The word on the social media is that reporters for the mainstream news channels and papers would not have paid any attention to shadow chancellor John McDonnell brandishing Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book – if right-wing members of the Parliamentary Labour Party had not insisted on it.
The claim is that they prompted a huge backlash against McDonnell. If true, it is unforgiveable.
The quotation, “We must learn to do economic work from all who know how, no matter who they are. We must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously. We must not pretend to know when we do not know,” was intended to refer to the Conservative Government’s ‘sell everything to China’ policy and Mr McDonnell said he “thought it would come in handy for the Chancellor in his new relationship”. This relationship:
In that context, there’s nothing wrong with it.
And, to be fair, This Writer hasn’t seen any adverse comments from members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
But there is the claim by Mr Hodges, as quoted in this article on the Zelo Street blog, which appears to give the game away. The article goes on to point out what the outburst against Mr McDonnell has successfully glossed over.
And on Twitter, Conor Pope helpfully pointed out: “Having sat in the press gallery, can confirm no journos had noticed the Mao bit until Blairite MPs started briefing.” Or was he joking? There’s many a true word spoken (or indeed, written) in jest.
Are Blairite Labour MPs actually helping the Conservative Government?
Most people will not have noticed, but today the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, stood up in the Commons to give MPs the dubious pleasure of listening to his Autumn Statement, the detail of which has been lost in the clamour to heap disdain on his Labour opposite number John McDonnell by the assembled punditerati.
McDonnell had made a half-decent fist of responding to Osborne, especially given his lack of front bench experience and that this was his first Autumn Statement or Budget response. But referring to Mao Zedong is best avoided, and brandishing his Little Red Book is a no-no, even though McDonnell was using it to make the point that Osborne is happy about nationalisation, so long as the Government is in countries like China.
This cut no ice with the Telegraph’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, who had made his mind up beforehand that Labour were rubbish, and whatever recourse to Phil Space journalism would fill his next column. “Why doesn’t John McDonnell just sit down … This has to be the most embarrassing response to a government statement in the history of parliament” he carped plaintively.
He had the inside track: “Labour MP texts me. ‘I’m in tears in my office’”. Laughing at Dan’s Twitter whinge, perhaps. And then a last, desperate appeal to Look Over There: “Don’t forget, the John McDonnell red book fiasco is all the fault of the Tory press and disloyal Labour MPs”. But Hodges will never get a Labour leader he can back.
Aren’t we missing something?
Tax credit cuts at least re-thought, if not totally backed out. Police cuts – trailed for some days now – abandoned. And while Hodges was having his mardy strop, he seems not to have noticed that the Junior Doctors’ dispute has been taken off Jeremy Hunt and sent to ACAS.
Source: Zelo Street: Dan Hodges Sees Red
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