Oh dear. This week Jeremy Corbyn claimed that Yanis Varoufakis would advise Labour in ‘some capacity’. However, whatever capacity that will be, the message doesn’t appear to have got through to Varoufakis. After a week in which the former Syriza MP and Greek finance minister has been made fun of by senior Tories over the arrangement, Varoufakis seems to be at pains to play down any such role.
In an interview with CNBC, Varoufakis states that he is not advising Corbyn — ‘I’m a full time active politician. As such, I could not be advising another politician’. Instead he says he is just talking to ‘anyone who wants to talk to me’.
‘So, I am talking to Jeremy Corbyn because he talks to me, I talk to Norman Lamont from the Conservatives, to Caroline Lucas from the Green Party.
This is what we’re doing in Europe now: we have this movement that we’ve started for the purpose of having, at last, a conversation amongst democrats, the purpose of which ought to be to consolidate and to find common program for arresting this slide into an abyss. And we’re sliding in to an abyss in Europe.’
What’s more, there is no formal agreement:
CNBC: Let me just nail this down for a moment. Can you confirm, are you receiving any money from the Labour Party for advising Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell?
CNBC: Is there a contract, in a business sense, where you give advice to them in return for something else?
YV: Well let me generalise my answer…
CNBC: No don’t generalise, be very specific…
YV: I have no such contract with anyone. Let alone Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party.
It’s almost as though Varoufakis doesn’t want to be associated with Corbyn’s Labour…
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