John McDonnell reveals what makes him different to Jeremy Corbyn

Written by David Singleton on 2 March 2018 in Diary

The shadow chancellor is open to suggestions that he is the Lennon to the Labour leader’s McCartney.

John McDonnell has moved to downplay claims to he is the real strategic organiser at the top of the Labour party.

But he does not mind being seen as the Lennon to Jeremy Corbyn’s McCartney, according to an interview and profile of the shadow chancellor in the FT.

In the must-read piece, political correspondent Jim Pickard quotes two insiders on the roles played by the shadow chancellor and the Labour leader.

Left wing former Labour MP Alan Simpson sees Corbyn and McDonnell as the Torvill and Dean of British politics, saying: "Jeremy skates round the country with almost karmic serenity, winning admirers for his openness and integrity. John, meanwhile, plans the detail of their programmes and does most of the heavy lifting."

On a similar note, one anonymous colleague says: "John is a Stakhanovite. Corbyn is lazy, he’s the bloke who just turns up, while John is the one who reads the papers beforehand."  

McDonnell strongly denies that he is the heavy lifter of the pair. But the shadow chancellor "does not entirely reject the idea he is the Lennon to Corbyn’s McCartney," Pickard writes.

On the differences between the himself and Corbyn, McDonnell says: "He is one of the most caring people I’ve ever met . . . he doesn’t like conflict but he’s absolutely principled. Me, I’m slightly different, more than slightly different . . . I will be more in people’s faces."

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