Labour’s controversial new Shadow Chancellor has said Karl Marx’s Das Kapital is a key influence on his thinking.
In an interview with The Observer, John McDonnell MP said that he wanted a left wing programme of renationalisation, first of all putting the railways and postal service back in state ownership, while also condemning Chancellor George Osborne’s policies as “immoral”.
He said that Marx’s three-volumn economic screed, which has inspired Communist regimes around the world, had been a major influence.
He also said he wanted to give the Bank of England new targets for dealing with inequality and long term investment planning.
McDonnell’s appointment followed the shock victory of far-left MP Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership race. His appointment drew considerable controversy after it emerged he had previously praised the IRA terrorist group, saying they should be “honoured” for bringing about the Northern Irish peace process.
In 2003 he said: “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA.”
Mc Donnell apologised for the remark on BBC Question Time on Thursday, saying: “I accept it was a mistake to use those words, but actually if it contributed towards saving one life, or preventing someone else being maimed it was worth doing, because we did hold on to the peace process.”
The outspoken politician said that Jeremy Corbyn was trying to teach him the art of diplomacy, but he denounced government policy as immoral: “I think some of the policies they are pursuing are immoral. I think the consequences of them are immoral.”
He also described Chancellor George Osborne’s plan to run a budget surplus as “barmy”, claiming it runs contrary to every sensible economic theory. “If you have an economic surplus you are taking it out of the productive economy. So it’s just barmy.”
The left-wing Observer said his tone will “alarm” some in the Labour Party.