John McDonnell

by / Friday, 29 January 2016 / Published in News

John McDonnell seems to be coming out of the Google tax furore rather well. As the story has rumbled on in the news over the week, the Shadow Chancellor’s measured interventions have added to George Osborne’s discomfort.

Today, he has written to the European Commission, asking for the nature of the deal to be looked into, and raising some interesting points about EU competition law. His article for The Times Red Box is astute too, painting Osborne as a lone figure, even in his own party, trumpeting a success everyone else has written off as failure.

There is a profile of McDonnell in the Financial Times this morning, that presents him as a privately conciliatory and moderating force within the Labour leadership. It’s fascinating, because he’s a character that splits opinion fairly firmly. Many studies of current Labour kremlinology depict him as a hard left, uncompromising bruiser (and some media appearances sure give that weight), while others say that he is a calming influence behind closing doors, pushing for a more conciliatory and broad church approach to internal party politics.

Which is right? Different sources say different things, but I’m more often given the impression of John the Peacemaker.

It reminds me of having a drink with a Blairite former MP just hours after Corbyn’s victory last September. To my surprise, they told me what a good choice McDonnell would be for Shadow Chancellor. I’d always known him as the mace-waving, Thatcher-assassination joker, but was told he was very easy to get on with, and liked a lot more widely than people think.

When will we find out who the enigmatic Shadow Chancellor really is?

Conor Pope – LabourList, 29th January 2016

2 Responses to “John McDonnell”

  1. Cenred Elworthy says : Reply

    As a recent member I have little awareness of “labour kremlinology”, but I do know the Tories are presenting us with a series of open goals. The Daily Mail /Sun media bubble is increasingly dis-connected from public interests and experiences. Any party that can truly reflect the interests of those who make their money by working and striving will succeed. At the moment it is pretty clear the Conservative Party isn’t that party, the question is whether we are in a position to occupy that space and score those goals.

  2. Jeff Stafford says : Reply

    Thanks Cenred, I have been a member for a very long time but I also have little awareness of “Labour Kremlinology” but thank you for your observations.


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