John McDonnell spent a large amount of his time this week attacking the career history of the newly-promoted Chancellor, Sajid Javid.
While some might take heart at the way Javid, as son of a Pakistani bus driver, worked his way up to become a banker and then the second most powerful politician in the country, for McDonnell it’s clearly evidence that he should be clapped in irons. In a press release on Monday, McDonnell thundered that Javid’s stint at Deutsche Bank and his alleged role in selling collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) which were behind the 2008 banking crisis, meant that he was unsuitable to be Chancellor, and the prime minister should launch an investigation into his past.
You might think it a little hypocritical of McDonnell to criticise Javid when it comes to past experience. After all, McDonnell’s early career mainly consisted of him swanning from trade union to trade union during the 1970s, as Britain was crippled by strikes.
But it seems that the Shadow Chancellor has a blindspot when it comes to banking impropriety in his own party too.
Last month, the Labour party announced that it had selected a host of new parliamentary candidates who would represent the party in the next general election. One of which was Matthew Uberoi, who will stand in Chelsea and Fulham against Greg Hands.
Rather awkwardly though considering McDonnell’s current line of attack, Uberoi has actually been convicted of banking offences. In 2009, the wannabe MP was jailed for three months for insider trading, after he passed on tips to his dentist father (who was also jailed) when he was doing work experience at a bank. According to the Telegraph, Uberoi used coded messages about Chinese food to pass the information on to his father, who made over £100,000 from illegal trades.
In a blog post in 2018 explaining why he was standing as a council candidate, Uberoi explained that he joined the Labour partly shortly after he was released from prison, not for ‘redemption’, but because he wanted ‘to change the world’.
Mr S is glad of course that Uberoi has been rehabilitated. But if McDonnell thinks it so terrible that a former banker (who has never been found guilty of anything) is Chancellor, surely it can’t be right that a convicted insider trader has been selected to represent the good people of Chelsea and Fulham?