Diane Abbott 50

Diane Abbott follows Paul Flynn in apologising for telling an obvious truth. It shows New Labour has not changed under Ed – the ability to spout anything other than neo-con slogans is to be stamped out.

I spent several days with Diane Abbott and a small party of other MPs travelling in a bus around Ghana and got to know her fairly well. She is most certainly not in the least racist.

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50 thoughts on “Diane Abbott

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  • Clark

    If people think of themselves or others primarily as white or black, they are already victims of divide and rule.

  • Clark

    Emma West on the tram was the victim of divide and rule. She declared her separateness from the other passengers, including one who self identified as English, and they united against her. She didn’t attempt to divide them.

  • Clark

    Racial (or other group) prejudice, envy, anger, fear, tension, aggression and abuse may all be used in the practice of divide and rule.

  • Daniel


    On what grounds do you say she’s been ‘tripped up’? I agree, she’s not stupid which begats why it was she made such a stupid comment if it was not on the basis of racism. Her use of the term ‘whites’ in the generic sense in the context that she used it, is racist. There is no escaping this fact. The question in light of this, is why are people like Craig Murray are defending the indefensible?

  • Daniel

    “This distracting and silly storm suggests that the (largely de facto white supremacist) Right-wing media is proving that they do indeed operate through divide-and-rule.”


    Oh please, do me a favour. As with Abbot, you are conflating the politics of identity with the legitimate structural imbalances implicated by uneven relations of power. Do you seriously believe that if the media was owned and controlled by ethnic minorities things would be any different?

  • ingo

    I would have thought that departmentalising and putting others into boxes is a human trait, not that of one race against another.
    The problems with divide and rule are preceded by the philosophical notion of power, they are in a relationship and whether we want to go and quote Foucault or Nietzsche, the nature of power in itself encorporates discrimination. Although once we did live in tribes, and some still do if we remind ourselfs of Sicilian families, or Turkish family clans, today we have chosen to hav vast massive societies that are centralised with huge power systems at their heart and very little down at the level were it matters for us.

    If society would be decentralised and more open power structure would be better controlled and ruming by division much harder to accomplish.
    Did somebody say something about colour? She is a lawyer and should have engaged her brain, the little addage ‘some’ or ‘a few’ or ‘certain’ would have been enough. Another point which is blingingly obvious would be to ask her whether she thinks whether certain black people are devoid of using this power tool of divide and rule, does she think herslef as a Black parliamentarian, pure and innocent of having used division and rules.
    She said sorry, I forgive her and believe a lot of what she said is right, its her experience I suppose.
    She should have told Ed to f off and mind his own business, has he not got enough on his hands with that neocon Labour Lord egging him on to grow up and become more rabid.

  • Daniel


    Your comment chimes with mine. What I find particularly annoying and offensive about Abbot’s comment is not only does her racism set back race relations, but her trumping of identity politics shifts our attention away from the underlying structural causes at the heart of politicians’ attempts to rule over us through their use of ‘divide and rule’.

    I recall a debate between Abbot and Tariq Ali on the BBCs political current affairs programme, ‘This Week’ in which the latter exposed the formers attempts at defending the indefensible record of Barack Obama, on the basis of his colour.

  • Rose

    OK Daniel – semantics again – perhaps she tripped herself up, or as others have suggested, didn’t express herself carefully enough; coming from a generation born during the war, I’m always having to think twice about how I use language. What you say goes to the heart of what prejudice is and you’re right to challenge it, but most of us here are people of good will and will accept that she made a mistake. I have yet to be initiated into the mysteries of Twitter – any volunteers? – but being of the prolix persuasion,I can’t imagine what it must be like having to confine myself to 140 characters to say anything at all.

  • Steve

    She’s an idiot! As said in an earlier post ‘she has previous’. She courts attention in this day of celebrity culture. She new the remarks would cause problems. Just ask yourself what would happen if a policeman had said something of a similar ilk. Gone in 60 seconds, I think!

    That said, I don’t want her to be sacked. Far too much sensitivity is attached to stuff like this.

  • Franz

    As Craig says, discourse without generalisation would be far too complex. We all understand the thrust of what Abbott was saying: she didn’t mean all white people, she meant the white establishment. This is quite clear from the context. As a white person I do not find her remarks offensive, because I do not feel implicated in her criticism.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I agree about Abbott’s penchant for celebrity and allegedly also gravy-trains. I also agree that Identity Politics now largely itself has come to be an instrument of divide-and-rule.

    All of that does not remove the fact that the media and much else in this – and in US – society is basically de facto white supremacist. Those in dominant groupings sometimes have difficulty seeing this because it doesn’t affect them. It is simply one more is an array of power inequities. It’s not ‘either or’.

    So Daniel, what I am arguing is not “a conflation of the politics of identity with the legitimate structural imbalances implicated by uneven relations of power”. It is saying that one of the key structural imbalances of power relates to the identity politics of de facto white supremacism.

    So, for example, this encompasses imperialist tactics such as the cultivation of ‘native’ elites domestically (as happened in times of Empire) – in essence, Jack Straw in Bradford is engaging in the same process as a Colonial Resident in ‘British India’. It has ramifications in almost every walk of life. Divide-and-rule – on the basis of colour, ethnicity, religion, class, region, etc. – is simply one aspect of the machine.

  • Rerevisionist

    With regard to Tom Welsh, the idea there are no races was promulgated by Boas, an American pseduo-scientist. His motive was to benefit Jews. There’s a good account in Kevin MacDonald’s book ‘The Culture of Critique’. It perhaps goes without saying that one slef-defined ‘race’ was regarded as exempt.

  • Roderick Russell

    I think it wrong to look at the UK establishment as a “white” establishment with the suggestion that it is racist. Rather than a racist establishment, what I think we have is a very powerful “class oriented” establishment that operates undemocratically, and often corruptly, and only in its own narrow interests and not those of the nation as a whole. It adversely affects all groups who are not part of it, including many “white” people as well as racial minorities.
    One can see a report on my story by clicking on my signature. I won’t reiterate the details here except to say look at pages 17 to 20 of my report for a brief overview of other “non racial” human rights abuses in the UK – none of whom received any help at all from our narrowly focussed human rights industry. To some extent this industry is already segregated between those who have racial, or orientation issues, or are abused foreign dissidents overseas and who sometimes get a little of the help they need, and the rest of us who don’t have any help at all. There is certainly no help for the many victims at home of “MI5 / MI6”. Human Rights are a very political issue in the UK, including wilfully blind Cabinet Ministers in the last Labour Government who as my own case shows have no honest track record in this matter.
    If some want to dispute any of the well-witnessed facts in my own case then there is only one honest way to do it – charge me and bring me before a jury of my peers. That people could do such evil, and continue with this evil is, I think, indicative of the overall moral shallowness of this establishment rather than of racism alone.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Roderick Russell – I agree. Overall, class (and all the matters that flow from it, such as wealth distribution, etc.) is the main structural problem in the UK. There are of course other structural poroblems though.

  • Antelope Grazer

    She was probably setting up an opportunity for Millipede Junior to seem tough and decisive after his bad press recently. If you have to have a black woman in the shadow cabinet she might as well make herself useful.


  • Anon

    Of course if she had said bloggers and blog commenters love playing divide and rule she would have hit the nail on the head.

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