Diary: Taxi for Abbott! Cabbies call on MP to quit in Twitter row

 

You wonder whether Labour MP Diane Abbott will use Twitter again.

She spent Thursday morning fending off the news media after a badly-phrased tweet about race was spotted hours after it was posted, sparking a Twitter frenzy in the middle of the night. Then somebody scrolled down to read her earlier tweets, and found this, posted on Tuesday: "Dubious of black people claiming they've never experienced racism. Ever tried hailing a taxi I always wonder?"

Steve McNamara, of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, was invited to comment, and let fly. "We find it amazing that in this day and age someone in Diane Abbott's position can try to resurrect the stereotypes from the 1960s. At worst she is racist and at best she is stupid in making comments like that. Either way, she should go," Mr McNamara said.

Ed Miliband might have been expected to halt Twitter fiascos, but he decided to start one of his own. With so much happening in the world, he thought it important to share his thoughts on the death of ex-TV host Bob Holness.

"Sad to hear that Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters," said the original tweet on the Labour leader's feed. A second version, a few minutes later, changed "Blackbusters" to "Blockbusters".

"Just because the words came from him doesn't mean his fingers were on the keyboard," says a source.

I'll have an 'o', Bob.

If only Cameron had seen the film

There was a predictable quality to David Cameron's remarks yesterday about the film The Iron Lady – that Meryl Streep, pictured, is brilliant, but that the film should not have been made while Mrs T is still alive – but Mr C's throwaway remark in praise of Malcolm McDowell's performance in the film If... was a puzzler. That film, which came out when Mr Cameron was just a year old, is about the most excoriating attack on the public school system ever committed to celluloid. Has he actually seen it?

New Tory MEP has ghost of a chance

Brussels watchers will have noted that Roger Helmer, aged 67, is still a Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, despite having announced his intention to stand down on 31 December.

The reason is that he is involved in a stand-off with Conservative HQ over who will take his place. Under the normal rules of the list system used for European elections, the seat would automatically be filled by Rupert Matthews, the nearest Tory runner-up in the 2009 election. But Mr Matthews is a self-proclaimed expert on ghosts and alien intrusions. His most recent blog, on Thursday, was about Roswell, in New Mexico, the place where he and others believe that an alien spacecraft crashlanded.

Mr Helmer believes that the rules should be applied. He is not impressed that someone at Tory HQ might have concluded that Mr Matthews is away with the fairies. In his latest blog post, he said he would be "very angry indeed" if Mr Matthews' candidature were blocked, and implied he will not budge unless he gets his way. "CCHQ have some administrative problems with the succession process, and naturally I want to see those resolved before I sign on the dotted line," he wrote.

Hanging petition leaves people cold

Paul Staines, the blogger known as Guido Fawkes, is having a few problems with his campaign to reinstate the death penalty. His e-petition on the Downing Street website in July has attracted fewer than 26,000 signatures, and his Restore Justice campaign has been ticked off by the Advertising Standards Authority for a "misleading" advertisement that "the murder rate has doubled" since hangmen put away the rope in 1964.

Annoyingly, the published data suggest the advertisement was rather accurate. Restore Justice was faulted on technical grounds, because it used statistics for "homicides" not "murders", and because it relied on a House of Commons document published in 1999, while homicide figures for England and Wales have been falling since 2002.

The Home Office does not publish separate statistics for murder, so figures for "homicides", which include manslaughter and infanticide, are all we can go on. There have also been changes in methods of recording since the 1960s.

But the facts are that in the year to September 2010 there were 619 recorded "homicides" in England and Wales, a rate of 13.5 per million of population. In calendar year 1964 there were 244 "murders", and the "homicide" ratio was below 6.8 per million head of population.

The murder rate has roughly doubled since 1964. There are some good arguments against executing criminals. This is not one of them.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride