02 January 2007

An Incredible Candidate For Labour Leader

As I have blogged recently, I think it would be good for Labour if Gordon Brown was challenged for the leadership of the party by a credible opponent. To date there is only one Labour MP who has publicly put himself in the frame. Below are seven policies that Labour leftie John McDonnell is campaigning on at his John4Leader website:

1. The withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. The end to privatisation of public services.
3. A Real Living Minimum Wage of at least £7 an hour.

4. A green energy policy based on renewable power sources
5. An increase in the Basic State Pension from £84.25 to £114 a week.
6. Defence of comprehensive education and the abolition of student tuition fees.
7. The restoration of trade union rights and civil liberties.

None of these policies look anything like those on offer from Labour or any of the mainstream parties, but I did think of one British political party where his policy ideas would be well received. Sure enough, on my first visit to the BNP's main website a look at their policies and articles confirmed to me that John's stance on the emboldened items are broadly similar to the BNP's although I couldn't confirm one way or another on points 4 and 6.

Judging by the details of Kerron Cross' startling account, John has no problem with using jackboots. So I would like to know at what point John becomes embarassed to represent a party whose policies are so massively differently from his? Maybe he should join the BNP and try to change them from within. But would they take him?

Let's see who gets more offended by my comparison - John and his fellow travellers or the BNP. All contributors to the debate welcome.


Antonia said...

Hello Praguetory,

An interesting post; unfortunately you've failed to spot a major flaw in your argument - that John McDonnell is not a racist fuck.

parburypolitica said...

I'd say that was a pretty big ommission.

Praguetory said...

I don't know anything about John's racial attitudes. I just think it would be more honest if he started a new party or joined one with broadly similar views to his own. Can I take it that nobody disagrees that his key policies are generally similar to the BNPs?

Anonymous said...

Councillor Bance, your language is a disgrace. Not that it surprises me. Nothing a Labour Councillor does or says surprises me anymore.

Croydonian said...

The 25 point manifesto of the Nazi party is worth examining too.

In particular 11, "Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of rent-slavery", 13, "We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts)", 14 "We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries" and 17 "We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land".

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree, with your general point although I would suggest that any kind of association in this way has to be very guarded and very precise.

Associating John McDonnell with the BNP, or taking it a step further (as Croydonian has done) with the Nazi party is essentially poisoning the well and can be very dangerous to the debate.

Croydonian said...

I was not calling McDonnell a Nazi, I was merely pointing out the socialist roots of the National Socialist party. The BNP is also a profoundly collectivist party.

Anonymous said...

Ms Bance, SOCIALISM IS FASCISM! Ignorance is not an excuse as I have proven to you and your partner time-and-time again that this is the case and you have always buried your head in the sand and supported an evil ideology.

Anonymous said...

well spotted PT. However, JM is probably the only man with enough gumption to challenge Brown. I wish him well and perhaps the people may see what lies beneath the on the backbenches of NULAB.

Anonymous said...

Croydonian, apologies if I implied you did, I didn't intend my comments to be taken that way. I merely wanted to point out the danger of being too generalised about making these associations. It makes it easy to get the wrong idea :)

c4, the dangers of socialism are that the by giving the state a greater share of economic activity you put too much power in the hands of politicians. Policy that shifts the econmy in favour of greater state control could be viewed as socialist, but I really don't see how you draw a logical comparison to facism.

darren said...

This is one of the most shocking, diabolical political slurs that I have ever seen in my entire life.

You should be disgusted with yourself.

Sham said...

Much that I hate McDonnell, I wouldn't go as far as to call him a racist, deplorable though he is.

The last thing anyone sane ought to do is engender some sympathy for the Ba'athist stooge!

Praguetory said...

Can you tell me which bit didn't you like, Darren? I'll frame it.

I'm sure this all a bit of an irrelevance, because JMcD is going nowhere, but I admit I was shocked that someone with his politics could be found in the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Anonymous said...

Antonia: An interesting post; unfortunately you've failed to spot a major flaw in your argument - that John McDonnell is not a racist fuck.

err he didn't say he was racist.

darren: This is one of the most shocking, diabolical political slurs that I have ever seen in my entire life. You should be disgusted with yourself.

What is the "slur" exactly? He's just pointed out some similarities in policy between JMcD and the BNP. There are similarities.

Sham: Much that I hate McDonnell, I wouldn't go as far as to call him a racist, deplorable though he is.

Nor did PT did he?

Anonymous said...

Praguetory, are you really sure that these politics are that far from the mainstream?

#1 Would appear to be plain old anti war politics, withdrawal from Iraq has broad support, Afganistan don't make much sense though.
#2 PFI one of the main forms of more recent privatisation has drawn a heavy amount of criticism, again from various political parties.
#4 Isn't everyone going green these days?
#5 Politicians of all stripes are generally agreed that the basic pension is somewhat on the low side, doesn't seem an uncommon policy idea.
#6 The Lib Dems have scrapped it now, but this was their policy a few years ago.
#7 Again the Lib Dems are very much up for repealing recent terror legislation.

Of the list you give, it seems Trade Union rights, the £7 minimum wage and withdrawal from Afganistan seem to be the only polices that could be considered out there.

Praguetory said...

CA - Everyone's going green, but no serious commentators are suggesting that renewable sources can meet our energy needs. You list three of McD's wish list as containing "out there" elements - with the green promise I make it four. That's a majority. I don't think that the Dems or Tory leadership contests had anyone taking such extreme positions.

Sham said...

Nor did PT did he?

Quite right! I must have been misled by one of the earlier respondents.

Anonymous said...


That's an interesting though fundamentally flawed look at the policies, particularly economic, of John Mc Donnell and the BNP.

I'm not a Labour Party member or a 'fellow traveller' of John Mc Donnell but I think you have misrepresented his politics.

Superficially these policies look very similar but John Mc Donnell is a sort of socialist whereas the BNP support corporatist economics, the third way between the 'twin evils' of capitalism and communism.

Corporatist economics has been the hallmark of fascism from Italy to Portugal and the BNP continue this by declaring opposition to both capitalism and socialism whereas the politics of John Mc Donnell come from an old, but largely defunct, tradition of state socialism within the Labour Party.

Also, historically fascist and Nazi parties have used socialist-inspired policies to gain public support.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a spoof article (and not a bad one at that), but your comment on Antonia's blog made me think that you might genuinely mean it. You can't really think that the BNP want more trade union rights (they think that trade unions have betrayed their members by allowing migrants to join), they don't want to raise the state pension to £114 per week (they want to restore the earnings link, which is different, and pay for it by spending less on asylum-seekers, which John McDonnell doesn't support), they don't want a minimum wage of £7/hour, and they support protectionist policies to put national British workers first, which is different from ending privatisation. So at most you have 1 out of 7 policies matching from withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan (though the rest of the defence policy is just about the opposite, and support for withdrawal of troops isn't really a right/left issue).

If you were to compare the BNP's list of what they stand for to the Conservative Party's manifesto from 2001 or 2005, how many policies do you think would be 'broadly similar'?

Praguetory said...

The BNP are talking about compulsory employee ownership schemes.

Re pensions, John's just less patient than the BNP.

Re minimum wage see employee ownership schemes.

I stand by my descriptions of the similarities.

Anonymous said...

"The BNP are talking about compulsory employee ownership schemes."

Open only to native British workers. Do you think this is in any way like what John McDonnell supports?

"Re pensions, John's just less patient than the BNP."

Guess which political party pledged in 2004 to restore the link between pensions and earnings? As a clue, it was David Willetts who made the announcement. By your method of comparison, this makes the Tories broadly similar to the BNP.

"Re minimum wage see employee ownership schemes."

Employee ownership schemes are nothing to do with the minimum wage. The BNP support a protectionist economic policy which puts native British workers first. John McDonnell doesn't.

"I stand by my descriptions of the similarities."

Fair enough. All that proves is that this is either a wind up, or that you are being wilfully obtuse about the fact your comparisons are nonsense.

Chris Baldwin said...

Anyone who can't see the massive political gulf between John McDonnell and the BNP understands nothing about politics.

Andrea said...

"7. The restoration of trade union rights and civil liberties. "

He presented a Trade Union Rights Bill as his choice for Private Member Bill (he has no chance as he was number 16 in the list) and he was supported by other MPs from other wings of the party.

Btw, not sure what is wrong about the restoration of civil liberties? Ok, you can disagree with it, but suggestings that if you support, it means you should join BNP is a bit bizarre (it would mean all Libdems would be on the verge of it)

Phloob said...

Of course it is a genuine comparison and of course it is a wind-up. And didn't the lefties take the bait, hook, line & sinker. Too easy, really. Like perch once they start to bite. Why? Because they can't bear the truth that fascists, and especially nazis are their brothers & sisters - of the left.

Now, praise where it's due. To Donpaskini for lucid and reasoned argument - if somewhat fluid in the facts. To Sham for integrity in putting his hand up to a mistake. [BBC please note].

Praguetory said...

I'll second that re Don and Sham. Don's decided to do a post on expat Tories which attracted some comment from fellow Labourites. It will be a useful campaigning tool.

Anonymous said...

I think that 'right wing' can be taken to mean 'in favour of preserving or extrenuating current arrangements of social relations, or wanting to return to others which where less egalitarian in their results than the current'.

Basically, socialists always used to see racism as a necesary side effect of capitalism, the current system of social relation, and as such wanted even more to abolish it than centrist liberals, who themselves despise racism, but only on the basis of it's illogic in itself.

Of course, where racism has existed in the past, Burkean conservatives (the bulk of the 'right') would simply be suspicious of the use of government or socially imposed initiatives to change it (and may therefore, on the basis of tradition, genuinely consider racism to be acceptable themselves). Of course, according to socialists, those further to the right, according to socialists, believe in economic relations in which racism is one of the many tools which must be used to prevent the downfall of such a system, although others (more libertarian than truly conservative, and thus not simply left or right) see racial discrimination as an illogical bar to the free market.

That said, a libertarian approach also enamours the belief that an economic producer has the right to control himself and his property, so they resist measurer to actually prevent racism...

You may see this comment reproduced elswhere!

Anonymous said...

And the BNP hate trade unions more than Thtcher ever could. To them, trade unions should just be arms of fascist government.

For trade unionists you see, it's allabout independance, rather than existance, which isn't in question.

Praguetory said...

I read your first sentence and dropped off. I don't know if you're talking to me, but I doubt I'll be reading this comment elsewhere as long as I see it in time.