Keir Starmer has declared that Diane Abbott's letter to Sunday's Observer was 'anti-Semitic'. This likely signals the end of Abbott's career as a Labour MP, with the removal of the party whip set to become permanent, as it has with Jeremy Corbyn. However, this may not be the end of the parliamentary road for Abbott.
Like Corbyn, she has a huge majority - bigger, in fact - at 33,188 compared to Corbyn's 26,188. Corbyn has already suggested he will stand as an independent in the next general election and will almost certainly win. While most MPs who stand against their old parties tend to crumble without the party name, Corbyn and Abbott have represented their constituencies for decades (Corbyn since 1983 and Abbott since 1987). During that time they have built commanding majorities and are prominent names, regardless of whether or not you regard them as archetypal 'loony left'.
The Socialist Campaign Group of far left MPs have not faired well under Starmer's leadership. In addition to the removal of Corbyn and Abbott, a third London MP - Sam Tarry - was deselected following one of Labour's 'trigger ballots'. Yet another far left London MP - Apsana Begum - also faces a reselection ballot later this year. A trigger ballot to remove Liverpool MP Ian Byrne ultimately failed.
The left have not surprisingly challenged the legitimacy of these trigger ballots, with questions surrounding electronic voting and alleged dirty tricks. However, there was little public sympathy for Diane Abbott from her comrades this week. Not a word from the Socialist Campaign Group, nothing from McDonnell and Sultana, not even Dickie Burgon or Corbyn himself piped up in her aid.
They all knew that Abbott had only herself to blame and any association with her could put their own careers on the line. Her absurd letter to the Observer was steeped in her own prejudices and stupidity, gifting Starmer the opportunity to kick her out. Within hours of the Observer hitting the newsstands, Abbott published the following apology to her social media accounts. It was a desperate last ditch attempt to save the whip, but there was no salvation.
The third paragraph, in which she bemoans an 'error', only confirmed that she had consciously written the words - regardless of whether it was a 'draft' or not. Her greatest error was in submitting the letter full stop, but of course her own prejudice got the better of her. She simply could not tolerate a stance that suggested anyone other than black people suffer racism. Of course Diane, from the white slave trade to the gas chambers - whites and Jews have not been subjected to racism, merely 'prejudice'. It was her inclusion of Jewish people that lost her the whip - because, as we know only too well, white people have no value in today's Labour Party, whether that be on the far left or the centre left.
Her letter can be seen in full below.
Still, if Diane does lose her seat at the next election, she will do so at the age of 70+, having spent more than three decades on the Westminster gravy train. Not bad for a black woman who complains that black people are subjected to racism 'all their lives'.
As for Starmer, we see you. Four years ago you campaigned to elect this woman as our Home Secretary. You campaigned to have Jeremy Corbyn our PM. We see you.
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