Barnaby Raine at n+1:
JOHN MCDONNELL IS CAGEY when an interviewer asks, “Capitalism — inherently wrong? Or are you just the man to fix it?” It says something that the question is even posed. Just a decade ago McDonnell was the parliamentary spokesperson for picket lines and antiwar meetings, the champion of antique causes in Blair’s Britain. He was the Labour MP who welcomed the financial crash with the words, “I’m a Marxist. . . . I’ve been waiting for this for a generation.” In Who’s Who he listed his hobby as “fomenting the overthrow of capitalism.” Elsewhere he named Lenin and Trotsky among his heroes.
Now he is shadow chancellor of the Exchequer, the Labour Party’s candidate to control Britain’s money, and — even more than his old friend Jeremy Corbyn — a symbol of Labour’s leftward shift. He won exhilarated applause from many long-suffering party members when he described his economic vision to their annual conference in 2016: “You no longer have to whisper its name; it’s called socialism.”