Despite displaying behaviour to the contrary, politicians like Theresa May and her Conservative Cabinet really are human.
It’s a strange concept to try and comprehend, I know. Their dead eyed stares; their lack of genuine emotion; and their complete and utter failure to even vaguely understand the plight and desperation of a huge proportion of modern-day impoverished Britons could easily be a dead giveaway of their lack of humanity – but, I can assure you, politicians are still made of flesh and blood like you and me.
This can be proven in their many malfunctions. Mistakes which, had they emanated from the motherboards and circuits of a man-made political cyborg, the programmers would surely have been fired many times over.
Yes, politicians really are human – and despite many living lavish luxury lifestyles thanks to their extra-parliamentary salaries, and despite actually being able to afford heating in their homes and food in their fridges (unlike many of their constituents), even stone-cold parliamentarians are susceptible to illnesses like us mere mortals.
But, unlike when you or I are *forced* to take a day off from our tedious day job due to a slight sniffle, most high-ranking politicians aren’t afforded that luxury.
Just imagine if, rather than battle through her cringe-fest of a Conference speech last week, Theresa May had pulled out at the last moment due to having a cold? There would have been shrieks of weakness from all sides – not least her own.
And, just imagine if Diane Abbott had pulled out of all of her pre-arranged interviews during the General Election campaign due to illness – there would have been similar cries of weakness, and suggestions that she simply wasn’t up to the job from the sidelines.
What’s similar with both these situations is that both women attempted to push through illness for the sake of the reputations when, in most other professions, they would have been allowed to rest up for a few days to recuperate.
What’s far from similar, however, is the huge disparity in how they have been treated by the media and by the general public.
Yes, the headlines about Theresa May’s disastrous Conference speech haven’t exactly been glowing – but there is has been a strong sense of sympathy for the Prime Minister – not least from significant numbers of mainstream pundits.
The embattled Tory leader was labelled by many as ‘brave’, ‘heroic’, and a true fighter who supposedly showed the grit and guts of a stalwart British leader.
Yet, when we contrast with the mainstream reaction to when Diane Abbott fluffed her numbers due to illness, where was the sympathy? Where was the human reaction from the same media pundits?
There was none.
Diane Abbott gets her numbers wrong whilst ill = Incompetence.
Theresa May fluffs speech whilst ill = Bravery.
Nothing to see here.
— EL4C (@EL4JC) October 6, 2017
It was an absolute field day in the media, with some of the vilest abuse, spurred on by numerous derogatory attack pieces in the right-wing rags, being levelled at Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary because of her error.
Abbott was labelled as utterly incompetent by the entire media, and was put under significant pressure because of it – with the despicable lack of support from some high profile Labour MPs in stark contrast to the Tory Cabinet’s defiant defence of their leader.
Abbott’s schedule of interviews during the General Election campaign was relentless, forgetting her numbers on her 7th broadcast of the day. It was this frantic schedule that led to her diabetes becoming out of control, creating a significantly low blood sugar level, and ultimately leading to her fluffing the numbers.
Furthermore, Tory Chancellor Phillip Hammond provided a far worse numerical error than Abbott’s during the election campaign – underestimating the cost of HS2 by a huge £20bn – an error that was met with a cacophony of silence from the majority of the mainstream media.
Politicians are human and, like all of us, even the best will make mistakes. However, the malevolent targeting of Diane Abbott in the mainstream media has been utterly disgusting – exemplified perfectly by the stark contrast in sympathies dolled out to her and the current Prime Minister after both of their illness-induced nightmares.
Become An Evolve Politics Subscriber
Your subscriptions go directly into paying our writers a standard fee for every article they produce. So if you want to help us stay truly independent, please think about subscribing. We literally couldn’t function without the support of our fantastic readers.
Or a One-Off Donation to Evolve Politics
If you don’t want to subscribe, but still want to contribute to our project, you can make a one-off donation via the donate button below. All your donations go directly to our writers for their work in exposing injustice, inequality and unfairness.Donate