THE BLOG

The Public Lynching Of Diane Abbott

03/05/2017 12:09
Darren Staples / Reuters

If anyone was still unsure when it comes to what the UK general election on June 8 is about, the issues in contention are embodied in the public lynching of Labour's Diane Abbott, deemed her just punishment for the 'crime' of misspeaking during a radio interview with right wing attack dog Nick Ferrari on LBC. We are talking an election in which the choice is between compassion, common decency, and human solidarity on the one hand, or a status quo of cruelty, bullying, and the right wing poison that has been given free rein and license by Brexit on the other.

Diane Abbott, just to remind folks, has never articulated her willingness to launch nuclear missiles, sanctioned a benefit claimant, attacked migrants, condemned people to the mercy of foodbanks, homeless shelters, or helped create the dystopia that passes for society in Brexit Britain. Yet, regardless, a media baying for blood has invited us to agree that she is evil personified, fully deserving of the condign punishment they have decided to mete out as a consequence. How dare she misspeak in public? How dare she make a mistake? She must be chastised unto death? Kill her? Burn the witch! Burn her, we say!

To witness this feeding frenzy is to be reminded of Nietzsche's admonition: 'Distrust all those in whom the urge to punish is strong."

But let us not be fooled; this eruption of vilification and condemnation is less to do with Diane Abbott and more to do with what she represents - namely a politics that does not seek to condemn but to understand, that does not look to punish but to help, a politics underpinned by human solidarity rather than greed, which refuses to accept that the homeless, the poor, the disabled, and the vulnerable are non or subhuman and should be treated as such. In other words,

Diane Abbott dares to oppose anti-human and toxic Tory cultural values, dripping in hypocrisy, that have predominated for far too long. The bulk of the mainstream media not only reflects those values it extends itself in incubating, guarding, and actively promoting and spewing them out 24/7, covering us in a mountain of right wing, reactionary ordure.

Isn't it interesting, though, how the media lynching endured by Diane Abbott was conspicuously absent after Theresa May, in her recent interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, opined that there are "many complex reasons why people go to foodbanks." But of course the Prime Minister was only guilty of dismissing or minimising the plight of the one million people, and counting, who are unable to feed themselves or their families on a regular basis, due to an economy set up and run with the objective of rewarding the rich for being rich and attacking the poor for daring to be poor.

We currently live in a society, fashioned by Tory values, in which our basic humanity is subjected to assault on a daily basis, chipped away at by the callous cruelty that passes for normality. The human casualties of this callous cruelty abound yet the ability to function and cope forces us to erect a firewall of desensitisation, else we find ourselves plunged into a vortex of guilt and self recrimination over our inaction or seeming inability to end such brutal injustice. And this is precisely how a right wing establishment that has never bestrode our lives so arrogantly or with such unbridled hubris wants it.

Going after those who dare fight for something better, who dare question the conventional wisdom that to be working class or poor or a migrant or a member of a minority community is to be less than equal, this is the stock in trade of a right wing media that confuses a free press with a free for all when it comes to destroying people iike Diane Abbott whenever and wherever the opportunity arises.

Diane Abbott made a mistake. It confirms that she is human, a human being. Surely it's time we had some of those leading the country for a change.

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