Friday, October 01, 2010

Should Diane Abbott Make the Cut?

Abbott wants to be Municipal secretary in shadow cabinet

With the Labour leadership campaign finally behind him, Labour leader Ed Miliband now needs to look to establishing his Shadow Cabinet.

It's only natural that the other leadership contenders would line up to be considered for roles. Diane Abbott is clearly no different.

Although it probably won't, Abbott's status as the token female candidate of the campaign should probably cast some doubt on whether or not she'll receive any such role. After all, Abbott couldn't even convince electors within her own riding that she would make a good leader. Support for her leadership was scarcely more than 20% in her own riding.

But Abbott clearly seems to think of herself as a contender for Shadow Cabinet. She's even picked a portfolio out for herself -- she wants to be the Communities and Local Government Secretary.

"London and the inner cities do not get enough representation and I’d like to see that change," she announced. "Multiculturalism, gang crime and housing look very different in London than the rest of the country."

But given the level of support for Abbott within her own riding, and the anemic level of support for her leadership in general, it may be far to speculate if she would have made the cut for the Shadow Cabinet under Labour's customary rules.

Prior to Tony Blair's tenure as Labour leader, members of the Shadow Cabinet used to be chosen by the party's Parliamentary caucus. The leader would assign portfolios once the Shadow Cabinet was chosen.

Tony Blair discontinued this practice.

If Ed Miliband were to reinstate this practice, it's fair to speculate if Abbott, who unequivocally was not a serious contender for the leadership, would make the cut.

Judging from the support she received in the leadership campaign, the available evidence seems to suggest "probably not".

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