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Exclusive interview: Labour leadership candidate Diane Abbott

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  1. A grass-roots activist, not a career politician, who spoke out against the Iraq invasion, and who supported gay rights back in the day when it was deemed political suicide? She’s got my vote.

  2. I don’t want to be snidey and cynical (well, perhaps just a bit), but it’s no use being ‘frustrated’ at criticism at not turning up at votes. Talk is cheap if you don’t turn up at the House of Commons once in a blue moon to actually vote for civil rights.

    It must be very difficult being a passionate civil libertarian in the Labour Party. Good luck to her – but sadly I don’t think she’ll win.

  3. She may not win, but I hope this campaign raises her profile and she ends up with a prominent position in the new labour regime. Shadow foreign secretary would be good.

  4. She’s brilliant, I would vote for her as Labour leader – but I’m also aware that, as a liberal she will not get the support of the wider population on the right. Shame really that she’ll be nothing more than the next John Prescott.

  5. She was there for the crucial votes i.e. when it really made a difference, so she quite clearly has turned up and voted for civil rights. There’s no sense in stacking up your vote when you could be using your time as an MP more effectively on something else. Vote analysis is a crude measure of an MPs record and effectiveness. She’s been talking about marriage equality publicly longer than any of the other candidates, even though Andy Burnham claims he has. She raised it back when civil partnerships were being debated and even the LGBT community was oddly mute on the subject. The campaign’s the better for her candidacy. Let her know you care (http://www.pledgebank.com/Diane4Leader). :P

  6. She’s the only candidate who isn’t one of the plastics. And I think she does care about civil liberties. But it does seem to be between the Milibands now.

    I’m hoping that Labour will do a volte-face and decide that they believe in civil liberties after all. I suppose this is pretty unlikely. At some point – perhaps in only five years time – they’ll be back in power, and I don’t want them to have another go at setting up a panopticon state.

  7. She does sound more genuine than the others…

    Certainly hope though we don’t return to a lab majority govt in 5 yrs time. I’m quite happy with a coalition type govt, less extremes and more progress. Don’t think we’d be talking about gay marriage if lab were still in power or if the tories had gained a majority…

    Glad though that in the next election it looks like gay marriage will be firmly on the lab gay manifesto but hopefully by then the coalition govt may have leapfrocked them in any case…

    Get in there quick and start proposing bills, asking govt questions… you’re not going to get much credit for just words….

  8. I have to say Diane Abbott is the only one of the contenders that I believe because she’s always been upfront and supportive. Not changing her mind in the hope more will vote for her unlike a certain vain D. Milipeed, oops Miliband.

    I have the feeling Labour are going to be un-electable for quite some time!

  9. vulpus_rex 6 Aug 2010, 9:47am

    I like DA and I hope she wins, but she is unfortunately typical of all socialists, in that eventually they are all exposed as self-interested hypocrites:

    1) Her party wants to abolish private education, but because the new labour created sink school in Hackney isn’t good enough for her son, he goes to a private school.

    2) Supported a minimum wage but is running her leadership campaign using the unpaid services of “interns”. If McDonalds ran one of their stores using unpaid “interns” she’d be beside herself with lefty outrage.

    To be fair that’s hardly much different to the rest of her party, so it is a question of which hypocrite you prefer from the choice of all the hypocrites standing.

  10. sorry love there is more homophobia in London now after labour got to pay for uni spliff is back to class b you don’t use your local school so you’ve given up on them. your party is full of champagne socialist and mr bean will be your leader. and you think the most important thing is to bring the underground to hackney while pickney a kill dem selves. churrups gweh

  11. It would be a great day for the country to have a woman leader of the labour party and a woman from the BME community at that. Now that we have a black US President and very nearly a woman President, colour or sex should be of no consequence (or sexuality for that matter; Prime Minister of Iceland proves that!) Her undoubted championship of Gay Rights and the fact she realises Homophobia is often about the bully’s own masculinity fears proves she knows her stuff. I would give Diane my vote out of the rest of them!

  12. Sorry Diane, you’re just another self-serving Labourite. She fails completely and utterly to recognise why Labour lost the election, complaining that Labour party were unlucky scapegoats. Then, when asked by a gay magazine what her main priority would be if she were PM, she answers “opposition to homophobic policies around the world”. Really, Diane? Even as a gay man, I think there are a few more important issues you should be looking at. Diane is a symptom of, not a solution to Labour’s problems.

  13. But Joe why are reading pinknews? Perphas pinknews should have asked her why she thought labour did not poll better within the gay community despite having such a good track record on lgbt issue, why did the gay community turn towards the lib dems or more importantly against tehm? Yes, there were more “important” issues but many of us did vote on lgbt issues and labour just didn’t offer anythiny new or progressive….

  14. so why did she choose a song by Buju Banton on Desert Island Discs in 2008?

  15. why is it so many people don’t see why LBGT issues are so important?

  16. She’s got my vote. All the others are all much the same, it’s not like there’s anything much to lose if she doesn’t get in, and at least it’s a vote to strengthen and encourage the left of the party. I also liked how she linked homophobia to gender prejudice. thanks pink news!

  17. She has good ideas on gay issues, and she’s a good woman. But she’s a lazy cow that never turned up for parliament. She’d be bloody useless as the leader. I think she’d make a good deputy though.

    @ Tanika – “God be vex and strike all ye down with de disease” – that disease I think you’re talking about originated in Africa, and is currently annihilating about 25m black heterosexual men women and children. Who did you say your god was vex with? You stupid uneducated bitch. Yawn.

  18. now that tanikas comment has been removed my comment doesn’t make any sense.

  19. I think we get the gist of what she must have said!

  20. Chester – but so many people have been vocal on what LGBT issues are important to them , unfortuntely some people (eg Stonewall) don’t think those issues are important. I know we are told that there are other more important LGBT issues but nevertheless the issue that crops up most is generally the one that is of most interest to us…. Haven’t you noticed the trend among the mps and pinknews, afterall what question is asked most to these potential leaders… they seem to have realised what the issue is, unfortuntely some poeple in the gay community haven’t…

  21. This is the woman who thinks that blue eyed blondes should not be allowed into the UK to nurse patients in the NHS.
    Like you guys, the impressionable minions of the LRC are
    waiting for their televisions to tell them that Diane Abbott isn’t
    racist. This can and should be arranged, by getting the other leadership candidates to back her up (My feriend has emailed them all, but obviously they’re somewhat occupied right now). ‘Should be done,’ because otherwise we’ll have the anomalous situation where a winner of a large swathe of Party leadership votes will be excluded from the Shadow Cabinet.

  22. I have no idea what you are on about.

  23. Dr Boycock 7 Aug 2010, 4:53pm

    I like her. Unfortunately, I dont think she stands any chance of actually winning, but hopefully her candidacy will highlight certain issues and raise their importance in the party.

  24. traffic bots 8 Aug 2010, 1:28am

    traffic rankings. Compared with internet averages, the site’s users are disproportionately childless, and they are disproportionately women aged under 25 and 35–55 who have incomes between $30,000 and $100,000 and browse from home. While about 23% of the site’s visitors are in the UK, where it is ranked #6,916, it is also popular in Denmark, where it is ranked #4,689. PinkNews.co.uk is relatively popular among users in the city of North Shields (where it is ranked #30). The site belongs to the “News and Media” category of websites.

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  25. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lib-dems-to-vote-on-full-marriage-rights-for-gay-couples-2046695.html

    Looks like gay marriage is going to be part of the lib dems official policy, when will labour be able to say the same thing!!!

  26. > Ms Abbott is aware of Wednesday’s judgment in California, where a
    > judge ruled against the state’s gay marriage ban.
    >
    > She said: “I just think it’s very sad that Americans are so far
    > behind us. Obviously we haven’t gone all the way to gay marriage
    > but we have got civil partnerships and the Americans haven’t got
    > there yet.”

    Shame PinkNews didn’t know enough to point out that California has domestic parnerships which are more equal than UK Civil Partnerships, but the judgment Ms Abbott says she knows about rightly says:

    | …domestic partnerships exist solely to differentiate same-sex
    | unions from marriages. FF 53-54. A domestic partnership is not
    | a marriage; while domestic partnerships offer same-sex couples
    | almost all of the rights and responsibilities associated with
    | marriage, the evidence shows that the withholding of the
    | designation “marriage” significantly disadvantages plaintiffs.
    | FF 52-54. The record reflects that marriage is a culturally
    | superior status compared to a domestic partnership.

    I fear Ms Abbott, despite being Black, a woman, and having voted against the Iraq war crimes, is too little different from those Labour politicians who have caused so much heartache by acting on impulse and in ignorance.

  27. oatc – I like that one – we Australians also have domestice partnerships at state level and at fed level we have a term called de facto – both give us more or less equivalent rights to married couples but it’s amazing how superior the British govt and other parties particulary labour sound when they extol the virtue of the British CP – what is the difference , our de facto covers both same sex and different sex, your’s just discriminates and makes gay people different to straights… I’d rather wait for a fed SS marrage here or a state one rather than adopt the British style ghetto CP for gays only!….The British govt is rather partionising of our countries, extoling the virtue of a discriminatory system while condemning or feeling suprior of other countries with a similar type of system…

  28. The last British government was both patronising and stunningly hypocritical. Gordon Brown condemned California for banning gay marriage, calling it ‘unacceptable’, yet opposed gay marriage for the UK. He thought sexual apartheid was the same as equality – ‘separate but equal’. Not terribly encouraging!

  29. I like her. And so does Michael Portillo!

  30. I’m shocked at how the long it is taking PinkNews to report on the Lib Dems Gay Marriage proposal.

  31. history magic 8 Aug 2010, 9:31pm

    Silly people. She is 100% nasty two-faced and ruthless totally.

    Those who know her or have had contact with her all say the same thing
    nasty woman…

    Now for something completely different
    Pink News is a United Kingdom-based online gay newspaper.

    The paper version, The Pink News, officially launched at the Law Society on 28 June 2006 by Francis Maude, Chairman of the Conservative Party, Meg Munn, Minister for Equality, Simon Hughes, President of the Liberal Democrats and Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch. It was suspended without explanation in early 2007.

    The website however continues to update with original news daily.

    Pink News has paid special attention to the topic of religion and homosexuality, often denouncing the Vatican for its hostility to the gay community.

  32. @ history magic (31.)

    (1) You supply no specific information or arguments to back up your characterisation of Ms Abbott. It in therefore unfair to denounce those who don’t share your bile as ‘silly’.

    (2) In the second part of your comment, you don’t explain what your *point* is.

  33. Hstory magic 9 Aug 2010, 12:20am

    johnnyh hasn’t added any friends yet.
    yeh i used to live in south africa!
    bethnal green

  34. What can I say? I’m old-fashioned enough to prefer flesh-and-blood friends to internet ‘friends’.

    Are you saying that you used to live in Bethnal Green? I used to live in Bethnal Green as well. Bethnal Green, of course, is not part of Diane Abbott’s constituency of Hackney North. In any case, residency in an MP’s constituency doesn’t automatically confer knowledge of an MP’s character.

  35. history magic 9 Aug 2010, 2:40am

    YOU:
    “johnnyh hasn’t added any friends yet.
    yeh i used to live in south africa!
    bethnal green”
    And so much more nonsense from you.

  36. It appears that the UK has an interesting political situation re gay equality.

    the coalition of liberal democrats and conservatives seem to support gay equality. and now Labor as well.

    So much better then in the USA, where the republicans are our talibangelicals, the democrats are castrated babies.

    MOve on. Especially re making membership in the EU etc contingent on full equality for gay people.

    And for those that dont come around, maybe you can help them to go broke, cut them out of the world trading system etc etc

    and if IL Papa comes to England – send him home in disgrace. Preferably in a box marked Allahu Ahkbar.

  37. I hate it when straight people use the term ‘sexual preference’. Diane, if you are going to talk about such issues then please pay attention to the subtle difference between sexual orientation and sexual ‘preference’ and do not conflate the two.

  38. John:
    > The British govt is rather partionising of our countries,
    > extoling the virtue of a discriminatory system

    The Labour UK government claimed its foreign policy was to promote LGBT human rights. It had embassies fly the rainbow flag on pride days. But it specifically intervened against equal marriage in an Austrian case in the European Court of Human Rights, saying that just because it had created CPs other countries shouldn’t have to do anything for their L&G citizens. It was very against the idea of equality.

    I hope that was largely the Roman Catholic ministers who have now been banished (by the change of government if nothing else), but Britain has long been known abroad in diplomatic circles as “Perfidious Albion”.

  39. Generally I have got a lot of time for Ms Abbott because she has a mind of her own and does not slavishly follow the party line. But I do not know how good a party leader she would be because she does have a tendency to affiliate with and give uncritical support to some weird people, such as Miranda Grell.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7006231.stm

  40. Has everyone forgotten that Dianne Abbott chose a Buju Banton song for her desert island disks a couple of years ago? No she does not have a long history of supporting Gay rights… politicians cant make that sort of stupid choice… say one thing, do another.. another hypocrite

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