The Black & White Era

Readers of this blog (all 12 of them… on a good day) might be forgiven for thinking I do nothing but obsess over the politics of Doctor Who.  Undoubtedly, I do do that, and far too much of it.  However, in my defence, I will say that most of what I post here is the product of long-term, off-and-on, occasional, when-I-get-the-chance pondering and tinkering.  My last post, for instance, had been loitering in the ‘Draft’ category for months, getting steadily longer and more tendentious, before I posted it.  I spend a lot of the rest of my time thinking about and doing other stuff.  However, my practice of letting my ‘essays’ (I hate calling them that, but what else can I call them?) percolate means that I’m very bad at reacting quickly.  However, there are some things to which I desperately want to react quickly because I care about them so much… usually because they make me so ANGRY.

Luckily, there are people out there who

a) broadly share my political perspective,

b) are much cleverer and better informed than me, and

c) can react quickly.

So, on the subject of the recent synth-controversy and twitterstorm about Diane Abbott, here are three reactions which, between them, pretty much say everything I want said.

Here‘s Richard Seymour at Lenin’s Tomb:

First of all, what Abbott said was, in a very loose sense, correct: ‘white people’ do indeed love to play divide and rule.  Not all of them, good lord no.  Not you or I.  Not the good whites (there are some good whites).  But I think we all know that there’s a troublesome minority in our midst, the ones who give us all a bad name, whom we must root out and expose, and hand over to the authorities.  That’s all I’m saying.  Second, I would rather have a politician who expresses things bluntly and occasionally blunders but is usually on the right side of the argument (Abbott, for all her flaws, is better than most Labour politicians in this respect), than a calculating mountebank who plays for position in the spectacle. 

Here‘s Michael Rosen at his new blog (which I fervently recommend, by the way):

As a broad statement about history, Diane Abbott is to my mind more or less right in that the elite that has ruled over the British Empire and continues to rule is of course 99.9 per cent white and one of the ways it has ruled was, say, to use black troops from one part of the empire to fight another, or to use ‘mulatto’ elites (as they were called) to rule over ‘pure’ black populations and so on. In terms of how Diane Abbott acts as a local MP – now an apologetic one – is for me less clear. I don’t feel as if I tried to rule over her, trying to set black people against each other in the matter of education. To tell the truth, I felt that she did that herself.

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