John McDonnell is a Blairite

No, this isn’t a joke.

Yes, John McDonnell is a Blairite

McDonnell is New Labour.

We’re all Blairites now

Eric Blair was a socialist journalist and fought fascism in Spain – with weapons.

As a young man he was part of Britain’s Empire as a colonial policeman.

But he went on to write of the Spanish revolution giving power to working people and liberating oppressed nationalities.

Blair is better known by his pen name – George Orwell.

The new New Labour are modernisers

From #JC4PM pitted against Cameron’s dithering over Tories who are irate about Europe to the Shadow Chancellor verus the #BankersChancellor, the social media operation is growing at a fast pace.

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has created bigger and stronger party. New technology and new media have been embraced by Corbyn supporters.

The People’s Chancellor wants to win in England

John McDonnell gets the fact that Labour must rebuild in England and respond to the Tories “English votes for English laws”.

The near break-up of Britain results from the unfinished constitutional reforms of the last Labour government – from devolution for England to genuine electoral reform.

As Tony Benn wrote with Andrew Hood in his book Common Sense: A New Constitution for Britain:

England is also entitled to its own cultural and political identity. The cultural identity of the English has been submerged by a history of dominating the United Kingdom and the world,

So, to paraphrase James Connolly, we must say:

The cause of Labour is the cause of England; the cause of England is the cause of Labour

McDonnell wants an enterprising socialism

The early politics of Tony Blair as leader included talk of social-ism.

Though the new Clause Four did affirm that Labour is a “democratic socialist party”, it failed to spell out what socialism looks like.

Liam Byrne has called for an enterprising socialism and a new Clause Four in a speech which was welcomed by John McDonnell.

The postwar co-operative activist Paul Derrick wrote in the 60s:

To turn a capitalist economy into a socialist one is not to nationalise this company or that; it means incorporating the cooperative principles of a limited return on capital and democratic control in company law.

We are all Red Tories now

Before the term became a term of abuse thrown at Labour in Scotland for siding with the Tories in the referendum on independence, it has another meaning.

The philosopher Phillip Blond used the term Red Tory to try to revive Conservatives rhetoric about “property owning democracy”.

Through a think tank, Res Publica, Blond attempted to put co-ops back on the agenda.

And this is something that John McDonnell recognises – and he is challenging the failure of Cameron’s Conservatives to live up to its talk of a Big Society.

The Tories have offered a “Right to Buy”.
Labour would seek to better this. We’d be creating a new “Right to Own”.

Democracy at work

In place of privatisation, McDonnell advocates re-regulating markets and revolutionising public services by empowering citizens:

Co-operatives, shared ownership, and workplace democracy all have a central role to play here.

The debate on democracy at work has been set back for decades, but McDonnell seems keen to revive and reframe the issues.

Or, as John Prescott said:

Traditional values in a modern setting.