The media is too busy attacking Diane Abbott to notice the greatest car crash of the election so far [VIDEO]


The media is too busy attacking Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott to notice what may well be the greatest car crash of the election so far. Senior Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell fluffed three different basic questions in a row on national television. Then, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire caught him trying to hide the number of properties he owns.

Meanwhile, Abbott is under widespread, heavy fire for apparently not knowing (or being able to recall) specific details from a report on terrorism.

Perhaps most striking is that Mitchell has no idea what the national minimum wage is – he failed to guess, twice:

Minimum wage

Asked what the minimum wage is, Mitchell tried to avoid the question, saying:

Well we hope it will be up to £9.

When pressed, he offered:

It’s less than £9.

Realising evasion wasn’t going to work, Mitchell failed to guess what it is:

It’s… err… about £6…

Derbyshire pointed out that members of his constituency were probably on the living wage. He replied:

What is it, £8?

Derbyshire eventually relieved him of further embarrassment:

It’s £7.50 for the over-25s…

The Conservatives faced criticism for hijacking the term ‘living wage’ during David Cameron’s premiership. Rhys Moore, the director of the Living Wage Foundation, said “this is effectively a higher national minimum wage and not a living wage”. Currently, the real living wage is set at £9.75 per hour in London and £8.45 elsewhere. The Tories’ £7.50 version not only pretends London doesn’t exist, but is also well below par for the rest of the country.

Housing fluff

After the minimum wage failure, Derbyshire moved on to housing. Questioned on how many council homes his government built last year, Mitchell replied:

I haven’t got the figure on my fingertips.

Then, asked if he knows how many people are on the housing waiting list, Mitchell said:

I don’t…

Mitchell, who once called a police officer a “fucking pleb”, tried to assure BBC viewers that his party would build more houses. So Derbyshire made the obvious point:

You’ve been in power for seven years.

Currently, if you earn the national average salary of £26,500 (which is reportedly halved if you take the 10% of highest earners out of the equation), 91% of England and Wales would be beyond your income. That’s under Mitchell and his government’s watch.

Shortly after, the Conservative candidate’s inability to answer questions about the problems facing ordinary people looked even worse. Because Derbyshire challenged Mitchell on how many properties he owns. After Mitchell tried to equivocate, the BBC host cut through:

But you own three properties.

Mitchell was forced to reply:


Double standard

Journalists conducting ‘gotcha’ interviews – trying to catch politicians not knowing figures off the top of their heads – can be superficial. But Mitchell seemed very cavalier about issues impacting ordinary people. He quite clearly didn’t have a clue what the minimum wage is, a basic fact about Britain today. But other than the BBC itself, no media outlet had covered the interview at the time of writing.

Given the media storm surrounding Abbott, the double standard is glaring.

Get Involved!

Get out there and vote on 8 June. And encourage others to do the same.

– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.

– Also, read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.

– Support The Canary if you value the work we do.

Featured image via screenshot

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed