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John Mcdonnell MP with 'Grow Heathrow' gardeners, opposing the construction of a third runway at London's biggest airport. Photo: Transition Heathrow via Flickr (CC BY).
John Mcdonnell MP with 'Grow Heathrow' gardeners, opposing the construction of a third runway at London's biggest airport. Photo: Transition Heathrow via Flickr (CC BY).
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The 'Occupy Chancellor'? No wonder they hate him!

Donnachadh McCarthy

15th September 2015

Jeremy's Corbyn's appointment of John McDonnell as shadow Chancellor was bold, provocative and absolutely correct, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. As well as being Corbyn's firm political ally, McDonnell understands the nature and scale of the challenge that he faces as he confronts the corrupt nexus of political and economic power in modern Britain.

Make no mistake - he represents the greatest positive threat to the Prostitute State's iron grip on the wealth of our country, their hijacking of our democracy and their social and environmental criminality since the Second World War.

I have met the new shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer twice. Both times we were both speakers at Occupy Democracy events. And both times I found him to be a courteous, kind and unpretentious man.

The first time was on the Queen's Jubilee, when we spoke at a small republican rally held on the steps of St Pauls, whilst the bizarre boring water pageant was being held on the Thames.

I was then in the middle of writing The Prostitute State and outlined my thesis of its four pillars supporting the hijacking of our democracy by the corporate 1% and how it had corrupted all of our political parties, including Labour.

I referred to how many former senior Labour ministers now work exclusively as highly paid corporate lobbyists, including for the arms, fossil fuel, nuclear, banking and private health corporations. I argued that unless this corruption was tackled we faced terrible social and ecological crises.

McDonnell kindly congratulated me afterwards on my speech and agreed with its critique of the Labour Party, as well as the other parties.

The second time we met, was at the opening rally of Occupy Democracy last October in Parliament Square. The Prostitute State had been published the previous week and so I had been asked to speak about how our democracy had been bought.

McDonnell again kindly congratulated me on my speech and asked to buy a copy of the book and insisted on paying for it, when I was more than happy to give him a copy.

Too much understanding is a very dangerous thing ...

I see all the papers are already trotting out the same small number of intemperate comments, he made over the last 30 years and the Blairites desperately and anonymously briefing against their own shadow Chancellor.

Whatever the pros and cons of those, I know that this is a man who truly understands how much Britain's democracy has been captured by the political corporate lobbying classes.

He understands how that has perverted the decision making in our democracy and which has led to a flooding of wealth from the poor and the middle classes to the tax-haven based, tax-dodging 1%.

He understands the £93 billion going on corporate welfare is what should be targeted first for helping to balance the budget, not the welfare budget.

He favours a fairly modest 60p tax, on earnings over £100,000 (despite this being used to label him a mad left-winger). This, remember, is the level that Thatcher set in her first government.

He understood the seriousness of the climate crisis long before others in the Labour Party understood it - and many still do not! He also opposes any new runway at Heathrow airport - which is located within his Hayes and Harlington constituency (see photo) - leading the famous 2009 'mace incident' in the House of Commons, a protest against the lack of any Commons vote on the issue.

He is opposed to the massive inflation in executive pay (where under Blair, CEO pay went from 40 times average earnings to 120 times average employee earnings.

He understands that a society where 0.4% of the population owns nearly 70% of the land is not a sustainable way to manage our precious land resource.

He understands that a world where 85 billionaires own more wealth than half the planet's entire population, is not socially or environmentally sustainable.

Taking on the banks - now this is getting serious!

As McDonnell recently wrote on his blog, he supports far reaching reforms of the banks and finance sector with effective regulation and a financial transactions tax, and wider economic reforms that would "replace short-term shareholder value with long-term sustainable economic and social responsibilities as the prime objective of companies".

What is terribly shocking about this? Having seen the destruction the banks' reckless casino lending wreaked on working people during the crisis, what would be wrong with ensuring they never indulge in casino banking ever again?

He is also one of the architects of 'Peoples' Quantitiative Easing' - which would see new money created by the Bank of England invested in national infrastructure and the real economy, instead of used to buy up government bonds and other purely financial assets.

Why should City Bankers have sole control over printing money for our society with no democratic input, handing money hand over fist to the oil, coal and fracking corporations so they can destroy Britain's future?

Why should not that power that was used in quantitative easing to print hundreds of billions of pounds for the banks, and maintain the huge thieving bonuses for the bankers, be used instead to fund the massive renewable energy infrastructure that Britain needs urgently to protect our shores and our very ecosystems future?

Why should it not be used instead to invest in the creation of a national cycling infrastructure to improve health, cut lethal transport pollution and make our streets fit for humans again?

Restoring democracy to the national economy

He understands money - he was a successful Chair of Finance at  the Greater London Council under Ken Livingstone, until it was abolished under Mrs Thatcher in 1985. In charge of its massive £3 billion a year budget, he managed to avoid running up any deficit.

And he is no wild-eyed deficit-denying fanatic today: "Let me make it absolutely clear that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is committed to eliminating the deficit and creating an economy in which we live within our means", he wrote last month.

"Where the Corbyn campaign parts company with the dominant economic thinking of both the Conservative government and the other Labour leadership candidates is that we don't believe that the vast majority of middle- and low-income earners who didn't cause the economic crisis should have to pay for it through cuts in tax credits, pay freezes, and cuts in essential services.

"Instead we believe we can tackle the deficit by halting the tax cuts to the very rich and to corporations, by making sure they pay their taxes, and by investing in the housing and infrastructure a modern country needs to get people back to work in good jobs."

And he supports increased public ownership of the economy, including parts of the energy sector (the Big Six monopolists are first in line), and railways. "But this will be through smart forms of 21st-century common ownership and control" with "the extension of a wider range of forms of company and enterprise ownership and control including public, co-operative and stakeholder ownership."

No wonder the right-wing media-owning billionaires have it in for him

I do not agree with McDonnell on everything - after all I am a radical green liberal and he is a democratic socialist. But make no mistake - he represents the greatest positive threat to the Prostitute State's iron grip on the wealth of our country, their hijacking of our democracy and their social and environmental criminality since the Second World War.

It is for all these reasons that the five extremist, climate-denying, right-wing billionaires who own The Prostituted Media are already baying for McDonnell's blood. And it is why I am helping Occupy The Media Billionaire's organise their Occupy The Daily Mail - Climate Crisis Vigil from October 23-25th.

And for all the above reasons, I wish this decent man the very best in his new gargantuan task - I hope for all our sakes he gets the widespread support he needs to overcome the enormous odds and forces ranged against him.

Yes He Can! Yes We Can!



Action: Occupy The Daily Mail - Climate Crisis Vigil takes place from October 23-25th.

Donnachadh McCarthy is a founder of Stop Killing Cyclists, a member of Occupy Democracy, co-organiser for Occupy Rupert Murdoch Week, a former Deputy Chair of the Liberal Democrats. He can be reached via his website 3acorns. Follow on Facebook.

Books: Donnachadh is author of 'The Prostitute State - How Britain's Democracy Has Been Bought'.


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