John McDonnell gets down to business: 'It’s called socialism'

Written by David Singleton on 26 September 2016 in Diary

Watch: The shadow chancellor got wild applause for heralding a socialist policy programme in his conference speech.

John McDonnell used his keynote speech to the Labour conference to set out a series of policy ideas - and to proudly declare that socialism is back.

The shadow chancellor said Labour would introduce a "real living wage" of at least £10 an hour in 2020 if in power.

With the Labour leadership having previously been criticised for failing to develop much detailed policy, McDonnell also floated the idea of a “universal basic income" as part of a massive benefits shake-up.

And he got a wild applause and a standing ovation after ending his speech with left wing rhetoric:

“In the birthplace of John Lennon, it falls to us to inspire people to imagine. Imagine the society that we can create. It’s a society that’s radically transformed, radically fairer, more equal and more democratic. Yes, based upon a prosperous economy but an economy that’s economically and environmentally sustainable and where that prosperity is shared by all.

“In this party you no longer have to whisper its name, it’s called socialism.”





In his Labour conference speech, McDonnell said a Labour government would legislate for a “real living wage”, which he said was likely to be higher in 2020 than the £10 level he proposed last year.

He told the conference: "One of the greatest achievements of the government elected in 1997 was the establishment of a national minimum wage, lifting millions out of poverty. The Tories opposed it, claiming it would cost millions of jobs, but - united in purpose - we won the argument.

"Under the next Labour government, everyone will earn enough to live on. When we win the next election we will write a real Living Wage into law. We'll charge a new Living Wage Review Body with the task of setting it at the level needed for a decent life.

"Independent forecasts suggest that this will be over £10 per hour. This will be a fundamental part of our new bargain in the workplace."

McDonnell also said he wanted to learn more about the idea of a universal basic income which is being looked at by some European governments. 

“I am also interested in the potential of a universal basic income – to learn from its potential from the experiments currently taking place across Europe,” he said.

He also pledged:

  •  to "end the social scourge of tax avoidance" by doubling the number of HMRC staff working in this area and banning "tax-dodging companies" from winning public sector contracts
  • fight for the "best possible" Brexit deal for the UK
  • to ensure there are "no more Philip Greens"
  • rewrite the Takeover Code to make sure every takeover proposal has a clear plan in place to pay workers and pensioners
  • to repeal the Trade Union Act



Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images


Share this page




Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.