I know Diane Abbott slightly. I once had the pleasure of accompanying her across the Canopy Walkway at Kakum in Ghana. The photo of the walkway may come in handy as a metaphor. Last time I met her we chatted in Westminster tube station about Tony Blair – our views on him are similar.
A question for my Labour supporting commenters. I do not know if, now John has stepped down, if Diane will now get enough MP nominations to stand. But why is hr candidature treated as a joke, or at best a half-hearted bit of tokenism? Look at her voting record:
Voted moderately against a stricter asylum system.
Voted very strongly against the Iraq war.
Voted moderately against an investigation into the Iraq war.
Voted moderately against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.
Voted a mixture of for and against allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.
Voted moderately against greater autonomy for schools.
Voted a mixture of for and against introducing ID cards.
Voted a mixture of for and against laws to stop climate change.
Voted moderately for removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords.
Voted very strongly for a wholly elected House of Lords.
Voted strongly for more EU integration.
Voted moderately for equal gay rights.
Voted very strongly against replacing Trident.
Voted moderately against introducing student top-up fees.
Voted a mixture of for and against a transparent Parliament.
Voted strongly against introducing foundation hospitals.
Voted moderately for the hunting ban.
Diane Abbott is the only possible candidate left who was against the Iraq War, against Trident and for civil liberties. All the other candidates are deeply steeped in Iraqi blood and strongly associated with New Labour’s viciously authoritarian agenda. The frontrunner, David Miliband, spent most of his tenure as Foreign Secretary engaged in numerous legal attempts both to keep secret and to justify Britain’s complicity in torture under New Labour.
But she is the joke candidate because she is the only one who is not an Oxford educated cabinet minister.
Which opens the question, what is New Labour for? To me, it has found its niche as a neo-conservative opposition to a more traditional Conservative party given a still more comparatively Liberal tinge by coalition.