Yesterday the British chancellor George Osborne accused me — from the front bench and under parliamentary privilege — of being a “revolutionary Marxist”. Various media have reported that I am “advising” the Labour Party. Neither of these claims is true.
I have left Channel 4 News to become a freelance journalist, writing a weekly Guardian column, with a wide range of other projects at the planning stage, including a Medium blog called Mosquito Ridge.
I have agreed to contribute a lecture to Labour’s The New Economics series, following prestigious names such as Joseph Stiglitz, Yanis Varoufakis, Marianna Mazzucato and Simon Wren-Lewis. I will be focusing on unconventional monetary policy and the democratisation of central banks.
It’s up to the Labour Party whether they listen to what I say. But it is very specifically not formal advice.
As to Mr Osborne’s claim that I am “revolutionary Marxist” it is completely inaccurate. I am radical social democrat who favours the creation of a peer-to-peer sector (co-ops, open source etc) alongside the market and the state, as part of a long transition to a post-capitalist economy. There’s a comprehensive critique of Bolshevism in my latest book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future.
In the next months I will likely be travelling to hostile environments, repressive regimes and seeking access to societies where, with one Google search, people will discover that the government of my own country considers me a “revolutionary Marxist”. I will keep you posted on the outcome of that.
As for the Mao/Mickey Mouse jibe, I was tailed for hours in 2008 in Beijing by the secret police of Mr Osborne’s favourite Marxist government, after interviewing the victims of Mao’s Great Leap Forward. I am happy to state that Mao was a despot whose policies killed millions; I look forward to hearing Mr Osborne say that on his next trip to China.
Mickey Mouse on the other hand is a universal 20th century icon representing the triumph of the little guy against the bully, the innocent against the corrupt, the weak against the strong. I am happy to be identified with those ideals.