Thursday, 5 January 2012

Diane Abbott's Tweet

Poor Diane Abbott. I don't agree with her political views,nor am I a trendy left-wing apologist of course, but honestly - she's a racist? Rubbish. Yesterday she made a controversial comment on Twitter, its clumsiness aggravated by being squashed into 140 characters. Cue sophistry and spin by politicians and commentators alike.

Abbott tweeted: "White people love playing 'divide & rule'. We should not play their game." The remark was a reaction to a Twitter exchange about media coverage following the Stephen Lawrence racist murder trial. Specifically, the tweet responded to journalist Bim Adewunmi; she'd complained about the use of the terms "black community" and "black community leaders" by the media. The context of Abbott's response was conveniently ignored by critics.

Today Abbott has released a statement saying: "I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that. I apologise for any offence caused." But that won't be the end of the affair; for her opponents in press and politics, there's too much self-righteous capital to be made.

No doubt those who've wailed loudest at Abbott's tweet are the people who've been least vocal at the outcome of the Laurence murder trial. In particular, the Conservative Home Blog has been lightning-quick to tell us Abbott has "deliberately provoked hatred of a racial group, and is therefore in breach of the 1986 Public Order Act". But there's nothing at all on the blog’s Newslink page for today concerning Stephen Lawrence.

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