Diana Abbott on This Week http://tinyurl.com/3yxmyju
This week’s This Week made uncomfortable viewing. Some might say that most weeks’ This Week are, but this week’s This Week was worse than most.
Diane Abbott was snuggling back up to Michael Portillo in pundit corner having stepped down to fight the Milimen et al for the Labour leadership. The other contenders will get their chance to tolerate Andrew Neil and try and impress against Portillo (never has a man so changed my opinion of him) in due course. I’m pretty sure Abbott wishes she had turned down the offer of the comfy chair this time.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the dubious expenses claim that were the problem but her refusal to talk about her choice of school for her son. In trying to ‘defend’ her decision to go private (not a decision that I feel should automatically be condemned anyway), she explained,
‘West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children.’
Andrew Neil leapt on this by saying ‘So black mums love their kids more than white mums, do they?’
Abbott responded with the equivalent of ‘no comment’.
Thankfully, the usually pretty loathsome, self-congratulatory Neil persisted: ‘Supposing Michael said white mums will go to the wall for their children. Why did you say that? Isn’t it a racist remark?
Abbott again refused to respond, so Neil gave her a get out clause: ‘Would you like to make it clear that West Indian mums are no better than white mums or Asian mums?’
And she screwed it up with – ‘I have nothing to say.’
Neil sounded almost as surprised as I was when he said ‘You don’t want to do that – you still think West Indian mums are the best?’
Had she answered with a ‘no of course I don’t, don’t be silly Andrew and stop twisting what I said. I’m just saying West Indian mums are well-known for their fierce and protective loyalty to their children . . . as are many other parents,’ I think she would have been ok. But she didn’t. She kept on refusing to comment.
And ‘no comment’ is NEVER an acceptable response when you are accused of racism. There is a believe among some people in the black community that you cannot be racist if you are black. I don’t hold with that. Her refusal to correct the implication that West Indian mums are better than white or Asian, or, again by implication, Chinese, Jewish, African or indeed any other type of mum is offensive. As a member of one of these other minority groups I feel offended by her generalisation. I think it is racism, as racism should always be judged on what is said or done, the act, not the perpetrator. It is, after all, feasible I could say something racist even if I wore a Kick Racism out of Football t-shirt back in 1990.
So while I can care a little about the expenses, I have no problem with her wanting the absolute best for her child’s education and think there is nothing more important she could be spending her money on, but I do not respect her racist reasoning.
Let’s hope next week’s This Week has a partner for Portillo who isn’t as weak as this week’s.