BBC and Labour competing over peak ignorance towards Abbott

  • Post last modified:March 17, 2024
  • Reading time:11 mins read

You’d assume that political programming from our public broadcaster had one key aim – namely to inform the public. Instead, it seems like a battle between Labour Party politicians and BBC journalists over who understands politics (in the context of Diane Abbott) the least:

Of course, it could also be that these people – and this may shock you – will say literally anything to promote their own agenda.

Rapid-fire ignorance

In the clip being discussed above, Laura Kuenssberg asks:

Should Diane Abbott be allowed be allowed back into the Labour Party. I mean it’s nearly a year that she’s been investigated for a letter that she wrote to the papers.

As many pointed out, Abbott is still in the Labour Party; she’s just suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party:

If you’re not clear on the difference, you could liken her to a football player who’s signed to a club but suspended from playing with the team.

Continuing with the tortured football metaphor, Harriet Harman wasn’t going to standby and let Kuenssberg get away with such a blatant foul. However, in retaliation she fouled herself, claiming:

Well we’ve got an independent complaints procedure, and I don’t like to second guess them.

Labour does claim to have an independent complaint process. How independent it is has been strongly drawn into question – especially when you compare the treatment of Abbott to other MPs (more on that later):

Maybe it’s all in retaliation for this exchange back in 2015:

Fair play to Starmer for starting his career as he meant to go on – by superficially opposing the Tories while practically doing fuck all to challenge their agenda.

Party problems

Harman also had this to say about who the Tories align themselves with:

Kuenssberg puts the matter across like this (emphasis added):

your colleague Diane Abbott, who like you is an absolute trailblazer in Labour politics, she’s been under terrible abuse from people for a long time… she’s been clear this week also – in her view – Labour also has a problem with racism.

Why present this as ‘in her view’, when Kuenssberg could have pointed out that the Forde Report found:

The report highlights serious problems of discrimination in the operations of the Party, with evidence of unacceptable incidents of racism, sexism, antisemitism and islamophobia.

Why not point out that a year after the report, author Martin Forde KC told Al Jazeera (as reported by the Guardian):

“Anti-black racism and Islamophobia is not taken as seriously as antisemitism within the Labour party, that’s the perception that has come through.” He added: “My slight anxiety is that in terms of hierarchy, and genuine underlying concerns about wider racial issues, it’s not in my view a sufficient response to say that was then, this is now.”

Forde expressed shock that no one from Labour had engaged with him after he published the report to discuss his recommendations further. “I had limited communications with David Evans [the party’s] general secretary but that was about general housekeeping. I have spoken to a caucus of black Labour MPs in the Commons,” he said, but otherwise claimed he had not spoken to any party officials. “These are serious debates that need to be had in a respectful context and I just feel there’s work to be done.”

Was Kuenssberg being ignorant here? Or was she purposefully taking a well-documented problem and laundering it into a matter of opinion?

Here’s some more information on the abuse Abbott and other Black members of the Labour Party have suffered; We’ll let you make your own mind up:

Pick your poison

And so it’s up to you: are our political classes ignorant or dishonest?

In our opinion, you’d have to be pretty ignorant to not know it’s the the latter (or pretty dishonest to claim it was the former).

Featured image via BBC

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