George Osborne and David Cameron both took pot shots at Labour over its relationships with left-wing journalist Paul Mason and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis this week.
Osborne took a time out from Brexit scaremongering at Treasury questions on Tuesday to say:
The fact that the Labour Party is now getting its advice from Yanis Varoufakis and the revolutionary Marxist broadcaster Paul Mason does not suggest to me that they’ve got an answer to economic security.
Presumably they chose those two because Chairman Mao was dead and Mickey Mouse was busy.
And Cameron followed up in PMQs on Wednesday by saying of Varoufakis...
He was the Greek finance minister who left his economy in ruins.
That is Labour's policy in two words: Acropolis Now.
You may be glad to hear that both Mason and Varoufakis have responded to the Tory wisecracks.
The ex-finance minister wrote an open address to Osborne for Newsweek on Thursday pointing out that Greece's economic woes were actually a strong argument in favour of an Out vote:
Michael Gove, Michael Howard and Boris Johnson are arguing, against you, for Brexit on solid intellectual grounds concerning the EU's curtailment of your Parliament's democratic sovereignty. Even though our democracy was indeed crushed last summer by the EU, I happen to disagree with them.
However, I am intrigued that you seem not to realise that by mocking me in that same Parliament you reinforced their already strong case for Brexit. My failure as finance minister was due to the ironclad determination of an authoritarian EU to continue with its failed Greek economic programme.
My ministry's Policy Programme for Greece, which Brussels pushed aside, I had put together with input from economic experts including Lord Lamont and [American economist] Jeff Sachs. I trust that, with hindsight, you would not have taken that cheap shot. It was one that the 'Stay' campaign can ill afford.
Picture: Wikimedia Commons
It was Mason, however, who came in with the kill shot.
In a short post on Medium, the former Channel 4 economics editor clarified that he's been asked to speak at a Labour-organised series of talks along with Varoufakis and Joseph Stieglitz, but is not formally advising the party.
He's not a "revolutionary Marxist", as Osborne would know if he'd read Mason's new book.
As for the Chairman Mao comment, Mason said he's been trailed in China for his reporting there and is happy to denounce the dictator.
I am happy to state that Mao was a despot whose policies killed millions; I look forward to hearing Mr Osborne say that on his next trip to China.
And Mickey Mouse?
Mickey Mouse on the other hand is a universal 20th century icon representing the triumph of the little guy against the bully, the innocent against the corrupt, the weak against the strong. I am happy to be identified with those ideals.