Diane Abott: Luxury Liability


The last word Diane Abbott hears before entering a TV studio. Or, at least, it should be.

Don’t get me wrong.

I like Diane.

I think she’s a principled, intelligent, hard-working and – frankly – useful MP; particularly in her vociferous support for Jeremy Corbyn which, if absent, could have spelled the end of the Labour leader just several months into his term.

But she is – without doubt – a liability.

I am now struck by a sense of imminent danger when she appears in public.

Everyone knows she’s an awful public speaker and buckles under even the most gentle questioning, creating new traps for herself along the way.

My cat could interview her and Diane would – somehow – undermine the whole campaign.

The Conservatives can’t believe their luck.

Given Monday’s attack, it would’ve been impossible for Diane to not appear in public. She is, after all, the Shadow Home Sectretary (or, as Jeremy Corbyn more aptly described: “our Home Affairs Spokesperson.”

Much like Jeremy’s foreign policy speech earlier this week, it was perhaps better for Diane to make her (presumably last) appearance before the campaign enters its final stages. People won’t remember.

But this does boast an important point: should Labour win the election, Jeremy Corbyn will need all MPs – finally – to accept their role in Cabinet.

Since his election as leader, Jeremy has spent his last two years encouraging people from all “wings” of the Party, especially those with previous experience of government, to join him and help lead an experienced and effective Opposition.

They refused.

Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper, Margaret Beckett, Caroline Flint, Chris Bryant, Harriet Harman – even Ed Miliband – refused (although, Ed’s refusal was probably an act of mercy, refusing to taint Corbyn with an “election-loser.”)

Corbyn was forced to promote young (and old) talent in the Party, in three separate re-shuffles due to two failed coups.

Barry Gardiner – a model example of how to handle a TV interview (and quickly becoming a fan-favourite) – once held two different posts because so few MPs were willing to serve.

This is the context for Diane Abbott as Shadow Home Secretary. Not that she is the best available candidate – but that, on the whole, she is the best available in what was a very shallow pool of choices.

Should Labour win the general election, Diane Abbott will become the first female ethnic minority as Home Secretary in our history.

She will have the platform – and the resources – to demonstrate that, despite her awful public relations, she is just as capable as any other Home Secretary.

Her thirty years in Parliament make her one fo the most qualified candidates for a government post in the entire House of Commons.

Until then, let’s keep her away from the cameras, and get-on with winning this election.