Self-Help News Feature Article.

Posted  13th December 2005. 0020GMT

The following article is reproduced from “NUBIART - A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON THE AFRIKAN WORLD” Nubiart - Wed 5pm / Fri 10pm, Sound Radio 1503AM. Also on the web at:

www.soundradio.info. E-mail: Nubiart@soundradio.info or afrikanquest@hotmail.com

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On the midweek Nubiart we interviewed the Rt Hon. Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington. This was the final instalment in our exploration of ‘What are British Values and the Four Estates of the British Establishment’, the theme of ‘Nubiart Afrikan Heritage Month’ in October.

We started by addressing the Labour Party’s law and order policies and legislation which seem very far removed from what they advocated during their years in opposition. Diane explained that she had opposed ID cards and the 90-day detention without charge. However, on local and ‘particularly drug-related crime’ she favoured the use of ASBOs and dispersal orders which she felt had been used successfully recently in the area where she lives cutting visible dealing and prostitution.

 

The issue of ‘trickle-down crime’ using the theory of ‘trickle-down economics’ was raised. ‘Trickle-down economics’ is the belief by some politicians, businesspeople and influential commentators that giving lots of money, contracts and tax breaks to their friends and associates will stimulate the economy and ‘trickle-down’ to the poorer sections of society. [A favourite concept of Ronald Reagan, the Bushes and other ‘neo-cons’]. ‘Trickle-down crime’ is where people see politicians and businesspeople getting ahead by engaging in nefarious, criminal and cut-throat activities and adopt those values as the way to get on in life.

 

As an example we gave Tony Blair and the British government breaking international law. Diane felt people in her area were fairly tolerant but she did not think this was a good excuse for openly selling drugs to children and mothers with prams and using young people as couriers. “You can talk about what other people do but we need to look at ourselves. People have to live with our consciences.”

 

Diane organised four London-wide conferences on education and miseducation of Afrikan children in conjunction with the London mayor’s office. She felt there was still a long way to go but there are now statistics being kept to show how the system is failing Afrikan boys. “I think that combination of things – putting pressure on schools, more Black involvement in the education system and setting targets for Black achievement which schools have to meet. I believe those things over time will raise standards for all our children, but for Black children in particular.”

 

On ‘British Values’ Diane had no idea what the term meant and it had never been properly explained to her but she felt it was used by the right-wing press to mean ‘white values’ which she felt was wrong as it implied that everything white is great and that no-one else had values. She preferred to focus on human values.

 

On the British political establishment: “I think it’s important, in principle, to have a parliament that looks like Britain, in terms of race diversity and gender diversity. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that because someone is a woman they’re interested in working-class women or because someone is Black they’re interested in Black people.”

 

She felt there has only been marginal improvement since she was elected to Parliament in 1987 alongside Paul Boateng, Bernie Grant and Keith Vaz.

There are now 10-11 Afrikan and Asian MPs including a group of Muslim MPs for the first time but the Parliamentary Black Caucus no longer exists since Paul left, Bernie passed away and they came under sustained pressure to disband by the Labour party leadership. She felt that the recent intakes of MPs were not interested in that kind of organization.

 

On Afrikan daily grassroots issues, such as deaths in custody, housing, mental health and ongoing police harassment and criminalisation being reflected in parliament Diane felt that there were too few MPs even among the Afrikan and Asian MPs willing to raise those topics in a high profile way. At present only her and Dawn Butler are Labour MPs of Afrikan origin out of a parliament of 650 MPs so the political space is limited.

 

Alongside this she has her standard constituency work such as swimming pool closures, a new Tube station for Stoke Newington, Kurdish refugees from Turkey, asylum seekers, etc. Diane decided to focus on education, Afrikan women entrepreneurs, gun crime, immigration and is starting to profile the issue of mental health. “I absolutely admit I have not been able to take up the whole range of issues that concern Black people…There’s no question that Black people all over the country look to me as their MP...but if people want more MPs to take up issues that they’re concerned about then they’ll need to have to start putting more pressure on white MPs.”

 

Diane didn’t feel white media coverage of Afrikan issues had improved over the last twenty years. She felt it was still sensationalist and played up the stereotypes of Afrikan people. She believed that the internet was a useful tool for highlighting Afrikan community concerns and there was a strong need for all Afrikans to support Afrikan media and businesses while at the same time complaining to the white institutions which do not represent Afrikans properly or continue with their mistreatment.

 

“Black people have to start putting out positive messages about ourselves...we are far too prone, as a community, to attack and denigrate other Black people...Until we as Black people respect each other and support each other we cannot expect to get the respect and support of other communities.”

 

Diane’s final words: “I think the most important thing for Black people in the 21st Century is to learn to love each other.”

 

Rt Hon Diane Abbott, MP can be contacted at her office on 020 7219 4426 

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Last up-dated 1st January 2006

 

 

 

 

 

Diane Abbott MP

“My legacy to younger people is Black people can do whatever they want but they have to want to do it.”

- Rt.  Hon. Diane Abbott, MP,  for Hackney North & Stoke Newington, London

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1807-2007

 

Britain Commemorates  the Bicentenary

 of  The Slave Trade Abolition  Act 1807.

 

One of the Black Community’s Contributions -

 

“Cries of Our Kidnapped Afrikan Ancestors”

 

 

 

________________

Beliefs and Commentaries

 

“All faith is FALSE, all faith is TRUE.

TRUTH is the shattered mirrors strewn In myriad bits; while each BELIEVES

His LITTLE BIT the whole to own.”

 

From “The Kasidah of Hji Abu el-Yezdi”, as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton

 

Home

Publications and

Reviews

 Health Issues

HIV/Aids & Creators

Profiles

(Legends in their fields)          

Education and Training

Community Matters

The Environment

Sports

Films,

Music & Entertainment

Youth & the Survival Game in Britain (YSGB)

Short Story &   Writers’ Forum

What is Pan-Africanism

Editorial

Resident and Guest Correspondents

 

______________

1807-2007

 

Britain Commemorates  the Bicentenary

 of  The Slave Trade Abolition  Act 1807.

 

One of the Black Community’s Contributions -

 

“Cries of Our Kidnapped  Ancestors”

 

 

 

________________

Beliefs and Commentaries

 

“All faith is FALSE, all faith is TRUE.

TRUTH is the shattered mirrors strewn In myriad bits; while each BELIEVES

His LITTLE BIT the whole to own.”

 

From “The Kasidah of Hji Abu el-Yezdi”, as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton