MP Diane Abbott has once again come under fire in the mainstream media. Unsurprisingly, it has less to do with what she did than it does with the establishment media and politicians’ misogynoir, combined with their dislike for her politics.
Nothing worse than criticising a Tory
What’s worse than 41 people desperate for safe haven drowning in the sea before Western governments recognise the value of their lives? Criticising a Tory politician’s xenophobia, apparently. At least if the reactions of mainstream media, along with centrist and right-wing politicians, are anything to go by.
On 9 August, in response to the news that 41 refugees had drowned in the Mediterranean en route to Italian shores, Abbott said in a now-deleted tweet:
Abbott was referring to Conservative MP Lee Anderson’s comments, made earlier in the same week, that asylum seekers complaining about being housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge should “fuck off back to France”.
But in a move that probably surprised no one who’s been paying attention, the establishment media jumped at the chance to depict Abbott in an unflattering light.
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Deliberately misplaced outrage
Marcus Daniel, former editor-in-chief at Media Diversified, said:
More outrage over Diane Abbott’s tweet than the death of 41 *PEOPLE* https://t.co/pHIDFOYbth
— 🇧🇧🏳️🌈 marcusxdusty (@marcusxdusty) August 10, 2023
Many people saw right through the establishment narrative and highlighted the message behind Abbott’s tweet:
Those most angry about what Diane Abbott tweeted are those who are least angry about the poor treatment of refugees.
It’s almost as if they are hypocritical rank opportunistic so and sos. Almost.
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) August 10, 2023
All of you people pretending to be so righteous and offended over Diane Abbott’s tweet need to sit down and have a think as to why you are not talking about the 41 dead.
We should all be as angry as this absolute treasure of a woman.
— Revolution Blues 🥀 #StrongerTogether (@RevBluesSusie) August 10, 2023
And suggestions that Abbott shouldn’t have deleted the tweet received considerable support:
— Keith Stalin dog whistling racist (@davjam8) August 9, 2023
What a shame Diane Abbott deleted this. Lee Anderson can go fuck himself. pic.twitter.com/FdkOxNGx9x
— Benny Dreadful (@BennyDreadful79) August 9, 2023
Author Steve Howell noted:
Diane Abbott's only crime is sometimes to be so angry at tragedy and injustice that she can't contain it.
It's one of the things that sets her apart from the many calculating and self-interested politicians.
— Steve Howell (@FromSteveHowell) August 9, 2023
Diane Abbott and misogynoir
Journalist Lorraine King called out the misogynoir – the combination of anti-Black racism and misogyny – faced by Black women in particular, which was evident throughout the entire debacle:
You can bet the shirt on your back that Diane Abbott will get more flack for her tweet about tragic asylum seekers drowning than 30p Lee Anderson will get for saying asylum seekers who don't want to stay on a barge should f**k off back to France.
The misogynoir is peak
— Lorraine King (@lorrainemking) August 9, 2023
Obviously, this isn’t the first time Abbott has faced public outrage that is entirely disproportionate to her actions:
MPs can walk into parliament pissed as a fart, nothing said. Diane Abbott has a Mojito on a train and all hell breaks loose!
— richard oneill (@silverrich39) August 10, 2023
So recent events have been nothing if not predictable. It’s a crying shame that in a country where refugees are told to fuck off back to where they came from, Diane Abbott’s outrage is what made the headlines – and for all the wrong reasons.
The Labour Party has already suspended Abbott over antisemitism, despite the party’s general and persistent tolerance for racism and misogynoir. What more do these people want? Just let a Black woman express her compassion and anger in peace, I beg you.
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