Thursday, 5 January 2012

Diane Abbott: a list of race rows

Diane Abbott has a long history of involvement in race rows. The latest concerns a 'racist' tweet on Twitter which said: "White people love playing 'divide and rule' We should not play their game."

But the BBC doesn't sound convinced by her explanation that her comments were taken out of context. It has been reported that Ed Miliband spoke to her but has not asked her to resign (

This week she appeared to accuse the rank and file of Hackney police of being racist on Newsnight in a debate about Stephen Lawrence.

It would be great to get a full list of race rows/debates she's been involved in. I'm sure there are loads I've missed out.

A trawl through Blood and Property's Diane Abbott archive came up with these:

Nov 2010

In a Guardian comment about Phil Woolas she said: "The Labour Party should never get involved in the politics of racial division."
She said that his campaign had involved "a conscious strategy to enrage white voters and frighten them into voting Labour. Is that a responsible path for an experienced MP to go down in a town that had already experienced race riots?"

June 2010

She suggestedWest Indian mothers were better than other mothers when defending her decision to send her son to a private school: "I’m a West Indian mum and West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children. It’s that kind of atavistic streak that we have. I can see them in the market on a Saturday morning. A kind of ‘touch my children and we’ll turn quite difficult'. Interestingly, until now, it’s the one thing that’s got me the most positive response from black women locally. They would come up to me and shake my hand. Because ultimately in their eyes it’s about doing the right thing for their children. But obviously people from other cultures didn’t see it that way at all."

December 2009:

Takes on Rod Liddle and his crime statistics....(also a link to the Chocolate Hobnob row)


In a 2006 NASUWT-sponsored paper (Academy schools: case unproven) Diane said: "... We know what parent power means in London. In practice, it means giving power to small groups of white middle-class parents, or if not to capture by one ethnic group as opposed to another, the best organised. Actually, if you want to empower the breadth of the parent body in inner-city areas you have to look to the local education authority."


Diane upsets her African constituents with an article entitled: "Think Jamaica is bad? Try Nigeria" which included phrases such as: "when it comes to corruption, Nigerians make Jamaicans, and every other nationality in the world, look like mere amateurs."(Guardian piece here)

In it she also mentioned that: "Nigerians are a deeply religious people with high levels
of church attendance and a host of remarkable pastors" some of whom may have been the targets of this..."


Ban these witchcraft churches: "Multiculturalism is one thing, but I draw the line at being asked to respect the views of people who believe in demonic possession." (Links via Is the supernatural significant)


(pointed out by a comment below) - she complained that the arrival of Finnish nurses jeopardized employment opportunities for black women. Darcus Howe said: "It is worse than careless for Diane Abbott to have made such remarks." (from There was more comment at the time some of it here (an Independent article allegedly... and other bits).

Any more?


  1. What about when she accused Finnish nurses at Homerton Hospital of all being racist and being unsuitable to work here as they had never seen a black person before. All rubbish of course, and one of the Finnish nurses was actually black!

  2. Never heard that one! Thanks, I'll add it to the list.

  3. "White people love playing divide and rule. We should not play their game" - so what's divisive about pointing out a historical truism whilst at the same time calling for social solidarity? OK, she could have said "Some white people...." but I would rather have her as my representative in our multi-ethnic borough than some of the mischievous media types and politicians who, for personal advantage, want middle-england to misconstrue her comment and who stoke up racial division as a consequence.

  4. But is she a peacemaker? It might just be the bits we hear about, but when she stands for something she seems to do it in an aggressive and provocative way rather than an understanding one - and that could become a liability in Hackney.

  5. In an unequal society those who challange the status quo are often accused of being aggressive and provocative. But whilst society remains unequal there won't be peace.

  6. Given Hackney Council's dreadful past record on eduction (and its subsequent loss of authority over education) I'm surprised and bewildered by her comment: "Actually, if you want to empower the breadth of the parent body in inner-city areas you have to look to the local education authority."

    Mostly, I am annoyed by her "White people divide" comment because - when she says something like that the racists rub their hands with glee.

    I'd like to see MPs banned from using Twitter and Facebook!

  7. Great thought about "Divide and Conquer" rule,This is quite new thing for me....I have Costa Rica Real EstateBusiness and I must apply on it....Thanks