Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Talk about taking on the establishment

I remember reading about Diane Abbott when she was first elected to Commons. That was back in my second year of teaching AP Comparative Government and Politics. I assigned an article from The Economist to my classes as an illustration of the lack of diversity in Parliament. There's more diversity now on the back benches, but not much more on the front benches. And 23 years later, here's Ms Abbott pushing boundaries once again.

Diane Abbott enters Labour leadership contest
Backbench MP Diane Abbott has joined the race for the Labour leadership.

The Londoner told the BBC her bid was "serious", saying there was little between the other candidates, who "all look the same".

The 57-year-old Cambridge graduate, who became the UK's first black woman MP in 1987, said she was getting support from female and left-leaning colleagues…

Ms Abbott, the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP, said: "The other candidates are all nice and would make good leaders of the Labour Party but they all look the same... We cannot be offering a slate of candidates who all look the same. The Labour Party's much more diverse than that."

"It's important that we re-energise the party and bring democracy back to the party.

"We need a proper debate on immigration, where children of immigrants like me also have a voice."

Ms Abbott said she wanted a "proper debate" on tackling the budget deficit and whether this should be achieved by raising taxes or cutting spending….

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