John McDonnell tells the City: ‘People want change… get used to it’
During the first Budget after he became shadow chancellor, McDonnell quoted from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, before flinging it at his then-counterpart George Osborne.
Years earlier, he was caught on camera saying he had been “waiting for [the 2008 financial crash] for a generation”. More recently he’s argued that Venezuela’s troubles are because the country isn’t socialist enough.
But his press man says it’s time to take McDonnell seriously as a chancellor-in-waiting. So when we meet the first question has to be: Do you still want to overthrow capitalism?
“I want to transform capitalism,” he replies without pausing.
“So do most other people I know, including those who work in the City… There is something wrong with the system itself which needs transformation. We are sixth or fifth biggest economy in the world and yet at the same time we can’t house our own people, a million foodbank parcels handed out last year – that is a system that’s not working.”
McDonnell argues that, instead of the wealth “going into the City, which is then going into property speculation” it should be “properly invested, so we have an economy that is economically and environmentally sustainable, that when we create prosperity it is shared by everyone”.