Yesterday Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell took it upon himself to break out Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book after George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.
It was probably mean as a bit of light trolling, but the stunt delighted the Tories, Twitter erupted and left many in the Labour backbenches open-mouthed.
McDonnell went on Channel 4 to explain the bizarre stunt.
He said: ‘I wanted to highlight the fact he’s selling off another £5billion-worth of our assets, as I said in the speech, they’ve sold off the family silver – they’re virtually selling off our furniture now, and that can’t be right.’
Sensing that it may have backfired, he added: ‘Although I’ve got some stick for doing it in that way, it’s allowed me to get that issue on the agenda now.’
Newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy replied: ‘The trouble is, you brandished a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book and you are, in many people’s minds, exactly the kind of Labour politician who probably has it in his pocket.’
Steering the conversation back to the issue, McDonnell added: ‘I thought I’d give it to George Osborne as an indication of my concerns about his flogging off British assets. And to be frank I don’t think we’d be talking about that issue if I hadn’t done it.
‘In a jocular way, I’ve got the message across.’
Here’s the moment he pulled out the Little Red Book…