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John McDonnell, the self-made socialist

From working night-shifts in a bed factory to raising 10 children in a care home, McDonnell has been exposed to the rough edges in life. Who is the man promising to transform Britain’s economy?

By Kevin Maguire   October 2018

John McDonnell likes to recount a bittersweet story about visiting an office in his own West London backyard during a dispute over its future. “I’m going down there to tell management they’re not going to have their way with these workers, we’re going to protect their jobs, and if anything happens, we want guarantees against redundancies.”

The office housed the service records of British military personnel. McDonnell mentioned to the union rep that his father, Bob,…

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