Mike Killingworth


7 July 2010

The Little Engine That Could

On Stoke Newington Church Street last night Diane Abbott formally launched her campaign for the Labour Party leadership. There were about 80 or 90 of us there: I’ve no idea whether that counts as a good turnout or not these days, though it was hard not to be impressed by the fact that a quarter of those present were middle-class black women, almost all young or youngish – there were probably only half a dozen people of Abbott’s own age (she’s 57) or older. A late-running Sikh with a steel-wool beard was the only indication of the Asian-British community. Abbott gave her ever-popular account of her life as The Little Engine That Could. Really, of course, this is what her campaign platform is, but naturally she felt obliged to make a few political observations in deference to conventional behaviour on these occasions.