Politics

McDonnell Quoted Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book” Then Tossed It At George Osborne

Another day under Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

1. Here’s the incredible moment shadow chancellor John McDonnell recited lines from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book during his response to George Osborne’s spending review.

McDonnell said he wanted to assist “comrade Osborne” in his dealings with his new friends in China, and produced the book, which is a collection of statements from the notorious former leader of the Chinese communist party also known as Chairman Mao.

“Let’s quote from Mao, rarely done in this chamber,” said McDonnell to hoots of derision from the Conservative benches. “The quote is this: ‘We must learn to do economic work from all who know how, no matter who they are. We must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously, but we must not pertain to know what we do not know.’”

3. McDonnell then tossed the book towards Osborne, saying: “I thought it would come in handy for him in his new relationship.”

BBC

4. Osborne seemed delighted by the gift, saying: “The shadow chancellor has literally stood at the dispatch box and read from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.”

5. As David Cameron guffawed in the background, Osborne joked: “Oh look, it’s [McDonnell’s] personal signed copy!”

6. It seems to be the moment people are talking about from this year’s spending review.

Chairman McDonnell and the Cultural Revolution #spendingreview

— General Boles (@GeneralBoles)

7. This former Labour candidate was slightly taken aback about what had happened.

When your Shadow Chancellor decides to finish a budget response with a shout out to a mass murderer.

— Kate Godfrey (@KateVotesLabour)

8. As was a disorientated Labour London assembly member.

I'm ill in bed today. Did the shadow Chancellor just quote from Mao's red book or have I taken too many painkillers? #AutumnStatement

— Tom Copley (@tomcopley)

9. According to reports from inside the Commons, Labour MPs looked quite surprised too.

I wish you could have all seen the faces of the Labour backbenchers when John McDonnell pulled out Mao's Little Red Book. I wish.

— Conor Pope (@Conorpope)

10. The deadpan @CorbynJokes account chipped in with this belter.

What's black and white and red all over? The writings of Chairman Mao, from which we can all learn.

— @corbynjokes (@corbynjokes)

11. Some people had a singalong.

MAO MAO, MAO MAO MAO MAO, MAO MAO MAO MAO, THERE'S NO LIMIT!!!!

— Tom King (@tomilo)

12. While Labour campaigners just despaired.

WHO ON EARTH TOLD JOHN MCDONNELL THAT HE SHOULD POSE WITH MAO’S LITTLE RED BOOK?

— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk)

13. The Telegraph’s Michael Deacon predicted every future Conservative election broadcast.

Brilliant. All future Tory broadcasts will contain genuine footage of John McDonnell holding the Little Red Book saying "Let's quote Mao"

— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon)

14. His predictions were proven right about two hours later.

Tory Central Office has just sent round an attack briefing note on Chairman Mao. Apparently he was a very bad man.

— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton)

15. All in all, it doesn’t seem like many people think it was a great idea.

Some people are worried about Labour. They think it's all over.... It is Mao.

— Karim Palant (@KarimPalant)

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Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.
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