Posts Tagged ‘John McDonnell’

The warning lights are flashing for Labour

05/10/2015, 06:39:38 PM

by David Ward

The contrast with last week’s conference could not have been clearer. George Osborne may or may not fulfil the ambition his speech betrayed and find himself as PM. But there was a clear message. And Labour should be worried. The Conservatives will use Labour’s soul-searching to dominate the centre ground.

John McDonnell released a statement straight after Osborne’s speech telling us that “This is a Tory chancellor who doesn’t live in the real world.”

In fact there were two things missing from almost every shadow cabinet member’s speech last week which have pulsated through every Minister’s so far at Conservative conference. An understanding of what happened in May, and a vision for how the party will approach 2020.

From Jon Cruddas and Margaret Beckett to James Morris the evidence based analysis of Labour’s defeat has been the same. People thought Labour’s heart was in the right place, but worried they would spend too much and focus on the wrong priorities.

The job for any party is to negate its weaknesses and draw attention to its strengths. Just take a look at the slogans in the background as Osborne spoke.





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John McDonnell sheds his Corbynista cloak

29/09/2015, 09:50:06 AM

by Nick Small

For the 4.5 percenters, who, like me, backed Liz Kendall, John McDonnell’s first major speech as shadow chancellor at Labour Party conference was, in many ways, a pleasant surprise.

The acknowledgment of a golden rule of British politics, that the voting public demand reassurance from the centre-left about our economic credibility in a way that they don’t from the Tories, is welcome.   It’s also welcome that McDonnell has explicitly reinforced the message that economic prosperity and social justice are two sides of the same coin; as our aims and values put it that means ‘a dynamic economy serving the public interest’.  In other words, you can’t redistribute wealth unless you first create it.

Recognising that the country has to live within its means, that Labour should tackle the deficit fairly and that a Labour government inheriting a current account deficit in 2020 should pay it down without jeopardising sustainable economic growth is, again, good to hear.  It’s not austerity-lite and it’s not deficit denial.  This will chime well with the voters who’ll decide the next election.  They may well be more economically radical than many from my wing of the party thought, but they’re certainly more fiscally cautious than many Corbynistas gave them credit for.


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McDonnell pulls off phase one of Operation Foot-rub

28/09/2015, 06:04:52 PM

by Kevin Meagher

What were the odds of John McDonnell becoming shadow chancellor six months ago? Longer than they were of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader, I suspect.

But here he was, a trim 61 year-old with neat white hair and a smart suit, looking every inch the interim finance director of a struggling SME that’s just lost a major contract and needs a new direction.

Given his previous form, it helps that McDonnell doesn’t look like he’s come from central casting as your typical ‘lefty bogeyman’. And neither, to be fair, did he sound it.

His main task today was not to be predictable. Frankly, all he needed to do was not to snarl about nationalising the FTSE-100 and it would turn out better than many on the right of the party had been fearing.

His promise to “force” recalcitrant corporates like Starbucks, Vodafone, Amazon and Google to pay their “fair share of taxes” was vintage Margaret Hodge.

His pledge to establish a national investment bank and review the UK’s economic policy-making to ensure it is “fit for purpose” in preventing another recession could have been made by Gordon Brown.


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John McDonnell is fermenting Special Brew Milibandism

28/09/2015, 01:47:30 PM

by Atul Hatwal

John McDonnell might have a history of ranting radicalism, but he offered a different approach in his speech to Labour conference.

The florid attacks on austerity and business were familiar but the policy content wasn’t quite as red in tooth and claw as his previous rhetoric might have suggested.

Talk of paying down the deficit, briefings to the press on signing Osborne’s fiscal charter and new caveats on implementing Peoples Quantitative Easing (also known as printing money) show how sails have been trimmed.

At conference, there’s been some head-scratching. What’s McDonnell doing?

Labour’s shadow chancellor is fermenting a Special Brew version of Milibandism.

Harsher, more pungent and stronger than the beverage offered by Labour’s last leader, but a version, nonetheless.

Ed Miliband clearly didn’t like the idea of cuts to public services, John McDonnell committed to avoiding any cuts altogether.

Ed Miliband spoke in abstract terms about predators and producers, John McDonnell named Starbucks, Amazon, Google and Vodafone.

And Ed Miliband worried about welfare cuts, McDonnell promised there would be none.

However, in common with Milibandism classic, McDonnell’s speech left a trail of questions unanswered.

He talked blithely about using funds from economic growth and crackdowns on tax avoidance and corporate welfare to avoid austerity.

This might sound good in a Labour conference speech and offer up some easy clap lines but Ed Miliband’s position unravelled on the specifics.

John McDonnell is just as vulnerable.

Seema Malhotra, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, went on the Daily Politics with Andrew Neil immediately after the speech and endured a painful dissection of Labour’s missing policy detail.

How would tax avoidance be stopped? How much could be recovered? Which corporate taxes would go up to reduce the deficit? How much deficit reduction would be from these sources?

She tried to respond but the cupboard was bare.

This is why McDonnell is offering a punchier version of Miliband’s economics, not something fundamentally different.

He’s dodging the same questions.

Just like Miliband, McDonnell seems to be worried by the response of the public to higher taxes and borrowing, so he falls back on intangibles like growth and tax avoidance.

And as with Miliband, the Tories will skewer McDonnell on the lack of specifics and confirm public doubts about Labour and economic competence.

The key difference with McDonnell’s Special Brew Milibandism, is that the hangover is going to be that much worse.

Labour will soon be perceived as being even more anti-business and even less trustworthy with the public finances than at the last election.

Welcome to the new politics. Not so different to the old politics.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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Timetable for the Election of the Leader of the Labour Party

07/06/2010, 12:00:11 PM

After several requests, we’re publishing the formal timetable for the leadership race below.

This is the information sent to MPs by Labour’s General Secretary Ray Collins.


Monday, 24 May
  • 2.30pm Opening of PLP nominations
  • Stakeholder mailing: procedural information packs, including nomination and supporting nomination papers
  • 5.30pm MP nominations posted on Labour Party website; thereafter, twice daily at 12.30pm and 5.30pm until close of nomination process.
Monday, 7 June
  • 7.00pm PLP Hustings
Wednesday, 9 June
  • 12.30pm Close of PLP Nominations
  • 1.00pm Procedures Committee to declare all validly nominated candidates.
  • Email to all members
Thursday, 10 June
  • 12.00pm deadline for acceptance of nomination by validly nominated candidates.
  • Supporting nominations open
Friday, 11 June
  • Youth Hustings, London
Sunday, 13 June
  • Hustings, Glasgow
Saturday, 19 June
  • BAME Hustings, Leicester
Saturday, 26 June
  • Hustings, Newcastle
Sunday, 4 July
  • Hustings, Cardiff
Saturday, 10 July
  • Hustings, Southampton
Friday, 16 July
  • Hustings, London & South
Sunday, 18 July
  • Hustings, Birmingham
Monday, 19 July
  • Procedures Committee
Tuesday, 20 July
  • National Executive Committee meeting
  • 5.00pm Deadline for candidates to provide 250 word statement and picture for inclusion in candidate booklet.
Thursday, 22 July
  • Last day for membership queries (and adjudication by National Constitutional Committee)
Sunday, 25 July
  • Women’s Hustings, Leeds
Monday, 26 July
  • 12.30pm Close of supporting nominations
  • Deadline for affiliated organisations to certify number of members to be balloted
  • Artwork for ballots and candidate booklets made available to affiliated organisations.
  • Ballots being printing
Saturday, 31 July
  • Hustings, Manchester
Monday, 16 August – 22 September
  • Ballots and member magazine posted to all members.  Balloting begins
Wednesday, 8 Sept
  • 12.30pm Freeze date for new members to join
  • Deadline for members in arrears
Wednesday, 15 Sept
  • 5.00pm last day to request  replacement ballot
Monday, 20 Sept
  • Procedures Committee
Tuesday, 21 Sept
  • 5.00pm close of affiliate ballot
  • National Executive Committee
Wednesday, 22 Sept
  • 5.00pm close of members and MP/MEPs ballots
Saturday, 25 Sept
  • 1.00 – 3.00pm Announcement of ballot results
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Brothers stand fast against a “grand coronation.” Alex Halligan reports.

04/06/2010, 04:46:41 PM

Delegates at unite’s policy conference voted to ensure that all candidates are on the ballot in the labour party leadership contest. This is effectively an endorsement of the veteran leftwing MP John McDonnell. Unite is in the process of contacting MPs in their Parliamentary group and urging them to “nominate wisely” to ensure a proper contest.

The union boasts by far the largest Parliamentary group. And its influence within the party is far-reaching, having donated £11 million pounds in four years.

A packed fringe meeting hosted by unite’s ‘united left’ faction met in Manchester on Wednesday night and was addressed by McDonnell. Delegates cheered the rebel MP as he urged them to over-rule the unite executive, which they duly did the following day. (more…)

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