By Paul Goodman
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I'm taken by the fact that Abbott is a member of Ed Miliband's front bench health team. She was making Labour's case only yesterday over the breast implant row.
Aiden Burley was recently sacked as a PPS after reportedly hired a nazi costume for a stag party. David Cameron's decision to fire him was unavoidable.
This is worse: imagine how the Guardian or the BBC would react if a Conservative MP said that "black people love playing 'divide and rule' ".
They would be right to so so. Such an MP would be maligning their fellow citizens on a racist basis. This is exactly what Abbott has done.
Even the most clear-cut apology won't do. Nadhim Zahawi MP believes that Abbott should quit and Miliband should fire her if she doesn't. This view is severe but correct.
And I hope that the BBC and the Guardian give Abbott the same coverage that they would devote to my imaginary Tory MP – noting as they do that she has form on this matter.
11.30am update: A statement from Labour has finally appeared. It reads: "We disagree with Diane’s tweet. It is wrong to make sweeping generalisations about any race, creed, or culture."
So let's continue the imaginary exercise. A Conservative front bencher tweets: "Black people love playing 'divide and rule' ". He claims his remarks were taken out of context and CCHQ simply issues the statement above: no reprimand, no sacking. What do you think would happen next?
12.15pm update: We now have from Abbott a classic non-apology apology. She said: “I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that. I apologise for any offence caused.”
The problem wasn't that some people interpreted her tweet as making generalisations about white people. It was that it did make generalisations about white people.