some interesting comments i thought (in reverse order):
my oxbridge comment was because Julian said "She will have a natural constituency alien to the four white middle-aged Oxbridge males". i was only pointing out that all 5 candidates are oxbridge, not that there is anything wrong with that.
i certainly am politically incorrect, i almost wear it as a badge of honour. i also believe in positive discrimination because if i as a white middle-class educated young man get to the same level as someone from a harder background they have achieved more than me.
Yvette Cooper was my first choice as leader, in part because she is a woman. only in part. after that, Alan Johnson because he's worked his way up and has good experience. After that I at the very least wanted Harman to run because i really believe in her equality agenda.
I personally want Ed Balls to win because i like his style i.e. he's a nasty hard noised bastard. but i don't think that is what the public want in a political leader, so i'm back Ed Miliband as i'm very impressed by the people who are backing him
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Oh bearded one!
Sometimes reading your contributions one feels that whatever happens you cannot be pleased, however perhaps you feel the same about me! Poor Diane – how awful to be thought ‘a bad advert for positive discrimination’! That little statement by you ticks about every politically incorrect box going. You will have seen that I am against positive discrimination of any sort believing in the ‘best person for the job’ principle and imo Diane Abbott is just that. She would not have been my first choice for the Labour leadership contest, that would have gone to John McDonnell [I supported him against Gordon Brown last time around and have sadly just put away again my John4Leader t-shirt!] but once John stepped down yesterday Diane Abbott became my natural next choice. Not for any of the ‘positive discrimination’ reasons but because I mostly like her political views [as Julian says she and I were both anti the Iraq war - I was one of those who took part in all the marches] The issue of her sending her son to public school? I can understand her comment that she was only being questioned because she is a woman as it is true that it is largely the case that women MPs of whatever political shade are questioned a lot more about childcare and things like their schooling etc than male MPs. The question of whether or not the child should be at a private school is a different issue upon which I don’t feel I should comment.
Lastly why the comment about Diane Abbott being Oxbridge educated? Is it forbidden for left wing socialists to graduate from Oxbridge? No-one told me I would have to give up my left-wing credentials when I graduated on that October day in Cambridge! In fact I think that the education I got confirmed those credentials and the work I have done since then has taken me further forward! Diane Abbott comes from an ordinary family where to go to university in the late 1960s/early 1970s was an achievement, let alone Oxbridge. Do you really want to be represented in this day and age by men and women who are disadvantaged educationally amongst their peers?
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i think she’s a bad advert for positive discrimination i’m afraid.
in the first debate on monday, all the candidates made reasoned and sensible contributions when talking about the private provision of public services. her response was to rant that ‘privatisation is wrong’. when asked yesterday about her sending her son to a private school, she objected that she was only being targeted for being a woman.
And she’s also Oxbridge educated.
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I am delighted that Diane Abbott has made onto the ballot for the Labour Party leadership. She will liven up what was threatening to be a one-dimensional contest.
This is not to say that the other four are not great talents – they are. But there was a common theme running through the other contenders.
Diane’s inclusion ticks a number of boxes: she is of the left, she is female, she is black, a backbencher, and she represents a southern constituency.
This is not a sop to tokenism; it is an enabler to widening the debate. Diane’s inclusion will mean that the left of the party will have a voice. This means that issues like Iraq will be debated with a voice who opposed the war from the start (and this is not a dig a late converts). It will widen the debate so that women’s and minorities’ issues will have a voice from within that camp.
Diane is not as polished performer as her male opponents, but I find her occasional skittishness endearing, and it makes her look more human too. She looks like the outsider at the moment; this is not necessarily a bad place to be.
What her inclusion will do is make the other four work that bit harder and no bad thing. She will have a natural constituency alien to the four white middle-aged Oxbridge males. To win this election they will have a foretaste of what will be required in 2015.
I really haven’t made up my mind who to vote for, although as the election is being conducted using a version of AV I can claim that I will vote for all of them. I know that what is needed is a winner, someone capable of ridding us of the Con-Dem coalition.