Given that one of the major findings of the Beckett report into Labour’s general election loss was that the party were not trusted with the economy, it’s safe to say that John McDonnell has his work cut out when it comes to winning back voters on this issue. So, the latest individual to be appointed as an advisor to the party makes for a rather curious choice.
Step forward Yanis Varoufakis. Yes, the former Syriza MP and Greek finance minister — who resigned from his role during negotiations for an EU bailout for the debt-ridden country — has been selected to advise Labour in ‘some capacity’. Speaking to the Islington Tribune, Jeremy Corbyn explained the reasons Varoufakis has been picked:
‘Varoufakis is interesting, because he has obviously been through all the negotiations [with ECB, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund]. I think the way Greece has been treated is terrible and we should reach out to them.
I realise we’re not in the Eurozone but it’s a question of understanding how we challenge the notion that you can cut your way to prosperity when in reality you have to grow your way to prosperity. So all of our emphasis and work and campaigning is about an expanding economy and investing in an expanding economy.’
The Greek Marxist economist has previously said he has excellent chemistry with both Corbyn and McDonnell. Speaking in December before his appointment, Varoufakis told the Guardian that Labour ought to broaden their appeal in order to succeed:
‘I think it’s important to broaden one’s appeal and to create a coalition with entrepreneurs who are investing in things that would mobilise Labour in a productive and creative way. I think this is essential for Labour. If it succeeds in doing this, it has a chance. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.’
Mr S hope Varoufakis has more luck with Labour than he had with Syriza. He previously described his time working in the anti-austerity party as a ‘heroic failure’.
Update: Nicholas Soames is unimpressed, the Tory MP says he can’t understand a work Varoufakis says.
— Nicholas Soames (@nsoamesmp) February 29, 2016