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Attempted Shaming of Diane Abbott For Drinking On Train Backfires on Twitter

By Petr Knava | Social Media | April 22, 2019 |

By Petr Knava | Social Media | April 22, 2019 |


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One of the most disgusting and shameful aspects of the British establishment—its politicians and its media—is its treatment of Labour MP Diane Abbott. Born into a working-class British-Jamaican family, Abbott graduated from Cambridge and in 1987 became Britain’s first female black MP. She has been the Member of Parliament for her constituency in East London ever since, and she currently serves on Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow front bench as Shadow Home Secretary. Abbott is also quite probably one of the most—if not the most—widely abused public figures in the country. It’s a vicious and cowardly hatred repeatedly stoked up by right-wing politicians and the establishment media.

It doesn’t take much of a conceptual effort to try and figure out why Britain’s establishment would continuously treat one of the most prominent progressive working-class black women in the country with such contempt and hatred. In her success and determination in the face of a hostile and racist patriarchy, in her policy beliefs and in her identity, Diane Abbott is everything that the posh privately educated silver spoon boys who run the country fear. In the world that their inbred great-grandparents built for themselves upon the backs of slavery and exploited labour there is not meant to be any room for people like Diane Abbott to rise. Now, with a genuinely progressive Labour party with people like Abbott at the forefront of it on the cusp of bringing actual change to British society for the first time in generations, those boys and their networks have to go into overdrive in their efforts to discredit and destroy.

Somewhat of an upside to that are the wonderful outpourings of solidarity for Abbott in response, as the events of this Bank Holiday weekend demonstrate. Last Friday, as the country was beginning its anomalous 4-day climate change-stoked heat fest and the British people were preparing to bask in unseasonable sunshine while climate change activists blockaded London in a plea for a livable future, The Sun—of course—published a ‘shocking’ image of Diane Abbott enjoying a cheeky can of pre-mixed Mojito on a train. Yes indeed, because in a country ravaged by years upon years of Tory austerity, in which homelessness, poverty, food bank usage, and xenophobia have skyrocketed while the health service, schools and other public services are all being starved of oxygen—and all the while the disastrous shitshow that Tory Brexit continues apace—the thing that The Sun thought most newsworthy was a supremely hard-working, unbelievably brave black woman having a sip of some flavoured alcohol. Now there’s no doubt that some of that racist bog-roll’s readership may well have decided to be actually outraged at this, but let’s be honest, for that demographic it could be a picture of Abbott literally just looking at some flowers in a park and it would be enough to stoke their bigoted belly fire. Luckily there was also a metric tonne of support for Abbott on social media.

Despite the ludicrousness of the scenario, one can of course imagine why Abbott herself thought it best to apologise for this non-event. If it was up to the establishment, women—and especially working class women of colour—would forever be apologising for, well, just existing. Even though it’s clearly entirely in bad faith to be demanding an apology for having a small drink on a train—something that millions of other people do every single day, often to actually damaging levels—and even though it could be for literally anything thing else, sometimes it must be easier in the moment to just apologise, even though the people who have decided to be ‘offended’ by the event will remain so, and then to get on with the job of actually trying to change the country for the better.

There was also a particularly sinister edge to this story, however, when it was revealed that the person who snapped the picture of Abbott was a former copper who had to be disciplined for racist rhetoric.

This is a pretty serious topic so I don’t wanna be lapsing into meme talk, but: Protect Diane Abbott at all costs.

Perhaps the most sour note to this horrible saga however is the absolute champagne pissing hypocrisy of someone like Diane Abbott being lambasted for taking a sip of some mild alcohol on a train while the entire history of the ruling class of this country is pretty much just a succession of posh white men totally and completely blitzed out of their skulls on opium, coke, booze, and literally every other substance under the sun.




Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.


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