Sunday, May 28, 2017

Does Diane Abbot deserve the hate?

Having just watched shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot being interviewed by Andrew Marr, I definitely haven't come away with the feeling that she is a sharp, canny and effective political operator.  She tends to be rambling, anecdotal and cornered by her past comments and attitudes.  At best, she gave a mediocre performance.  What did cause pause for thought however was the rapid vitriol she attracted on twitter.  If you ever think the print media isn't weighted against Labour - and left-wingers like Abbot in particular - then just consider this.

Abbot was asked by Marr to defend herself against the charge that she would be a dangerous Home Secretary.  Beginning a list of several personal factors that she felt were good - or "helpful" - characteristics in a home secretary, she noted that she had worked in the Home Office as a graduate trainee so had knowledge of it from the inside.  She went on to note some others, including working amongst diverse communities.  It took mere minutes for several denizens of the print media to seize on her trainee graduate statement however, and pin it as her main justification for being home secretary.



Later, trying - somewhat inarticulately - to explain that she had changed her views on the IRA, she tried to draw an analogy with her hairstyle having changed over the years.  Not a great gambit, but it was obvious that she was attempting to show that people change over time and that her views had thus changed as she grew older.  Here is an example of what it became on twitter:



And those examples are the kinder ones. 

I think Diane Abbot is a pretty useless media performer, who after years in politics is still unable to articulate with conviction and sense her more radical positions.  This is a shame, and it is arguably a seering indictment of Corbyn's party that she now holds a position shadowing one of the great offices of state.  Mind you, we are in an age when stupidity and unfitness are the leading characteristics of the president of the United States, so go figure.  Nevertheless, Abbot does attract undue rage and the willingness to caricature her every poorly chosen phrase on twitter is neither elevating to politics generally nor fair to her.  Unlike the journalists and twitterati who leap to condemn her with such alacrity she has at least sought to dedicate her life to public service.  That deserves some respect surely?




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