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that little red book 'joke'

(41 Posts)
DinosaursRoar Wed 25-Nov-15 21:48:29

apologies if this is being discussed elsewhere - couldn't find it.

I'm really surprised that McDonnell didn't think how badly this could go for him, it's obviously going to be presented not as "Shadow Chancellor makes cutting joke about Osborne's friendly relationship with China" but "Shadow Chancellor quotes Mao".

I know the super slick New Labour style isnt in favour anymore, but really, there must be a middle ground... or is this actually a really clever plan I'm not seeing?

DinosaursRoar Wed 25-Nov-15 22:01:36

no one? It feels a little bit like rather than being all about Osborne's U turn tomorrow, the papers are going to be all about the little red book. Which seems sad and annoying.

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Wed 25-Nov-15 22:05:58

God. I sighed at that too. I think so far it has been rather saved by the focus on the u turn. But yee gods. Did no one gently tell him - and more worryingly, does he have no one he will listen to who can gently tell him?

DinosaursRoar Wed 25-Nov-15 22:15:33

Libraries - I'm kind of hoping he didn't tell anyone about his 'hilarous' idea before hand, the alternatives are that he didn't bother listening to sensible advice that this was a very very bad idea, or he was told "go for it" - which sort of feels like some on the left are delibrately letting things get worse so that "something has to be done" before the next election and Corbyn will go - or other people who hope to be running the country really thought it would be funny and lacked the ability to see how it could be presented very badly.

<sigh>

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Wed 25-Nov-15 22:20:36

Yes. The least worst is that he told no one.

If the new team genuinely liked it, they're fucked.

If they shafted him, I suspect a coming blood bath.

If they told him.dont and he still did it, I worry for his judgement even more than just doing it.

All that 'encourage non voters to vote' is all very well, but you need two of those for every swinging voter who goes Tory.

TendonQueen Wed 25-Nov-15 22:27:49

I despair, I really do. I don't believe this stuff draws in the non voters, and I think anyone ignoring the need to win over actual Tory voters is being very naive.

DinosaursRoar Wed 25-Nov-15 22:32:48

I don't buy the 'encouraging non-voters to vote' thing either - because normally to get them out you need something very different being offered. And no, as yet another older, white, middle class man who's pretty much offering not far off what other labour leaders have offered (he's hardly suggesting to disband the army, or nationalising all the banks or anything massively different), you aren't going to get their attention to levels that are needed.

TwatTheNinja Wed 25-Nov-15 22:42:25

They've have just discussing this on newnight. With alexy sails passing comment.

ChillieJeanie Thu 26-Nov-15 06:37:52

I did see a tweet claiming that there was a group decision behind that ridiculous stunt. Don't know if that's true or not, but don't forget this is the party that brought us the Ed-stone.

Labour need to get their act together. UK politics always benefits from a strong opposition. Currently that role is being fulfilled by the Conservative back benchers and the House of Lords while the Labour leadership appears to be running a competition to see which one of them can appear to be the biggest idiot.

BrandNewAndImproved Thu 26-Nov-15 06:45:31

Can someone explain it please.

I saw him get out the book but I don't understand why the joke is on him.

ChillieJeanie Thu 26-Nov-15 06:50:35

Because the hard left Shadow Chancellor got up in the House of Commons and quoted approvingly the words of a hard left leader responsible for the deaths of millions. Imagine (because it would never happen) the reaction if a Conservative minister in a Commons debate quoted approvingly from Mein Kampf. That's why.

DinosaursRoar Thu 26-Nov-15 09:21:56

BrandNew - this article in the Guardian basically sums up whats so wrong with it

It's just getting embarassing. But yes, this is the same party of the Ed-Stone, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that this was a group decision. Which makes it all the bit worse, it's not just one fucking idiot who "doesn't get it" on opposition front bench but a whole load of them - just at a time when the country needs an opposition who can hold the Government to account.

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Thu 26-Nov-15 10:18:50

That pretty much sums it up for me. It feels at the moment that Labour are being led by a bunch of very politically motivated students. And there are great things about being a student with a strong interest in politics, but it doesn't make you ready to run a country.

Jux Thu 26-Nov-15 12:27:02

I thought it was vaguely amusing, as did dh and my bro (those are all the adults I have spoken with about it). I thought it was unimportant, tbh, and that he had a small twinkle in his eye.

I am not allied to any party, but I can say I'm not a Tory, if that helps. I honestly don't think it matters much.

I know Maoism is not a thing we should be aiming for in our society, but I do think that even bad philsophies can contain a few small nuggets of wisdom. Take them out and play with them, dump the rest.

DinosaursRoar Thu 26-Nov-15 12:49:30

Jux - I see what you are saying, but it should have been obvious to anyone with any sort of comprehension of how the British press work that this would be presented as just "McDonnell quotes Mao" (responsible for deaths of 45million people).

While if you watched it live, you might get the joke, but the whole point of Corbynism seems to be to woo non-voters, how many people who don't bother voting are going to watch the Autumn Spending review live, not just read about it in the paper/online/see the clips on the news? It's a joke that would need explaining to someone who's not been following recent politics or knows their political history.

Having thought about it more, what's really annoyed me about it, is that it seems that McDonnell seemed to think what he should be trying to do was upset Osborne and 'win' the arguement, not talking to the normal public and/or challenging Osborne's spending plans in terms that would help people watching understand the difference between the parties. I thought the point of Corbynism was to move away from 'Westminster point scoring'. Seems not.

I can see the U turn on TCs might have caught him 'on the hop', but really, there was stuff to work with that didn't involve reminding everyone about the 'dangers of the far left'.

MajesticWhine Thu 26-Nov-15 12:55:56

McDonnell has no political nous whatsover. He has a long record of being an idiot so it should be no surprise. It's a shame though. The sooner someone steps up to challenge Corbyn for the leadership, the better.

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Thu 26-Nov-15 12:57:34

Having thought about it more, what's really annoyed me about it, is that it seems that McDonnell seemed to think what he should be trying to do was upset Osborne and 'win' the arguement, not talking to the normal public and/or challenging Osborne's spending plans in terms that would help people watching understand the difference between the parties. I thought the point of Corbynism was to move away from 'Westminster point scoring'. Seems not.

They haven't moved beyond point scoring at all. They've done that old shitty trick of claiming they want to move beyond point scoring. The tampon tax thing was a total case in point. Cynical and nasty.

I am really disappointed. I'm a lefty. I hoped it might be genuine.

Lottapianos Thu 26-Nov-15 12:59:21

'If the new team genuinely liked it, they're fucked'

I really don't think they did. The Labour front bench, Tom Watson in particular, looked horrified. The Tory front bench on the other hand looked like they couldn't believe their luck. And Osborne's response was very good, much as it seriously pains me to say it

I desperately want Corbyn to turn things around and wipe the faces of that smug shower of scumbags but I'm starting to seriously despair. There's something particularly juvenile about McDonnell that I really can't get on with. Surely he's not so dense that he couldn't have seen his point about Chinese investment backfiring spectacularly when he started quoting Mao and throwing books across the desk? Dear god, why hand it to the Tories and the media on a plate like that? It makes me cringe.

And actually, none of this is fucking funny in the slightest. People lives and livelihoods were being affected by what was discussed yesterday, it was hardly the time for any sort of joking around. It just made them look like unhinged lightweights.

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Thu 26-Nov-15 13:03:26

I didn't see Tom Watson's reaction - I was listening on the radio. That's something.

I did see on the news that the Tories looked like Christmas had come early. Cameron's face was a picture of "You're giving me this. REALLY!"

Lottapianos Thu 26-Nov-15 13:06:43

'The sooner someone steps up to challenge Corbyn for the leadership, the better.'

But who Majestic? Who is left to offer an alternative to the previous Tory-lite version of Labour?

Libraries, they were roaring with laughter and looking at each other like 'is this really happening??? This is just too good!' Totally sickening. Certainly no laughter on the Labour side apart from McDonnell, the total plum. Stony faces all round.

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Thu 26-Nov-15 13:11:01

I might have to see if I can track down some coverage when I have a minute - I rarely manage to see stuff like that as I've a toddler at home so I just have radio in the background.

DinosaursRoar Thu 26-Nov-15 14:28:11

Lotta - it does make them seem like lightweights.

I didn't see Tom Watson's reaction either. I suppose it's good he clearly saw how much of a mistake it was, but then it suggests he wasn't one of those who got to be 'in' on the decision to do this.

It's beginning to make me miss Gordon Brown... (I really never thought that would happen)

borntobequiet Thu 26-Nov-15 14:34:01

Political jokes often backfire. Liam Byrne's "no money left" note is a good example.

DinosaursRoar Thu 26-Nov-15 14:39:52

yep, and 5 years later, it was being pulled out to discredit Labour. I think "quoting Mao" might follow McDonnell for a loonnnggg time.

claig Fri 27-Nov-15 11:05:18

I agree it was a very bad move. It was a minor thing of no real importance but as Dinosaurs and others have said, it shows that McDonnell has no political savvy at all. He didn't realise what the Tories would do with it. He doesn't understand the game.

The way I see it is he was sucking up to Osborne, trying to be self-deprecating and bursting the bubble of McDonnell being accused of being a communist by making light of it in an ironic jokey sense. He thought that Osborne would share in the laughs and everyone would then say that McDonnell is alright, he 's no communist.

But that shows a total lack of understanding that it is not a game, that the Tory press won't let him forget it, that they don't muck about and lark about, they have already said that Corbyn is a threat to security and they aren't going to let up.

What it really shows in McDonnell is weakness, an attempt to ingratiate himself by making a joke he thought would be shared. Unfortunately, it looks like McDonnell hasn't really got what it takes and is likely to let Labour voters down.

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