Although John McDonnell is tipped to be Jeremy Corbyn’s likely successor, Mr S doubts his appearance at an an event next month will do much to help his leadership chances. The shadow chancellor is scheduled to appear at a talk entitled ‘Local Government in Revolt’ alongside Ted Knight and Hazel Smith. This event will see McDonnell reunited with his old comrades — and ‘key participants’ — from the Lambeth and Greater London Council rate-cap rebellion of the eighties.
At the time, McDonnell was the GLC’s finance committee chairman. He was one of several figures who retaliated to the Thatcher government imposing caps on town hall spending by rallying supporters to oppose the caps and carry on spending regardless. In the end, Ken Livingstone had to sack McDonnell in 1985 in order to avoid financial ruin. As for Mcdonnell’s co-speaker Knight? He refused to set a budget for Lambeth council in protest at Thatcher and as a result was one of 32 councillors banned from holding office for five years and ordered to repay any lost interest.
Given that this disastrous period of history earned the group the tabloid title ‘the loony left’, his decision to speak for around two hours about the events — which led to Neil Kinnock blaming leaders like Knight for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute — suggests a lack of judgment. However, given that this is the same man who only recently called for a revolution to ‘bring this Government down‘ before 2020 at a rally in Trafalgar Square such an interpretation may well be wide of the mark. Viva la Revolution!