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Day in the media: Diane Abbott and distraction politics

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diane abbott. Photo: CC Alkan de Beaumont Chaglar

Just a short 24 hours after justice was finally served in the brutal racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence – some 19 years ago – another incidence of racism has caught the public’s attention and politicians are baying for blood.

But this time, we have a tweet by shadow health minister, Diane Abbott, in which she makes a generalisation about white people. In an open exchange on Twitter, Diane writes: “I understand the cultural point you are making. But you are playing into a ‘divide and rule’ agenda. White people love playing ‘divide & rule’ We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism.”

At that, nostrils flared, wrists were slapped, agitators seized this window of opportunity to unsettle their political opponents and lots of copy was written – in defence of and against Diane Abbott, including an account from the person who “started the Diane Abbott twitterstorm“.

But like with any storm in a tea-cup, the waves will soon settle and life will return to normal. The situation at which we were so aghast will slip from collective memory, with only the extremists clinging on to the remnants. And all this while, a hard-earned victory after a gross miscarriage of justice will remain beneath the fold on the page, just out of sight and out of mind.

This tweet by Maria Hannah Bass, a journalism student, sums it up well:

Diane Abbott trending alongside Stephen Lawrence. The irony is too painful to be funny. Let’s focus on real racism, yeah? Racism that kills.Thu Jan 05 13:51:57 via web

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Written by Eliza

January 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm

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