Tag Archives: Diane Abbott

When Prime Ministers Make Promises

On 14th April 2011, David Cameron made a promise:

So, taking all this into account, I believe controlling immigration and bringing it down is of vital importance to the future of our country.
That’s why during the election campaign, Conservatives made a clear commitment to the British people…
…that we would aim to reduce net migration to the levels we saw in the 1980s and 1990s.
Now we are in government, we are on track to meet that aim.

Nick Clegg thinks that the problem with that promise was that it was undeliverable:

“I said to David Cameron he shouldn’t make the commitment because it was inevitable he was going to break it because you can’t control the net figure… We said we were not going to do it as a coalition government. It is very embarrassing for the Conservatives. They made a huge amount of fanfare about it and they were warned by me and others ‘Don’t do this, it doesn’t make any sense’.”

(If you are a white UK-born LibDem supporter, however, the Conservative/LibDem government responsible for this is “The best UK Government of my lifetime”, so there.)

Labour think they’ll pick up votes by pledging to have more controls on immigration. Labour's anti immigration mug

(Though in fairness, Diane Abbott condemned the mug as “shameful” and the pledge as a problem, for which she was predictably condemned in the not-at-all racist Spectator. (There’s just something about Diane Abbott they don’t like.))
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Filed under In The Media, Racism

The #indyref campaign begins today

In less than four months, we’ll go to the polls to vote Yes or No to the question:

“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

And today, the campaign period for the referendum officially begins.

Scotland's FutureBut as I pointed out a few weeks ago (and Simon Jenkins pointed out yesterday) the SNP are not offering independence: they want major decisions for Scotland’s governance to be made at Westminster/in London. (It’s all in the White Paper: haven’t you read it?)
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Filed under Economics, Elections, European politics, Indyref White Paper, Scottish Politics

Diane Abbott: speakers fees

Diane AbbottDiane Abbott is MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

She’s currently getting slammed around on Twitter for accepting a speaker’s fee from the University of Birmingham in 2011 (£1750) to be the keynote speaker at their first ‘Global Societies’ student conference: and this year, she was paid a fee (£1,000) to be the keynote speaker at the Manchester Metropolitan University conference on ‘Making Education a Priority’ in May 2013.

When asked to a speaking engagement in her constituency, it would be boorish and absurd for her to demand a speaking fee: her constituents are entitled to her time. She may not be able to fit the engagement in on the specific date, but they do have a right to expect she’ll show up and talk, unpaid, if they invite her and she can make it.

Manchester and Birmingham are neither of them in Hackney North and Stoke Newington. Continue reading

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Filed under Politics, Racism, Women

Bradford West: Respect

Since May 2010, there have been six by-elections, and every one of them a hold for Labour until last night.


  • George Galloway (Respect) 18,341 (55.89%, +52.83%)
  • Imran Hussain (Labour) 8,201 (24.99%, -20.36%)
  • Jackie Whiteley (Conservative) 2,746 (8.37%, -22.78%)
  • Jeanette Sunderland (Liberal Democrat) 1,505 (4.59%, -7.08%)
  • Sonja McNally (UKIP) 1,085 (3.31%, +1.31%)
  • Dawud Islam (Green) 481 (1.47%, -0.85%)

Eoin Clarke very nicely shows that the biggest slide towards George Galloway was among Tory voters. (Update: And more realistically, Matthew Butcher notes that Galloway’s victory should be a wake-up call to the left – GG campaigned on an anti-austerity platform in a constituency where a Labour council had implemented ConDem cuts.)

Austerity Isn't Working

But the 2010 election results for Bradford West had Labour winning with a margin over 14 percentage higher than the Tories: 2.9% of formerly-Tory voters were voting Labour: Bradford West was a safe seat, in ordinary UK Parliamentary understanding.
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Filed under Elections

Things white people like: Blackbusters

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney, Shadow Minister for Health, was having a conversation on Twitter about criticism of “Black leaders” by black communities who feel these “leaders” do not represent them.[Update: As usual – it was more complicated than that.] In the course of that conversation, she tweeted: White people love playing ‘divide and rule’ We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism

She was right of course. There’s nothing to apologise for in a politician having a public conversation about a controversial topic.

And the notion that it was racist because it expressed a negative view of “white people”?

What this absurd flap demonstrates is the desperate longing of some privileged people to wear the rags of victimhood. Any whiff of black-on-white racism, like misandry and heterophobia, is an excuse for these delicate souls to downplay the dominant prejudice and argue that there is a level playing field of bigotry or, on the crazier fringes, that there is a “war” on white people/men/straight people/motorists, etc. Coming so soon after the Lawrence verdict, Abbottgate is a nasty attempt to pretend that, hey, there’s racism on both sides now. A black man gets knifed to death by a white mob; a black MP writes a carelessly worded tweet about white people. It all evens out.33revolutionsperminute: racism vs “racism” – why Diane Abbott was right

In a racist culture, public criticism of white people by a black person is not allowed. Any number of white people suddenly got up and yelled RACIST! Including the white man who was one of her fellow contenders for leadership of the Labour party – Ed Milliband called her when she was live on air to give her a telling-off. White man scolds black woman at a time when he knows the black woman will just have to stand there and take it, in public, on video. (Today Ed Milliband tweeted “Sad to hear that Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters.” Yes, Ed, I’m sure.)

To prove the exact point Diane Abbott was making about stuff white people like to do, Ed Milliband seems to have told Chuka Umunna to criticise Diane Abbott’s comment and David Cameron got Tory MP for Stratford Nadhim Zahawi to call for her resignation.

Sometimes it’s so blatant even a Daily Mail columnist (and one that doesn’t like or agree with Diane Abbott) can see what you’re doing:

Interestingly, though, as one of my extremely learned friends pointed out, that very act of Ed Miliband’s intervention, and her subsequent retraction, actually served to re-inforce the truth in what she was saying. Albeit a point she had made poorly.

And who could deny that? The situation was clear for all to see. Here was her boss, the white man, and here was she, the black underling, and she was gagged and undermined and it was right in front of us. No confusion there.

She followed this with a time honoured cop-out ‘taken out of context’ and responded by saying it was ‘a mis-interpretation as it refers to nature of 19th century European colonialism which cannot be explained in 140 characters’. Sonia Poulton, Daily Mail, 6th January 2012

Stuff white people like to do: complain about ‘racism’ against white people

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Filed under Racism, Women