Why Diane’s bungling matters

by Kevin Meagher

It’s often said, usually pejoratively, that Tony Blair and New Labour represented the ‘professionalisation’ of Labour politics.

An obsession with presentation. Style over substance. Spin.

What a contrast, then, to today’s unprofessional Labour party.

Diane Abbott’s interview yesterday with LBC’s Nick Ferrari, as she announced Labour’s pledge to recruit 10,000 extra police officers, was invariably described as a ‘car crash’.

Actually, it was more like a plane slamming into a mountain. The scale of calamity was of an altogether greater magnitude.

Pieces of smouldering fuselage were scattered across television and radio studios. Diane’s reputation as a ‘serious’ politician was utterly incinerated.

She clearly had no idea how the policing pledge was to be funded, initially suggesting it would cost £300,000. The actual figure is apparently £300 million. 1000 times her original estimate.

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn was ‘not embarrassed in the slightest’ by her blundering.

He should be.

Corbyn can do himself a lot of favours by running a basically competent, functioning election campaign.

I’ve mentioned before that his easy manner contrasts well with the stage-managed hysterics of Theresa May’s campaign.

The obvious caveat is that he is going to lose; but it’s the manner and scale of the defeat that’s in his hands.

Bluntly, he can lose badly or he can lose catastrophically.

The only card he has to play is to confound the low expectations voters, the media and his own colleagues have of him.

That requires using every opportunity, straining every sinew, to at least offer a semblance of coherence.

Alas, that’s too much for Diane.

She is an experienced broadcaster but she is used to spouting her opinion on television and radio.

It requires a higher level of skill and preparation to defend the party line, something she is simply not used to doing.

Did she think she could bluster past the entirely predictable line of questioning about how she was going to pay for 10,000 extra coppers? Is she really that inept?

I guess so.

The upshot is that she has made Jeremy Corbyn’s life a lot harder.

So catastrophic it is then?

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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23 Responses to “Why Diane’s bungling matters”

  1. Alf says:

    Tory-lite tripe.

  2. Tafia says:

    Horrible woman. Like a black toad in a polyester wig.

  3. Vern says:

    It is no longer acceptable to be merely “credible” as opposition. At this stage of the game you need to be “Incredible!”
    Abbot, like so many others fall well short owing to a career of failing to prepare and think things through.
    The thought that she could be a Home Secretary is a real concern. It wont be the last time either sadly. Mcdonell is cut from the same cloth. As is Jeremy. He may be principled but he is simply not professional enough in my opinion. And I expect my politicians to be professional.

  4. anosrep says:

    “The obvious caveat is that he is going to lose”

    Perhaps he won’t, if people like you devote less effort to telling people he’s going to lose and more to doing something productive to help him win.

    Or maybe, because of Corbyn, you just don’t *want* Labour to win. Which would be fair enough – democracy and all that – but would mean you have no business posting on a blog with “Labour” in its name.

  5. john P Reid says:

    alf, so being incompetent is a Corbynista, must?

  6. Andy says:

    “Diane’s reputation as a ‘serious’ politician was utterly incinerated”

    This egregious woman was EVER considered a ‘serious’ politician????

  7. Mike says:

    “We’ve simply pointed out that the cuts to Capital Gains Tax will cost the taxpayer over two billion pounds.”
    Diane Abbott being interviewed by LBC
    1:20 into the interview.

  8. Richard says:

    But she was incredible, Vern. I for one did not believe her.

  9. Kenneth Lorp says:

    “It would cost £300,000. The actual figure is apparently £300 million. 100 times her original estimate.”

    Actually, it would cost 1000 times her original estimate. I guess innumeracy is not confined to the shadow front bench.

  10. Woolfie says:

    With Abbott, its not about “professionalism” its about having at least a brain cell of common sense. The trouble is she and far too many Corbynistas have spent all their time name calling, and spouting cliches. When it comes to real world stuff like basic arithmetic they are lost. Its not just her. The public aren’t that stupid. You can’t keep telling everyone that everything will be funded by making Starbucks pay all their corporation tax . Or that you will increase the top rate of income tax to 80%. People know now what the reality of that would be. Higher prices in the shops and fewer big earners resident in the UK. So the money won’t arrive in enough quantities to fund anything. Then blasting the other lot for their debt and then telling everyone you aim to borrow half a trillion quid is braindead, fantasy economics

  11. Nockian says:

    What you really mean is that Abbot didn’t pass the test for consummate plausible lying.

    The more we see politicians are actually lying, rather than believing them to be liars, but not being able to determine if it’s really internal belief or outright deception, the better it will be.

    Abbots putting a wrecking ball through the Labour Party and Corbyn is the chain on which the ball swings. Let’s hope that we see the Conservatives and the SNP blow themselves up next.

    Labour would wreck the country, but only by some more, the Conservatives are well capable of doing an enormous amount of damage without any help from anybody else.

  12. ScottishCalvin says:

    More often than not, a leader is judged by the people who he/she allows themselves to be surrounded by. Blair was seduced by Mandelson/Campbell until every detail was driven by spin and that is how his time is rememered (even Iraq was about the spin on the 45 minute dossier)

    If Corbyn appoints and is then represented by financial illiterates and self promoting buffoons rather than reaching out bringing more professional members of the party on side, what do people expect is going to happen? Unless the game plan is to never be elected but to claim an ideological high ground nonetheless.

    My cartoon on Abbott and the week

  13. john says:

    shes only there because shes black and female and s h a gg ed corbyn

    she thinks because she black and female she can do and say what she likes

    and any criticism is racist

  14. KEVIN MEAGHER says:

    Mea culpa. I do know the maths. Honest.

  15. galgogirl says:

    Diane Abbott is a national treasure – you can always rely on her for a good laugh.

    Be scary if she got anywhere near power mind.

  16. This is all part of the sensible wing of the Party to move on from Corbyn and get Tony back. Thank god.

  17. Colin says:

    £300 million / 10,000 = £30,000

    I would be very surprised if it is possible to pay for a copper with £30,000 once overhead, pension etc is included.

    I am curious what the extra coppers are for ?

  18. Carlo says:

    Well said. It should go without saying that a politician needs to know what they’re talking about if they’re launch a new policy, doubly so for a party that has a public reputation for being weak on numbers and loose with money.

  19. David Davis says:

    Ok. Now then, you may sleight Dianne for messing up big-time. She did….she did. I teach maths to teenagers, and it’s hard sometimes. But some of them get there. If you were allowing her onto the media to talk about numbers, then at least you could have given her a bit of paper with the right ones written down about Police salary levels and funding. I’m presuming she can read and is functionally-numerate? When I saw that interview, I cringed and tried to hide my face….She’d got the decimal point wrong by a factor of….lots. How could you have allowed that then? You’ve just handed a weapon to your worst enemies, all the other parties, who’ll now be kicking a***s to make sure nobody does anything similar.

    Look, for the avoidance of doubt, please understand me. I don’t want there to be a Labour Party. I don’t evenwant any socialist ones to exist. I’ve spent 50 years of my life writing about how dreadful you all are. And you know what? The most depressing thing is that nobody’s listening.

    But someone’s got to be the opposition in a few weeks’ time.

  20. Jolly Rodger says:

    May I posit an intriguing thought? If I were a head of MI5 in the early 1980s – at yet another peak of the Cold War – I would naturally be concerned about the aggressive hard left and communist fifth column extant within the Labour movement (times don’t change). After all, national security would have been my brief and anyway, Margaret has asked me for an infiltration solution.

    So I seek a mole. And thus after a while, I find a clean-skin with perfect credentials. Leftist ex-grammar school boy, left Poly without a degree, ostensibly going nowhere. Malleable. Looking for a role in life.

    The clean-skin accepts – and spends the next 32 years doing a sterling job of compromising the hard left from within, supplying exceptional intelligence that keeps the extreme leftists not only exposed but also despised by the wider electorate. He publicly makes friends with all the wrong people, chirruping out every hard left cliche he – and we – can concoct.

    Then the unthinkable happens. The mole gets on the leadership ballot and accidentally disastrous leadership rule changes crown him Dear Leader. Thames House is naturally ecstatic. Prime Minister Cameron is quite literally agog at the outrageous good fortune. The head of MI6 is so very, very jealous; no overseas asset has been this effective since Oleg Gordievsky, Vladimir Rezun and the tragic Oleg Penkovsky, the latter awfully cremated alive by the KGB … pour encourager les autres of course in true authoritarian style.

    And so, the mission changes. Referred to privately by those who need to know as ‘The Pied Piper of Islington’, the clean-skin is tasked to do everything he can to destroy the Labour Party. Alienate. Ex-communicate. Exterminate. Assimilate. Prevaricate. Make every electoral wrong-step there is to make, carry the fellow travellers … and then make some more howling gaffes just for artistic giggles.

    June 8 2017. The big pay-off arrives. Whether fact or fiction, the performance of Jeremy Bernard Corbyn is either accidentally and wonderfully inept – or the greatest tale of political intrigue never to be told.

    The Labour Party is dead and will split by the end of 2017, after an inevitable GE massacre. That any sense of a new left-of-centre movement that isn’t insane might be kick-started by Tony Blair is delicious in its triggering irony.

  21. CON GAIN Bootle says:

    “Diane’s reputation as a ‘serious’ politician”

    You lost me right there.

  22. george silver says:

    diane abbott is a self inflicted disaster waiting to happen. she is the 3 stooges in drag combined into one person. she is so far away from competence that if the thick of it had had diane as their central character … the show would have been laughed off the screen due to the total impossibility of the situations.

    hypocrisy, idiocy, incompetence, arrogance, a superiority complex thats sadly misplaced and a pretty nasty patronizing manner (and yes I’ve met her several times).

    the fact she has a top job is a sad indictment of where the party I love has fallen to.

  23. NickT says:

    Well, let’s face it, Corbyn thought Venezuela was a model to follow until, suddenly, it turned out that Venezuela was a disaster and lo and behold Jezza The Principled never mentioned it again. Why would we expect anything better from a founding member of Corbyn’s Cronies?

    Still, I guess Momentum will rally round and prove that you can get twenty billion trillion coppers for a slightly used fiver. Come on, Canary, you can do it if you really want to!

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