No doubt most people have read of the recent Twitter storm ignited by Ms Abbott’s comment about “Divide and Rule”. If not, you can see it by following this link.
She has issued an apology for any offence she might have caused which, if it is heartfelt, is fine. However, she is a public servant, albeit a MP whose wages are paid by the British taxpayer. She is a public sector worker; no more, no less. Further, she is an elected politician paid to represent an English constituency – not a segment of it but all of it. In short, she has particular obligations associated with her employment.
To say “White people love playing “divide and rule”. We should not play their game” is, in my view, a stupid thing to say at the best of times. Following the Lawrence murder trial I would say it is worse than stupid. Add in the Twitter hashtag #tacticasoldascolonialism and I think there is a subtext. Do you?
Notwithstanding the Lawrence trial, is this a racist statement pure and simple? Notice she uses not “Some whites” or ‘A few whites” or even “The majority of whites” but the all encompassing “White”. I might be misunderstanding her here but substitute ‘White” for any ethic group of your choice and see how it reads. Not pretty is it? On a personal level I find it offensive – I’m white but I don’t play “divide and rule” with people of different races to me and I have never discriminated against anyone on grounds of race. To be accused of it, via my colour, is offensive to me.
When I worked in the public sector there were very clear boundaries on what could, and what could not, be said. If I had made a racist comment the result would have been disciplinary action and, most likely, being sacked forthwith. The same is true of any public sector worker. Likewise offensive comments. Quite right too. I understand there are also enforceable laws that govern offensive and/or racist comments as John Terry has found out.
So, Abbott is a public sector worker who made an offensive, possibly racist comment. And the penalty is….an apology but “it was taken out of context” mitigation plea. I really don’t think that washes. She ought to be sacked. Not allowed to resign but sacked.
I would also like to know why the police do not seem to be acting. Looking at the Directgov website, her tweet looks to me that it could be eligible for consideration as hate crime. I quote from the site:
“Hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person or group of people because of prejudice or hostility about:
- “race – including culture, nationality and language”
Isn’t there a possible case of prejudice and/or hostility to be investigated here? I don’t know for sure but I suspect there is.
I’ll conclude with this. I don’t know Ms Abbott and I don’t know whether she is a racist or not but I found her tweet to be offensive on a personal level and pejorative about white people including myself. If she ever became a politician of real power in government could I trust her to act in the best interests of the all people in the UK? The answer is ‘No I couldn’t” and for that reason alone I believe she should be sacked.