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Diane Abbott: Success Against the Odds

Photograph: Getty Images.

Abbott: leadership contender

In in the dramatic final few hours, Diane Abbott received the 33 nominations that will take her to the final round of the Labour Leadership contest.

Few gave her a prayer in achieving the very high threshold that would ensure this indomitable Black woman would bring her politics to the leadership debate.

And by her achievement Diane Abbott not only makes history: the second women, the first Black person, to challenge for the party’s leadership, perhaps even more importantly she paves the way for others to follow.

OBV’s Director Simon Woolley, who ignited her challenge by encouraging her to stand, stated:

“This is truly a great day. Achieving the nomination is one thing, but doing so when the vast majority tell you, you don’t stand a chance, demonstrates self belief and a dynamism that few people in world have. Diane’s achievement will undoubtedly inspire a generation of Black men and women to become leaders.”

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11 Responses

  1. I find it somewhat disturbing to see the picture of Diane Abbot on the same page as the late, great Dr Martin Luther King.

    His speech about judging people by the “content of their character” springs to mind when I think of Ms Abbot abusing parents in her constituency for sending their kids to private schools and then proceeding to do just that with her own kids.

    Hypocrisy knows no colour bar – it’s the “content of her character” that is found wanting.

    To put her picture on the same page as a truly great man is offensive to me.

  2. Excellent news.

    She’s the second woman to be nominated, not the first, though – Margaret Beckett stood against Blair and Prescott in 1994.

  3. Well said, Simon!

  4. Well done Diane. You have written your name in history. No matter however your brave and very positive efforts turn out, you have forever written your name in history. If ever there is going to be a black leader for the United Kingdom – I know I wouldn’t be around to see it and I hope to live long – your name will always crop up because of your brave and gallant efforts. One in the eye of Michael Portillo.

  5. I think this comment is absolute nonsense. And so is this situation. She didn’t get the required backing.
    Anything else is the result of nothing but shameless and opportunist shenangins and jerry-mandering on behalf of the Labour Party in order to nudge her into the ring for a role which she has little chance of winning and, more importantly, has demonstrated neither the intellectual nor political acumen to effectively fulfill.
    There is nothing, AT ALL, that is noble, brave or positive about THAT. She’s just a shameless opportunist who, through the greed of her personal ambition and lust for media attention has, in the blink of an eye, fallen over herself to become a servile tool and a stooge.

    Can anyone seriously imagine Diane Abbot as a potential Prime Minister?

    She’s largely clueless about anything -and makes do with gurning, guffaws and rehearsed platitudes based on the opinions of someone else in answer to almost any serious issue that presented to her – in fact, that question is almost irrelevant anyway as, if by some fluke of stupid and ignorant, gender or race-based voting, she were actually elected Leader, Labours chances of power would be quashed as quickly as their credibilty.

    Miliband/Labour have engineered this tragic sideshow for the benefit of appearance and their own purposes only, which only sends a message the new New Labour experiment is really over. This sickening tokenism and merit-be-damned attitude has set Labour back 50 years.

    If she had any pride or self-respect at all, Abbott would have declined this charade – but of course; she’s power-hungry idiot; and she’s banking on the same simplistic fools who cleave to some notion that this is an historic victory for black people to close their eyes to the whole sorry business. Morons. It’s an acute embarrasment.

    As a black person I am disgusted with her, Miliband, Harman – the whole Party; and, as a life-long Labour voter, I see little chance at all that I will ever vote Labour again.

    People who see this as something positive are either blind, stupid or ignorant.

    • Hello J Thompson,

      “I think this comment is absolute nonsense. And so is this situation. She didn’t get the required backing.”

      There are many good reasons why she did not get the right backing. Her being black is definitely one of them.

      “Anything else is the result of nothing but shameless and opportunist shenangins”

      Diane cannot be held culpable for that. She has every right to challenge for the leadership of the party.

      “shenangins and jerry-mandering on behalf of the Labour Party in order to nudge her into the ring for a role which she has little chance of winning and, more importantly, has demonstrated neither the intellectual nor political acumen to effectively fulfill.”

      Could her being black be the reason why she has little chance of winning? An MP of over twenty years experience, educated at Harrow and Cambridge, a very good political background and knowledge as a councillor between 1982 and 1986, and her work in the media. Looking at such a magnificent portfolio, I would say she is more than qualified for the role; especially when you think of the knowledge she would have acquired being very close to real people over that period.

      “She’s just a shameless opportunist who, through the greed of her personal ambition and lust for media attention has, in the blink of an eye, fallen over herself to become a servile tool and a stooge.”

      She is ambitious. She has taken the opportunity that has come her way by right, very well. You claim to be a black person; surely, you should be happy at the positive example she is setting for all nonwhites in this country, and also engaging them in the political process. She would only be a servile fool and stooge if she took the position you are advocating in your thread. As a British Citizen, she is challenging for the leadership of her party by right. Every nonwhite in this country – no matter their political affiliation – should show some solidarity in backing her. She has stood up to be counted with a lot of dignity. Go for it Diane.

      “Can anyone seriously imagine Diane Abbot as a potential Prime Minister? ”

      Yes. She has all the credentials to be a Prime Minister. Her only stumbling block is whether New Labour – a very racist party – or the British public are really racially tolerant to give her that opportunity at all.

      “Miliband/Labour have engineered this tragic sideshow for the benefit of appearance and their own purposes only, which only sends a message the new New Labour experiment is really over. This sickening tokenism and merit-be-damned attitude has set Labour back 50 years.”

      Milliband and all who finally stepped forward to support Diane were actually ashamed of their inner racism which clearly emerged when their mettle was finally tested. Their attitude and behaviour has shown why racial discrimination is now prevelant in our society again after thirteen years of a Labour Government. The genie of racism was released by Tony Blair’s government and carried on by Gordon Brown’s. The sad news is that it is going to be very difficult getting it back into that bottle again. That, I am afraid, has set New Labour back 50 years; not Diane Abbott’s nomination which can only be seen as one of the positive things done by New Labour however reluctantly.

      “If she had any pride or self-respect at all, Abbott would have declined this charade – but of course; she’s power-hungry idiot; and she’s banking on the same simplistic fools who cleave to some notion that this is an historic victory for black people to close their eyes to the whole sorry business. Morons. It’s an acute embarrasment.”

      She is ambitious that’s why she was brave enough to put herself forward for nomination. Black people have always been accussed of not having any ambition. As a supposedly black person, I thought you should have viewed Diane’s brave attempt more positively.

      “As a black person I am disgusted with her, Miliband, Harman – the whole Party; and, as a life-long Labour voter, I see little chance at all that I will ever vote Labour again.”

      Are you really? You have the choice of voting for any party of your wish without trying to besmirch Miss Abbott’s character. When the racism within New Labour finally became obvious, they had to turn to Nick Griffin with the aid of the BBC, to try to hide it. The nomination for leadership of their party has finally exposed it.

      “People who see this as something positive are either blind, stupid or ignorant.”

      I reserve my comments on this quote.

    • I too felt that th selection was tokenistic, and was a ploy to pretend Labour wasn’t the very thing it (including Diane) has characterised the Tories and Lib Dems as.

      Why characterise Diane an opportunist? She remained a back-bencher and didn’t collude with policies against her principles. Unlike Ed Balls (who now says he was against the war in Iraq).

      That said, all politicans are opportunists, it is a strong prerequisite for the job. Speaking of opportunism, want to bet me £50 many Milibanders came out to support him because they would be rewarded in the future

      You are right about ‘merit-be-damned’ though. But this applies to all candidates, not just Diane. They are a popularity contest.

      I couldn’t imagine Cameron as Prime Minister either but it’s a reality now. If the media would be as soft on Diane as they are being at the moment, then yes, why not? Whether she could handle the pressure that Brown endured or not is the question. But who on the ballot could?

  6. We’d appreciate it if posts could be kept civil, a view point can be made without the need to call people idiots.

  7. Are you serious, or is all of this supposed to be some kind of joke?

    “There are many good reasons why she did not get the right backing. Her being black is definitely one of them”.
    Oh? You do you have some actual evidence for this fanstastic claim? Or is this just what you wish were the case?

    “She can’t be held culpable for shameless opportunism and shenanigins”? Really? You don’t disagree that that’s what this is, but it’s somehow it’s “not her fault”? Is that, in all seriousness, your defence of this?
    Furthermore, I don’t see how you can claim that with any conviction any more than you could claim that she was not absolutely complicit in this affair by her acceptance the product of those shenanigins. It’s ridiculous.

    “Could her being black be the reason why she has little chance of winning?”
    Oh? And why is that any more likely than her just being incapable of demonstrating the skills and obtain the support required to actually do the job – this job; not the one she had before; and to actually do it, not stand next to it?

    Can you not see that, *without any actual grounds* for that statement and it’s inference, you have actually only played what they love to call “the race card” and immediately undermined your credibility and the credibility of any black politics that insists on maintaining that reactionary, victim mentality?

    Maybe,*without those actual grounds*, it would be nothing at all to do with her being black – and everything to do with her just not being as capable as another candidate?

    Look, you can attempt to spin this however you like, with speculation on the hidden racism of Milliband et al; you can carry on until the cows come in engineering an argument that makes you feel better about how this has been carried out – but what you’ll actually be doing is playing that nonsense off against increasingly diminshing black political credibilty; and, while that attitude is broadly carried, what little black political credibilty there is will be squandered, by apologists like you, who value appearances over actual value and content.

    And that is the actual point, here – [I’m going to ignore your thinly veiled and slightly accusatory questioning of my ethnic heritage, 1) because it’s foolish, patronising and trite; 2) because it’s yet another signifier of the same unecessary race-observance that you repeat several times in your argument and that you appear to you have allow to pollute your argument and impartiaility; 3) because I’ve already addressed it and, 4) because it’s just annoying].

    The actual point is that, with a perspective that is wider and less focussed on masquerade of short-termism, appearances and brazen opportunism, there is absolutely NOTHING in these circumstances and in the way this has been carried out that presents anything of “positive example” at all!
    It’s precisely the opposite.
    And as for this actually being some kind of “brave” storming of the political ramparts with Abbot at the head? Don’t make me laugh.

    And, by the way, I really don’t need to “bismirch her character”, even if I wanted to – that’s another big laugh – she’s doing that more than well enough, herself, by undermining what little of her own credibilty there is.
    Witness the most recent product of her efforts in today’s Daily Mirror.

    • Hello J Thompson,

      “Oh? You do you have some actual evidence for this fanstastic claim?”

      Check www2.labour.org.uk/leadership-2010. In order to cover up this embarassment, David Miliband – a rival – had to nominate Diane when the other party members could not bear the thought of her as their leader.

      ““She can’t be held culpable for shameless opportunism and shenanigins”? Really? You don’t disagree that that’s what this is, but it’s somehow it’s “not her fault”? Is that, in all seriousness, your defence of this?”

      You haven’t been able to back up your claim with any hard evidence. Your claims are at best supposition, and can only be seen as views of yours.

      “Furthermore, I don’t see how you can claim that with any conviction any more than you could claim that she was not absolutely complicit in this affair by her acceptance the product of those shenanigins. It’s ridiculous.”

      Again, more supposition.

      ““Could her being black be the reason why she has little chance of winning?”
      Oh? And why is that any more likely than her just being incapable of demonstrating the skills and obtain the support required to actually do the job – this job; not the one she had before; and to actually do it, not stand next to it? ”

      Again these are views of yours without no foundation. In 1997, New Labour had three white homosexuals in their cabinet and black or minority ethnic citizen. This is hardly the act of a real racially tolerant and understanding government? The same people are the ones who refused to nominate her, but, where more happier nominating candidates of their own ethnic background’s. Furthermore, with over twenty years experience as a member of the government, she is very well qualified to run for leadership.

      “Can you not see that, *without any actual grounds* for that statement and it’s inference, you have actually only played what they love to call “the race card” and immediately undermined your credibility and the credibility of any black politics that insists on maintaining that reactionary, victim mentality? ”

      Not at all. The very fact that our views differ clearly shows the difference in treatment between my race – black – and your race. New Labour ran a very racist government for thirteen years and it did not win them the last election.

      “Look, you can attempt to spin this however you like, with speculation on the hidden racism of Milliband et al; you can carry on until the cows come in engineering an argument that makes you feel better about how this has been carried out – but what you’ll actually be doing is playing that nonsense off against increasingly diminshing black political credibilty; and, while that attitude is broadly carried, what little black political credibilty there is will be squandered, by apologists like you, who value appearances over actual value and content.”

      I have not been elected spokesperson for black people. I am simply airing my view as a black citizen. My views can never erode any black political credibility.

      ” And that is the actual point, here – [I’m going to ignore your thinly veiled and slightly accusatory questioning of my ethnic heritage, 1) because it’s foolish, patronising and trite; 2) because it’s yet another signifier of the same unecessary race-observance that you repeat several times in your argument and that you appear to you have allow to pollute your argument and impartiaility; 3) because I’ve already addressed it and, 4) because it’s just annoying].”

      Points noted.

      “The actual point is that, with a perspective that is wider and less focussed on masquerade of short-termism, appearances and brazen opportunism, there is absolutely NOTHING in these circumstances and in the way this has been carried out that presents anything of “positive example” at all!
      It’s precisely the opposite.”

      She has bravely taken her opportunity in much the same way that the other white candidates have. If you are accusing her of being an opportunist, the same can be said of the rest.

      “And as for this actually being some kind of “brave” storming of the political ramparts with Abbot at the head? Don’t make me laugh.”

      Again, another clear difference between a black person and possibly a white person.

      “And, by the way, I really don’t need to “bismirch her character”, even if I wanted to – that’s another big laugh – she’s doing that more than well enough, herself, by undermining what little of her own credibilty there is.”

      Sour grapes. It’s hard to comment on any opinion that appears to emanate from that.

      “Witness the most recent product of her efforts in today’s Daily Mirror.”

      Is the reporter white? That’s race relations in Britain today.

      • What? I asked you to support this, your definitive statement:
        “There are many good reasons why she did not get the right backing. Her being black is definitely one of them”,

        – and you point me at the Leadership Election website?
        I mean…I’d like to know where in there, exactly, you think it is that the support for your statements lies. (We can call that one rhetorical, if you like).

        For most of your subsequent of the reply, I haven’t the first a clue what you’re talking about. Sorry.
        For exampleto , ask me for “evidence” in support of this, my comment;

        “She can’t be held culpable for shameless opportunism and shenanigins”? Really? You don’t disagree that that’s what this is, but it’s somehow it’s “not her fault”? Is that, in all seriousness, your defence of this?”

        – seems complete nonsense; as that is only YOUR statement in quotation, followed by MY questions to YOU, about it. How is “evidence” an issue in that scenario? Do you mean you want evidence that you wrote it? I suggest you read your post.

        And then this, my statement, that you tell me is “more supposition”:

        “Furthermore, I don’t see how you can claim that with any conviction any more than you could claim that she was not absolutely complicit in this affair by her acceptance the product of those shenanigins. It’s ridiculous”.

        – well…in fact, no, it very clearly isn’t. I haven’t “supposed” anything at all in that statement. I have only put it you, as an observation, and in the context of a response to what YOU have said. Again, perhaps you should re-read your own post.
        Furthermore, “Supposition” – even when it is correctly identified – is not actually an argument of it itself, nor is it necessarily an argument against anything…

        So…on we grimly and wearily trudge, to yet *another* statement of mine, that consists of questions, from me, to you, that you attach in reply – but don’t actually *answer*: you term this my “views without foundation” :

        ““Could her being black be the reason why she has little chance of winning?”
        Oh? And why is that any more likely than her just being incapable of demonstrating the skills and obtain the support required to actually do the job – this job; not the one she had before; and to actually do it, not stand next to it? ”

        – well..I’m afraid it is quite transparent that these are not “views”. These are questions, for YOU, based on comments that YOU made.
        With that, I haven’t the first clue what “foundation” it is you imagine is lacking. The only “foundation” would actually be YOUR post. Perhaps you should read it again…

        I hope you’ll see that a pattern has developed here?

        I did read the rest, but, painfully, you only seem to follow that same pattern. It presents to me as nonsense. A cul-de-sac, devoid of any meaning as a sensible discussion. I just don’t have the time nor the patience.
        So have it your way.

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