Express & Star

Comment: Sad irony in demise of MP Diane Abbott

There’s a huge irony that an MP who has been one of the most racially-abused in British history now faces the end of a 36-year career in the House of Commons for being, umm, racist.

Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott’s article in the left-leaning Observer that sought to create a hierarchy of racism was so wrong that she apologised and said an error had arisen whereby an incorrect draft had been sent for publication.

She’s downplayed the racism suffered by Irish, Jewish and Gipsy, Roma and Traveller people in the UK. In doing so, she’d suggested that one group of people’s experience somehow counted more than another group’s.

And while it’s true that Diane Abbott has been a tireless crusader against racism, and that she quickly retreated, having realised her error, it was also evident that those were the views she actually held. There would have been no reason to articulate them, were that not the case. And so the woman who had a penchant for drinking M&S cocktails on the tube and who was schooled by Nick Ferrari during an inglorious stint as Shadow Home Secretary finds herself facing the exit over an issue on which she’s been a peerless campaigner.

Those offended by her remarks won’t worry. They’ll reflect on the blind spot that allowed her to bring about her own demise. She only has herself to blame, and all that.

And so has Dominic Raab, another politician determined to prove the maxim that all political careers end in failure. Having been drummed out of office for his eye-bulging approach to building bridges with key workers, Raab channelled his inner Edith Piaf with a resignation letter than read a little like Non, Je ne regrette rien.

He didn’t abandon Afghan officials who’d risked life and limb when the UK exited Helmand so that he could go on a course about how to be nice to civil servants, dammit. The nation was blessed by the genius of a man who was so good at his job that he was frequently sacked and moved onto something else. And now it will be deprived of the man whose department foolishly filled up planes with dogs instead of people during one of the sorriest Foreign Office flops of recent decades. What will underperforming departments do without Raab to raise the game for them?

Perhaps, like Matt Hancock, he’ll avail himself of the opportunity to spend time with strange creatures in the jungle – and we’re talking about Matt’s time in I’m A Celebrity, rather than the House of Commons. Though what real difference is there? Hancock – remember him? – has been putting his time to good use by demanding that anti-vaxxers are banned from the internet so that the public is protected from them. The public might respond that they need another bill to protect care homes from people like Matt Hancock.

Joe Biden is planning another Presidential run against Tango Man.

So, whatever bizarre, undemocratic, and divisive events happen over the next year or so in America, we can look forward to the Oldest President Of All Time, or, as good as. Biden and Trump have been locked in the third part of a grim movie franchise, where The Donald’s record of 70 years and 220 days was defeated by Biden’s of 78 years and 61 days. And now they’re going at it again, with De Do Don Don gunning to join the 74-club, and Biden hatching a plan on the best way to spend his 82nd birthday. Biden’s campaign slogan is ‘Let’s finish the job’, that at that age, the job may well finish him. Let’s hope not.

The deadline passed yesterday for those requiring ID in order to vote in the local elections. Taking along a letter from your mother saying your dog ate your homework or your passport was lost in the post because of a strike by the civil servants who were scared of Dominic Raab won’t, apparently, be enough. It remains to be seen whether council staff will be able to process truckloads of people brandishing voter ID for the first time in electoral history – though, surely, someone would have thought that through before introducing the new plan. Wouldn’t they?