While the majority of the media focus on the McDonnell U-turn “gaffe”, the bizarre content of Osborne’s Bill has been overlooked.
The more I see of John McDonnell, the more I like him. He has already ticked my two key actions for Shadow Chancellor: he has engaged excellent economists to help create policy and he has thought about long term tactical implications.
Where many will see the U-turn as a problem, it is anything but. To vote for the fiscal-handcuff bill would mean that any attempts to reveal the illogic of Osbornomics would be scuppered from the off.
The bare faced strategy of the Bill is bold. It is exists solely to embarrass Labour and to discredit the role of government spending in improving the economy. Any Bill that obligates an actor (in this case the State) who is also able to repeal that Bill is obviously garbage. It is concerning that the media is more interested in a potential backbench Labour rebellion than it is in mocking a Bill scraped from the barrel of the Enabling Act playbook.
The Conservatives have got their teeth deep into the state and are getting near the bone. Any compliance with such a Bill would have been a big mistake – and the one major thing to hope from the new leadership is that it can show that the pre-Corbyn philosophy was unnecessarily and self-defeatingly cautious.
For now, McDonnell might feel the heat, but in the long run, his strategy is spot on.