Around 10 years ago, I was visiting a patient in Wood Green, North London. As we finished talking I glanced at my watch – running late for next appointment! I fled to my car, threw my papers on the passenger seat, lit a fag, and in one fluid motion shot out of my parking space and up to the T-junction. An impenetrable line of traffic awaited me.
There was a brief gap, perhaps 5 metres? My car was, oh, four and a half metres – we can do it! I did.
The four ebony coloured occupants in the car I had slid in front of bared their teeth. The knitted hat occupants of the car in front turned their heads and bared their teeth. We crawled towards the red lights.
At the lights, a policeman waved us through. Another mile, another set of lights, another policeman. The entire line of traffic was doing around 5 miles an hour. As we neared Wood Green there were more policemen – and the side streets were a mass of people in every shade of black, except grey. Improbably, everybody wore sunglasses in the winter sunshine. People bent down to peer into my car, lips curled, and I was feeling ever so slightly uncomfortable, I had intended to turn left, but each turn off was barred by police.
As we passed in front of the Town Hall, there was Dianne Abbott standing on the steps, sobbing into a handkerchief. It finally dawned on me that I had managed to gate crash Bernie Grant’s funeral cortege. Several hundred cars worth of solidly black funeral cortege.
Dianne describes herself as a ‘the first black female MP’ now she wants to be the ‘first black female leader of the Labour Party’.
She wants to see a more ‘diverse’ range of candidates. Dianne’s idea of Diversity is no more diverse than was Bernie Grant’s. It’s not diversity; it’s exclusivity for the black population.
She was a race relations officer with Harriet Harman and Paul Boateng. She tried to establish a ‘black caucus’ within the Labour Party, but was thwarted when other black MPs declined to join – some even going so far as to suggest that her idea was ‘racist’. The Times quotes her as saying that ‘the British invented racism’. Yet she herself was once more accused of racism when she said the ‘blonde. Blue-eyed Finnish girls’ in her local hospital in West London were ‘unsuitable’ as nurses because they ‘may never have met a black person before’. Ironically, Dianne’s Mother was a nurse who emigrated to Britain from Jamaica at a time when few white people had ever met a black nurse.
The Labour Party is quite bad enough as it is, the last thing that is needed is for a racist to be leader with an arch feminist bringing up the deputy leadership. Both Abbott and Harman will be consumed by their separate ideologies, and neither will be paying any attention to holding the government to account on the things that really matter to the population right now – the economy.
A strong opposition is just as important as a strong government – and we need a Labour Party that has an intelligent leader who will poke and probe the government’s policies, not carp and criticise for cheap feminist or racist points.