Posts Tagged ‘Diane Abbott’

The Olympics: ten times the disaster of the Dome

20/12/2011, 11:38:23 AM

by Kevin Meagher

I don’t often find myself in agreement with Diane Abbott, but I have cut out her piece from the Independent about the olympic games and pinned it above my desk, so I can read it over and over again while weeping tears of joy.

God bless the woman. She hit the nail on the head, articulating what I have been murmuring to myself for the past couple of years: the 2012 Olympic Games is a dreadful, expensive pile of tosh. Diane didn’t quite put it like that; she is a London MP after all and it takes more bravery for her to diss the games than it does for a chippy northerner like me; but it was a good effort on her part – worthy of a podium spot.

Diane rightly bemoans the “missed opportunity” of not employing more local people in building the games’ infrastructure, saying the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) was “never serious”  about giving opportunities to local people, which may indeed have been a smart move to help avert this summer’s London riots.

Instead the jobs created by the ODA have gone mainly to outsiders, with workers being bussed-in from all across Europe. (more…)

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Let’s leave the lapel badges in the 1980s and focus on what matters

01/06/2011, 09:46:17 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Labour’s history is pockmarked with prolonged periods of opposition following ejection from office; none more so than during those 18 wasted years in the 80s and 90s.

The explanation for that generation in the wilderness is familiar enough: the party’s pitch to the country was tone deaf. On the economy, law and order, defence and a hundred other issues Labour had nothing to say that chimed with what people wanted to hear.

The party was more bothered with pleasing its own fissiparous cliques; the wannabe Dave Sparts, the bedsit revolutionaries, the local government crackpots who refused to set a rate, the headbangers of Militant.

The “loony left” were responsible for torpedoing Labour’s reputation and sinking the party’s chances with their puerile antics in Labour councils up and down the country and through their reckless control of the party’s policy-making machinery.

Fringe causes were put before mainstream concerns, with many in the party seriously accepting the flawed logic that stapling together a collection of special interest groups would create a counterweight to Thatcher’s electoral coalition of aspirational voters.

No prizes for guessing how successful that idea was.


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Labour leadership top trumps

24/08/2010, 01:04:40 PM

Uncut has commissioned Dave Howells to produce that crucial leadership contest accessory: the top trumps.

Like real top trumps, it won’t keep you amused for very long unless you are a small child. But with the Milibands’ respective movements for changes each trundling on and Andy Burnham’s new 9,000 word manifesto o’ t’North just out, we’re confident that there’s a market for minor distraction.

Readers who feel that any scores have been misassessed, or that new special powers should be added, are encouraged to record them below. (The graphic may take a while to load on slower connections).

You can follow Dave Howells on Twitter.

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Diane Abbott’s desert island discs

06/08/2010, 03:10:56 PM

A woman of conviction, Diane Abbott presented us with the same list she gave to our namesake in 2008. Any flirtations with post ’08 tunes have been put to the back of her mind. She has stayed true to the mix tape which had accompanied her life up to that point. The lady’s not for turning.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo make the list. The Temptations make the list. Bob Marley makes the list. Buju Banton – the (convicted) weed growing, (awaiting trial) alleged coke smuggling, (on/off) gay bashing, (confirmed) Jamaican – singer, makes the list.

But the one song that really stands out from the rest is D.ream, with the Blairite crowd pleasing, conference-electrifying classic Things can only get better. Abbott isn’t a Blairite. Abbott wasn’t a Blairite. We can’t imagine Abbott was one of the many uncomfortable middle class lefties shuffling on the spot and mouthing the words at conference ’97.


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Tuesday News Review

03/08/2010, 08:18:55 AM

The David & Ed show

The next Labour leader is unlikely to be an Abbott, Balls or Burnham. Gordon Brown’s successor will be a Miliband. But I’m more interested in whether he will be Mr Sun or Mr Wind. Aesop captured the dilemma in a fable. If you want a man to take off his cloak, do you huff and puff and force him to give it up or do you cover him with warmth until he discards it freely? In Aesop, the sun scores a predictable victory. Politics isn’t so easy. Harriet Harman’s blasts at Nick Clegg’s alleged betrayal of left-wing voters has undoubtedly blown many Liberal Democrat voters towards Labour. In the long term, however, Mr Miliband (for surely it will be Ed or David) is more likely to prosper by offering flowers to Liberal Democrats than by throwing the vase at them. – The Spectator

 He accepts that it looks “odd” for Ed to be running against him and appears to have separated his sibling into two distinct mental compartments: Ed the Brother and Ed the Rival. On the shelves of his office, it’s striking that there is no photo of Ed. This strangeness is reflected in the way the normal rules of politics are blurred by the family affair. Normally, the runner-up in a leadership race can expect to get the shadow chancellor’s post. But wouldn’t it just look weird in the modern age to have two brothers in these two posts? Mr Miliband is firm: “I can honestly say I’ve not started giving out jobs to anybody. It’s certainly presumptuous to start giving out jobs to people and I’m resisting all temptations to do that”. – The Evening Standard


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It’s time the leadership also-rans came clean about their second preferences, says Siôn Simon

02/08/2010, 02:57:17 PM

It is polite to pretend that there are five candidates for the Labour leadership. But it is not true. The next leader of the Labour party will be David or Ed Miliband. Everybody knows that.

There is an important battle for third between Diane Abbott and Ed Balls. Which latter has a lot to lose by coming fourth. He entered the contest as a leading figure of his generation. His extraordinary promotion to cabinet rank within two years of entering Parliament (like Ed Miliband’s) had been exceeded in its rapidity only by that of Peter Mandelson just under a decade earlier.

Like Mandelson, Balls and Ed Miliband were beneficiaries of the extravagant patronage of a grateful new leader drunk on glory. Unlike Mandelson, neither was initially ready for such high office. In Balls’ case, he was up to it administratively, but struggled in Parliament and on the broadcast media. Ed Miliband was better presentationally, but worse in the department. Both are better now. Though neither is as good in either respect as was Peter Mandelson. (more…)

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Crowdsourcing the leadership

21/07/2010, 12:42:01 PM

This morning we published the latest in our series of crowdsourced interviews with the Labour leadership candidates. This time it was Ed Miliband’s turn to face your questions.

You can read the Ed Miliband interview here, and in case you missed them, here are our earlier interviews with Diane Abbott, Ed Balls and David Miliband.

Andy Burnham is still to face the Uncut crowdsourcing hotseat, and we will be asking for your questions soon.

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Crowdsourcing the leadership

13/07/2010, 01:25:39 PM

This morning we published the latest in our series of crowdsourced interviews with the Labour leadership candidates. This time it was David Miliband’s turn to be interviewed.

You can read the David Miliband interview here, and in case you missed them here are our earlier interviews with Diane Abbott and Ed Balls. Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham are still to face the Uncut crowdsourcing hotseat.

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90% turnout, but Diane Abbott fails to vote in PLP select committee elections

24/06/2010, 12:03:43 PM

Labour Uncut has seen an unpublished list of MPs who failed to vote in yesterday’s select committee elections.

There were 25 non-voters, one of whom was leadership candidate Diane Abbott. Turnout in the election was 90%.

In the you-scratch-my-back world of the PLP, not voting in this secret ballot was a tactical mistake by Abbott, who was in the House of Commons during the voting hours of 10am till 5pm. (more…)

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Monday News Review

21/06/2010, 08:16:10 AM

The Leadership Race

“Ed Balls has hailed himself as a “winner” as he set out why he is the best man to replace Gordon Brown as Labour leader. The shadow education secretary said he had successfully fought the Tories and BNP to secure his Commons seat as he insisted he was “in touch” and a “team player”.” – The Mirror

“There’s always this assumption if you’re a black person who’s done something, that someone has given you a bye. That you’re less qualified than the white equivalent. In this race I’d argue that if anything, with the exception of not having been a New Labour minister I’m more qualified.” –Diane Abbott, The Mirror

“I look at the Labour party leadership election through the eyes of an MP who won a seat against the odds. Labour had its worst result for decades and the Conservatives won. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I want Labour win the next election. But it must for a better reason than merely being back in power.” – Gisela Stewart,  Progress

“I want to learn from Labour in Scotland because the way the party have come back from a difficult result a few years ago is a model and inspiration. As leader of the Labour Party, winning back control of the Scottish parliament would be my first priority.” – Andy Burnham, The Daily Record


“Public sector workers across the country will be deeply concerned to have a review of their pensions sprung upon them on a Sunday morning – without proper consultation. They will be particularly worried given the comments by David Cameron and Nick Clegg in recent days about their desire for cuts to public sector pensions. The Government must make clear that the findings have not been pre-empted.” – The Independent

“Labour leadership contender Diane Abbott said Mr Hutton would be the Government’s ‘pensions- slasher-in- chief ‘, while Left-wing Labour MP Paul Flynn said ‘collaborator’ was ‘too nice a word’ for him.” – The Mail


“So we already know what Labour’s broad response to this week’s Budget will look like. But it got me a-wondering: what will their response to next year’s Budget be? This may sound like idle speculation” – The Spectator

“David Miliband, the shadow foreign secretary, has offered a token of support to Tony Hayward after the embattled BP chief executive came under fierce criticism for going sailing around the Isle of Wight.” – The Telegraph

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