To the consternation of the financier oligarchy, new British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has put at the top of his Shadow Cabinet John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer; in the U.K. government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer heads the Treasury. McDonnell is not only Corbyn’s closest associate, but is the outspoken supporter of Glass-Steagall bank separation.
In a profile, Monday’s Financial Times wrote that the Corbyn-McDonnell team will advocate a more effective regulatory regime for banks with a “full-blown ‘Glass-Steagall system'” to separate retail and investment banking.
“The auditing regime will be shaken up and a new financial transactions tax would be introduced to rebalance the economy towards manufacturing. The new shadow chancellor has also promised to facilitate a wider range of company and enterprise ownership and control, including public, co-operative and stakeholder ownership.”
The Guardian pointed out Corbyn had former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis standing by his side at the Labour Party victory event. Some people tried to compare him to Varoufakis because of his anti-austerity views, quoting Corbyn, “Someone said to me: ‘Are you going to be Britain’s Yanis Varoufakis?’ And I said: ‘I could never be that cool,'” drawing laughs from the audience.
The Guardian wrote that many MPs will find the appointment of McDonnell “very hard to stomach.” The Blairites and establishment types in the Labour Party are not happy over the choice of McDonnell, having pushed for Angela Eagle, who had been a cabinet member under both Blair and his successor Gordon Brown. Charles Clarke, a former Home Secretary, said Monday that he was “aghast” at the appointment of McDonnell, and told the BBC’s Radio 4 “Today” program that centrist Labour MPs would probably begin to form their own shadow Treasury policy.
Other members of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet include Hilary Benn as Shadow Foreign Secretary, who held that position before Corbyn won. Benn is the son of the late left-wing Labour MP Tony Benn; notably, Hilary Benn was educated as a Russian and East European expert.
Andy Burnham, who came in second in the leadership race is now Shadow Home Secretary. Angela Eagle, the new Shadow Business Secretary, was also named Shadow First Secretary of State. Heidi Alexander will be Shadow Health Secretary; Lord Falconer, who at one time shared a flat with Tony Blair, will continue as Shadow Justice Secretary. Other appointments include: Seema Malhotra shadow chief secretary to the Treasury; Diane Abbott shadow minister for international development: Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker; Rosie Winterton to continue as chief whip; Ian Murray to continue as shadow Scottish secretary.