And after the leadership battle?

Abbott, the BBC and the Labour party

God help me keep my mouth shutGod help me keep my mouth shut
It now gets interesting. The ballot for the Labour party leadership race has closed. It is assumed a Miliband will win and some excited people have already suggested they know the outcome and declared in favour of the elder. Also assumed is that the new leader will embark on a period of modernisation. A safe bet there as they all do that! So how do the bookies read this contest ? Well, the elder Miliband is the favourite but at 150/1 is Diane Abbott. And as all the other candidates are boring white men let's do a little positive discrimination and focus on Abbott.

This might seem to miss the point but remember it was Greg Dyke in 2001 when working as Director General of the BBC who described the corporation as "hideously white". The BBC pays Abbott a huge sum of money for her 'work', some say £36,000 a year for her slot on Andrew Neil's The Daily Politics show, which began in 2003. Whilst she is not the bookies' favourite, she rings all the bells at the BBC.

Here the BBC website really bigs it up in her favour! It leads by repeating an accusation about the ballot made by Abbott that can only be proven, one way or the other, after the count. Of the result Abbott says she is "quietly confident". However, we can all be confident that this accusation, and the truth, will simply slide off the radar. But as they say, mud sticks and anyway, when has Abbott ever been quiet!

The New Statesman blog, The Staggers, has also been wondering aloud about Abbott. It has a problem which is trying to be, just like the Labour party, all things to all people so it has to be seen giving equal attention to all candidates; but as we know in the left wing world some are more equal than others. Abbott has been doing very well out of The Staggers and for the usual reasons. It said in June -

There is also an uneasy awareness in Labour ranks that the three nominated candidates so far are all white, middle-class, Oxbridge-educated, fortysomething men.

That could lead to a sudden surge of nominations for Abbott, especially since some on the centre and right of the party want a left-wing candidate so that he or she (McDonnell or Abbott) can be seen to be defeated.

The last line turns the fleeting appearance of John McDonell and the more lasting effort from Abbott into a role no more grand than 'useful idiots'! But it does raise up the question "what to do with Abbott"?

Now doubt the BBC will go on employing Abbott as a political pundit despite the fact she has no political skills to speak of and little support within her own party. But what of the Labour party, how will they react? The new leader may be forced, for all the wrong reasons or all the right ones, it depends upon your point of view, to give her a job. This latter option has been mooted by the younger Miliband. On the other hand they could tough it out and leave her on the back benches where she could cause no end of trouble. The BBC would love that and report it all. Decisions, decisions! And for a final view on Abbott see HERE. This link confirms the useful, but well paid, idiot role.