We have limited cake options

TIME to head to the Conservatives in Birmingham but an ICYMI from last week in Liverpool:

Here was the BBC touring the Labour conference centre with cupcakes bearing the faces of Emily Thornberry, Angela Rayner and Rebecca Long-Bailey, as its roving reporter asked who the next Labour Party leader should be. As you may have seen at the Momentum stand, members including Faisa Hassan from the Hampstead and Kilburn CLP responded: Dianne Abbott? Dawn Butler? It appears to dawn on the presenter live on air that none of the selections were BAME candidates as she apologises for the ‘limited cake options’.

As it happens, bookmakers post these Momentum suggestions for the next leader as rank outsiders, so Politics Live may feel justified over who it put on the icing. Emily Thornberry is actually the market leader, having leapfrogged Keir Starmer in the odds earlier this year. It could be said then that both the BBC – for not having any BAME candidate in its game – and the Labour Party itself, which does not seem to be close to electing one as leader, have diversity questions to answer. Politics and journalism have similar problems here, and MP Tulip Siddiq was among the thousands who shared the video above, adding the message: “Depressing that these young women of colour are *still* asking the same questions I asked 20 years ago when I first got involved in politics. Sigh.”

At a local level, Camden has still only ever had two black women elected as councillors in its history.

Meanwhile, with a journalist cap on, this awkward exchange might just hint at a media world where our pundits continually fail to predict the outcome of major events – referendums, leadership contests, elections – but still get called back to share more wisdom. In this sense, canvassing opinions with the awful gimmick of cupcakes may seem as good a bet as any. It’s pretty dumbed-down though and if we’re honest that’s the tenor of a lot of the reporting at Labour’s conference. You can sit in a fringe meeting in the main conference centre or The World Transformed parallel festival and listen to healthily competitive debate, but when it comes to reading newsprint you usually only see the wackiest lines reported.

If it’s true that a witty tweet and cupcake larks triumph over more considered analysis of the conference season, put your money on everybody getting it wrong again ahead of the next major event.

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