21 January 2016

John McDonnell was a cretinous appointment


Of the many cretinous things that Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has done since he became Labour leader, possibly the most cretinous of all was the decision to appoint John McDonnell as shadow chancellor. McDonnell is from the far left. He has never seen a strike he didn’t like and don’t get me started on his views on the IRA.

Sadly, no-one has told McDonnell that the idea of him ever becoming the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer is beyond ludicrous, or if they have he isn’t listening. Indeed, one can almost admire the chutzpah with which he goes around burbling away making announcements about what he’s going do when he’s Chancellor. It illustrates that a vital stage has been missed out entirely. That is the part where an opposition that has just been defeated by two million votes attempts to understand why so many people voted Conservative rather than Labour, and then sets about learning the lessons and winning back trust before in the run up to an election making an offer to the electorate. McDonnell and Corbyn – who are new to leadership and merely rabble-rousing campaigners at heart – are incapable of of this, of course. Corbyn himself seems to have not changed his mind on anything in thirty plus years. Think about it. Do you know anyone who hasn’t changed their mind on anything – anything – since before the Berlin Wall fell?

There is another problem with McDonnell holding the post he does, which should worry anyone interested in seeing the UK government held to account. If the world economy is stuttering as badly as it seems to be and difficult times lie ahead, then the Conservatives will need to be scrutinised properly. The UK will go into this potential downturn still running a deficit of almost £70bn. What is called for at such a moment, whether you bought his worldview or not, is a serious figure in opposition of the stature of John Smith. Instead, Labour’s economic spokesman is McDonnell when the country needs a statesman. What an appalling situation. Imagine how elegantly and decisively Smith would have dealt with a ludicrous figure such as McDonnell, and Corbyn for that matter. For goodness sake Labour moderates, get your act together. Remove these clowns while there is still time.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX.