Lord, no! Diane gets a gig

Diane Abbott has been made shadow public health minister by new Labour leader Ed Miliband. My claim, below, that she is on course for the Lords has been overtaken by events. But rather than run yet another story about her, or delete the one below to prevent my embarrassment, I leave it there as a record of what was possible at the time it was written. Or as a record of the riskiness of  second-guessing politicians. 

– David Altheer, Editor

The dice that Diane Abbott threw in an attempt to lift her political career in the safe Labour seat of Hackney North and Stoke Newington have clattered off the gaming table.

Having lost to Ed Miliband in her game plan to lead the Labour Party the Hackney champion must now realise that her number is unlikely to come up for one of the 19 places in the Shadow Cabinet. The Guardian’s political reporter, Hélène Mulholland, for example, expects the backbencher to lose out in a crowded field — as many as 50 — of the party’s 258 MPs.

This raises an issue that will excite wannabe-agains such as Oona King, the 42-year-old former MP for Bethnal Green and Bow who last month lost to Ken Livingstone, 65, for the chance to challenge Boris Johnson in the 2012 London mayoral elections.
Results of applications for the Shadow Cabinet are to be announced this month. Ed Miliband will have the last say on MPs’ choices.

When Milliband first spoke about the rivals he defeated for the leadership and referred generally to a future Shadow Cabinet he sounded encouraging — about all but one of them.
In any case, Abbott, famous for sharing a TV chatshow sofa with Michael Portillo, has never managed to win the affection shown by her Westminster colleagues to  Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner and other Labour leftists.
Having come last in the leadership contest, if Abbott fails to become the shadow “voice for London”, as she wants to be, she could expect at some time to be given the compensation prize of a peerage.

This would require a by-election in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, which, if the MiliEd honeymoon continues, would be welcomed by Labour as a chance to increase the seat’s majority. That was increased in the last general election by Abbott. Oona King would be only one of several Labour candidates for this coveted zone 2 London seat.

For Abbott, a peerage could be the start of a new career – at 57.
Valerie Amos, a frequent visitor to Afro-Caribbean friends in Dalston, was made a baroness, Labour leader in the House of Lords and then High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Australia.
Baroness Amos next got herself a post travelling the world for the United Nations, a year after taking up the Canberra job.
Of course, Ed Miliband may confound Loving Dalston’s speculation by holding it against Abbott that her prime nominee in the leadership election was his brother David. Surprisingly, her branch voted for MiliDave.
Abbott told Loving Dalston: “I am certainly not after a peerage. If I am unsuccessful in joining the Shadow Cabinet, I will happily continue my duties as MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, as I have for the past 23 years.”

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7 thoughts on “Lord, no! Diane gets a gig

  1. I couldn’t have been much more wrong with my predictions: it’s King who’s being booted upstairs.

  2. Hmmm, looking back on the article, neither do I. I think that perhaps I was over-eager to make a tenuous link to a powerful woman with Dalston connections. Too much information, I think. Sorry to reply late.

  3. I don’t understand what Valerie Amos’ peerage and the speculation of Diane Abbott becoming a Baroness have in common. Neither do I see the relevance of including in the article the fact that Valerie Amos is “a frequent visitor to Afro-Caribbean friends in Dalston”.

  4. I understand the reason for your sardonic tone. I took the pic of Miss Abbott at the hustings in Clapton and though it’s feeble I use it because it’s the best of a poor lot. I hope to get the chance soon to take a good-quality pic of her. BTW, all pix on this site are mine, unless stated otherwise.

  5. As a Labour member I hope she does go off somewhere else. But if you think we’d replace her with King – lightweight and only in it for herself – you’ve another think coming. One egotist is quite enough…

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