Ode to Abbott

Oh Diane.

You hung in there, didn’t you?

From welder and nurse Jamaican parents

you studied hard,

and earned a place at Cambridge-no silver spoon for you.

You did not stop.

Doubled up with study to get into the Home Office.

Stood up for those who could not get where you got.

Worked for a seat on the Council.

And thirty years ago this year

won Hackney,

where you maintained a majority ever since.

Here’s a figure for you- sixty two percent.

That’s how many of your voters have faith in you.

Diane, you

Worked through the hate, and the scorn- a black woman

In politics blew too many minds.

Didn’t stop you.

Your speech on civil rights won accolades and respect.

But it never lasted did it?

Nasty little scrotes screamed sexual violence at you

In the street

And the BBC condoned it by broadcasting it

To a nation.

You aimed for leader, but Ed pipped you at the last, though

your voting record and socialism were better than his.

Yet you were not bitter, and you were one of the thirty six

who nominated Jeremy Corbyn- and look where the party is now!

Win or lose: you did the right thing.

You know your job. You are steadfast.

But the last year, with coups and squabbles, with past times raked up and

sometimes seven interviews in a day,

where hostility veiled was

never far away

Have taken their toll.

But Diane,

You soldiered on. You knew that to submit to illness now

-and you’ve been ill a while, haven’t you?-

With an election so close, would cause a media feeding frenzy

In triplicate due to your blackness, gender and high office.

But yesterday it became too much.

“You don’t look ill, you’re lying!” The vultures cried as they tried

To pick at your bones.

Something the sick and disadvantaged hear every day, but

For you magnified.

Because you dared. Because you aimed high.

With twenty four hours till the big day Lyn Brown has stepped

Into your shoes. Errors or no, those shoes

Will not be easy to fill.

I can’t imagine how difficult that decision must have been.

And still the bitching froths

When May doesn’t know her A/S/L and preaches on the dangers of tourism

and wants to smash human rights in the name of security.

When Hammond loses twenty billion

When Rudd thinks police officers earn forty grand

When Fallon and Boris want to first-strike-nuke

When Fox swears he didn’t Tweet when the evidence is

four foot high

On the screen behind him.

Or when Hunt and Nuttall run away from the press

In the Kipper’s case

To hide in a cupboard.

And when Graham avers the sick-

those deemed incurable-

‘Do get better’…

When electoral and tax avoidance and money bleaching


Is swept under the rug.

And promulgating Loyalists and Wahhabists

Is A Ok.

But standing up for the Irish South and Palestine

Is not.

But that’s ok, they’re white.

They’re not Labour.

Most of them are men.

You’d have been well within your rights to say, a long time ago

‘You know what? F**k off.’

Thank you for sticking at it.

Rest up, Diane.

Keep your seat tomorrow, recover your fire.

Home Sec’s can be trained

And you’d never have been as bad as May!

But there’s only one

Choice for Hackney.

You don’t have to be ‘good on telly’ to be good at your job.

You wouldn’t have cut

the police

the firefighters

the paramedics

to the bone, or lied about

Well, just about


You voted for human rights for all. You stood up for the poor.

You would not condone the tearing up of foxes.

You could not in all conscience vote to bomb a living soul.

You would not make the poor poorer and the rich richer.

You could not vote to take the NHS away from the people.

You never took shade under the magic money tree

that grows in the magic tax avoiders’ forest.

And while

You are not perfect- who is?

You are a socialist

A human being

And a loyal and long time friend.

And for that, you get my vote.


  • Written before Abbott put in the public domain (14/06/17) that she has had Type 2 diabetes for some time and the stress of the election made her eating patterns go to pot and her sugars go haywire. Yet unlike May she did not make political capital of her condition. She just tried to get on with it. Despite all the bile and toxin thrown at her, she increased her majority in her seat at the general election by 12.2% to 75.1% (42,265 votes) and a 67% turnout, up 7% from 2015.

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