LUNCH WITH THE FT: John McDonnell, an old-school Marxist who’s learning to bend
Back in 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn made him shadow chancellor, McDonnell was seen as the thuggish sidekick to his beatific leader
It’s hard to imagine what Friedrich Engels would make of John McDonnell’s frugal dining habits. Engels, co-founder of Marxism, spent his 70th birthday sharing 16 bottles of Champagne and “12 dozen oysters” — and boasted of his “acknowledged gift for mixing a lobster salad”.
By contrast, McDonnell — perhaps the most famous living Marxist in Britain — is strikingly abstemious. When I ask where he normally eats in Westminster, the shadow chancellor replies: “I don’t really. Not usually.” For lunch today he ate some Rich Tea biscuits...