Listen to this article
This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.
Is Britain on course to give Marxism a whirl? John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has radical plans to shake up the economy — nationalising major industries, tax rises on business and ramping up public spending. With the opposition Labour party currently tied in the opinion polls with the besieged Conservative party, these ideas might soon become reality.
Philip Stephens looks at the prospects of Mr McDonnell seizing control of the economy in his latest column. He points out that in a world where Donald Trump can become president, it is not unimaginable that voters will put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street and Mr McDonnell in the Treasury. Philip thinks this may happen due to the Conservatives’ economic failings: stagnated incomes, rocketing executive pay and policies favouring older generations.
Like other populists, Mr McDonnell is selling snake oil. His prescriptions for the UK’s economic ills are unlikely to solve voters’ concerns. But if punters think all the old remedies have failed and things cannot get much worse, the simple recognition that something has gone badly wrong might just work.
Democracy in Greece: Antonis Samaras, a former prime minister of Greece, argues Syriza is undermining democracy. The government has abolished the independent anti-corruption watchdog while Alexis Tsipras is mounting attacks on his political rivals.
World Cup woes: Robert Shrimsley imagines what would happen if England withdraws its football team from the World Cup. Hint: Vladimir Putin might not be too concerned.
Farewell Gary Cohn: Gillian Tett asks who will be able to sell Donald Trump’s economic policies, after losing his key economic adviser. White House policymaking has now taken on a capricious, Wild West feel, she argues.
Best of the rest
Democracy may not be dying, but it is sick — Alex Massie in The Times
Will Saudi Arabia Free Its Women? — Ayaan Hirsi Ali in The Wall Street Journal
Why Europe Is Giving Up on Trump’s America — Sylvie Kauffmann in The New York Times
The EU shouldn’t punish Brexit. They’d soon regret it — James Forsyth in The Spectator
Why Isn’t Trump President for Life Yet? — Yascha Mounk in Slate
What you’ve been saying
Making women confident that they will be heard — letter from Jean McClean
We need more men to be part of the solution but progress will not be made unless we make more of a collective effort to listen to women’s voices at all levels of society. We have seen no sector is immune to cases of sexual harassment so it is key that we create an environment where women know they will be listened to and justice served for the crime committed, within the right timeframe. New research by ActionAid shows that of 2,500 women surveyed from the UK, Brazil, India and South Africa, nearly half had experienced sexual harassment. Of these, 68 per cent did not report it to the police and 50 per cent said this was because they believed it “would be pointless”. Why? Because deep-rooted gender inequality and social norms currently dictate that men are entitled to women’s bodies and that the legal system, same as most other systems, is on their side — if they need it to be. Women worldwide need to be given the confidence that their voices will be heard and that others will stand in solidarity with them.
Comment from davidfrench on Brexit Britain may soon be humming John McDonnell’s Marxist tune
There was nothing Marxist about the Labour Party manifesto presented to the electorate by Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell. Nationalised railways and utilities would be seen as the default position in most of the rest of Europe. Abolishing university tuition fees falls into the same category. For the government to borrow at low interest rates to invest in national infrastructure smacks of good sense and sound economics. And I speak as someone who joined the Labour Party to get rid of Corbyn. If Labour had a credible leader, it would be 30 points ahead of this weak, clueless, and openly divided government — led by a leader who amongst all her other faults, is useless on the campaign trail.
The EU27 have an unenviable future — letter from John Doherty
The EU27 have an unenviable future: a rapidly shrinking share of world trade, intractable youth unemployment, and (with the exception of tiny Malta) they do most of their trade with each other. By contrast, only 43 per cent of UK exports go to the EU, down from 68 per cent in 2004. The UK has had a trade deficit with the EU in every year since 1999 and a surplus with non-EU countries since 2012. Far from being “isolated” in 2060, Britons will be among the 96 per cent of the world population not constrained by the EU.
Who can sell Trump to business now that Gary Cohn has gone? White House policymaking has a capricious, Wild West feel
Vladimir Putin faces the horror of a bit of a World Cup boycott The prospect of a distant cousin of the last Tsar staying away is raising pressure
Syriza is undermining democracy in Greece The Tsipras government has mounted an attack on the rule of law
Free Lunch: How to defend the western way of life Liberal democratic capitalism must be more radical while staying true to itself
Instant Insight: Good governance and integrity must go hand in hand at the IoD Allegations against chair Barbara Judge point to rifts at the business institute
Stop reasoning with the oil majors and sell their shares instead The clock has run out on shareholder engagement with the fossil fuel industry
Why the global economy is due for a downswing Alarm bells should start ringing when so many countries are performing so well at once
Brexit Britain may soon be humming John McDonnell’s Marxist tune Labour’s would-be chancellor plans to nationalise the railways and shackle the banks
Even women who can handle money are reluctant investors I challenge the finance industry to launch an ad campaign placed with sanitary protection brands
FT View: Mohammed bin Salman, strongman in the making In Saudi Arabia, too much power rests on one man’s shoulders
FT View: More ethical dilemmas for Norway’s oil fund Selling out of oil and gas groups will not change much. Dialogue may
The Big Read
The Big Read: Xi Jinping and China’s ‘good emperor, bad emperor’ problem President must prove he can govern complex society despite increasing centralisation of power