The paradox of the Geek – or, while Dianne Abbott won’t win the leadership contest, she doesn’t have to lose quite so badly
July 16, 2010 2 Comments
I know the argument: stroppy teenagers and shop floor Mothers can’t relate to men in suits, yet they end up our representatives every time, and we wonder why people don’t engage with politics.
But hold on, how people could relate to politicians didn’t spur on the anti-politics saga circa the expenses scandal, but rather the other way around, politicians obviously don’t quite understand the electorate – and subsequently fairness and respect for tax payers’ money.
Frankly, this extends further to what politicians talk like, look like and smell like; if they don’t get, they don’t get it, and that trait transcends class, age, race and gender boundaries.
For this reason, there is a strange element to Dianne Abbott’s recent trouble making, when she called the other four leadership contenders “geeky,” in an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.
We’re used to the disengaged politician now, but it is patent nonsense for Abbott to suggest that she has more chance listening than they have.
I won’t recycle the fact that the only difference between her and her colleagues (apart from her colour, more of which in a moment) is she has never been a SpAd and that she has been an MP for longer. But she has made decisions, and has said things, where you wonder whether he 20 years listening to her voters has counted for anything, particularly the type of thing she implies here which is that she knows what people want.
The paradox: give me a middle class former policy wonk who admits to needing more knowledge any time, over a middle class, Cambridge educated, long time MP, who implicitly likens herself to Obama, and thinks she knows what the people want.
The world needs a geek.
Now, that Obama quote (where she “doesn’t” compare herself to Obama:
I’m not comparing myself to Barack Obama, because he’s a once in a life-time figure. But two years ago no one could imagine a black man as president of the United States. If that was possible in America, I think people can change here in Britain as well.
Wise words. So do as she says: come next election, vote for the black man.