Diane Abbott spots the sinister motive behind establishment calls for a ‘national’ government

Diane Abbott
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Diane Abbott spotted the apparently sinister motive behind establishment calls for a ‘national’ government on 21 July.

Conservative MPs, Labour MPs, and pundits have been suggesting a cross-party, WWII-style national government. They claim that such a government would help deliver Brexit in the so-called national interest. Labour MP Mike Gapes, for example, said:

Wouldn’t it be a bit easier for her if she acted… the way that Clement Attlee acted in the 1941 crisis and we worked in the national interest together to deal with this crisis? Carrying on as we are will not succeed and she knows it.

The top priority

The shadow home secretary points out what politicians may be more concerned with:

But of course, the overriding concern of Labour politicians contemplating a national government may not even be the so-called national interest. It may be that the Labour politicians concerned see it as an effective method of blocking a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government

The real meaning behind ‘national interest’

Writing in Open Democracy, Abbott also exposed what ‘national interest’ actually means for the establishment:

When people talk about the importance of forming a national government ‘in the national interest’ I am concerned. Because the question is whose nation and whose interest? The assumption behind national government is that the interests of a hedge fund manager in Mayfair are the same as a single parent in Hackney. But they are not. And the danger of a national government is that, inevitably, the interest of the poor and disadvantaged get marginalised.

The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington notes that national interest ends up meaning the interests of the ruling class. Abbott suggested that a national unity government would not only deliver policies for the elite, but also destroy Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour:

And you don’t need to look in the crystal ball on this, you only need to look at the history of the 1931 National Government. It was set up to impose austerity ‘in the national interest’. It ushered in the grimmest of times for ordinary working people, who were to learn that ‘the national interest’ was actually the interests of the banks, financial services and industrialists. It also destroyed the reputation of Labour’s Ramsay Macdonald who served as prime minister of the national government. He was deemed to have betrayed working people by fronting up what was essentially a project of the ruling classes.

Those calling for a unity government with the Conservatives may actually want to stop a Labour government under Corbyn and deliver a Brexit for the ruling elite in the process. Abbott sees right through the establishment gambit.

Get Involved!

– If you support Labour and want to fight against its outdated hierarchy, consider joining Momentum. If you feel your Labour MP is undermining their party’s chances of getting into government, meanwhile, you can write to them and politely express your feelings.

Featured image via Garry Knight/ Flickr

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