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Monday, June 11, 2007

One Diane Is One Too Many

I'm a big supporter of having a more diverse PLP, and particularly of improving on the current derisory number of BME women MPs. However, I'm not sure that Jackie Ashley's call for Parliament to have more Diane Abbotts will aid the cause of BME women's representation. Well, at least not for Labour.

Diane and I get on like a house on fire - her houseJackie tells a fascinating story about Diane. Recounting their days "working" together at TV-am, she recalls: "Well, I was working. Abbott swiftly became our NUJ representative and developed an uncanny skill at scheduling union meetings so that she was sadly unable to do the much-hated night shift. And, highlighting Diane's passionate dedication to the Labour Party, she recounts: "She struck up a friendship with one of the company founders, Jonathan Aitken, and they later paired with each other in the Commons, when she became a Labour MP and he was a Conservative." Their divergent political careers comes across almost as accidental, but never so much as to endanger a close personal relationship.

Going on to the topic of personal relationships, Jackie Ashley writes of Diane: "She was, and is, a cheerer-upper. She was never the cautious, quietly hard-working type. In an early interview she cheerfully announced that her happiest experience was making love in a cornfield with a certain well-known television executive. That raised more than a few eyebrows on the Labour benches." As indeed did her enduring and ongoing public relationship with yet another famous Conservative, Michael Portillo. But Diane raised no eyebrows quite as much as when this proselytizing left-wing advocate of comprehensive education decided to send her son James to the exclusive City of London School.

I wouldn't say she was two-faced, but...So, there's no arguing that Diane has a unique set of qualities as a politician - but they are her personal qualities, not ones that should apply to a Labour parliamentary candidate, let alone a Labour M.P. We need ethnic minority women MPs from all wings of the Labour Party. We particularly need BME women MPs with an approach to politics that, in contrast to Diane's self-created role as the perpetual outsider and oppositionalist, will see them become Whips and Ministers and involved in creating policy, not protesting about it. What we don't need, however, is black women exploiting their position to write populist vote-winning "poor black" trash in The Voice while displaying her white middle class piano playing credentials to a quite different audience on TV.

There's not much to credit Diane Abbott with. She lives in Hackney's "millionaires row" - Middleton Road in London Fields - and supports left wing loonies John McDonnell and Jon Cruddas for Leader and Deputy Leader. Meanwhile, decent hardworking right-wing Brown and Blears supporters such as Linda and I have to scrape by, raising a family in a small flat off Stoke Newington Road. There's something awfully not right there somewhere. I wish I could work out how she did it. So I could do the same.

8 comments:

A Hackney Loony said...

I still think she's dead sexy, no matter what you say.

M Portillo said...

And she plays a damned fine version of "chopsticks".

Anonymous said...

Well done! I'm a Black women doing the rounds of selection in the hope of finding a seat.
I agree with you completely when it comes to BME I think we need to work within the party not outside it.

I live in a small counil flat I'm a divorced mum of two , yet believe in New Labour and all it's done for he country!

So cross your fingers for me
Alicat

Luke Akehurst said...

Wow, I'm impressed. Even I don't agree with me completely.

ilikeakehurstfanclub said...

My dearest Luke,

Just a few words from the boys in the backroom. Please don't quote from or refer to M****** R**** M.A., Ph.D. by name, quote him or give hyper-links to his material. Not only has he recently been appointed to the prestigious position of Children's Laureate, the tree-hugging, Dalston Theatre-loving high achiever is on record as referring to Hackney Council as "one of the world’s most incompetent and corrupt local authorities". I know it, you know it, but Julian said he'd be buggered if we should let anyone else know about it at our expense. (Just between you and me, I think it galls Julian that - no matter how many photo calls we pull - featuring him and local children [who, needless to say we have to drag in with bribes and at great expense] no one, not even little babies, seem to like Julian. Children's Laureate M****** R**** M.A., Ph.D. on the other hand, is bloody loved and adored wherever he goes.)

Oh! and grateful though I am that you have probably just helped double the value of my humble four-bed semi with its tiny 60 foot rear garden, we've had a request that you don't refer to Middleton Road as Millionaire's Row again - given the large number of Labour activists we have living in our neck of the woods. They say it's embarrassing. I say: bring it on!

Yours affectionately,

iLikeAkehurstFanClub

Luke Akehurst said...

What large number of Labour activists? As far as I know, Millionaires Row boasts a Labour MP at one end who is only "active" as a celebrity and black role model, plus an invisible musical Councillor half way down the road. As for that R**** chap round the corner, I feel that the time may have come for a regular column from him. "Rhyming Pipes", perhaps?

ilikeakehurstfanclub said...

"Rhyming Pipes"???

Sorry, I don't geddit.

Luke Akehurst said...

In searching in vain for a Mike Oldfield album title, I appear to have better demonstrated my levels of C2H5OH than my reserves of C5H9NO4. Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. Over to you for suggestions, fanclub.