadow chancellor’s Today programme interview took a turn for the worse when McDonnell tried to explain how his party would fund this. He appeared to concede this would mean borrowing – along with a mega-crackdown on tax avoidance and changes to corporation tax. But the most telling point in the interview came when he was

His first 100 days

Many assume that if an election were held soon, Jeremy Corbyn would win. But what if, say, the government fell in 2020 and Labour won a working majority? At 71, Corbyn becomes Britain’s oldest prime minister since Churchill, and at first is one of its most popular. His appeal grows as he takes on some of the country’s favourite demons. Few listen to the protests of water and electricity shareholders as their stakes are seized — most are focused on their own bills, which surely will come down now. There are cheers at Victoria Station as the news flashes across screens that Southern Railway is to be nationalised. At hospitals,

Martin Vander Weyer

Uber was the ugly snowplough that cleared the path but its dominance is bound to fade

An Uber insider tells me not to write off the ride-hailing giant too soon, because it’s a very smart company for all its faults — and because the numbers of drivers and users for whom it is part of daily life will make it difficult for Transport for London to uphold its licence withdrawal on appeal, so long as Uber makes gestures of humility. But the moral of the story, says my source, is that as a ‘tech disrupter’ invading a regulated sector, the company created by Travis Kalanick ‘relished the fight with governments and entrenched interests far more than was normal or reasonable’, rather than seeking to be part

John McDonnell’s business charm offensive falls flat

John McDonnell has never had an easy relationship with big business. The shadow chancellor thinks there is a ‘lot to learn’ from Karl Marx and says one of his favourite pastimes is ‘fermenting the conditions to overthrow capitalism’. McDonnell is hoping his latest charm offensive to woo businesses will help them to forget those remarks. But the shadow chancellor might have to try a bit harder to win them over. The Labour Business Fringe Reception at the party’s conference last night was a chance to do just that. A smattering of businesses, including Microsoft, were there. The only problem? John McDonnell was nowhere to be seen. After waiting over an hour

We need a free market in credit cards – just like everything else

There are some commercial decisions that are intrinsically difficult to defend. The plot of the last Captain America film, for example. Ryanair’s charges for bags that are slightly too big. The price of the new iPhone, and just about anything done by the lovable folks over at Foxtons. Credit cards changes come very close to that category. Almost but not quite. In fact, if the Labour party gets its way, and imposes controls on them, we may find that out to our cost. In what will probably be the first of a whole week of populist measures, the shadow chancellor John McDonnell today announced that, if in office, he would

John McDonnell’s Labour conference speech, full text

I’d like to thank Ken Loach for that wonderful film and thank Ken for his incredible contribution to our movement. Can I also thank the Shadow Treasury Team: Peter Dowd our Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Anneliese Dodds; Jonathon Reynolds; Denis Tunnicliffe; Bryan Davies and my brilliant PPS Karen Lee Only a few months ago we were 24 points behind in the polls. Our opponents and virtually every political commentator = those two groups are often interchangeable by the way – they predicted that we would be wiped out in the general election. I said then in interview after interview that the polls would narrow and we would shock

Tom Goodenough

Labour’s conference, day two: The Spectator guide

John McDonnell takes centre stage on day two of the Labour party conference. Here are the best of the events taking place at conference, on the fringes and at Momentum’s ‘The World Transformed’: Labour conference: 10.50am: Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry 11am: Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer 12.15pm: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell 2.15pm: Living standards and strong economy 3.35pm: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan Fringe events: 8am: Engineering Brexit Ruinart, Hotel du Vin. Speaker: Hilary Benn 8am: The Times and Sunday Times Red Box Fringe London Lounge, The Brighton Centre. Speaker: Angela Rayner 9.15am: Powering a nation: A strategy for Britain’s future post Brexit New Statesman hub, British Airways. Speakers: Caroline Flint; Lisa Nandy 12.30pm: From Education to

Sunday shows round-up: Corbyn’s single market dilemma

Jeremy Corbyn – We need to ‘look very carefully’ at any future EU trade relationship As the Labour party conference in Brighton gets underway, Jeremy Corbyn put in an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show. Of particular interest, was Labour’s position on the single market – particularly whether the Labour leader was prepared to change his mind after pressure from party members and senior Labour figures: AM: 66 per cent of your party members want to stay inside the single market. Will you listen to them? JC: Of course I will listen to them. What I would say is that the important priority is to ensure that we have a tariff

On Brexit, Labour and the Tories are closer than either would like to admit

For months, Labour has been moving ever closer to the Tory position on Brexit while pretending that it isn’t. First, it backed Brexit. Then in June, John McDonnell told Robert Peston that he couldn’t see continued membership of the single market being ‘on the table’ in Brexit negotiations. He added that people would interpret membership of the single market as ‘not respecting that referendum.’ In July, Jeremy Corbyn told Andrew Marr that single market membership is ‘dependent on membership of the EU.’ Barry Gardiner has even suggested that the UK would become a ‘vassal state’ if it were to remain in the single market after Brexit. Today, Sir Keir Starmer writes in the Observer that, unlike Liam Fox and Philip Hammond,

John McDonnell’s words on Venezuela come back to haunt him

As Jeremy Corbyn tries to enjoy his summer holiday, the Labour leader is under increasing pressure to speak out against the Venezuelan regime. With opposition leaders under arrest and mass protests ongoing, the Labour leader has so far kept shtum on the regime he previously lauded as showing a ‘better way of doing things’. So, why the silence among Labour’s top command? It can’t be that they don’t think Venezuelan politics to be of interest. As David Aaronovitch notes in today’s Times, there was a time when Corbyn’s comrade John McDonnell compelled every MP to step up and talk about the country’s regime. Speaking at the Hands Off Venezuela national conference in

Sunday shows round-up: Philip Hammond says public sector workers paid ‘10 per cent premium’

Philip Hammond – Public sector workers paid ’10 per cent premium’ Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has landed himself in hot water after he apparently claimed that public sector workers were overpaid during a recent meeting of the political cabinet. Andrew Marr challenged Hammond repeatedly over what he did in fact say, and gave the Chancellor several opportunities to deny that he had used the word ‘overpaid’: Marr: Did you say it? Hammond: Andrew, I’m not going to talk about what was or wasn’t said in a cabinet meeting and it’s easy to quote a phrase out of context, but I’m very happy to talk about the substantive issue.

High life | 13 July 2017

I was going through my paces in Hyde Park, sweating out the booze, raising the heartbeat with short wind sprints, keeping my mind off the weekend’s debauchery and the ensuing Karamazovian hangover. I sat down on a bench, took off my sweaty polo shirt, opened the Daily Telegraph, and took in some rays. A police officer approached me — but with a smile. ‘Are you by any chance Taki?’ he said. ‘Guilty as charged, constable, but this time I’m clean.’ He smiled broadly and asked if he might sit down. Well, Constable Hackworth turned out to be straight out of The Blue Lamp. A Spectator reader, he somehow recognised my

Grenfell Tower: a political prop in a morality play

John McDonnell’s use of the M-word in relation to the Grenfell inferno marks a new low in the political milking of this catastrophe. I’m not normally squeamish, but I must say I have found the marshalling of the Grenfell horror to political ends, the transformation of this human calamity into effectively a meme saying ‘Austerity Bad’ or ‘Tory Scum’, deeply disturbing. And now McDonnell has dragged it down to its nadir, with his claim at Glastonbury that the residents of this tragic block were ‘murdered by political decisions’. The entire setting of McDonnell’s comments feels nauseating. Here we had the shadow chancellor of the deceptively bourgeois Corbynista movement shoring up his party’s

Sunday shows round-up: Hammond undermines May over Brexit ‘no deal’

Philip Hammond – No deal would be ‘a very, very bad outcome’ One day before Brexit negotiations get underway, Philip Hammond took to the Andrew Marr Show and announced that if the UK achieved no deal with the EU it would be a ‘very very bad outcome’. This appears to be somewhat at odds with Theresa May’s repeated assertion that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’… Marr: Do you think no deal is better than a bad deal? Hammond: Let me be clear that no deal would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain. But there is a possible worse outcome, and that is a deal that

Full transcript: John McDonnell says Labour supports leaving single market

Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has all but confirmed that the party is committed to leaving the single market. Here’s the full transcript of his interview with Robert Peston this morning: RP: I’m joined by the shadow chancellor, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest confidants. Very good to see you, John McDonnell. John, first of all, if I could just start with where you go in parliament now. On Friday morning, you were talking in pretty explicit terms about how you thought you could end up in power even without a general election. How would that work? JM: Well, we put forward the proposal which was nothing special. It was forming

Why I’m backing Corbyn the Great

Comrades. I’m going to tell you why I think Jeremy Corbyn is the right person to lead this country. First of all, I like the fact that he’s not a typical politician. There’s something refreshing about his refusal to play the media’s game. Ordinary politicians are ready with a quote when a big story breaks, but not our Jeremy. He thinks nothing of switching off his phone and spending the day working on his allotment. Instead of talking to journalists on his way into meetings, he runs them over. When he does do interviews, his refusal to be interrupted speaks of a bold, confident leader who’s comfortable in his own

Rod Liddle

Is enough enough? Then let’s start deporting

I divide my time between two constituencies, the first a rock-solid Conservative seat in the south-east of England, the other a Labour-held marginal (which the Tories expected to take) in the north-east of England. And the thing I have not seen in either place is a nice blue placard or poster saying ‘Conservative’. Not one anywhere — completely absent. There are loads of them about for the other parties — mainly Labour, but a fairly broad scattering of that vacuous washed-out orange favoured by the Lib Dems and, in the southern constituency, a fair few for the Greens. I suppose you might argue that Conservative voters think it vulgar to

The Labour movement must denounce Jeremy Corbyn for his IRA lies

The ongoing argument about Jeremy Corbyn’s support for the ‘armed struggle’ of the Provisional IRA is vacuous and circular. Very few people endorse every single action of any group they support, but Corbyn and his circle were always there to lend their support, particularly when the Provisionals were in difficulty. There are thousands of Labour supporters, in both islands, who were involved in this area over many years, and who know that Corbyn and a small group of extreme leftists in Britain made common cause with the most extreme violent nationalists in Ireland, in order to advance what they saw as revolutionary struggle. From the Socialist Workers Party to the