JANUARY 7th 2012

Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott has apologised for any offence caused by comments she made on Twitter, after claims they were racist.

She said she had not meant to generalise when she wrote: ''White people love playing 'divide & rule'".

Perhaps a few more advemtures into the realms of absurdity might burst the bubble of political correctness. Of course Diane Abbott got hauled over the coals for her Divide and Rule remark because of her public position, but nearly all those who rebuke or defend her are just as off-target as she is. I only comment here in the hope of enlightening both sides in the hope that we hear less from all of them.

If the word 'white' in that sentence had been replace by 'some' (i.e. "Some people love playing 'divide and rule'") it just might be true, though whether people love or even like what they find themselves doing in order to hold down a job, be it at the summit of government, the bottom layer or anywhere in between, is merely an assumption on the part of an observer or commentator. As one who spent a year or two tending the needs of refugees from black Africa I can tell you that when it comes to using the technique of divide and rule, black rulers put white ones in the shade in terms of pure brutality and ruthless, unmitigated violence. I don't think they learned this more from white rulers than black, if they learned it from anyone, though many refugees cursed the colonisers for leaving monsters in charge.

When the principle of 'unite and govern' fails, there are not all that many altenatives if government rather than anarchy is called for by those defenceless against the ravages of unfettered opportunists. However, the priority at this time if we are to avoid an absurd descent into meaningless debate and discord is to realise that there is no RULE in the sense that some of those who believe themselves to be oppressed imagine it. Oppression even in the UK is more often the result from the absence of rule and the abuse of rules, designed often for the protection of the vulnerable. Such as those that now prevent doctors from assisting a peaceful death.

Diane is not a racist. Let me use a few well known cliches to describe her. She she is just a woman doing her best punching well above her weight, and way out of her depth at the same time. She believes she has experience that others do not have and cannot replace with their imagination, intelligence and empathy. She is choc full of assumptions, extrapolations and opinions and therefore although her acquired and developed skills allow her to do her job (maybe very well) she will inevitably put her foot in it if asked a question that contrary to her own judgement goes a bit beyond her box.

It is unimportant whether Diane's remark is considered racist by whites or blacks as it couldn't matter less either way. Nor can she be praised for 'telling the truth' as some have claimed since as I have pointed out is not even a pretence at a statement of fact. It is the daft opinion of a daffy, probably very nice, woman, as many of us know from listening to her on the evening TV show this week with its equally daffy white male presenter who suffers from an amazing excess of self-esteem but whom I also would not like to be without. We need these people.

As an after-thought,  it would help if the words colour and race were not used as if they were interchangeable in any given context..