Why everyone hates Diane Abbott

Naomi Firsht

Topics Politics

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Labour Party members will have breathed a sigh of relief today when Diane Abbott announced she was pulling out of a planned appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. This follows her latest excruciating TV appearance – and there have been many – yesterday. During a discussion with Sky News presenter Dermot Murnaghan on a key counter-terrorism review from last year, Abbott claimed to have read it but was unable to comment on any specifics. When prompted by Murnaghan to talk about putting up security barriers, Abbott merely looked bewildered before saying, ‘Yes, we are now putting up barriers on, erm, bridges…’.

Abbott has been a tour de force in this General Election, clocking up by far the most car-crash interviews. In an interview last week on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, she compared changing her political views on the IRA to changing her hairstyle. Reports later emerged suggesting Abbott had ‘gone rogue’ and directly defied Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell by going on the show.

At the beginning of May, Abbott faced endless ridicule for her disastrous attempt at number-crunching on Nick Ferrari’s LBC show, on which she suggested 10,000 new police officers would cost, first, £300,000, and then, £80million. Neither of which allowed for a salary greater than £8,000 per copper, per year.

While Abbott has been an endless source of entertainment this campaign, her performance has been no joke. She is vying to be our next home secretary and yet she apparently can’t be bothered to prepare for interviews or answer tough questions. Her next-to-non-existent research, ill-preparedness and excruciatingly slow, patronising manner of speaking to the public, as if we are all braindead morons, reveal how entitled she feels to her privileged position.

Some have suggested the ridicule of Abbott is bullying, or even racist. This is utter rubbish. She herself has shown contempt for Brexit voters, constantly implying the Leave vote was driven by prejudice. ‘The people that complain about the freedom of movement will not be satisfied because what they really want is to see less foreign-looking people on their streets’, she said last year. The reason she’s become a focus for people’s fury is because she embodies perfectly Labour’s contempt for ordinary people, and its drift from representing working people to talking down to them.

Standing once more to be MP in, arguably, one of the safest Labour seats in the country – Hackney North and Stoke Newington – Abbott clearly feels she need not impress anyone. Well, mission accomplished.

Naomi Firsht is staff writer at spiked and co-author of The Parisians’ Guide to Cafés, Bars and Restaurants. Follow her on Twitter: @Naomi_theFirsht

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Topics Politics


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